My name is Roger Gus Townson Jr. In the two years I have worked for Toy-TMA, some of you readers out there may have learned a thing or two about me. One, that I consider Avatar The Last Airbender to be the greatest cartoon on American television. Two, I have been an avid fan of Sony Computer Entertainment since the days of the first Play Station, and I still eagerly await the day when their former mascot Crash Bandicoot will make a comeback in the industry. Three, that I regard One Piece as the King of Anime, and what a shame it is that such a deep scar left by 4Kids has still to this day prevented the brand from reaching legitimate success here in the states. Four, that I was honored to grow up parallel to the cast of the Harry Potter franchise, and those movies will forever be symbolic of my own journey from boyhood to manhood. It has been such a wonderful journey, and I greatly admire everyone out there who gave me the time to share all my various passions. Unfortunately, the time has come for me to move on.
Once upon a time, in the late Spring of 2010, I was little more than your typical autistic college student, only a few weeks from graduating with my BA in English and Writing. While I knew for certain that I wanted to pursue a career in creative writing, I can’t say I had any idea how exactly I was going to accomplish this. If there is one thing I will admit about myself, I can be a naïve idealist who’s had a history of either not thinking things through, or overthinking to the point of not doing anything. A stroke of good fortune came my way when an old friend and colleague of mine from High School, Chris Pranger, the then current editor of Toy-TMA, came knocking on my door (by that I mean he e-mailed me of course). Now as many of you know, Chris was an extremely huge Nintendo enthusiast, and his passion certainly shined through in his articles. However he was not as knowledgeable in the other game companies, particularly Sony, and that’s where I came in. Chris was well aware of my passion for the Play Station brand, and asked me if I could write a guest article for the site to give them a bit more Sony perspective. Without a hint of hesitation, I accepted, and got to work on a Two Part Retrospective of Naughtydog’s original Crash Bandicoot trilogy. It was my very first [and still one of my personal favorite] pieces of work I have ever published online.
It didn’t take long after that for me to become a regular guest writer. Of course, a lot of it involved me being as nosey and intrusive as I possibly could; dropping off reviews and such at Chris completely out of the blue, on the odd chance that he would make time for them. In hindsight, that was a bit risky of me, and had Chris been any less patient, I could have easily been cast off as being too bothersome, but a part of me couldn’t help it. There was just something about this site that fascinated me, and seeing my stuff online that made me think, Yeah, I can so totally do this. This is exactly what I want to do with my talents.
Fortunately Chris turned out to be the best sport in the world, and regularly continued to give me recommendations, and pointers to improve my writing. A little later that same summer, Chris asked if I could write an article on Avatar The Last Airbender, as something for the site in anticipation of the movie. The result was my Top 10 Misconceptions of Avatar the Last Airbender, a piece that, for better or worse, would become my most successful article.
Of course the movie came out the following week and… well I’d rather not think about that. From there, I had a few more guest articles come gradually over the next couple months, until November 2010, when Chris finally got the okay to hire me on full time. From there, I got to write a new piece each week, and I even got paid. It was the best. Granted, it amounted to little more than five bucks an article, but I was a struggling graduate still looking for work at the time, so I took what I could get. Besides it was something I wanted to do, so I was geared up and ready regardless of the pay grade.
Since I was hired here, I’d have to say one of my greatest accomplishments was expanding on the site’s wide array of passions. At the time, Chris already had Nintendo, DBZ, Pokemon, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles pretty much covered. I came along with regular articles to Avatar, One Piece, and Sony. I was also the writer who founded Triple A [Authentically Awesome Anime] as a means to share some of the best anime experiences you can find on Netflix and Hulu. Chris got in on the act and we both began expressing our love in niche passions in series like Gurren Lagann, Death Note, and Digimon Tamers. Heck, even TMA’s current lead writer Brian Vaughn, eventually got in on the action with his recent retrospective on Golgo 13.
As the months went by, the site continued to experience its ups and downs. In his retirement article a few months back, Chris already mentioned Google’s changing algorithms and the hack that prevented us from posting our articles on facebook, both of which had devastating results to our trafficking. Obviously enough, Chris was not the only one disappointed by these circumstances, but I’d rather not delve too much into that, since we’ve all discussed it more than enough. No, if I really had to pinpoint the reason I am leaving, it simply has to do with my own urge to move on with the world around me.
Chris retired back in April of this year, but since then, he has done perfectly well for himself, what with both his web series and podcast on The Escapist. Likewise for our friend and former writer on the site, Kyle Martinak. If that weren’t enough, Chris has also achieved his dream job of working at Nintendo as a localization writer. As for that otaku friend of mine that I have mentioned on several occasions who gardened my passion for anime to begin with [whose name is Brian Gamel by the way], well he also recently received a new position teaching English in Shizouka Japan. It’s like the more I think about it, the more I see my comrades moving on with their lives, all trying to be the best they can be. To paraphrase Steve Rogers The First Avenger, “I have no right to do any less than them.”
If I am honest with myself, I have written 105 articles for Toy-TMA over the last two years, and I feel that I have accomplished everything I can, with very little room for me to move up. If I stay any longer, I may just start second guessing myself too much, like I already sort of am with my last two reviews. Was I too harsh on The Amazing Spider-Man? Was I too lenient on The Dark Knight Rises? I don’t know. Sometimes you got to let your projects rest.
So with that, I will leave you all with some last minute bullet points.
- Legend of Korra’s Second Book is titled Spirits, and will involve Korra journeying into the spirit world. Sounds awesome. Mike and Bryan, I am very excited to see more, and now that Korra has been confirmed for three more seasons, hopefully you guys will have enough leg room to take Korra from being just pretty good to something truly on par with the first Avatar series.
- Dark Horse confirmed a new upcoming Avatar comic titled The Search, and it is a journey where Aang, Zuko, and Azula (that’s right, she’s back) will seek to answer the most frequently asked question of the Avatar universe. Get excited.
- One Piece, I hope you will go on until you reach an ending worthy of your quality, even if it may not come till I’m in my 40’s for all I know. Funimation, please PLEASE don’t take too long releasing seasons 4 and 5 to the US. This is the point of the series where it goes from Pretty-Damn-Good to Epic-Beyond-Measure.
- Any of you not seen an anime called Code Geass? Do yourself a favor and see it. Truly another worthy Triple-A title. May even give Death Note a run for its money.
- Sony, Santa Monica Studios, Superbot Entertainment, THIS GAME BETTER NOT SUCK!
As for where I go from here, well over the last couple months, I started singing again by joining a Barber Shop chorus in my hometown. We got a performance coming up this October, and I agreed to help write a script for a show, so I really gotta get hopping on that. After that, I really want to get back in the grove of writing my novel and looking for editors and publishers. Its code titled Andy’s Avalon: The Epic Romantic Action Comedy American Geek Novel of the Millennial Generation. My dream is to someday see it on the fantasy aisle of Barnes and Noble (or to not see it, because they can’t keep enough copies of it on the shelf because it sells so quickly, but one step at a time), and I have a lot of work to do to get to that point.
And with that, I’ll be casting off now. It has been a lot of fun, and I don’t regret a second of it. Thank you Chris and Kyle for helping me get my start on this site. Thank you Brian Vaughn for picking up the slack of my absence, and best of luck to you. Thank you Scott and Tracy, our managers, for providing us an opportunity to get our foot in the business, and here’s to hopes they can find a future generation of writers to take the reins. But most of all, thank you, my readers, for without you, there is no point to any of this.
As the future King of the Pirates taught me, never say goodbye. After all, we’re friends. I know we’ll see each other again. Just not in the same way.