Being an Anime fangirl hasn’t always been easy. In the 90s we had limited media available to us to watch imports and as kids, your only means of Anime were the few series airing on television or videos your parents may have shelled out the cash for. My first view of Anime wasn’t Speed Racer as I had always believed. In fact, my first Anime was not even a series, but Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid. A somewhat depressing version, but I recall thinking just how beautiful the animation was. I viewed the VHS almost daily until its untimely departure in my VHS player. RIP Little Mermaid.
Remember when your love of Anime was something that you and so many of your friends had in common? You would go on an epic quest to find internet pics, clips, music, and anything you could on this phenomenon that took the world by storm and left parents wondering why their kids suddenly spoke fragments of Japanese. Whenever Sci-fi channel (now Syfy) aired Anime, you faithfully stayed up into the early hours of morning to catch whatever Anime movie that aired. When Cartoon Network had a new series, you were always in front of the tv after school, waiting to watch and welcome the show as your new favorite Anime.
USA Network and Fox even aired some Anime series, though in most cases the series didn’t last long. Escaflowne had a very small run and when I say small, we didn’t even get half of the series. It was an edited mess, but was my first glimpse of the series that will always have a place in my heart. They also had Sailor Moon, another edited mess. If you couldn’t figure out the moral of the story by the end of the episode, don’t worry. . .DiC decided they’ll give you a short clip of images from the episode and spell it out for you. I remember all this talk of a live action series then and how people speculated who would play which role. I’m kind of glad it never happened. A North American Sailor Moon just felt like a potential disaster. I was imagining Clueless in sailor fuku. USA Network had Street Fighter and can I just say how much I loved watching this? I was a fan of the games (even the live action movie. . .don’t you judge me!) and so I watched these episodes faithfully until they were pulled from the air. Before long, unless Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network picked up something, there was little Anime left on the air.
For a long time obtaining Anime was not easy. DVDs weren’t common yet and VHS sets could cost you an arm and a leg (or a kidney!). Laser Discs were around, but how many people used them? If you asked somebody the best place to find episodes, they would suggest a peer-to-peer site. Oh yeah, on dial-up that was a brilliant idea! No one would think of the repercussions of downloading would do later on and your phone line was busy all night as you downloaded episodes. Any new Anime that popped up was a real treat, considering the age of Youtube, Crunchyroll, Hulu, and Netflix (just barely starting out and DVD ) were not upon us yet. Broadband internet was around, but expensive compared to more reasonable price of dial-up.
A few days ago I received another 30-day free trial from Crunchyroll, which I decided to accept as I haven’t watched any Anime in a few months. At one point all I ever seemed to watch was Anime. As I surfed through the hundreds of shows listed, I thought to myself “my teenage self would have had a heart attack looking through this catalog.” There are so many series that I end up searching through the list and at some point I give up and find something else to do. I know–I have a problem. Choosing K-Dramas seems easier compared to finding a good Anime. So many have similar plots or have names so ridiculous that I end up skipping over them.
I thought to myself just how lucky Anime fans are now, with such an enormous selection of videos available to them not just online, but on DVD/Blu-ray. My local Best Buy use to have a section dedicated to Anime alone that spanned the same length of the Xbox 360 games. It was pretty amazing, but still pretty expensive unless you bought something older. I remember picking up Ergo Proxy one Christmas and boy was I excited. Now the Anime section is only 1/4 of that and the prices seem to be dropping. Yet I still people flock to that little shelf and search with smiles for new shows to devour.
I’ve been an Anime fangirl most of my life, even though I didn’t realize it until middle school. There is just something about Anime that I find so appealing. Not that I do not love animated shows/movies made outside of Japan, but there’s just an element to Anime that draws me in. Perhaps it’s the detail put into the animation or the story lines. Other animated series and films tend to be rather silly. Even at a young age, I enjoyed more mature and in-depth stories, but I still enjoyed my afternoons of Tiny Toons and Gargoyles. Of course, not all Anime have the most intricately-written plots. Sometimes you get a lot of series that are just a lot of fanservice.
Time to go find a series and binge watch it!