After nearly 30 years of publication, the bi-annual RightStuf Anime Catalog has been discontinued. Shawne Kleckner, President of RightStuf, cites “higher cost of production, printing, and postage” as reasons for the decision. He also acknowledges that in 2018, most of his customers prefer to get release information online as opposed to print.
I feel like a fucking dork when I say that this is the end of an era in anime fandom. It feels weirdly hyperbolic. It’s not like anime will magically be impossible to buy now. But if someone was writing a book on the history of the anime industry — or at least RightStuf — there would be a chapter about the catalog.
RightStuf began publication of their catalog in 1989, two years after the company was founded. In 1992, they expanded the catalog to feature listings from other companies. They launched a website a few years later, but I’d bet money that most of their customers ordered through the catalog until the mid-2000s.
I didn’t really start buying anime until I was in my 20s. And by that point, the website resembled what it is today. Because of this, my relationship with the catalog was always strange. I never ordered anything through it, but it was always exciting when it arrived in the mail. Something about skimming the mostly redundant magazine was gratifying.
I don’t even remember it having articles. I’m sure it did, but I never read them. I didn’t read the summaries of the shows they were selling either. And yet, I would look through that god damn book more than once a week. Hell, I’m pretty sure I accidentally brought one with me to New York when I moved last year.
Part of me wants to order than final issue just to have it as a piece of anime history, but that’s ridiculous. Even writing about it feels weird. Being a nerd is stupid.