Its funny, because I really have posted pretty slowly compared to how quickly some people hit the 1k mark but I'm finally here. A quarter of a decade has passed since I joined this group. Its pretty crazy that I've almost been playing AT for almost 3 years now (I had played for a while before coming to this forum).
When the models first came to the LGS that I went to at the time I couldn't get them. The starters were being bought before I could arrive. I literally had to stand there the day they received the mail and watch as they opened the packages to grab mine so no one else could buy it. Everyone was so drawn in by how gorgeous the models are (and its hard to believe they're even better now) but nobody was really reading the mini rulebooks. Unfortunately, no one where I was from wanted to read any rulebooks for any game. They just wanted to have someone who knew the game inside out teach it to them. I usually end up being that person so I took the rules aside and was completely floored by how brilliant the system is. I taught myself the game and started getting others to play. I got a few people to play but the game will still more appealing to the people wanting to paint minis than the people who play the games (which were two very different crowds in my area).
That year I went to GenCon (I was working for Battlefront and running FoW) and was hoping to find AT but didn't see it. I remember it was in the Age of Conan booth that I saw Kai wearing a really nice polo with the AT logo on the back and asked him where the game was. He walked me over to their sales rack (it was so tiny compared to the demo areas we get now) and nearly broke out in song and dance when I saw that Janus and Aoi were there (two models I would have waited until October to get otherwise) and I think I bought one or two more. I didn't want to go overboard because I wanted to stay loyal to my LGS. I think Azriel was released there as well but I was staying light side models only at the time. I told Kai how much I loved the game for both its models and its awesome system and we talked for a while and he asked me to join the forums which I did when I went home that night (living in Indianapolis had its benefits around GenCon season
What I discovered was a group of people who were really supportive, helpful, friendly, and just all around awesome. I've never seen a flame war erupt here (which is why I never stuck around on forums before this one) although there have been a few misunderstandings (I think I just accidentally caused one >_<.) they always end up getting handled in a mature manner.
Another thing that keeps me here are the artists. I don't just mean Wen's work, but the model painters. Not only do I get to see painters who amaze and inspire me to improve myself but people who are willing to help me learn how to improve my technique. I remember when I put up pics of my Duncan how there were a lot of responses on how to choose a color scheme. I think he made a few people's eyes bleed, haha. I did my best to learn from it (the one guy who gave me this wavy graph of color gradiation and all these really complicated terms and stuff really made my head spin but I was very glad that someone was willing to teach me something). I think the best thing that happens on these boards are when a new member gives us their models' photos for the first time. Not only am I glad to see new takes on the models (the freedom to paint however you want with no limitations is one of the huge selling points of this game to me) but I'm always glad to see the warm reception they're given. I'm really glad that we're more like a collaboration of artists than people competing against each other to claim who is best (because a certain cyborg I know would be really hard to keep up with). Even when there are competitions (as in the Agent competitions or the one we just decided to do for fun) everyone is really supportive and appreciative towards each other. I always try to put forth my most supportive attitude towards all painters new and old. I want all of them to feel inspired to keep painting and keep improving themselves. I always try to say what I like about their work or just give a "its great" if I can't decide what stands out or don't have time to type a whole post (I usually am checking this board between classes and have a lot of tabs open at once so there's not always time).
The last couple of years were really rough. People were not wanting to spend any excess money on anything so not only were sales really low but people weren't even wanting to drive out to the LGS anymore. Also, this particular LGS that I went to developed a lot of...well, lets just call it "internal politics issues" and many people decided that they would take their business elsewhere. I don't want to get too far into it, but one person's jack-assery caused many miniature gamers to spread out and very few people were interested in coming to this LGS due to the bad reputation it got. It was too far for me to make the drive to the next nearest LGS on a regular basis so I really had to clutch to the last players of the game I had left. I have talked to some of them since I left and I'm hoping to inspire one of the players to take up the reigns and bring everyone together in my stead.
Due to a bajillion reasons, my time in Indy had to come to an end and my time here in Japan had to start. I am the only person in this country with this game. However, I am not giving up. I've already got people waiting on demos (I was waiting on figs and dice to show up and now I have everything I need so I'll get cracking on it once the models are painted) and I know where some people in Tokyo play miniature games. Plus, there's a huge market for people who want figurines even if they don't play games with them (I went to an 8 story tall figurine shop in Akihabara). While getting people to play would be better, let's face it. Money is money so as long as they buy it and are happy that's what matters, right?
I really hope that I can be the catalyst that breaks this game into this continent. I will do my best!
So, I must say thank you so much to everyone. The people who make all incarnations of Anima (RPG, card game, and minis), the people I've enjoyed sharing painted models with, the people who've become my dear friends, and everyone I can't think of a category to place in at the moment (I am about to start moving stuff into my new apartment down the hall in a minute so you'll have to forgive me).