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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Jefusion: GekiDan's Legacy

"It's not what you take but what you leave behind that defines greatness.” – Edward Gardner

On December 30 2013, we received shocking news that Daniel Villodres aka GekiDan, the founder of the Jefusion, a leading Japanese Entertainment blog, passed away. Daniel was defeated by his condition, Centronuclear Myopathy.

I met Dan a couple of years back though a Facebook page of like-minded toku toy collectors. It was a simple, “oh so you’re GekiDan” and “so you’re Firestarter” greet. We were both promoted to become administrators of that page. Since then, we occasionally send messages discussing topics, sharing me images of Jefusion’s mascot Inuranger and eventually introduced me to a group of crazy-yet-fun band of misfits in HJU PH. He is the first member in Henshin Justice forum who has reached out and introduced himself to me.

It was not long until he has asked me to be one of the contributors in Jefusion by posting my video reviews. In exchange, I tried my very best to share information for his blog and at times translate some of the Japanese words into English. I did give a heads up that my weakest is reading Jooyoo Kanji, as there are about 1,945 characters I have yet to memorize and understand. Great thing is that I have Japanese-speaking colleagues who helped me out occasionally which I relay to GekiDan. In rare occasions that we stumble across tokusatu-related news in Thai scripts, Simplified/Traditional Chinese or even Bahasa Melayu on FB pages, I also help him translate these through my colleagues in the office.

Dan and I share the same birth month and I see to it that I send him gifts. At most it has to be either Super Sentai or One Piece related. He never fails to say “Thank You”. He has always been grateful, for everything. On the first year that I sent him a package, this was also the year I asked him about his life and his condition out of curiosity.

What I admire about Dan was his unparalleled dedication to his blog that aims to centralize all anime and tokusatsu information in one site. He never stops to think what else can be improved and how to get there. What he does not know, he tries to learn on his own. To add to my admiration, he is a fast learner.

I also had a chance to learn how kind-hearted he is. Despite the spit he receives everyday from harsh and foul criticisms about his blog being a copy-paste site, he always shrugs them off and reminds me to leave them alone. In his defense, he never took the news he read and pass these as his own as there were always source links included in his post.

I’m one of those fortunate people who have actually met GekiDan in person and to see his condition just made me a fan even more. Which made me rethink about how I approach my work and my career. Here is a person who made his mark in the world despite his condition yet I don’t give 100% of what I do everyday. Until now, I still keep the Jefusion t-shirt he gave me during a toycon convention to remind me to strive to become better. It took a guy in a wheelchair to realize that.

HJU’s Gaiatron told me recently that Dan has actually outlived his life expectancy. Doctors initially predicted that he wouldn’t live passed 20s. But I think the Man upstairs had one more plan for Dan before returning to our Creator. And I believe Dan has succeeded his mission. Not only he has created a tokusatsu blog to grow the community and would benefit from but also helped his family of their needs. That is what truly makes Dan special. So what the hell have you done lately?

Today was a huge loss for the community and I’m deeply saddened for the passing of a friend, brother and colleague. You are true inspiration and will be missed. Dan look what you left behind, a legacy shared not only by your family and friends, but also to a passion-filled community. You’ve accomplished the impossible. I am honored that you were part of my life. Thank you for everything.


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