Thinking of 10 Years of Anime Fandom On My Birthday

So, yesterday was my birthday, which I spent with my crew eating burgers, chicken, and entirely too many deserts.  Just thinking about sugar makes me want to barf. *lol*  Still, with another year come and gone, I suddenly realized that back in May, it had been ten years since I became an anime fan.  That got me to thinking about how things have been over the last decade.

When I started my journey of anime and manga fandom, it originated from my two years in Japan, where I actually learned what anime and manga was. But, I had no real interest in such things back then (such is youth I suppose), and it took the collapse of WorldCom to give me the free time to actually remember my time in Japan and the words of my best friend and roommate Robert, who’d told me that by 1999, anime would be pretty big in America. Since it was 2002, I thought I’d look and see if Robert was right. So I went to Amazon’s website and was amazed to see all of the anime there, including titles I had known from my time in Japan (Bubblegum Crisis, Ranma 1/2, & Dirty Pair to name a few).

I was immensely curious to see anime in English, so I chose two titles that were short but had high marks. The first was the five-episode Oh My Goddess OVA and the second was the eleven-episode (ten TV episodes plus one OVA episode) Hand Maid May.  I was charmed by what I saw, so I started watching Adult Swim on Cartoon Network, picking up on shows like Inuyasha, Yu Yu Hakusho, Cowboy Bebop, Trigun, and many others. My taste for harem shows led me to Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-ohki and its many non-canon (and one canon) spinoffs.  Though I’ve never had a taste for mecha, I tried and liked Neon Genesis Evangelion.  A discovery that I liked the female seiyuu HAYASHIBARA Megumi led me to check out The Slayers franchise (Lina Inverse rules!).  Plus, there have been many people who’ve suggested one title or another that I’ve managed to work in and like, to whom I’d like to express my thanks. ^_^

What got me into manga were series like Ah! My Goddess and Love Hina, which were clearly unfinished in their anime forms, thus the reason people strongly encouraged me to read the originating manga so as to get the complete and real stories. Most of the manga titles I got into were because I saw the anime, then wanted to know the rest of the story.  At times, one develops a taste for certain manga-ka, thus when AKAMATSU Ken of Love Hina fame came out with Negima! as a manga title, I jumped on that right away when it came out officially from Del Rey (though the lag in that series caused me to use other means to keep current with our Japanese cousins).

As I look back over ten years of fandom, the one thing that saddens me is the lack of time I have for anime.  From 2002 to 2005, my work as an “electronic firefighter” in the IT world was such that I could easily spend six hours a night watching anime and still have four hours to cruise BBS’s (sometimes, that would get reversed and I’d spend more time on boards).  After 2005, my next job allowed no time to watch anime except maybe on Saturday.  That improved a bit in 2007 to 2008, but from 2009 on, it is rare that I have any free time other than my breaks. Thus, the massive piles of anime I have not watched does not go down, which is a bummer.

Still, despite not getting to watch everything I’d like, and at times finding that even getting blog posts up is a real chore due to time constraints, I have to say that it has been an enjoyable ten years.  I’ve met a lot of interesting people in the biz, I’ve met a lot of interesting fans, and I’ve watched a lot of good (and bad) anime as well as reading manga. All in all, not a bad ten years. ^_^

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15 Responses to “Thinking of 10 Years of Anime Fandom On My Birthday”

  1. Gyt Kaliba says:

    Was just browsing your blog again and wanted to pop into this and say happy late birthday! It was cool to read over your thoughts and past on how you got into your fandom.

    I can honestly say that you and the rest of the mods on FUNi Forums, back when I first joined in…geez…2006-2007-ish? Anyway, you guys helped me become a more stable fan of anime, by following your examples I became more inclined to check out other shows people recommended to me, and to be nicer to fans that I didn’t see eye-to-eye with. Not to sound overly sappy, but it was definitely a fun experience.

    Here’s to another ten years of fandom for you, and beyond, and hopefully you continue to light the way for new fans as they come in, be it on your blog or anywhere else. Even if they’re dubbies (usually anyway) like me. 😛

  2. ed cap says:

    belated bday then. thats quite an anime journey.
    here’s for ten more. XD

  3. O-chan says:

    I still got you beat by being a fan since 1994. Heh heh. It’s very interesting reading on the background of your fandom. Of course, my backstory is the backbone of my blog (which I have very little time for). Becoming an older anime fan with more adult responsibilities I empathize. My outlet is by getting more involve in the convention community. Very recently I volunteered at an anime con 20+ hours and next thing I know I’m on security staff for another convention I attend.

    One thing to note is that the nature of the fandom has changed as well. These days you have a lot of the teen to mid-twenties crowd torrenting everything, not getting into “long-running” shows, and generally having this kind of bi-polar attitude towards anime. If it aligns with their video gaming, cosplaying, and Magic tournament fixations all is good but there seems to be less dedication to the anime industry as a whole.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      >I still got you beat by being a fan since 1994.

