Contrary to what everyone seems to believe, I never used to like anime. I know that’s a strange notion because I’m currently heading an anime blog but it never really held my interest.
In the days of my youth, my father would bring back VHS tapes of Pokemon and Ultraman. Don’t ask me where he got them, I don’t know. Instead of becoming glued to the screen like most children, I would prefer to frolic around outside, something that I would never do today. Perhaps to my own chagrin but I digress. Anime wasn’t popular back in the day, nobody I knew watched it. And yet, it always seemed to be a part of my life.
Now, I was born after the video game crash so I was subject to a plethora of different genres and such. Mario and Nintendo becoming a mainstay in my household. However, Japan had once again crept up. I began to play Pokemon on my Gameboy. My uncle sent me a Super Famicom with tons of games. All of which were in Japanese. My neighborhood friend, the biggest influence on my life and perhaps a story for another day, was slowly amassing a large collection of Japanese goods. Soon, I was surrounded by Japan and it’s various goodies. I couldn’t resist.
Dragonball, Pokemon, Sailor Moon, Gundam, and Escaflowne was viewed on my television day in and day out. At the time of their running, I was too young to appreciate them. After a year or two, I was finally catching up with all that I had missed. It was an experience I shan’t soon forget. Staying up for hours past bedtime watching the marathon of Gundam Wing. Purely magical.
And then it ended. Abruptly. That was the extent of my exposure from the airwaves. Toonami had melded into Cartoon Network and anime took a backseat to classics such as Rugrats or KaBlam!. School brought me away from the usual airing times of anime. Occasionally during the late night showings, I would spot glimpses of that nostalgic style. I don’t remember what the titles were but there was a male teacher during the day and was a female superhero by night? I can’t recall. I always wondered how come the magic had come to an end. Why were all the cartoons so radically different?
One night at a New Years Eve party, a family friend was watching special something on his computer. By this point, I was already an experienced player of online games. Counter-Strike, Tibia, and Starcraft to name a few. The internet lingo was already a closely attached to my vocabulary. What he happened to be browsing through was a folder filled to the brim with Naruto. I distinctly remember that moment because I was so excited that I lost all control of my cognitive functions. It’s just like me to FORGET to ask him what he was watching and how.
Luckily for me, it seems that anime is enamoured with me, freakishly stalking me. My parents were out of town and I was dropped off at a friend’s house to stay the night. Again, I immediately recognized Naruto’s unmistakably orange features. I was surfing the newly formed Youtube and one of the most viewed videos was an episode of Naruto. And it started up once again, festering into a near obsession.
From that point onwards, anime has been an integral part of my life. I was never a sociable child and I sure as hell never brought it up in the brief conversations that I did have. I may have latched onto it in a disturbing sort of way. As you can probably tell, I was born and bred in the West not the Orient. However, due to my obsession with anime, I became intrigued with the West. Ironic I know.