Hello all you wonderful people!
It’s me again! The title says it all here, so let’s get into this post!
What are the first anime I remember watching? Well, I started watching anime in the late 1990s and early 2000s, at around eight to ten years old. However, I didn’t actually know what it was. In all honesty, I had no idea at this age that the shows I was enjoying late at night were actually anime. I considered every animated show I saw a cartoon, because I was a stupid, young boy from the United States and didn’t understand the spread of culture and entertainment.
I remember watching Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z, Zoids (is that an anime? I honestly don’t know, but let’s just say yes for the sake of another title I saw), and some other shows on Toonami’s Midnight Run. Oh, sorry, some of you probably don’t know what that is… The Midnight Run was a run of anime shows on a network that started at midnight and ended at either 2am or 3am…I think. The initial run went from 12am to 5am every Saturday, so that was super awesome (that run only lasted for a year, then it was shortened). Either way, the Midnight Run was a gateway to anime like Ronin Warriors, Sailor Moon, Voltron, and a few Gundam titles. And then I got an anime-only network and began watching a few other titles–Prince of Tennis, Guin Saga, High School of the Dead, and some others.
What I remember most about my younger years is that I was more into sports and video games than anime. I played baseball from the time I was about four years old until I was fourteen years old, and tennis from thirteen to eighteen. Because of this, I would have my regular school day, and then I would head straight to where I needed to be for either sports’ practice. Baseball was a huge part of my life, and I still enjoy keeping up with my favorite team (the Atlanta Braves–I used to live there), and tennis is still a huge part of my life. I’ve been asked to help out at a camp my high school tennis coach runs during the summer for the past three years, but I haven’t been able to get the time off work to help. Now, while I did watch the aforementioned Midnight Run, anime didn’t hit me until I was in college. I started to live alone after my first year, and started watching shows on Netflix.
Some Netflix anime shows I saw were decent, and I actually started some series that I enjoy now by seeing them on Netflix. Some of these first-watch titles include: Attack on Titan, Sword Art Online, the Fate series, Durarara…and I’ll spare you what would be a too-long list. Eventually, I grew into using Crunchyroll, which you all know about so yeah.
Anyway, back to earlier anime like the zombie-killing stuff.
As a younger male watching High School of the Dead….the fan service was everything (can you really blame me? No? Cool). Now if I watch HOTD it’s about absolutely shit-kicking zombies in the face, and maybe some of fan service. Okay, who am I kidding, the fan service is a plus in the zombie killing show. But, I enjoy it because who doesn’t enjoy zombies?
What I don’t like about myself during these early years, though was that I never tried to branch out and figure out where these anime came from or what was actually happening during the show. It was simply entertainment without any sort of deeper meaning. Even if I were to watch anime feature films I didn’t understand any of the underlying factors. The first anime feature film I ever remember watching was actually Castle in the Sky. That was a really neat experience because I actually watching it at a church function that I attended during this time. After Castle in the Sky I saw other Ghibli films, but still it was “Oh the colors are cool, the story is the story, yada yada.”
Now, though, I’ve changed how I watch anime. I don’t think I can watch any anime show now without having some thought about it–even if that thought is “I really don’t care about anything this show has given me, or what’s happening”… When I watch anime now there’s always something going on in my head. Are the characters rigid and one-dimensional or are they rounded and three-dimensional characters? What are their virtues and vices? How do they treat their friends and family members if they have any in the show? And so on…
There’s so much that goes into anime that before I never truly cared about, but after growing a bit, I’ve come to realize that anime has so much that goes into them. There’s character development, there’s artistic work, animation…okay, all of that is obvious, but like I said before, I never cared about that when I was younger. I can’t escape those aspects of anime now. And I think that’s come from watching more and growing older. However, I rarely drop shows. I can usually tell if I’ll enjoy a show by reading the synopsis before it comes out, so if it doesn’t catch my interest after reading the synopsis I don’t usually watch it. However, there are some shows that I have seen and actually enjoyed even though I didn’t quite like how the synopsis made the show sound.
I tend to watch for character development now, and if the characters aren’t doing anything to advance themselves in some way, I’ll just chalk it up to not liking the show. I’ll finish it, of course, but I won’t be one to recommend it or go back to watching it. There may be some special cases, though, as some anime I saw when I was younger I hated (like Hundred) are now on my potential re-watch list thanks to other bloggers. Is there actually character development that I didn’t see when I first watched Hundred? Is the animation smoother than I remember it being? There are so many questions I have about some shows that I didn’t enjoy that now I would take into consideration during a re-watch.
So, I’ll recap quickly and end this post so it doesn’t drag on and I repeat myself.
When I first started watching anime, I had a minuscule amount of interest, but had one nonetheless. I watched it for the feeling I would get. Did it make me happy? Yes? Cool. Was it pretty? Yes? Cool. Was there fan service? Yes? Alright!
Now when I watch anime I’m more analytical during my watches. Is the animation smooth? Are the characters growing? Is the plot synopsis something that interests me enough to start watching the show? Is the artwork (like backgrounds and scenic stills) done well or is it rough? While I don’t always intentionally take those into account, I think during my watching I think about those questions and hope to have more yes answers than no answers.
And that’s really how things changed in my anime viewing career. It hasn’t been a very long one in all honesty, because I got back into anime more intently when I was twenty-plus years old, but it’s now become something I absolutely love, so I’ll never stop watching.
That’s all from me on this post!
Thanks for reading!
P.S.– The feature image is not mine, I’m not that talented. I found it here