The early days of being an Anime fan



  • My parents split when I was young and my dad would take me to see a movie every Saturday. He would sit through countless cartoon movies as I was too young for more mature films. One Saturday in 1984 we are looking through the paper for a movie to watch and the only thing we see that is a cartoon is in Philadelphia (an hour from my house) but he smiles and say we can go anyway. We drive an hour to see a movie neither of us had heard of and it forever changed my tastes. It was Warriors of the Wind now known as Nausicaa Of The Valley Of The Wind.
    I was enamored and had to know more. Did you catch that year? There was no internet to speak of. Renting videos was barely a thing and Anime sure wasn't available outside of Robotech when that became a thing later. As I grew older I found older fans who would give me raw VHS tapes with no subs. This is how I saw Laputa, Ninja Scroll, and others for years. Eventually I found shops in Chinatown in Philly that had fansubs. I slowly built a small collection while convincing the local mom and pop video store to have an anime section and requesting a ton of titles I wanted to see. Things I had only heard rumors about but they had the access and buying power and I had the knowledge.
    Then the internet happened and more and more I found ways to get access to anime. Sites that would let you download for a fixed fee as long as the title wasn't licensed in the US. This is how I got into Naruto. It had like 30 episodes out when it showed up and I started grabbing it. Then AMVs were the way to find new series. See a few AMVs of a series that looks neat you go grab it. DVDs started coming out and everything got awesome.
    Seeing it as a given to know what anime is in the current culture is amazing to me. I have guys starting at my job who have never known a world without Anime. I was talking about this to a new guy who is 25 and he was telling me how his generation would get into stuff from cartoon network and then see how different the subs were. He couldn't believe about watching raw tapes and just guessing as best you could about the dialogue and meaning. I am turning 40 in a few days and I have been an anime fan for the last 33 years. I can't wait to see what the next 33 years have to offer.



  • @descendfromgrace said:

    Then the internet happened and more and more I found ways to get access to anime. Sites that would let you download for a fixed fee as long as the title wasn't licensed in the US. This is how I got into Naruto.

    Ouch, I hate to hear about stuff like that taking advantage of people since obviously the money wasn't going to the right place and they were probably getting the episodes they hosted elsewhere for free like people in the know could. Rest of your story was really interesting though, especially the part about convincing video stores to carry it. Like where did you get the knowledge of those titles at the time to ask them to carry them? Still was before stuff like Newtype Magazine I'm sure.



  • I sometimes find myself acting like an old person, missing the good old days of anime fandom when it seemed special to me. Sounds odd, but it's just everywhere now and I can pretty much watch whatever I want, so now I don't really want to watch much anymore.
    For some reason I miss the hard days of anime. Sometimes my dad would rent a laser disc (man, those were a thing...) of the rare anime like Project A-ko, or occasionally my parents would let me buy an anime that would show up at Tower Records or later Suncoast Video like Dragonball, Tenchi Muyo or Earthian. I remember being so excited when Scifi started to show some anime like Casshern, Lily C.A.T. or Akira and when Blockbuster started to rent some out, like Crying Freeman or Record of Lodoss War. I remember being so starved for anime that I would buy any soundtrack I saw at Tower Records, which were rare, like the Sailor moon ones, Lodoss War and a compilation of ADvision songs from random anime in English.
    My two fondest memories though

    1. When Sailor Moon started to air on TV. I already loved anime, but that was my first anime obsession as a young teen. I remember taping it and watching it when I got home, and getting annoyed at my sister who would occasionally watch it before me and taunt me that she saw it first.
    2. Going online and buying fan subbed VHS tapes for like 5$ each. I bought the entire series Fushigi Yuugi, Escaflowne, Hana Yori Dango, Shamanic Princess and Basara this way. I kept those until my VHS player finally died years and years later. They just weren't available to legally get in the states at that time.

    Now though I find I don't watch much anime anymore. It might be due to ingesting soooooooo much of it over like 15 years, but I suspect I might just be crotchety and find it annoying that kids have it so easy today 😊
    Or maybe it's analysis paralysis and there's just too much choice. Back then I was forced into a lot of my fave series.



  • @Inustar said:

    I sometimes find myself acting like an old person, missing the good old days of anime fandom when it seemed special to me. Sounds odd, but it's just everywhere now and I can pretty much watch whatever I want, so now I don't really want to watch much anymore.

    Noooooo, don't let yourself become a hipster!

    Now though I find I don't watch much anime anymore. It might be due to ingesting soooooooo much of it over like 15 years
    Or maybe it's analysis paralysis and there's just too much choice. Back then I was forced into a lot of my fave series.

    Well you don't have to force yourself to watch alot now that alot is ready available like I do, but you shouldn't get overwhelmed by all the choice and should just always pick up new stuff that looks interesting to you if you still have the freetime for anime in your life.



  • @Mbun Ha! Yeah I might be becoming an anime hipster... though I think mainly back then it wasn't that it was"cooler", but it just felt special. Not surprising considering how hard we had to work to watch anything. Getting to see a new anime was an event.

    I do though keep to just watching anime I'm interested in. It's obviously just harder to do as an adult, and with so many other shows to watch.



  • @Mbun At the time there wasn't a valid option. Those who didn't know how to get it directly via news groups or torrents simply paid sites that would host the files and let you download. They weren't being brought over or translated officially so where should the money go but to those that would host it and get you access to it? Outside of a few small companies it wasn't a thing yet. Then free sites happened and streaming happened. The site I used had 1000's of episodes and years and years of older stuff so even if I downloaded all the hours that my family wasn't wasn't using the phone I couldn't keep up. It was what was a decent option at the time. Then the internet got better and those sites mostly went away.



  • @descendfromgrace Yeah back then lots of subs stuck disclaimers at the beginning of each episode blatantly warning people it was supposed to be a free fansub and not sold or profited off of in any way. It's sad people fell victim to that stuff regardless. I'm glad eventually that scummy market got taken out.



  • My first anime was both Akira and Ghost in the Shell, and I actually wasn't very impressed.

    I later went on to play FFVII, and fell in love. It was then I seemed to appreciate what the likes of Akira was all about.

    Aside from wanting every JRPG from then on, I also went on to try and grab all UK anime I found. Back then, this was pathetic. The EU wouldn't see decent anime releases until at least 2009. I did however grab full series of NGE, Rahxephon, . Hack. Elfen Lied, Noir and Gits.

    It was NGE, Rahxephon and games like Xenosaga that made me realise how shallow most western games are though.



  • My first animes were stuff like Astro Boy, Dragon Ball, Galaxy Express 999, and whatever else they showed on the Science channel. Once I found out my local video rental place had an anime section, I discovered stuff like Akira and Ninja Scroll. Mind you this is back in like 92.
    I've had a pretty long love affair with anime since. I still remember the first time I watched the entire series of Evangelion in one sitting on a shitty WinAmp stream with desynced audio. It blew my fragile little mind.



  • my first exposure to anime was ronin warriors and voltron. i remember watching vampire hunter d and akira on the science channel with my mom on saturdays. not to mention the art from mega man which i was obsessed with. i grew older and dove headfirst into 'japanimation' as it was commonly known. i saved up all my money to buy dragon ball z vhs tapes from the local suncoast video in the mall...they were usually $40 or so for a tape with 2-3 episodes on it. i also bought a handful at random (armitage the third movie, battle angel alita movie, perfect blue movie, record of lodoss war series). i had a friend who was also into anime and his older brother had a bunch of good vhs tapes too (evangelion, ghost in the shell, others i can't remember). just sort of built from there. once toonami/adult swim came along i got heavy into trigun and cowboy bebop (still my favorite series).