      *lol* If only Robert had succeeded in making me a fan in 1989. ^_~

      >My outlet is by getting more involve in the convention community.

      Interesting. For me, I don’t find massive appeal for conventions, and having gone through FUNimation’s recent panel via live transcripts, I have even less desire to go. ^_^;

      As to your fandom thoughts, someone else remarked to me that anime conventions now seem more generic than purely anime. As such, cosplayers aren’t just doing anime characters, but other things as well.

      BTW, I hope to have another UY review up soon. So close to the end of the TV series. ^_^

  4. Belated Happy Birthday, ANB!

    10 years as an anime fan, huh? I think I’m up at around 15 years myself, which is close to half my life (I turned 32 back in March). While there was stuff like Voltron and Robotech when I was a kid (all of it invariably heavily Macekred stuff), I didn’t recognize it as “anime” but rather just another weekday afternoon cartoon. I first became a fan of anime after watching the Sci-Fi channel’s “Saturday Anime” block, which ran on Saturday morning during the latter half of the 90s. They mostly aired movies and a handful of OVAs, including Project A-ko, Armitage III, Iria – Zeiram, Robot Carnival, Dominion Tank Police, Green Legend Ran, Vampire Hunter D, and the first Tenchi Muyo film. Around the same time Blockbuster started carrying various anime on VHS, and I remember renting titles like Ninja Scroll and Ghost in the Shell. By 1998 I had discovered Toonami, and there was a new store in town that specialized in renting anime (including some old-school low-grade VHS fansubs of DBZ). By 2000 I had watched pretty much everything that had come on Toonami, and had rented and watched Escaflowne, Evangelion, and Cowboy Bebop in their entirety. In late 2000 I bought my first anime DVD: Tenchi Forever. And that was the start of what is now a collection of anime & manga that has cost me around $10,000 over the last decade. It’s been a great ride so far, and here’s hoping for another 15 years of anime fandom.

    P.S.: Are you going to continue your “Piracy Wars” series of articles? I’d like you to do one about the closely-related phenomena of high-priced imports released in America (e.g., the nearly $400 box sets for Kara no Kyoukai and Fate/Zero) and the “reverse importation” paranoia on the part of the Japanese companies that sometimes results in a “Bad Export for You” scenario for us in the West.

    • Gyt Kaliba says:

      I’d definitely be interested in hearing ANB’s thoughts on the reverse importation fear, having some thoughts on it myself.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      I remember when I went to Japan that I hadn’t realized I’d seen “anime” until I discovered that “Star Blazers” was actually “Space Battleship Yamato,” “Robotech” was “SDF Macross,” and “Battle of the Planets” was actually “Gatchaman.” I didn’t learn about the Voltron transformation until years later. ^_^;

      As to “piracy wars,” yes, that is in the cards. I have outlines for three articles, one of which covers the reverse import stuff. I’ve just been keep on pumping out my backlog of manga lately so…^_^;;;

  5. Tenka says:

    Happy bday! Even though I’m younger, I can completely empathize with your situation. I have the time for manga updates when they release, but with school taking up so much of my free time, I’m lucky if I get to watch anime once a week. I’ve made up for this by becoming a staff member and getting really involved in my local convention, JAFAX, and learning more about the industry. Also, we’ve got really similar tastes in anime! Still need to watch the rest of The Slayers, though.

    On an unrelated note, I saved up enough money to buy the entire Love Hina manga a few weeks ago, after years of reading just the first two volumes and not affording anything else. Really sad to turn that last page, but it was a fantastic series.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      Thanks for the birthday wish. ^_^

      >Still need to watch the rest of The Slayers, though.

      Yes, you do. *lol*

      >On an unrelated note, I saved up enough money to buy the entire Love Hina manga a few weeks ago, after years of reading just the first two volumes and not affording anything else. Really sad to turn that last page, but it was a fantastic series.

      I hope you scored the Omnibus versions from Kodansha. ^_^;

    • Tenka says:

      I have a friend who always brings up Naga whenever I talk Slayers; need to find out why she’s so great.

      I got the first three Love Hina Omnibus, but I was too impatient to wait for Kodansha to release the rest, so I bought the TokyoPop volumes from Amazon. Of course, when Kodansha does release more, I will buy them up if my wallet allows, but I decided to stomach the TP translations for the sake of finishing the story. Was actually quite sad to see it end.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      I never understood the appeal of Naga. The Slayers OVA titles and most of the movies featured Naga and Lina, and I hated Naga for the most part.

      As to your decision to get the TP volumes just to complete the story, I completely understand. ^_^

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