From January 5th to 10th, the Tokusatsu Network celebrates its One Year Anniversary. Throughout the week, the members of Team TokuNet looks back on their first year together and share their thoughts on this past year and their hopes for the future.
Senior Editor and Community Forums Manager, Jorge Salas‘s love of tokusatsu started at three years old from Space Ghost Coast to Coast’s clips of the third Ultraman series, Ultra Seven.
With a passion for tokusatsu history, he started Rising Sun Tokusatsu in 2009 with Tokusatsu Network Managing Editor, Yasin Bulhan. He would go on to be one of the founding members of the Tokusatsu Network in 2014.
Were you nervous leading up the launch date?
I was more anxious than nervous. I knew going into this that The Tokusatsu Network’s founding members were a fantastic mix of talents from all over the world, so I wasn’t nervous about what we would be able to produce. More than anything, I hoped we would have an audience that appreciated the efforts of the team, motivating us to keep working and doing our best for the site and the community as a whole.
TokuNet gathered 7,000 visitors and over 12,000 views in its first week with only three articles. How did you feel seeing that kind of response?
I was absolutely blown away by the response the site got in such a short amount of time. While the tokusatsu field isn’t exactly teeming with big sites, there are a couple of big names already out there with a much longer history.I figured it would take months to reach the point that we did within the first week.
I ran Rising Sun Tokusatsu with Yas for a couple of years before The Tokusatsu Network began and it definitely took us a while to see that sort of response, but we got there after a point. The problem we had with RST was simply that we were just two guys and producing news and opinionated content regularly enough to entice readers to keep coming back was difficult. With Thankfully, this was never an issue with The Tokusatu Network’s list of contributors.
As far as my reactions to that first week, ‘wow’ would do nicely. We only had three articles in our first week, so that kind of response was amazing enough. What blew me away the most was realizing that one of those three articles was an introduction to the website with our mission statement and rundown of staff members at the time. More than anything, I was humbled by the positive response we garnered in that first week and knew this was going to be something bigger than any of us thought possible.
There were a lot of really positive tweets and messages from the tokusatsu community when TokuNet launched, do you remember how you felt reading those messages? Do you have a favorite?
I think my previous paragraph sums it up but, yeah, I was humbled as heck. It’s one thing to know people are reading your work but to see such an outpouring of positive vibes, and so early on, is something else entirely. I don’t think I would be able to single out a favorite comment from that early era of ours because I was so appreciative of everything we received.
Do you feel any sort of worry about the future considering the growth TokuNet has gone through in such a short amount of time?
I’ve always felt one big ball of tense-nervous-emotional-excitement when I think about the future of the site. My hopes for the future are that we’re able to bring in people we can form a close-knit bond with. A lot of people don’t know this but to me, TokuNet is more than just a site and staff members I work at. I’m friends with each and every one of the people on our team and enjoy joking around with them as we work on things, it makes the writing and editing process much easier. My main hope going forward is that any future additions to the staff are able to join our bond of friends, something I think generates a positive energy for everyone involved.
I like the idea of growing the community. The forums are my personal pet project and I only wish to see them grow and become more active as time goes on. “Community” has always been the keyword for me in anything I do, I like social interaction and I want to keep that going as the years pass.
Since its launch, TokuNet averages about 90,000 visitors a month and that number continues to grow, what is your personal hope and goals for TokuNet’s future, as a site and as a team?
I want the community to keep growing. I want people to come to TokuNet, read our stuff and think “Hey, this doesn’t suck!” at least once every day. I want to open up the world of tokusatsu to people who might have not otherwise been open to this sort of thing. TokuNet is a fantastically fun endeavor because it’s more than just a news site – that would get boring after a while, right? We’re aiming to be a real community hub for the greater English speaking tokusatsu world and to accomplish that, we’ll need to expand to all kinds of areas. We’ve already gotten a stellar response to our cast interviews on YouTube and it feels fantastic knowing we’re helping fans have a bit more of a personal connection to the people in the shows we love – something that I think would have been impossible as little as five years ago. Definitely out of the question when I got into the fandom back in 2004.
Also I really want a jet and a cool office. Maybe both?
What inspires you to keep moving forward creatively in your personal projects, as well as your projects and goals for TokuNet?
The fact that I can be lazy and take time off is a huge inspiration. No, seriously. With my past personal projects, it’s been a very small group of staff members and I don’t think we knew how unrealistic it was to keep that level of energy going day in, day out. With TokuNet, if I feel that creative burnout, I can take some time off to recharge and know that the site is in good hands because we have one of the best teams around. I want to see that grow as we enter our second year.
Also, I dream of the day we have an office in which we can just spontaneously break out into nurf-gun fights. And the jet.