By Darien A (TX) (10/20/21)
I discovered anime twice. When I was a kid most of the only things I would watch were animated shows. It took me forever to get into watching normal live action television like Disney Channel or Nickelodeon. I think what I loved most of all about animation was that every show looked so different from each other. And like any kid born in the early 90’s a lot of what began it was Disney movies. I love Disney movies. They tell such powerful and universal stories and they are always fun and full of good music. My absolute favorites to this day are The Lion King and Aladdin. I also probably watched The Emperor’s New Groove like a thousand times. And I would still argue that the opening circle of life sequence from The Lion King is one of the best animated sequences in all of animation. Side note: The Lion King was the last of Disney’s traditionally animated movies, and that is one of the reasons it still looks so beautiful today.
Slowly getting back to the point. I grew up on these movies and I also like all kids loved cartoons and shows like Power Rangers. I would watch everything from Angry Beavers and Cat Dog to Freakazoid and Cow and Chicken. Adding to that set of shows I watched probably any other cartoon I could find. I watched Digimon, Avatar, Samurai Jack, and of course like any good 90’s kid I absolutely consumed Pokémon. I had the cards and the games and rented the movies from Blockbuster over and over again. I even had that little Mew card you got from the move premiere.
And I remember one night at my grandparent’s house I stayed up late to watch what was probably Toonami although I didn’t know it at the time. I don’t even know if I even stayed up that late but I was watching all the shows they were showing that night. To a kid staying up at all feels like you are staying up all night and doing something awesome. But you know I had never made the connection for the longest time that what I was watching was anime. I mean the shows I watched as a kid were all in English and they aired along with all the other American cartoons I watched, so why would I have thought there was a difference?
I knew in middle school and high school that some of my friends watched anime, but I didn’t think it had anything to do with me, and I wasn’t really interested. I’m someone who has always kind of done what I wanted, and never really jumped on anything else because my friends were doing it. This all sort of changed when I got into college. One day I was looking through the descriptions of shows on Netflix and one stood out to me. It was an anime called Spice and Wolf. I don’t really know what stood out to me, but I decided to give it a try. I watched the first episode and remember thinking I wasn’t entirely sold on how I felt about it or if I wanted to keep watching. I decided to give it one more episode, and the rest was history.
Next thing I knew I had marathoned the whole first season and within a day or two more I had watched the second. Then Netflix started putting more in front of me and I started watching them. At first I watched all my anime on Netflix because that is what I had from my parents, and I didn’t know most of the other sources even existed at first. I was also a broke college student. Sometimes I would watch anime on Crunchyroll with free trials every now and then. I also spent my time on the high seas like any anime fan at some point. Through Netflix I watched Girls Bravo, Witchblade, and so many other shows. I was almost late to class one day because I was hooked on Dragonaut. Through Crunchyroll I watched Kimi no Todoke and probably other shows but I can’t really remember. I even at one point watched all of Inuyasha, and that still has to be one of the best stories I’ve ever seen. And second to Black Clover I think it was the longest anime I’ve seen.
As I watched more shows I eventually started learning about the other sources, and things like Vocaloids and visual novels. I even made some friends at my college’s anime club. I discovered so many shows through them and also had such a great time with all their events. It’s amazing how the rabbit hole goes. I started with one show, then came Vocaloids, then visual novels, then VTubers, and cons, and even all kinds of goods and games. Now I have some money and time, and I am subscribed to Netflix, Funimation, Crunchyroll, and Hidive. I watch seasonals and all kinds of older shows.
And I absolutely love visual novels. I even for like two weeks tried to be a VTuber. It’s truly amazing the kind of journey a hobby or interest can lead you down. I would probably have so much more money if I never got into anime, and I might even have ended up a more productive or successful member of society, but I don’t think I would trade it for anything. It’s been a hell of a ride so far, and I can’t wait to see where it all goes from here. And that my friends is how I met anime twice.