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Trash Taste's CDawgVA and the Anime Man in search of Florida Man at Supercon

Moderating a friendship between CDawgVA and The Anime Man at Supercon

I had no idea what to expect when I walked into Florida Supercon on the final morning of the convention to watch a pair of YouTubers live on stage. What I knew was that Joey 'The Anime Man' Bizinger and Connor 'CDawgVA' Colquhoun were two thirds of the Trash Taste podcast and YouTube series, a trio of Japanese pop culture reviewers each with their own dedicated followings, who conglomerated their fanbases after meeting each other while living in Japan. Together, they have 1.3 million followers on YouTube.

What I didn’t expect at all was that of all the panels I’ve covered, Joey and Connor would garner the longest, rowdiest line of the whole convention. I could tell right away that the coalition strategy of Trash Taste had paid off. Many of the people I spoke to in line were originally just Joey fans, or just Connor fans, and had followed them into Trash Taste, which got them into the other two members.

Connor fans seem to have a bit of a mischievous streak, with a love for his pranks and impressions.

Joey fans, meanwhile, seem to love his engagement with the most bizarre corners of Japanese culture, and life in Japan. None more so, perhaps, than Paulina, a fan I found seated on the floor at the very front of the line before the doors opened.

Paulina told me that she had been a member of Joey’s $100/month Patreon tier, which gave her the opportunity for exclusive video chats with the YouTube star. Earlier on the autograph floor, she had brought a cardboard cut-out of the group’s third member, Garnt 'Gigguk' Maneetapho, for them to pose with for pictures. (The real Garnt was in Australia at the time of the convention.)

I asked her if she had a question for Joey if the panel opened the floor to Q&As, which they usually did. She had it written down, and shared it with me. If you made a list of every question a person could possibly ask in the English language, it would probably be close to the bottom. My only reaction was to wish her luck. Beyond that, I was speechless.

The front section of the Grand Ballroom quickly fills up as the house DJ, Atomic Blonde, introduces us to our host, Cameron Matthews.

“Who’s ready for some serious anime and Japanese culture discussion?” Matthews asks. At this, knowing scoffs broke out all around me. By now, I had learned that the Trash Talk panelists had moved far away from their 'anime talk' mission statement of years past. Now, it was just about messing around with each other, a bull session between three friends that you got to sit in on. The typical parasocialism of the podcast form, honed to an art. If there was to be any anime talk today, it would be in spite of Joey and Connor.

The crowd loses their minds as the floppy-haired Joey and English footballer-like Connor take the stage. It’s their first time to Florida Supercon. Connor was last in Florida when he was three. Joey’s never been to Florida at all.

How did CDawgVA and the Anime Man get into Japanese pop culture and anime?

“Where did your love of Japanese pop culture and anime start?” the host asks, searching for an origin story.

Connor nods over at Joey. “His answer’s easy. He’s Japanese.”

“I was born into it,” Joey admits.

“And you didn’t reject it,” Connor says.

As for Connor: “When you play a lot of video games, and you grow up watching Pokemon, you’re like ‘This isn’t American? That’s news to me.’ You consume a lot of media, and there’s this weird style that resonates with you.”

Anime Man and CDawgVA talk about seeing each other in Japan

The host asks if they see a lot of each other in Japan.

“Never,” Connor jokes. “I try to avoid him. We see each other every single week, because we do the podcast together.”

Joey shares his origin story. He was running an anime review website while he was at university, theanimeman.com. Hence the nickname. Someone, and he either didn’t remember or wouldn’t say who, suggested he start doing video reviews on YouTube. He realized he liked making videos “more than writing these crappy reviews”. Nine years later, here he is.

“I was like a little troll online."

“I was like a little troll online,” Connor says. “I liked doing voices and making prank calls.”

“That’s my favorite era of CDawg,” Joey says.

The host asks Connor about his best prank call. Great follow-up, good hosting.

“Sometimes I wouldn’t even get to the part where I was messing with them and they’d just lose their patience,” Connor says. “It was good for the video. I probably couldn’t do it today. But when you’re smaller you can get away with these things. I was like ‘I’m tired of auditioning for things. I’ll just mess with other people for my own thing.’”

“You were essentially making a demo reel,” Joey says.

“I was doing a little bit of voice acting before,” Connor says, “But YouTube really helped me down that path.”

The anime and game voice-over work of CDawgVA and Anime Man

The host asks about the professional voice work they’ve done. They’ve both done some, so it’s a reasonable question, but their acting work isn’t really why the fans are here either. I can’t help but feel sympathetic for the host at this point, and I can sense it from the Trash Talk boys too. How do you moderate a panel where the appeal of the panelists is that they’re just good friends?

