I wasn’t always into anime. Well, ok I guess it’s best to start at the beginning. When I was in my elementary school years, I watched stuff like Pokemon, Digimon, Cardcaptor Sakura and so on. At the time, I didn’t really know they were technically considered anime. I didn’t even know or cared that these shows originated from Japan. They were just really good cartoons that were on every Saturday morning.
These shows were also pretty mainstream and popular among kids my age group at the time, especially Pokemon. Lots of kids owned the cards and traded them at school, even though they were banned on campus.
Near the end of elementary school and going into middle school, I was entering my awkward years and like most, wanted to fit in with everyone else. I dropped all the cartoons like the ones mentioned above and started watching series that weren’t on Cartoon Network, Disney Channel or Nickelodeon. Never dropped that show. One of the biggest shows I kept up with and was even obsessed with was Lost.
When I was in middle school, one of the classes I took was a strings orchestra class since I had been playing the viola for awhile. The orchestra class was also during what the school considered a home period. During home period was where we’d have an extra 20 minutes to read or do homework before class. It was in this class that I met a girl who would mostly read instead of doing homework. And she wasn’t reading a book, she was reading manga. And it wasn’t just any manga, it was Naruto.
Now this girl originally was a friend of a friend and we all ended up being in the same friendship circle so we talked often. We’ll call her Kay. I don’t know what it was but when I saw her reading the manga, I just tend to make fun of her. I didn’t know anything about Naruto or manga or anything, but I just thought the whole thing was silly. It didn’t help when she tried to explain the plot and I made fun of it even more about how dumb it was. This went on into high school.
High school is a time when you eventually start finding yourself and it was then that I realized that the stuff that I was making fun of was something I should not just cast aside as stupid. It was around my sophomore year when I learned about Adult Swim. On Saturday nights, Adult Swim would air anime. For the most part, I didn’t really care much for them except for one called Fullmetal Alchemist. I was very intrigued with this show and kept following it every week. Honestly, I fell deeply in love with the show with how amazing the story was and the characters and everything. At first, I was still in denial. I realized that Fullmetal Alchemist was anime which was the same medium as Naruto. After so many years of making fun of Kay for reading Naruto, I couldn’t just come out and say that I’m watching an anime. That would kill my pride.
So I kept it a secret. I didn’t tell Kay or anyone that I was watching Fullmetal Alchemist and during this time, I started watching other stuff on Adult Swim like Inuyasha and Bleach. I would hint to her every now and then that I was watching anime.
“Oh you know I was watching Adult Swim and this show came on and there was this kid without an arm and a leg and his brother was a suit of armor and blah blah…”
This went on for a couple of months. I think it was then that Kay realized that I was watching anime and wanted to start introducing me to shows being released in Japan. On the way back from a field trip, we got stuck in traffic. That’s when Kay took out her phone and showed me the very first episode of an anime called Code Geass. The show had just came out in Japan and there was only one episode available. We watched the first episode and it was all downhill from there. I loved the first episode and I couldn’t wait to watch more.
In addition to keeping up with Code Geass, I started downloading lots of different series I can find that had subtitles. Back in the day, if you wanted to watch a brand new anime, you’d have to watch fan subtitled ones as there weren’t official licensed simulcast shows. You’d find them on YouTube in 3 parts or torrent the whole episode. I’d watched so many shows, many were pretty bad and some were good. I’d get recommendations from Kay and some new friends I made who also watched anime. In 2007, Kay, two other friends, and I went to our first anime convention called Anime Expo and we would go together every year for a few years. We’d also go to other conventions like Pacific Media Expo, Anime Los Angeles and Fanime.
And that was really the start of it all. From there, I just continued discovering new anime, going to anime conventions and even went into editing anime music videos as a hobby. Hope you all enjoyed the read and learned a little more about me! But that is it for me. I’ll see you all next time!