Meet the People Behind animeOnline

Now that you've made it through the boring history lesson, it's time for the fun to begin. We've caught up with Gen Fukunaga and Rob Bricken, the founders of animeOnline, to talk about aO, its past, present, and future. Need an official word on what happened? It can't get any better than this! Also available in a set of comprehensive interviews with aO's Editorial Team, who talk about animeOnline, their day-to-day work, the aftermath of aO's shut down, and the meaning of life. All is revealed in our behind-the-scenes interviews!

Gen Fukunaga: Gen Fukunaga is the founder and president of FUNimation, the person who came up with the idea of starting a site called animeOnline, and also the guy who went on to fund the project. Basically, without Gen, there would be no aO, and you wouldn't be reading this feature right now. Gen was also ranked by ICv2 in 2006 as the most powerful person in America's anime industry. Really, if you have no idea who Gen is, just Google him, then give yourself a pat on the back after you've been enlightened.

Rob Bricken: Rob was the Editor-in-Chief and creative leader of animeOnline. Rob was the guy who made sure the site ran, oversaw its content, and made plans for its direction and development. Rob was also the guy to hunt down when any problems came up. An editor of Anime Insider before joining up with aO, Rob has been in the journalism scene for over 6 years (or more, depending on when you read this). Some of his old works include interviews with Akira's Katsuhiro Otomo, Cowboy Bebop's Shinichiro Watanabe, composer Yoko Kanno, and Fruits Basket's Akitaro Daichi.

With aO closed, Rob is now working for FUNimation on a contract basis, as well as helping out his old buddies at Anime Insider from time to time.

Gia Manry: Gia, the Portland-based journalist/blogger, was animeOnline's head news editor. Rumor has it that she's actually a robot, though. According to Gia's old profile on aO: "She's been an Internet junkie since Sailor Moon was cancelled and she ventured onto IRC to learn why, only to instead find herself trapped in the crazy and perverted world that is the Internet."

With aO closed, Gia now spends more time on her own blog, with the intent of turning it into aO's spiritual successor. More recently, Gia found a new home at, where she continues her quest of daily otaku news coverage.

Dale North: Dale North was animeOnline's Associate Editor. Before jumping on the aO bandwagon, Dale was an active editor/blogger on Destructoid/Japanator/NextLust. Aside from being an avid anime fan, blogger, and news editor, Dale is also a singer, songwriter, composer, gamer, frequent traveler, and, according to his old profile, a lifelong insomniac.

With the closure of aO, Dale is back to what he does best, blogging for Destructoid and Japanator. Rumor has it that Dale has also been showing up at various other events...

Bryan Hartzheim: Bryan was animeOnline's Tokyo Editor; you know, the guy who lives in Tokyo, Japan, and took care of all the Japan-related reporting and live coverage.

Having lived in Japan for over 2 years, Bryan found a job at aO after seeing a posting on a job forum asking for anyone interested in anime who could also speak conversational Japanese. Bryan's current whereabouts are currently unknown, but rumor has it that he may be making a return to the U.S. soon...

Last but not least: Although not featured here, don't forget about the contributions of many others, including Tiffany Johnson, Toby Davis, and Kelly Bisson for making animeOnline possible.

Last but not least, as a social networking site, aO is a site powered by its users...okay this is starting to sound get the idea; those who posted in the forums, those who participated in clubs, and especially those who spent countless hours contributing to aO's wiki (and maybe those who did not receive their free DVD the last week before aO closed).