As a child I had been exposed to Speed Racer and Kimba the White Lion, but I didn’t get to really see anime until the arrival of Robotech. And even then it was an American Bizarro version of anime. Underneath the awkwardly-Americanized storyline, one could still understand how this was very different from American cartoons. American cartoons were not written like soap operas, with a single storyline from beginning to end. Robotech was an ongoing drama, with characters who lived, laughed, loved, fought – and sometimes died. This was big.
The slippery slope got only steeper with arrival of U.S. Renditions, who released real anime on videotape – and who released on VHS in 1990 what would be my favorite anime series for 20 years – Top wo Nerae! Gunbuster. I was hooked.
I took my kids to the first 10 Anime Expo conventions. In fact, I have attended an anime convention every year since 1992. Anime has exploded in popularity, so unlike the early days, anime series are readily available for viewing. But back then, the best way was through conventions and fansub VHS tapes. I watched a lot. I learned a lot. I acquired a lot of collectibles – VHS tapes, LaserDiscs, DVDs, Blu-ray sets, CDs, animation cels, manga, art books, figurines, toys, pencilboards, and so on. Fanatical, obsessive, passionate, crazy? Absolutely.
People interested in current anime series should check out Crunchyroll, which makes anime available as streaming content over the Internet. There are also zillions of anime blogs; I follow about a dozen regularly with another 20 - 30 in reserve.
More anime thoughts...