Hey Guys, Samurai here. Yes, I know it’s been another long stretch since I actually got around to posting something, but dawg gone it, when you’re a FedEx Courier, your free time is pretty much taken up with recuperating from the previous day. But never let it be said that this blog hasn’t always been at the very back of my mind…today more than ever. More after the break.
So, you know how 2016 was pretty much a pretty crappy year? I mean, all the ce
celebrity deaths, the Great Floods in August, violent shootings, and the election of…well…He Who Shall Not Be Named? Well, add one more prodigiously awful event to the list. In November 2016, while we were still reeling from the election of The Orange One, Baton Rouge’s last F.Y.E on Constitution Avenue announced that they would be closing up shop in 2017 along with just about every free-standing, non-mall attached store. After a rather lengthy “Going Out of Business” Sale, during which prices were slashed 40-90% off (A sale that I took PRODIGIOUS advantage of), on March 27, the last FYE in Baton Rouge officially shut its doors, ending a chapter of my anime life that’s been open for the better part of 10 years.
While I know it might sound silly mourning the closing of a retail store, especially one that I have often taken to task for pricing habits, I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the impact it has had on my life, both as an anime fan, a movie fan, and a person in general.
As an anime fan, FYE was my go-to stop for DVD’s and later Blu-ray. While, yes, the prices for their newer releases was pretty rough on my wallet, it was their USED selections that rocked my socks. I can’t begin to think about how many DVD’s in my collection had that familiar orange and black “USED” tag on them at one point or another. FYE gave
shoppers a choice that few stores that sold anime offered–you could buy the new stuff, or you could go digging through the rows and rows of shelves to find a used diamond in the rough, or, if you were REALLY lucky, you can find a used copy of a newer release. Happened to me once–found a used copy of Romeo and Juliet Used for $2, while the new copy sat next to it for around $40. When I began writing reviews for this particular blog, I always used FYE as a point-of-reference for how available an anime was to buy in brick-and-mortar stores, and for pricing for better or worse.
As a movie fan, well, copy and paste above. All of my James Bond movies, the majority of my Star Trek movies, and so many others once grazed the shelves of FYE. I can’t begin to count the many times I’ve walked into the store, asked for a certain obscure movie my mother wanted, and had one of the very friendly crew members walk confidently up to the shelf, flip through the disks expertly, and hand me the exact movie I was looking for as though they knew I was coming in for it. It’s like walking into a bar and the bartender knows EXACTLY what kind of drink you want, how much ice you like in the glass, even what part of the glass you like the little decorative slice of lemon.
Lastly, as a person…I can honestly say that FYE has been essential. Through the “Ani-Mania” events, where anime fans were permitted a small space to meet up, play games, cosplay, and interact with other fans, I learned how to socialize with others who liked the same things I did. The rainbow of personalities I met and encountered in that time molded and prepared me for life both inside and outside the anime bubble. “Ani-Mania” also acted as a training ground for how things would be at a larger-scale anime convention. I would be completely out of my element at Louisi-anime and later Mecha-Con were it not for the “mini-con” at FYE. I will also forever owe a debt to FYE because, through their “Ani-Mania” events, I met the two people whom I consider my two closest friends.
Even on the very last day the store was open, FYE came through and gave me one last gift. On Sunday, I went into FYE with my friend Alicia after sitting through the abysmial “Power Rangers” movie. We wondered around as we typically do, rummaging through the shelves one last time for hidden gems. I found Part 2 of a series called Oh! Edo Rocket, but I couldn’t find part 1. I was interested in the series having seen one episode of it a while back, but without part 1 readilly available, I decided to pass and picked up the last copy of Wolf Children they had available. That following day, after an interesting day of work, I walked into FYE for the last time and, for the last time, walked up and down those familiar shelves to find that one last special purchase I wanted to make. As I scrolled up and down the shelves, I picked up what I thought was Oh! Edo Rocket part 2, but upon closer inspection, I saw it was PART 1! I quickly scanned the area around it and, lo and behold, there was part 2! And since both were used, and I got an extra 10% for being a Backstage Pass member, I only paid about $11 for a 26 episode series. Not bad at all. The ol’ store comes through one more time as it had all these many years. I walked up to the register, swiped my poor beligured debit card in the slot, and walked out the store for the last time as I had many, many times before…happy and content with my purchase, yet this time, there was a twinge of sadness knowing that this would be the last time I would walk out that store with that same feeling.
So, yeah…for some it was just a store; a place to buy movies and music, but to me, FYE was a little bit more. Probably more than I can actually say. And I’m gonna miss it terribly. Whatever business occupies the building at 4580 Constitution Avenue has some prodigious, almost impossible shoes to fill…
To the crew that worked there, both past and present, I wish nothing but the absolute best. You guys have been a blessing to me more than you realize. You made me smile, you made me laugh, you made me think, and, I hope in my own small way, I did the same for you. Keep in touch, take care…and until we meet again…Stay Gold.