DNA Podcast 65- A History of Mecha Anime Part One – Super Robots

In this episode, Don and Rob sit down to discuss the origins of Super Robot mecha anime. The pair discuss how it exploded onto Japanese TV in the 1970’s, how it changed and evolved over time, and it’s invasion of the minds of youth everywhere. All this, and the story of how the genre started because one man hated traffic jams, is waiting for you in this episode of The Department of Nerdly Affairs.

Closing Music:

Ode to Joy performed by Oliver Eckelt

Things Discussed:

List of Mecha Anime
Professor Otaku’s A Visual History of Mecha
Go Nagai
IT! The Living Colossus
Mazinger Z
Ultra 7
Frankenstein Jr.
The Green Slime
Tsuburaya Productions
Ray Harryhausen
Getta Robo
Getta Robo G
Taekwon V
Brave Raideen
Goddam Gowapper V
Shogun Warriors
Force Five
Young Boy Chokes to Death on Battlestar Galactica Toy
Combattler V (or maybe the new one)
Rainbow Sentai Robin (B&W, ironically….)
Tranzor Z (When I was a kid this is what ALL super robot openings looked like.)
Discotek Media
Dinosaur War Eizenborg
Ichiro Mizuki
Danguard Ace
Zambot 3
Yoshiyuki Tomino
Voltes V
Mobile Suit Gundam
Armored Fleet Dairuggar 15
Sabre Rider and the Star Sherrifs
Guren Lagaan (…is that a Porg…?)
Brave Robot Series
Neon Genesis Evangelion
Mazinger Infinity
Mighty Orbots
Sym-Bionic Titan
Pacific Rim


Show delayed until May 4th

Hi all!

Due to life getting in the way, our next episode will be released on May 4th.

Sorry about the delay.


DNA Podcast 064 – Russian Science Fiction with Simon Vale

In this episode, Don and Rob sit down with Simon Vale of Magic Dome Books, a company which specializes in translating Russian science fiction into English. The trio discuss Russian geek culture, Russia’s fascination with litRPGs, and the nature of the Russian book markets. All this, and why the Strugatskie brothers are the greatest Science Fiction writers you’ve probably never heard of, is waiting for you in this episode of The Department of Nerdly Affairs.

Things Discussed

Magic Dome Books
Balder’s Gate
Stanislav Lem
Issac Asimov
The Lexx
The Witcher
Peter Watts (author)
Perry Rhodan


Simon’s Notes:

What first Russian S/F should someone who wants to check them out read?

There are some great authors, Strugatskie brothers for example:

Roadside Picnic – https://www.amazon.com/dp/1613743416

The Doomed City – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N7SVFC4

Hard to be a God – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00TONTAFK

This is Russian Sci-Fi classic. Unfortunately many of their books including some amazing stories aren’t translated or as in this case (https://www.amazon.com/dp/0026151200) are only available for a great deal of money.

Then there are modern authors:

Vasily Mahanenko (LitRPG)

The Way of the Shaman – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VQRW14E

Galactogon – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B012B9L0DI

Michael Atamanov  (LitRPG)

The Dark Herbalist – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M9F1AM7

Perimeter Defense – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B015JMSSJS

Dmitry Gluhovskiy (PostApocalypse)

Metro 2033 – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B003774XKG

Sergei Lukyanenko (Vampire Fantasy)

The Night Watch – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0031RSB5U

Pavel Kornev (steampunk)

The Sublime Electricity – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01J1WY2U6

Zotov (ironical Sci-Fi, dystopia)

Moskau – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01IWR5R32


  •        What distinguishes Russian Science Fiction/Fantasy from English Novels? Style? Audience? Attitude?

Speaking about Fantasy I think that there is no big difference. Russian Fantasy is having the same roots as every other Fantasy in the world – books by John Tolkien and Joanna Rowling, Dungeon & Dragons tabletop games and old computer games like Baldurs Gate or Eye of Beholder.

There is also some national material based Fantasy in Russia and it is relatively popular. Some authors do specialize on it.

