This is my response to Shay’s video and Kauses (creator of Otaku Gamer Zone) post. In this special post, I will briefly discussing how did I get into anime and what kind of shows did I see growing up. I am going to use the best of my best memory to write down my life. It may not be 100% but I am going to share it. I don’t want to bore you with the details so I will just briefly describe my experience.
Do you remember when you first started watching anime? Do you remember your first show? When did you first learn the difference between a cartoon and an anime?
Anime within Cartoons – Kids WB
I don’t remember the age when I first anime but I was around kindergarten at the time. As a kid, I grew up watching various cartoons like Disney, Looney Tunes and 90’s Nick cartoons. I used to be the kid who would be easily entertained by silly cartoons like Bugs Bunny or singing animals like The Lion King. I guess my first turning point is when I discovered Pokemon from the old TV program Kids’ WB. Kids’ WB was a TV channel program which usually shows cartoons in the mornings or afternoons in specific times; some shows they showed was Looney Tunes, Batman and Animaniacs. Out of the cartoons they showed, I remembered Pokemon. I don’t need to explain Pokemon since it’s still popular today but back then, it slowly became popular. When I saw Pokemon, I was filled with excitement because the animation was different than any cartoon I seen and the action moments were more intense. I fell in love with Pokemon and it was to the point where I tried to sing the opening song for the anime and I even dressed up as Pikachu for Halloween. I missed out on buying the old games but I did remember playing Stadium on the N64 and I used to collect the trading cards. I laughed when Team Rocket gets blasted away to the sky, I smiled when Ash and Pikachu won a gym battle, and I used to almost cry whenever something heartbreaking happened like Ash saying Goodbye to Butterfree. When I first saw the movie, Pokemon the First Movie, I was exposed to a dark but serious Pokemon adventure. As a kid, I didn’t understand why the Pokemon were fighting each other but I knew it wasn’t fun and it was much more sad. When I saw Ash get turned to stone and all the Pokemon including Pikachu cry, I cried as well.
Overall, thanks to Pokemon, I got a taste of anime even though I saw it as if it was a cartoon.
151 more, gotta watch them all – Toonami
Besides Pokemon, I did get to see another anime and it rivaled Pokemon: Yu-Gi-Oh!
Just like Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh! was another show that also appeared on the Kids WB. Almost like Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh! was another show I grew up with and it had amazing characters and interesting monsters. I used to wish I was like Yugi and be good at games and I did get jealous that Kaiba got three Blue-Eyes White Dragon and I did get a crush on Tea. I even remembered watching new episodes every Saturday morning; the episodes would either be Yugi and his friends facing Pegasus to the Battle City Duels and stopping Marik to all the way to the grand final where Yugi dueled the pharaoh. Yu-Gi-Oh! became another anime collection that will always be my favorite but my interests in anime grew when they showed anime on Cartoon Network.
I am not sure if anyone remembered this, but I used to watch a cute anime called Hamtaro. This show starred a hamster named Hamtaro who teams up with pet hamsters and they do their best as a team and help each other. Sometimes, Hamtaro asks their help whenever his owner, Laura, needed help. It was a cute show with both a cute opening and ending song.
Unlike Toonami today, Toonami years ago used to premiere action cartoons and anime in the afternoons after school. They used to show shows like Dragon Ball (original, Z and GT), YuYu Hakusho, Outlaw Star, Sailor Moon and Rurouni Kenshin. Out of the shows, I definitely remember watching the Dragon Ball series and YuYu Hakusho. These kind of shows showed me brutal combat and I got to see blood often; as a kid, I was afraid of seeing blood. Whenever I see Goku fight a powerful enemy or Yusuke fight a demon, they don’t show fear, they beat up the enemy and showed me that the enemy can be defeated. I also got to see Gundam… chibi versions actually! In America, it’s SD Gundam but in Japan, it’s called Superior Defender Gundam Force; I remember watching this cartoon and just be hypnotized by kid-friendly humor and recycled special attacks. I was an easily impressed kid. The fun didn’t stop, there was other anime but in different times.
Anime at night – Adult Swim
Just like Toonami from the previous focus, I saw other anime but late at night. Before Toonami joined Adult Swim, Adult Swim was well-known for showing adult shows like Futurama, Family Guy and Aqua Teen Hunger Force, way before shows like Tim and Eric or Rick and Morty came along. Adult Swim also showed some late night anime like Case Closed. Fullmetal Alchemist (classic), Lupin the III (Part 2) and Inuyasha. These shows were little bit different than anime in the afternoon due to content. Inuyasha was violent but it did deal with romance and drama and Fullmetal Alchemist dealt with harsh real answers like sacrificing something to get something. Of course I wasn’t in kindergarten while watching these, but I was slowly developing anime knowledge all the way to grades fifth and sixth. Even though I couldn’t stay up to watch more than one show, I was still able to enjoy anime even though I might missed an episode or two.
Sorry for this long story and I wasn’t able to keep it short but you get the idea. I first got into anime from watching cartoons and I was convinced anime was cartoons. I later learned that these “cartoons” were different in story telling and characters. Some anime had cute characters, some were edgy and cool and others started off as simple but then became greater. Most people got exposed to anime like me by watching TV or while others watched from the internet or home videos; I was a TV kid in the 90’s. My first anime was Pokemon and I don’t know when will I know what will be my last anime but I hope I don’t have to answer that question.
If there’s a chance in the future, I could write a volume two of my story and describe how did anime shape my future and what kind of impact it left on me.
What was your first anime and how did you meet it?