“I’ve done a few in Japanese, yeah,” Joey says. “I think you’re thinking I’ve done a major role, but I really didn’t. I think the one that is probably the biggest is PopTeamEpic, and even then the entire episode was in English. And even though I did my lines in English, when they did the dub they got someone else to do it. Why would you get someone else to do the exact same lines?! Funimation never called me.

“I also did a video game called No Straight Roads,” he continues. Exactly one person in the audience claps. “Where I voiced myself in both English and Japanese. I’m this character in the game called Joey, who’s a music elitist. Which is very true. I’m the character you talk to if you want to unlock harder levels.”

The host asks Connor if, when doing his own anime voice work, he listens to the original Japanese performers before doing his own take. For Connor, that’s not really an issue.

“A lot of the time I do characters in shows it’s just Evil British Guy #."

“A lot of the time I do characters in shows it’s just Evil British Guy #1,” the Welsh Connor admits.

“What does that sound like?” the host asks.

“You’ve been listening to it for a while,” Joey says. Everyone laughs.

“You immediately become more evil the more British you sound,” Connor observes. “You guys know how it is, you just had 4th of July.

“I did a show called Spirit Chronicles,” Connor says. This time, three people cheer. “It was a mid isekai, thanks,” he says, waving off the mild applause. “It was a character who monologued in his head about how evil he was, and I didn’t even have to match any lip flaps. It was like ‘Anime is so easy!’”

The host asks about their favorite kind of characters to play.

“I love being the bad guys. They’re fun!” Connor says.

“I want to see him play the cute little friend,” Joey says. “The cute little friend who went through puberty twice.”

“One of my favorite roles was I got to play a monkey,” Connor says. “The director was like, ‘Could you do a run?’ I was like sure, and…”

Connor launches into what is, I must confess, a pretty darn good imitation of a running monkey. The audience goes nuts.

“I was like, I’ve been a monkey, I’m done now. Why tarnish this career with anything else?”

Finally, the host gets to Trash Taste, asking how they got together.

“We can rewrite history because Garnt isn’t here,” Connor jokes. “Garnt has a way of telling stories that’s very Garnt. But he said, and I quote, ‘I’m too good for Florida.’” Connor savors the ensuing jeers like a fine wine.

“Garnt isn’t here so I can just make anything up."

“Garnt isn’t here so I can just make anything up,” Connor says.

“We can just talk any shit,” Joey agrees.

“I can finally win an argument now,” Connor says. Everyone laughs at this.

“Joey lived in Japan three years longer than us,” Connor explains. “And when we met up we started a podcast because that’s what guys do when we get together.” (It’s true.) “As I’m sure you know,” he says to the audience, “We don’t really talk about anime anymore, it’s more Japanese stuff.”

What CDawgVA and the Anime want from Trash Taste fans

“What do you hope audiences are getting from Trash Taste?” the host asks.

“Aggravated,” Connor says. A perfect answer.

“It’s not really calculated,” Joey says. “We just go into a room and say hey, let’s talk about something for two hours a week. Right until the camera comes on we don’t know what we’re going to talk about. It’s as if you the listener are in a pub with the three of us, with a beer in each hand. We interact the way we do on Trash Taste as we do when the camera is turned off. And we want to give that to the audience.”

What it felt like for CDawgVA and the Anime Man to hit 1 million subscribers

The host asks what it was like to hit 1 million subscribers.

“To me, hitting 1 million isn’t as big as hitting 100,000."

“To me, hitting 1 million isn’t as big as hitting 100,000,” Joey says.

Connor agrees. “100K is when you realize ‘I think I can make this work.’ At one million it’s already like your job… it’s like your boss telling you ‘good job.’ You’re like, ‘thanks.’”

“It’s like the difference between getting your job and getting a raise at your job,” Joey puts it. Connor seems to accept this.

The host asks how aspiring YouTubers in the audience might hit 100K themselves. It feels like the first question the audience is really interested to hear their answers to. I lean in a little bit myself.

“You have to know where your strengths lie,” Connor says. “Some people go down channels that might not suit their skills. Some people are really amazing at production but struggle on camera. There’s always a strategy you can go down if all your goal is to get numbers and grow. Learning your strengths, practicing, and comparing what others are doing. A lot of us get inspiration from just Watching YouTube. We live it. I watch more YouTube than anything. I’m terrified to open that tab that tells you how much YouTube you’ve watched every week.”

“Imitation is the highest form of flattery, and that definitely applies to YouTube,” Joey says. “There’s nothing wrong with seeing a YouTube video and saying ‘I could do something like that,’ as long as you don’t completely copy it.

“If anyone makes ‘Garbage Tastes,’ we’re suing you."

“If anyone makes ‘Garbage Tastes,’ we’re suing you,” Connor says.

