Dreamgirl Introductions: Meet M

Who am I, you ask?

… okay, maybe you’re not asking, but I’m going to tell you anyway.

My name is M, aka Michelle Clough, and I am the new resident anime/manga girl for Geek’s Dream Girl. How I stumbled into this hallowed and worthy position is a tale of great import and substance, involving dramatic acts of applying and sample writing, but suffice to say that I’m very, VERY happy to be here.

I’ve been a geek for as long as I can remember. While my classmates were running around on baseball fields and horse tracks, I was running around my basement solving crime with the Ninja Turtles, blocking out epic He-Man action figure fanfilms, and sighing girlishly over Mr. Spock. Then along came video games, and any hope of being a non-geek vanished in a poof of smoke; companies like Nintendo and Squaresoft sucked me in and refused to let go.

Like many geek girls, school came easily to me, but I had trouble fitting in with my peers. As luck would have it, however, I met a group of senior geeks in my first year of junior high school. We immediately bonded over our love of video games and spent lunch hour after lunch hour in the hall, chatting about all things nerdy. It was during one such lunch hour that one of them asked me a question that would shape my future career as a geek and a writer.

“Have you ever seen any anime?”

By this point, I’d heard vaguely about anime and manga as more “mature” cartoons and comics from Japan, but I’d never had the chance to see any myself. My friends, taking pity on me, took me into the art classroom and popped in a well-worn tape of Ranma 1/2. And thus, I was sold.

There was something about anime that immediately captivated me. Perhaps it was the idea of using animation to tell stories for adults that traditional live-action couldn’t manage. Perhaps it was the unusual and distinctive art style. Or maybe it was just the sheer indulgence in Japanese culture, a window into another country and another way of thinking. Whatever it was, I was hooked.

Once I got to university, I lost no time in finding the UBC Anime Club and joining it. After a year, I found it wasn’t enough just to go to club… I wanted to be part of it. After a year as Director of Communications (i.e. Keeper of the Mailing List and Printer of Amusing Posters), I became President of the UBC Anime Club for three years. I’d still be there if UBC hadn’t thrown me out the door, shoving my English Lit/Classical Studies degree in my hand as I went.

Not satisfied with domestic geekery, I packed up my manga, copied my anime collection to my computer, and high-tailed it to Japan to work as a junior high English teacher. The time I spent in Japan was amazing, both from a cultural “broaden your horizons” point of view and from a sheer indulgence in geeky stuff. You name it, I did it: watching anime on local TV, buying my weight in doujinshi (fan comics), belting out anime opening songs at karaoke and attending almost every convention that blew through Tokyo. I came back after two years with a slimmer bank account, a giant collection, and a fond if foolish wish to find a career somewhat related to anime and manga.

Almost six months later, unemployed and dissatisfied, I found myself drifting around V-Con and bumped into the old secretary of the UBC Anime Club. She introduced me to the then-head of Anime Evolution, the Vancouver anime convention. When I mentioned my job hunt, he brightened up and said, “Hey, what about Ocean? The company that did the dub for Ranma and Inu Yasha? I heard they’re hiring. Would that interest you?”

Does Sailor Moon wear a short skirt? YES YES YES!

Long story short, I found myself living the anime geek dream; writing scripts for English dubbed anime. I’ve worked on several series such as My-Otome, The Story of Saiunkoku… and of course, a little series known as Death Note (confession: there may or may not have been dancing around my appartment and squeeing when I landed that job). I’ve also done a bit of subtitling and branched out into some live action titles, such as the Japanese version of Spiderman (which is currently being streamed at www.marvel.com! /shameless plug).

When I’m not watching (or writing) anime or reading manga, I can be found doing one of the following:

  • playing World of Warcraft
  • indulging in internet fandom (i.e. reading fanfic, checking out TV Tropes, perusing Livejournal, etc)
  • playing World of Warcraft
  • enjoying some XBox 360 and Wii games
  • playing World of Warcraft
  • enjoying a fun round of board games and roleplaying with my friends; we’ve been running a Shadowrun campaign off and on for a year or two now.
  • playing that MMORPG, what was its name again…?
  • watching Firefly, Star Trek, random period dramas, and… oh yes, anime!

While the industry has slowed down a lot due to the economic crash and other factors, I’m still always looking forward to my next anime project… when I’m not having stars-in-the-eyes dreams of working in video games, that is! In the meantime, I am super excited to be able to work with Geek’s Dream Girl and share (or inflict) my anime and manga knowledge with everyone, as well as learning a lot from my fellow geeks and writers!

Looking forward to meeting and talking with you all soon!

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