Kai’s History with Anime
Back then during my childhood, watching anime is like a luxury. Access to anime is very, VERY limited. I was watching more of Cartoon Network at the time, watching shows like The Mask and Tom and Jerry. Anime had been a total mystery to me, until one time, when Cartoon Network suddenly aired one, by the name of Akazukin Cha Cha. A really uncommon anime to be my very first and weird thing is, I really like it. I was like a kid who found a new candy, always trying my best to catch up on the show on TV.
Only then, I had more interest in anime, and like everyone else, picked up Dragon Ball, well at least try to. The only thing with watching shows on TV is that it’s really hard to keep up, at least for me. Worse, back then, it is not a very information-orientated world, I don’t know just what episode Dragon Ball was airing, and I don’t know whether or not it’s DB, DBZ, or DBGT. The best I can do, is just watch bits and pieces of them, though even watching such limited parts were already quite awesome enough. My sister had also helped a great deal in providing more access to anime for me. I remembered one time where my sis managed to borrow recorded tapes (yes.. tapes!) of Ranma 1/2 for us to watch back at home. I still remember the episode vividly, watching Ranma and Ryoga shouting “Lion Roar Blast!” to each other was fun as hell, even in Cantonese dubs.
I also started picking up manga, mostly classics like Doraemon and Shin-chan. Compared to anime, access to these manga seems easier, as my sister managed to borrow full sets of manga volumes, mostly Doraemon and Shin-chan, in which the latter, at the time, becomes my top manga in the comedy department. It’s even more fun when Shin-chan’s baby sister joined in the family. Doraemon is still as fun as well, and seeing the infinity amount of gadgets the robot cat can come out with with it’s fourth dimension pocket was entertaining, even more so when seeing how these items works in action and how our how the main character utilized it.
My Middle and High School Years
Time passed and I got more busier and busier with school, and found myself already cramming day and nights for exams. I was quite the nerd back then though it was mostly due to my parent’s heavy expectations, shoving me into countless tutions and being forced to study when I get back home as well. Anyhow, because of this, I was forced to distance myself from anime/manga even more. Sadly, this was the time when the evolution for anime and technology were beginning. Anime graphics are starting to improve and CDs and DVDs had already took over the use of tapes. “Internet” had also begun to become a common usage. It was at this time, where Naruto was the big talk in school. Almost every kid in school talks about it, with the exceptions of some rare individuals, like me. I couldn’t rely on my sister much for anime already since she’s even more busier than me in school.
Worse, with “internet”, there are even mmorpg players, I believed Ragnarok was quite the famous one at the time. This was the period where I went through quite some “suffering”. My parents won’t buy anime CDs for me and even if they did, at best, I could only watch bits and pieces again, since they won’t buy full sets of CDs, only just one or two episodes. At school, I was mostly left out of conversations while people were talking about Naruto or Ragnarok.
Later on, when I’m at junior high school, I began to have a little bit more freedom with my studies session and how I manage my time, though my parents still bring me to tution and stuffs. During these periods, I managed to watch Shaman King and Full Metal Alchemist, with both easily becoming my two favorite anime at the time. One of my friend liked Shaman King as well and bought a lot of their DVDs, I remembered I was practically begging him to borrow them to me. Also, my sister managed to borrow the full set of FMA and boy was it epic! Watching both these shows in pure Japanese language adds additional levels to the epicness too. It was then that I realized just how superior Japanese voiced anime was. After this, I also managed to get my hands on full DVD sets of Initial D, from first stage to the third stage (I think fourth stage still haven’t been released at that time), and those 3D races are really captivating. During these times, I also began to visit my cousin’s house regularly, mostly borrowing some of his manga to read. My cousin has a big manga collection on his shelf, and I mostly borrow manga titles like Yu Yu Hakusho and Rurouni Kenshin.
After some time of watching anime/manga, I believed this was during my third year of junior high. I finally managed to convinced my parents to get a proper internet access at home,
not without some desperation of cause. Having internet access, had really changed my ways of watching anime. Through youtube, I watched countless anime shows like Cardcaptor Sakura, Bleach, Naruto (yes! Finally!), Samurai Deeper Kyo, One Piece, etc.. My luck with anime doesn’t even stop here. My parents had a new TV subscription, with tons of new channels, and one of them, AXN I believed, aired some anime, with Japanese voices and English subs no less too! I believed I watched Rurouni Kenshin and Rave from there, some more epic anime.
A little more then a year after that, my luck turns into a fortune. The TV subscription we had, decided to add in a new channel, the one and only Animax! Other then internet searches, watching Animax is also a good way to know more anime shows out there and if I happened to miss out some episodes, I can just watch it in the internet. Watching anime had never been so convenient. It was also at Animax, that I was able to properly finish watching Dragon Ball and Yu Yu Hakusho, two epic anime which I happened to only watch/read bits and pieces of them back then.