Joey explains further: “You can go, ‘I can take the style of this person, and editing of this person,’ and make it your own thing. Aaron from Game Grumps gave me advice that until you hit 100 thousand, just do what is hot. And once you hit 100K, you can do whatever the fuck you want. Then you’ll get to the point where people are there not just for your content, but for you.”

“You might get to 1,000 and you’re like ‘I need to do what I can to keep these people happy,’” Connor says. “But you can do one video that gets you 10,000 more subscribers and it’s like ‘Why didn’t I experiment more?’ Mr. Beast gets something stupid like 100,000 new subscribers a day. Why not experiment and reinvent yourself?

“Only time I’m going to be serious for this panel,” Connor promises. At this point, the host invites the audience to do Q&A. The lines fill up immediately on either side of the stage. But first, Connor and Joey have some ground rules.

“Here’s the rule,” Connor says. “If you ask me a boring question, I will come and murder you. If anyone asks me what my favorite anime is, or my favorite color, you’re dead to me. Don’t ask me who I’m dating, all right? For god’s sake. I’m begging you.”

“I have three questions I don’t want people asking,” Joey says. “What’s my favorite anime, how do I start a YouTube channel…” he glares a little at the host. “...and how did I become friends with PewDiePie. Terrible questions.”

Trash Taste's thoughts on south Florida

The first question is from Jasmine, a Waluigi cosplayer with a big mustache right over her face mask. She just wants to know how their Florida experience has been so far.

“Sweaty, sweaty, very sweaty."

“Sweaty, sweaty, very sweaty,” Joey says.

Connor has a story locked and loaded. “I’m at my hotel room at 9 PM and all I hear is Pitbull, blasting. And I’m like oh, this isn’t a meme. This is real. ‘You know I want you…’” he starts to sing.

“But Miami is much more beautiful than LA,” he adds in a blatant crowd appeal.

“Not even a comparison,” Joey says. “My only disappointment is I haven’t met a Florida Man yet.”

(Don’t worry. By the end of this panel, he will.)

Next is Brayden, who has a question for Joey: “When’s the next time you’re gonna post on Nebulous Don?”

Joey is completely disarmed by this question. “That’s a very old… how the hell do you know about that? That’s a music project I did when I was 16. The answer is never. And I’m gonna have to bribe you to never talk about it.”

CDawgVA and the Anime Man's hottest takes

Chris: “What is your hottest take, right now?”

“Just go onto my twitter,” Joey says.

“Water is… bland? Water tastes good? I lied, I don’t know. I’m sorry,” says a flummoxed Connor.

The Anime Man and CDawgVA's favorite League of Legends characters

Sebastian asks about their favorite League of Legends characters.

“I love Zac,” Connor says. “He’s just vibing. I respect that.”

“I… I love him too,” Joey says hesitantly. It’s clear he’s either unfamiliar with League of Legends, or has some unfavorable opinions.

“You like Arcane, right?” Connor prods him on the League of Legends-based Netflix series.

“I love it,” Joey says flatly. “It’s my favorite anime.” Laughter from the crowd. I decide that between ignorance and disfavor, it’s probably the latter.

Deep thoughts on Jojo's Bizarre Adventure by CDawgVA and the Anime Man

Elizabeth asks the first of many questions about JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. “Do you believe that Joseph Joestar is best boy?”

“That’s an easy yes,” Connor says.

“Yes,” Joey agrees. “Not a biased answer because he has the same name as me. But he is. He’s the funniest.”

(They are both correct.)

The next attendee, Jamie, immediately follows that up with another Jojo question. “Did anything in Jojo Part 6 align with your Florida experience?”

(The sixth JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure story arc, Stone Ocean, takes place in Central Florida.)

“Well, when I was in prison in Florida…”

“Well, when I was in prison in Florida…” Connor jokes. “AKA, Miami [International] Airport. I’ve been bribing everyone. Well, I’d be worried if it did prepare me. There is a Disneyland part [in Part 6]. We could go to Disney and punch Mickey Mouse, then we’d be in JoJo.”

This loses the heavily Floridian audience. They all shout to correct Connor that here it’s Disney WORLD, not DisneyLAND.

“Oh, I don’t care!” Connor spits back. “You’re all slaves to your corporate overlords! I will fight you all out back.”

The next question, from Marcus, is- surprise!- another JoJo question. If they each had a Stand, the spiritual avatar wielded by most major JoJo characters with unique powers and usually named after a popular song, what would it be?

“My stand name would be Big PP Nation,” Joey says. And it’s power? “Have a guess.”

“I just want a stand that spawns infinite monkeys."

“I just want a stand that spawns infinite monkeys,” Connor says.

What the Anime Man and CDawgVA wants (and doesn't want) from anime

Jess takes the conversation off JoJo, but keeps it in anime. What do they wish they could see more of, and what do they wish they could see less of?

