Earlier this year I did the 30 days of anime challenge on here. It was done quickly, with little reflection or depth.
I think each of the questions in that post deserved a full post of their own though, done at a slower pace.
The first one asked what anime was the first one you watched. Some of my friends decided to answer by the first translated anime they watched as a kid, because it was on TV, and others by the first anime they watched knowing fully well it was anime, perhaps the first they chose for themselves.
I think the first few anime anyone watch demand some attention. Because they usually ignited a passion that lasts many years. So they must have been good, somehow.
So what were my first few anime?
As I specified in another post, my very very very first anime was “Mitsubachi Maya no bôken”. I watched that before being 3, for sure, and whenever we talk about childhood cartoon, I always come back to this one. It’s the first TV show I REMEMBER watching, not just the first anime. But since it’s an Austrian-Japanese co-production, some people would not consider it anime.
A few years later, I watched 3 other “anime”, or at least partly japanese tv series. They were..
Taiyō no Ko Esuteban, aka the Mysterious Cities of Gold, which was a French-Japanese co-production, and which is, if considered an anime, possibly one of the best anime ever.
Ie Naki Ko, which is totally an anime, as it is a Japanese production, and which I watched with my family (I swear my mother waited for each episode more eagerly than I did). Damn, that thing was SAD.
Moomin, which was a Finnish-Japanese-Belgian collaboration. Nevertheless, the style is definitely anime-ish. I rewatched some dubbed episodes recently and was sort of troubled at the uncanny valley zone this show falls in.
So that’s the kiddy anime stuff that I didn’t know was anime until much later. I think I would like to rewatch them just for the sake of knowing if they were actually good or if kids are just stupid and love anything. And watch it in Japanese. Maybe they will earn themselves reviews here, who knows.
What came next? Well..
Around the same time, I would occasionally watch Sailor Moon. But it was in English.. and I didn’t speak it then. I bought toys though. Pencils, cards, even Sailor Moon PJs. But my real love for that series wouldn’t come until years later so let’s leave it at that. What is notable though is.. I knew THIS was Japanese. And I even knew the English version sucked. Dunno how I knew, but I did. That sets it apart from the rest because it would become my standard to recognize what Anime was.
And then came Pokémon. Shortly before I turned 10. I watched it dubbed in French. I played the games. I played the TCG. I bought everything I could find. EVERYthing. Boardgames, cards, plushies, stickers, origami paper, papercraft books, books in general, posters… you name it, I owned it. I had a toy pokédex. Figures. Everything. I built a fansite. I joined forums, communities. I went to see the movies with my family. I pretended to be a Pokémon at elementary school recess.
It was the first time I was this obsessed with anything, and I think in that respect Pokémon will always remain my first real fandom. There were shows I liked and watched before, but not like that. Not to that level.
I refused to watch DragonBall and Digimon because I felt they took away from my one true fandom. Which means I associated them together… I had mentally separated anime from the rest of cartoons. That’s a turn point in any anime fan’s life. Through some Pokémon communities I became aware of other anime, like Ranma 1/2 for instance. People’s avatars, sigs, nicknames. I had so much to learn.
Then Sailor Moon came back. One day my sister came up to me and was like “Do you remember Sailor Moon?” and we googled it. Only we AltaVista’d it because it was back in 2000. And this was the true start of my anime fandom. It surpassed my pokémon fandom, if that could be (only I owned less shit since I was like 5 years late). I saved every fucking picture I could find, built websites, bought the mangas (my first mangas!), joined a ton of communities, downloaded emulators to play the games (another turn point) and I started to get shit imported from Japan. Oh shit. Serious business for an 11 years old. That fandom annihilated everything. But quickly enough, it wasn’t enough anymore.
Luckily for me, people running Sailor Moon websites liked other anime. Saint Seiya being the most prominent. So I watched Saint Seiya some.
Then I went on a quest. A quest to find an anime by myself, something I would like.. that no one would’ve told me about. That I would just find, lying around the internet.
That came under the form of Sister Princess. I don’t really remember how I found it. All I know is there were maybe one or two very bad websites in English about it, and all the rest was in Japanese. My first contact with harem anime, aka the beginning of another passion. I had fun, learning all the facts about new characters. I knew it all, all the info, like a real creepy anime otaku. Height, blood type, age, interests…
I guess I haven’t changed much have I?
So there it was. The first anime I saw on TV not knowing it was anime, the first one I saw knowing it was, the first one I was obsessed about, the first one that was showed to me by other people, and finally, the first one I found for myself.