Team TokuNet interviews the people behind SHUWATCH!!, an Ultraman-inspired fanzine, for this Community Spotlight. Applications to submit work for the fanzine will run from November 10 to December 10, 2022.
SHUWATCH!! is a fanzine (fan-created magazine) featuring all kinds of Ultra-related fan content from artwork to fiction and much more. To celebrate their announcement that a third volume is in the works and to let readers know how they can submit their work, The Tokusatsu Network is interviewing the people behind the project!
MC: Hello I’m emcee! I’m an artist from the Philippines and a really big fan of the Ultraman series. I’m also the creator of this particular UNO comic that once went viral back in 2016. In SHUWATCH!!, I’m one of the people who founded this project and made it possible.
Taya: Hi, I’m Taya, a Canadian toku fan who loves to make stuff based on my fave toku shows. My hobbies include drawing, writing and plush making. I have a soft spot for collecting plushies.
ZIO: Hi I’m Zio! An artist in the US focusing on 3D art, plus lots of chibi art. I have been involved in SHUWATCH!! since volume 1, and made Melos art for all previous volumes (and the future… maybe).
?: Hi, I’m Cubeee and I’m a digital art hobbyist! I like sketching comics, writing and drawing little Ultras.
How did you get into tokusatsu?
MC: Back in my childhood days, some tokusatsu shows were airing on local Philippine TV at that time like Turboranger or Shaider. But my older sister saved VHS records of Fiveman and Kamen Rider BLACK which exposed me to the genre of superheroes and tokusatsu. Although I didn’t quite get too into it until much later (around 2012 to 2013) while I was in college. It’s thanks to the school’s anime club that, after watching the first Super Hero Wars [2012’s Kamen Rider x Super Sentai: Super Hero Taisen] movie, intrigued me to look into the realm of tokusatsu a bit more. Here I am many years later, now a completely huge Ultraman fan and loving it!
Taya: A friend rec’d me Kamen Rider Gaim back in 2015. I’d never watched Power Rangers and the like growing up, but the stunt work and cool costumes intrigued me. The ToQger crossover sucked me in deeper with a story that struck a chord with me. I got into Ultra just before R/B aired, when a different friend dragged me into watching all of Orb. When we got to the movie, I fell head over heels for X, and what followed was a rabbit hole of Ultraman binging all the New Gen shows in a single summer. I watch all three series these days, but I’m hooked on Ultraman as the main show I like to create fan art of.
ZIO: Despite spending most of my childhood in Japan, I never got into tokusatsu. Fast forward to 2016, I decided to check them out after seeing so many funny clips and screenshots on social media, starting with Zyuohger. Now I’m deep into toku and wished I could have gotten into it sooner!
?: I technically had been into toku since I was a wee box? I grew up on a lot of 80s and 90s TV adaptations of Jin Yong novels and was enamored with the old special effects. My first Ultraman exposure was the Gekiden OVA.
What are your favorite series?
MC: Overall, it’s Ultraman Mebius. As the first Ultraman show I’ve chosen to watch, it struck a chord with me the moment I got into the story and the characters’ development as the show progressed. It’s just a really good show!
Taya: I feel like I’m legally obligated to say Ultraman X? It’s led me to many great friendships/inspired me to push myself to improve my art skills. The show spoke to me in a way I’m not sure I can fully articulate, and creating fan content for it has changed my life in ways I’d never imagined. I owe a lot to X.
ZIO: Battle of the Ultra Brothers manga by Mamoru Uchiyama. Why? Melos.
?: Even though I absolutely love Geed and all the characters, I have to hand it to Z. Not only did it give me so many amazing friends, but Z‘s overall left a huge impression on me and Haruki’s relationship with his dad was very personal to me.
What sparked your interest in starting the fanzine, and how did it start?
MC: I think it was around 2018 where after my first attempt in collaborating as an artist in another tokusatsu zine – Our Wild Planet, A Toku Charity Zine that I thought to myself about coming up with a zine project for the Ultraman series, because as far as I was aware at that time, there were no such projects announced. Plus I borrowed the charity zine idea from there as I thought about donating to the Ultraman Foundation as well. It just seemed fitting!
So I pitched these ideas to other fellow Ultraman fans who also sounded their interest, one of them being Zio. Not too long after, Zio set up a Discord server and a Twitter account and suddenly we just started working.
ZIO: I was also in Our Wild Planet as a mod, so as soon as we started discussing an Ultraman fanzine, I jumped in and made the Discord and Twitter account!
Taya: In a voice call during late 2020, emcee had been throwing around the idea of a second volume to support kids during the pandemic. I stepped forward, offering to back a physical release (and the duties involved in making it happen), and we went forward with Volume 2. Now it’s late 2022 and we’re back at it again!