“Less isekai, please,” Joey says. Everyone, everyone cheers.

“I agree, though,” Connor says. Because what else is there to say?

“There have been some good ones,” Joey says. “But when you get to the point of like, RPG Real Estate, really?

“I’d like there to be less anime, and higher quality anime,” Connor says.

“Quality over quantity,” Joey agrees.

Next, Jared finds a loophole in their forbidden question list: “What’s your LEAST favorite anime?”

“Just to annoy people, I’ll say Eighty-Six,” Connor says.

Jujutsu Kaisen,” Joey says. The booing begins immediately.

“Just kidding, just kidding. RPG Real Estate. Just, why.”

The roasting of Trash Taste... by Trash Taste

Remy has a simple request, for the panel to simply roast the hell out of each other. Instead, they opt to roast the one person who isn’t present to fight back.

“Garnt is actually 5’2,” Joey says. “That Garnt cut-out is actually to scale. It’s awful. He’s a little baby man.”

“He wears stilts everywhere,” Connor says.

“It’s all editing magic,” Joey says.

What the Anime Man and CDawgVA are most proud of

DJ asks if they have a YouTube video they’re especially proud of that they wish more people would see.

“For me it’s the one I did with Ladybeard four or five years ago running around the Good Smile company being idiots,” Joey says. “Please watch that.”

“Maybe the strip club one,” Connor says. The cheers indicate that at least everyone here has seen it.

Danny asks: “Do you think the golden age of YouTube is over?”

“I think it’s more corporate now,” Connor says. “It’s lost a little bit of charm but I still love creating stuff. But the production quality now is so amazing.:

“I remember a time when 480p was the highest quality you can get,” Joey says. Clearly, feelings are mixed. Times don’t get better or worse, perhaps, but merely change.

At this point, our host indicates we have time for one more question… and I absolutely cannot believe who is at the microphone. It’s Paulina, the Joey super-fan I spoke with before the panel. It’s her time to shine. I brace myself for the chaos I know is coming.

Paulina gets to ask her question to Trash Taste

“This question is for Joeyman,” she says, clearly a bit flustered, conflating Joey with his 'Anime Man' sobriquet.

“That’s me,” Joey says, unfazed. “I’m Joeyman.”

Paulina begins her question.

“So, I know you’re a loli expert…”

There’s a collective gasp at this forbidden word being spoken aloud, followed by just uncontrolled yelling. A few people bury their faces in their hands in embarrassment. For a moment, just one, I’m one of them.

“So, in the Pokemon lore,” Paulina continues, “People and Pokemon could get married…”

“Where are you getting this?” Connor asks. I don’t know where this comes from either, and frankly at this point I’m afraid to Google it.

Paulina, however, moves on to her next point, considering the last a given.

“And Pokemon like Meowth, Lugia, and Mewtwo can communicate… which means they can consent.”

At this point, Connor literally falls out of his chair.

“That’s our show, everybody!” the host says. It’s a solid instinct. But it’s not enough to save us from what’s about to happen.

“No, no!” Connor insists, getting up off the stage floor. “Let’s hear her out!”

Finally, Paulina arrives at the question:

“If I wanted to fuck a Togepi, could I do it right away, or would I have to wait for it to evolve?”

At this, the entire ballroom erupts in a volcanic mixture of shock and incredulity. There have been more tepid reactions to grand slams by the home team at a Major League Baseball park. I’m pretty sure Garnt can hear it happening from Australia.

“This isn’t a question,” Connor says, regaining some control. “This is self-incrimination.”

Finally, Joey speaks for the first time since identifying himself as Joeyman.

“I’m going to be completely serious,” he says. “Why the fuck are you asking me this.”

“Thank you for the most Florida question,” Connor says. Sometimes, Florida Man is a Florida Woman.

Without missing a beat, DJ Atomic Blonde cues up the original Pokemon theme as the host thanks us all for coming. I file out with the crowd, knowing that despite the wave of JoJo questions, they weren’t here for anime takes, or voiceover resumes, or even for advice in YouTube Stardom. They were here for Trash Taste. And in the end, that’s exactly what they got.

What a great weekend in Miami Beach! Here's everything Popverse did, for the Florida Supercon round-up.

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Alex Jaffe

Alex Jaffe: Alex Jaffe is a columnist for DC Comics, answering reader-submitted questions about the minutiae of comic book history. He also hosts the Insert Credit podcast, where he's been asking the smartest people in video games the weirdest questions he can think of since 2012. ReedPOP is Alex's place to write about Star Wars, his "vacation universe" away from DC, but he may be persuaded to occasionally broach other topics. A powerful leg kick makes this goon the meanest guy in the gang.


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