A Brief Look at a Decade in Anime




For the past 10 and half years I have worked at FUNimation Entertainment in some capacity. Brand manager, conventions manager, digital marketing manager, and a slew of random projects in between.  I recently decided it was time to move on to the next big challenge in my life and have left the company. I’m not leaving the anime industry though since I am heading over to Crunchyroll to take on events and conventions for them.

Right now I am in between ending one thing and starting the next so I thought it would be a good time to take stock and reflect on my past decade working in the anime industry. 10 years might not feel like too long of a time in the grand scheme of things but when I first started at FUNimation single stick DVD volumes were king, Genoeon & ADV were expanding their market share, streaming anime was years away, and I had a VCR at my desk to watch dubbed episodes still in production. It was a different world.


When I first joined FUNimation they had around 10 shows currently in their catalog. It’s well over 350 now. I joined on as a brand manager and was given Kodocha and Tenchi Muyo OVA 3 as my first brands. Both of which I learned a ton from. I was also sharing an office with Lance Heiskell, who was in charge of brand management, so I was lucky to get a lot of good advice and help with these.

I also joined FUNimation to take on conventions. Lance had laid the ground work for this as well and I needed to grown the department. I learned the hard way that going back and forth between cons and working on brands was quite difficult. I managed to do both for a while but the success we were having with the growth of conventions meant less time to work on my brands. I eventually had to give up being a brand manager. Though not before working on the release of a good group of shows including Basilisk, Negima, Beck, and Shinobi.


Near the end of my tenure as a brand manager I got the opportunity/challenge of a life time in being part of the team that would bring CLAMP to Anime Expo. I was working both sides of this being that I was the brand manager for Tsubasa as well as had to set up all the convention items. This was one of the most challenging projects I’ve ever worked on. I more than once slept in my office to save time and not drive home at 5am.  If it’s not hard it doesn’t count right?. It was all worth it though after seeing thousands of fans lining up for hours to see them.

The team we had in the marketing department around this time was amazing. We all were working as hard as we could and had each others backs 100%. One person tossed the ball up and another would catch it with out missing a beat. We were firing on all cylinders and having way too much fun while doing it.


 When Navarre bought FUNimation I learned a ton about what it was like to work for a publicly traded company. I had only worked for private companies before then.  Shortly after this was when the economy started to drop globally and the anime industry was hit just as hard. If it wasn’t for Navarre I’m not sure what might have happened to FUNimation during that time. This still didn’t phase the lot of us. We had anime to put out, no reason to ease off the gas now.

We spent the rest of the convention year keeping fans informed and calm that anime was going to be fine and wasn’t going away with our “Don’t Panic!” campaign. The industry survived and changed into something new after all the smoke cleared. We needed to change with it as well. That’s the really cool thing about passion and drive. If you put hurdles in it’s way it will always evolve and adapt to keep moving forward.


We had a good influx of new talent coming into brand management around this time that was going to set the stage of how the department would be redefined. This was when shows like Ouran High School Host club, Hetalia, Soul Eater, and Panty & Stocking were starting to come out. This was also when we started to team up with American Cosplay Paradise for getting cosplayers for our convention events. The combo of great shows, unique promotional ideas, and the right people involved with each event made every day an amazing adventure. Everything was coming up Milhouse, even the Wall Street Journal was getting in on the excitement.

Oh, also I met the girl of my dreams while working the con circuit around this time!


In between cons we wanted to create more content to help promote product release and unfortunately due to budget cuts our video series ‘The FUNimation Update’ had been canceled. So this left Justin Rojas, Scott Porter, and myself to do some gorilla filming around the office. We were never told to do these, we just started making them. Justin and I were even filming and cutting these videos ourselves after hours to turn them out. We were able to do live casts, had voice actors saying dirty words, contest commercials, con highlight videos, a voice actor interview series, and even a live feed of Scott locked in a room watching 200 episodes of One Piece. He was never the same after that.  Luckily these did well which lead to the return of a video content series as ‘The FUNimation Show‘ a short while later.

At one point the opportunity came up for me to take on the marketing for the relaunch of funimation.com and I jumped from running conventions to digital marking. I was still working on events but now online instead of at cons. We had some great launch events that ended up so popular they crashed the site from time to time. …I had to slow those down a short while later. 🙂


FUNimation.com changed and evolved multiple times after that to what it is today. Streaming service, apps, an online store, and more. All things that seemed like a pipe dream when I first made the jump to take it on.

Now it is time to look to the future, to my next decade in anime. Which for me starts next week at Anime Expo with Crunchyroll. All that has happened before has lead up to what’s next and I’m excited to take that first step again. To have another turn with ‘beginners mind’ and still stay in the anime industry. It’s like seeing The Matrix again for the first time. I can’t wait to start up this crazy roller coaster again with all of you. Thank you all for being part of the past 10+ years with me and I’m looking forward to the next 10!


One thought on “A Brief Look at a Decade in Anime

  1. Yeah, you being the “Tenchi Muyo” guy at FUNimation was how we came in contact with each other. Hard to believe how fast time flies. Regardless, good luck over at Crunchyroll. ^_^

Comments are closed.