This section chronicles my discovery of anime over the years, to give you a general idea of how it all started for me. Think of it as a short history lesson. As for what happened next? That’s where the rest of the site comes in!
Mid 1980s – In The Beginning, There Was Voltron…
I am a child of the ’80s. Like many others around my age, my first introduction to anime happened long before I even knew what “anime” was. What was clear though, was that Voltron was by far the coolest thing on TV, and I watched it at every possible opportunity. Something was different about it, but I couldn’t figure it out. I collected all the lion toys too, so I could assemble my very own Voltron. Of all the shows I enjoyed immensely as a kid, including Thundercats and Transformers, Voltron still had the edge.
And thus, the seed was planted…
Mid 1990s – Sailor Moon Sets the Stage…
Through elementary and Jr High school, “anime” was still a stranger to me. And then in high school, a friend pointed out to me a new show that I should check out. It was a pretty cool action show, unique in that it starred girls and talking cats rather than your typical superheroes. That show was none other than a little Japanese import known as Sailor Moon. Yes, it was the now infamous DiC dub of seasons one and two.
And oh by the way, this is what they call “anime”. It’s pretty cool stuff from what I hear….
2000 – …And Then There Was Gundam Wing…
2000 was a big year for me as far as taking the first timid steps into becoming a full-fledged anime fan. The Pokémon craze was running high, Toonami was premiering a new season of Sailor Moon, which was very exciting. These new episodes were even edgier than the ones I had seen five years before. This was, of course, Sailor Moon S, which to this day remains my favorite season of the show. Sailor Moon had set the foundation for my journey into the world of anime, and on some internet research, I found out there were three movies made for the series too! I just had to check these out if I could.
Around the same time, Toonami was premiering another new show, one that would cement my interest in anime as a full time hobby (and wallet drainer). Mobile Suit Gundam Wing. This was probably the biggest thing to happen on Toonami for quite a while (since Sailor Moon S for me, anyway): a full on action show with giant robots. From Japan. I watched it. I liked it. I was hooked.
Now, what was I to do? I had this new interest, but I had no way to enjoy it unless it was 4pm on a weekday.. Lucky for me, I had bought my first DVD player (for the incredibly low price of US$250 — this was 2000 after all) about half a year earlier. DVDs had both languages on them… I could watch anime in Japanese! This was an exciting development. But the question was, what to get?
Well, I was an established Sailor Moon fan by now, and the first two Sailor Moon movies were out on DVD. I could get Sailor Moon R. But also, the first volume of Gundam Wing was being released soon. I could get the movie, a one off, and be set with that to hold me over until the next one. I could also get the Gundam Wing DVD, but with just one volume, that was only five episodes, and this was a long series! I’d have to buy one every month to make sure I got the complete series.
I bought Gundam Wing Operation 1. My first anime DVD.
Thus began the odyssey into a world of subtitles, J-Pop theme songs, and shiny plastic disc after shiny plastic disc of animated delight from Japan.
And that is how I became an Anime Fan.