It is much more complicated with Science Fiction. The way I see it is – in the end of XIXth century world Science Fiction was mostly positive. You know, human progress, improving medicine, magic of electricity. On that positive basis people once again tried to build the ideal modern society but ended up building two horrible dictatorships – Nazi Germany and Soviet Union. That’s why world Science Fiction of the second half of the 20th century is all about disappointment. Disappointment in progress which is not helping to solve every problem as it seemed before.

But since Russia was one of those ideal societies we couldn’t afford such a view. With censorship and all that. So when Polish author Stanislav Lem wrote about how we can’t communicate with any other alien forms because all we’re looking for in space is a mirror and when Isaac Azimov wrote about danger of artificial inteligence and when Heinlein wrote about hunger of the outgrown human population, all that time we kept writing about how great and kind people of the communistic future will be. It was a little naive but Soviet censorship just wouldn’t allow anything else to be published.

Maybe this is why PostApocalypse and cyberpunk genres are still popular in Russia. Dark Science Fiction, you know, to balance things up with our inheritance. Maybe this or else maybe because many Russian Science Fiction writers are former military people.

For a few years now Russians are reading YA Fantasy mostly. I see many young women writers coming up on stage with that genre.

  •        Where does most modern Russian S/F come from? (Websites? Print companies?)

I have to say that Russian publishing market had seen better days. In 90-s average number of copies for a fantasy novel easily could be 25-50 thousands of copies. Even more! Today it’s more like 5000 copies. I mean paper editions of course.

Our big problem is the market itself. We have one big publisher which is publishing like two-thirds of all books in Russia. Up until recently we had two. But they merged together and now we have one. It is very hard to work on that market first of all because Russia is very big. Most books are printed in western part of Russia. So when you need to deliver them to the east – it costs a fortune.

People do read digital books and here we’re across another big problem of the market – piracy. Still there are ways to make some money on this market, but it’s not very well developed. Many authors in Russia are having their own online shops.

  •        Is there a typical Russian Novel reader in English? What are they like?

Russian literature on English market is mostly represented with classics. Dostoevskiy, Chekhov, Tolstoy. So I guess typical Russian novel reader in English would be a person who studies foreign literature in university. Russian Fantasy and Sci-Fi are represented much worse. But we’re working on it! Since we’re publishing LitRPG, our readers are mainly gamers. At least many of them are. MMORPG games are the same everywhere – World of Warcraft or Eve Online. So readers are familiar with all the references inside books.

Unfortunately, books from Eastern Europe and Russia aren’t very popular in US in general. There is a splendid series from Polish author Andzhey Sapkovsky. The Witcher. Even if u didn’t read it, u probably know the computer game. And also as you might know – there is Netflix series coming up soon. In Russia it has a huge fandom!

The Witcher (book 1 – Classic Fantasy) – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0043M6712


  •        Is there a typical Russian hero? What are they like? How are they different from an American one?

In modern literature I think typical Russian hero is strong and silent. He’s a loner and he is irregularly shaved. But that’s modern Sci-Fi. There is a classic hero from Russian fairy tales. A fool. Brilliant idiot who gets lucky all the time. Some Sci-Fi author do borrow him for their books.





DNA Podcast 063 – A History of GI Joe with Tim Finn

In this episode, Rob and Don sit down with Tim Finn, author of the upcoming book GI Joe: A Real American Book, to discuss the history of GI Joe. The trio discuss Joe’s origins as the first Action Figure for boys, how the GI Joe comic helped reboot the franchise, and the GI Joe: A Real American Hero animated series. All that, and the real meaning of the name Hasbro, is waiting for you in this episode of the Department of Nerdly Affairs.