What are your roles for the fanzine?
MC: As the head mod, I oversee the project and its contributors. But by Volume 2, most of my workload is dedicated to handling the formatting of pages. So while I check in on the contributors from time to time, I do what I can to make the zine look nice and tidy before it gets printed.
Taya: In SHUWATCH!!, I’m the second-in-command. I’m the person in charge of budgeting, buying, receiving and shipping the physical zines. I’m also tasked with helping format all the merch for printing, as well as the final charity donation. (As of Volume 2, we’ve donated 1,440 USD to the Ultraman Foundation!)
ZIO: For the first volume, I did a whole bunch of tasks such as putting together the pages, posting promo images online, and sending the proceeds to Ultraman Foundation. Now that we have brought in more mods, the workload has been split up, and I mostly focus on advertising the zine!
?: With the zine garnering more attention and the mods getting busier, I was recruited to help everyone stick to the deadline. I’m also Taya’s backup for physical zine distribution.
Taya: We also have two other mods — Easter and Cri. However, they’re unavailable to comment at the moment. Both are editors who will help with proofreading the zine and making sure we don’t miss any mistakes!
What kind of content is included in SHUWATCH? Is it only artwork?
Taya: SHUWATCH!! is a mixed medium zine! We’ve had all kinds of works featured in the first two volumes, not just artwork! SHUWATCH!! has had the pleasure of featuring fanart (both digital and traditional), fanfiction, essays, comics, and even some 3D-modeled work! (personally, I’m hoping we see new mediums in Volume 3, like handmade goods!)
SHUWATCH!! Volume 2 preview images
About how many submissions are in the fanzines?
How many pages are they?
MC: For Volume 1, since we started off as a digital zine we didn’t take any page limits into consideration. So there are 93 pages and 36 contributors, all of them either artists and writers who have submitted wonderful Ultra works.
Taya: Volume 2, we had 47 collaborators on our team, resulting in 116 pages of Ultra goodness. Some people did more than one work or did multiple pages. Plus some of the bonus content at the end made it a solid book. We’re aiming for ~100 pages this time since we aimed for ~80 pages last time.
About how many people work on the fanzine?
MC: When we started Volume 1 (2019), there were three of us – myself, Easter and Zio. And then by Volume. 2 (2021), we brought Taya into the fold after volunteering to help. As for the upcoming Volume 3, we’ve asked two more people to help us out with the workload: cubeee and Cri, who were contributors from the previous volume.
Does the rise of popularity of art in a digital medium make it easier for SHUWATCH!! to thrive?
ZIO: The digital medium was what made it possible for us to start the zine in the beginning because we could easily distribute the zine as a digital pdf and save the headache of figuring out how physical zines work! In terms of art pieces, a huge majority of them are done digitally. (Traditional art is accepted if they are well scanned/photographed).
Are people able to acquire past issues of SHUWATCH!! ?
Taya: Yes! The first two volumes are available as PDFs on our Gumroad, and there are a few physical copies of Volume 2 left that will be available when Volume 3 goes up for preorders. If you missed out on it and want the book/merch in your hands, keep your eyes peeled!
How can people follow updates regarding SHUWATCH!! or contribute their work?
For those who wish to contribute, Volume 3’s applications will be open November 10 to December 10! We’re looking for a sampling of your work and a pitch of what you wish to make for the project. (Don’t worry, it’s just your idea of what you want to make. You’ll get four months to work on it if you’re accepted!)
Can readers follow you personally as well?
MC: Sure! I’m dotemcee in a number of sites, but for the sake of convenience all the links are in my carrd!
Taya: Of course! I’m ComicalCarnival on all sites I use. Here’s my carrd!
?: I’m known as cubeee11 on all socials.
Final messages for the readers
MC: I’m really looking forward to everyone’s applications, and please keep the light of Ultra shine bright by helping our cause!
Taya: Ultraman X, if you’re out there, my phone is open. I could use help with scheduling my life when shipping time comes.
ZIO: Good luck to anyone applying and thank you for the support!
?: Excited to see everyone’s contributions!
Thank you all so much for your time and for letting Team TokuNet interview you!
As of this publishing, applications to submit your work to SHUWATCH!! Volume 3 are now open and will close on December 10, 2022. Even if you don’t choose to submit your creative piece to the fanzine, please support the project by following the social media accounts and by purchasing a copy of Volume 3 when it becomes available!
Applications for Vol 3 of Shuwatch!! The Ultraman Fan Zine are now open!
We will be accepting applications until Dec 10th, and look forward to seeing everyone's portfolios!https://t.co/MOKBGeXsCl pic.twitter.com/URunHe5Vmx
— SHUWATCH!! The Ultraman Fan Zine (@Ultra_Zine) November 10, 2022