Time passes on, and obviously, I began to rely even more heavily on my internet for anime, instead of TV. I sometimes, still use the TV, mostly for old classic anime which was mostly very hard to find in the net already (I watched Dragon Ball and Yu Yu Hakusho in this manner). But other then that, I find myself using the internet more. Youtube had begun it’s mass deleting of various anime right about now, but of cause, that doesn’t stop me from finding more access, using alternative streaming sites like Dailymotion and Crunchyroll. After a while, I began to prefer downloading rather then buffering, downloading episodes and episode of anime non-stop. One of the few anime I watched around these times include Kiba, Code Geass, Hayate no Gotoku, Shakugan no Shana and so on, each are epic in it’s own right. I also began to read manga non-stop online, reading titles like Black Cat, Flame of Recca and Shaman King, mostly just to see what’s the difference between them and their anime counterparts. Of cause, I do pick up completely new manga too.
At some point, I began joining various anime communities, talking with various people around the net regarding our favorite shows. I also began my habit of observing anime charts and always checking out the latest anime whenever possible. In this manner, I had watched even more anime like K-ON, Angel Beats, Canaan, To Aru Majutsu no Index, Clannad, etc.. “Moe” becomes a pretty popular term at this point and I also learned more anime terms like “loli”, “pettanko”, “tsundere”, “yandere” and so on. I remembered I even saw an anime forum having a voting competition with all the four -deres (tsundere, yandere, kuudere, dandere) just to see which one’s more popular. Speaking of competitions, it was also at this time when I found out that they are having a moe competition, in a site which is known as “International Saimoe League”. This is the site where they have a competition to see who is the most moe character of the year. I started visiting the international saimoe regularly, voting all of my favorite characters. Fyi, Fate Testarossa (Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha) was the 2008 winner, Katsura Hinagiku (Hayate no Gotoku) was the 2009 winner, Akiyama Mio (K-ON) won in the year 2010 and Misaka Mikoto (To Aru Majutsu no Index/Railgun) took the 2011 crown. Incidentally, all of them are my favorite characters <3
I remembered the first anime community I joined, is a forum called ‘sakurahana’, which is filled with heavy visual novel players. My good friend on that forum introduced me the world of visual novels, and so, I began venturing to a new dimension of 2D. That was around early 2009 I think, a year when I started playing visual novels like Fate/Stay Night, Ever 17 and Ef-a fairy tale of the two. Coincidentally, 2009-2010 is a good time to play visual novels, since most of the better titles were already fully translated during this period. What I like about visual novels, is that they are really descriptively emotional, everything which happened are always crafted with clever words, which always leave a great impression on me because how much impact and emotions they could create, just from words alone. Those eye-catching CGs beautifully captured the visions as well, adding the voice acting in, created a great impact altogether. You can’t do those with normal books and novels for sure. Visual novels are sweet, seriously sweet. My favorite so far is G-Senjou no Maou and the latest one I’m playing right now is Dies Irae. I’m thinking of picking up a new one to play as well, which is titled Strawberry Nauts. While playing, I’m also still trying to brush up my Japanese knowledge.
Currently, visual novels eat up most of my time and I haven’t been watching as much anime as I used to. I’m currently just catching up on my weekly episodes of Beelzebub, Fairy Tail, Gintama, One Piece, Naruto Shippuuden and so on. As for the new shows, so far, I only watched the first episodes of Persona 4 and Shana III, lol. Of cause, I plan to watch them soon. Some pending shows which I plan to watch includes Mirai Nikki, Nurarihyon no Mago II and Fate/Zero. Steins;Gate wins the top position in my list of favorite 2011 anime so far. I’m looking forward to playing the visual novel version when the translation is completed^^
Anime had changed drastically during the years. 3D scenes are getting more and more common and more and more companies had been producing their anime shows with high production values, creating very incredible high-quality art and animations in the process. The way the stories are executed had also changed. Remember those days where you watch anime with very simple, straightforward plots? Yes, Fist of the North Star and Kenichiro’s quest for vengeance, Ronin Warriors and their objective to protect their kind against the demon lord, Dragonball and Goku’s aim to become stronger, I could name a few.. and what about now? Durarara, Ore-tachi ni Tsubasa wa Nai, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, Chaos;Head, Steins;Gate.. all these titles just scream the definition of mindrape! Anime plots seem to be getting more and more complex, one of the reason is probably because more visual novels are being adapted into anime nowadays.
Other then simple plots and complicated plots, the “plotless” style seems to be getting more popular as well, if I were to name a few examples: Lucky Star, K-ON, Seitokai no Ichizon, Seitokai Yakuindomo, A-Channel, etc.. Mostly, these types of shows can be associated with the likes of “slice-of-life”, “high school” and “comedy”. They may seems pretty generic, but one really couldn’t underestimate the potential of these genres, especially when shows like K-ON had sold literally millions. Right now, these are so famous, all-boys versions of these shows are created, some includes Kimi to Boku and Daily Lives of High School Boys (very original name there) and is one of the line-up of anime in Fall 2011 and Winter 2011 respectively. But of cause, if you’re talking about “plotless”, Gintama may be the top dog in that department, though that show is a bit incomparable.
Anyhow, times had really changed. Gone were the days where I need to use tapes to watch anime. Now, with just a few clicks, I can easily download any of my favorite shows I like and watch them in just a matter of minutes. What’s more, playing 720p or 1080p videos on my newly 1920×1080 monitor is just smexy <3 Technology had really advanced, and so had anime, and I’m sure this evolution is only just the beginning.
This post is for Nopy’s “My History with Anime” project. Check it out for other blogger’s anime histories too!