Closing Music:

Ode to Joy performed by Oliver Eckelt

Things Discussed:

Tim’s Website 
GI Joe (Wikipedia Entry)
Hasbro Toys
Mister Potato Head (Oh, sweet Merciful Fates…!)
Don Levine
First GI Joe TV Ad
Larry Hama
Shogun Warriors
General Hawk
GI Joe Steel Brigade
Lady Jaye
Mysticons Toys
Ron Friedman
Sunbow Productions
Marvel Productions (animation)
Steve Gerber
Howard the Duck
Shipwreck (Character)
Buzz Dixon
Sergeant Slaughter
Slaughter’s Marauders
Kenner Toys
GI Joe Extreme
ROM:Space Knight

DNA Podcast 062 – Taiwanese Comics with Julia Chien

Magical Super Asia

In this episode, Don and Rob sit down with Taiwanese writer Julia Chien to discuss the past, present and future of Taiwanese comic books. Along the way, they talk about comic codes, what life for comics artists was like under military rule, and why many of Taiwan’s best and brightest artists are working in the Korean market. All this, and why the Taipei suburb of Beitou was once believed to be filled with witches and demons, are waiting for you in this episode of the Department of Nerdly Affairs.

Closing Music:

Ode to Joy performed by Oliver Eckelt

Things Discussed:

Julia’s article: Tales of Taiwan’s Comic Artists: Persecution, Isolation and Endless Talent
Min Nan
Korean Webcomic Layout (Manhua Nobelesse, which is still breaking it up, the actual comic would be one long strip)
Zhuangzi Speaks
Romance of the Three Kingdoms
Image to Audio Converter
Julie Chien (味王, Wei Wang) Mixcloud Page
Books From Taiwan Comics Page

DNA Podcast 61 – What is Fantasy?

In this episode, Don and Rob take a look at the Fantasy genre and explore some of their favorite Fantasy RPGs. Along the way, they discuss Don’s five types of Fantasy, look at how RPGs have redefined what Fantasy is, and debate the difference between magic and theology. All this, and the great debate over whether Star Wars is fantasy or science fiction, are waiting for you to decide in this episode of the Department of Nerdly Affairs.

Closing Music:

Ode to Joy performed by Oliver Eckelt

Things Discussed:

Alternate World Fiction
Warhammer 40K
Conan the Barbarian
Dungeons and Dragons
The Monkey King
Apocalyptic RPG Episode
The Force
Abelard Snazz
Visionaries (toys)
MAGE: The Ascension RPG
MAGE (The Comic) by Matt Wagner
The World of Darkness
Warhammer RPG
Weapons of the Gods RPG
Exalted RPG
Auspicious Beginnings (Weapons of the Gods Intro Adventure)
Airship Pirates RPG
Abney Park (band)
Shadowrun RPG
Victoriana RPG
Runequest RPG
Mouseguard RPG
Bunnies and Burrows RPG
The White Company by Arthur Conan Doyle
The Crushed D20 Supplement
So I’m a Spider! So What? (Light Novel)
No Game, No Life! (Light Novel)
No Game No Life in 7 Minutes (Video)
In Another World with My Cell Phone (Light Novel)
Dragon Quest RPG
One Piece
My Little Pony RPG

DNA Podcast 060 – Chinese Webnovels with Jeremy Bai

In this episode, Rob and Don sit down with translator and author Jeremy Bai to discuss the world of Chinese Webnovels. The trio discuss the history of Chinese adventure fiction being translated to English, how Chinese heroes differ from English heroes, and the best Webnovels for people new to the genre to check out. All this, and the real meaning of “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” are waiting for you in this episode of the Department of Nerdly Affairs.

Closing Music:

Ode to Joy performed by Oliver Eckelt

Things Discussed:

Deathblade YouTube Channel
I Shall Seal the Heavens
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
SPCnet.tv Novel Translation Forums
The Dear and the Cauldron
The Book and the Sword
Louis Cha/Jin Yong
Stellar Transformations
XuanHuan and Common Terms in Chinese Novels (General Chinese Fantasy)
Xianxia (Immortal Hero Fantasy)
Wuxia (Martial Arts Fantasy)
Coiling Dragon
Rebirth of the Thief
Massively Multiplayer Roleplaying Games
The Wheel of Time
Japanese vs Chinese Light Novel Main Characters
One-Punch Man
Has Eyes but Didn’t See Mount Tai
Tales of Demons and Gods
Edgar Rice Burroughs
Desolate Era
Novel Translations Subreddit
Legends of Ogre Gate story
Wandering Heroes of Ogre Gate
Weapons of the Gods RPG
Feng Shui RPG
Legend of the Condor Heroes

DNA Podcast 059 – Portrayals of Strength in the Media

In this episode, Don and Rob look at cultural views of strength in the media. The pair explore why lead characters being strong is so important to North American audiences, how views of strength have changed over time, and what a strong female fighter really means. All this, and how Free to Be You and Me destroyed a generation, is waiting for you in this episode of the Department of Nerdly Affairs.

Closing Music:

Ode to Joy performed by Oliver Eckelt

Things Discussed

1950’s Education Films and PSAs
Bob Dobbs
Self Actulization
Free To Be You and Me
1970’s Exploitation Films
John Carpenter
Slasher Films
Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Mystery Science Theatre Industrial Arts Film
Dirty Harry
Charles Bronson
Adam 12
Death Wish
Cobra (Stallone)
The Hills Have Eyes
Silver Bullet
Spider Baby
Married with Children
Fight Club
1980’s Action Films
The Rock (movie)
Con Air (movie)
Hippy Movement
90s Milk Ads
Conan the Barbarian
Twin Peaks
Star Trek: Discovery
Surf Nazis Must Die

DNA Podcast 058 – Light Novels with Justus R Stone

In this episode, Don and Rob head East with Justus R. Stone, YouTube Light Novel Reviewer, to discuss the ins and outs of the Japanese and American Light Novel markets. Along the way, Justus takes the pair on a tour of the origins of Light Novels, why they’re growing in popularity in English, and how Light Novels have become linked with web-fiction. All this, and the answer to the question Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?, is waiting for you in this episode of The Department of Nerdly Affairs.

Closing Music:

Ode to Joy performed by Oliver Eckelt

Things Discussed

Justus R. Stone YouTube channel
Sword Art Online
Legend of the Galactic Heroes
Record of Lodoss War
Kono Light Novel ga Sugoi!
Accel World
Pulp Serial Novels
Shosetuka ni Naro!
Bunkobon Format
Tankobon Format
Self-Insert Fiction
Your Name (Movie Trailer)
Shonen Manga
Shojo Manga
Is it Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?
Hentai (Caution! Adults only! NSFW!)
J-Novel Club
Yen Press (Yen On)
Cross Infinite World (female Light Novel publisher in English)
TV Pilot Episode
Ready Player One
NEET(Not in Education, Employment, or Training)
Isekai: The Genre That Took Over Anime (video)
The Ryuo’s Work is Never Done!
As a Chinese, I’d like to talk about those Chinese web novels classification (yy fiction)
The Rising of the Shield Hero
A Lich
The Isolator
Monster Girl Doctor
Tokyo Pop
Kadokawa Shoten (Publisher)
Bookwalker Light Novels
Kindle Direct Publishing
Books Kinokuniya
The Meteors
The Devil is a Part-Timer
My Youth Romantic Comedy is Wrong As I Expected
Magical Girl Genre

DNA Podcast 057 – Culture War Profiteering

In this episode, Don and Rob are joined by Jack Ward to discuss Culture War Profiteering. What is Culture War Profiteering? And how is it being used on you on a daily basis? The trio will delve into this, the issues surrounding it, and what we can do about it. All this, and the sad tale of Swastika Lane, is waiting for you in this episode of The Department of Nerdly Affairs.

Note: This episodes has some dodgy audio at the beginning, but clears up fairly quickly.

Closing Music:

Ode to Joy performed by Oliver Eckelt

Things Discussed:

The Amazing Atheist video about the Outrage Machine
Virtue Signalling
Marvel Comics Social Justice Failure
Marvel Comic Print Runs
The Image Comics Boom of the 90’s
Comics and Diversity YouTube Channel (We got the name backwards….)
Riri Williams
Purse Puppies
Star Wars Rebels: Rebel Assault Episode
Netpicks Channel: 13 Reasons Why
Stranger Things: Female Characters Kept Separated
The Swastika
Rush Limbaugh
Alex Jones
The Satanic Panic
The 90’s Comic Speculator Boom
The Big Sort
Russian Facebook Pages Organize Two Duelling Rallies in America
Caves of Steel by Issac Azimov
Monty Python- Always Look on the Bright Side of Life
Ready Player One