Since this is a ‘new start’ of a sorts, it’s appropriate to make some re-introductions and get to know each other better. Besides the freshly updated ‘About Us‘ section, you can check out all the posts in the ‘Journal‘ category. This post is one more contribution to the said category.
We’ve talked about how we met and how Utena ignited our relationship, we’ve mentioned anime we identified with, we described the Greek otaku community the way we experienced it, but we still haven’t delved into how it all began between us and the anime/manga. The chance and idea to ramble about our baptism in these 2D worlds were given by Nopy’s project, “My History with Anime“.
Foxy Lady Ayame:
I’m always troubled when people ask about your ‘first love’; is it your first crush, your first passion or your first relationship? Similarly, I find it hard to say what my first anime was. There were several that were on when I was a kid, like Dragonball and Transformers, Lalabel and adaptations from classical literature (what is called the Masterpiece Theater series as I learned later). I had a slight idea that those animated series had some kind of connection with Japan since I clearly remember reading Japanese names in the credits of Jungle Book Shōnen Mowgli. Then Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon happened and it was the first series I watched from the beginning to the end and enjoyed it immensely as a little girl.
My early teenage years were marked by the rise of Pokemon and Digimon. Oh, those cute little monsters and teams of people crafting strong bonds with another! How I wanted to become a trainer or later a Duelist with Yu-Gi-Oh! I remember creating a list of Pokemon I owned in my mind, acting fights with my little sister, collecting figures, and lots of sticker albums for both Pokemon and Digimon– I still have those to cherish the memories. I also collected Yu-Gi-Oh cards with beautiful ladies on them. Oh, the money that were spent on these things!
Sailor Moon was also being aired again and Cardcaptor Sakura was a new enjoyable series aimed at girls. During that period we got Internet access for the first time. So it was natural that I searched for my interests online. Pokemon, Digimon and Yu-Gi-Oh didn’t have to offer much, but Sailor Moon and Cardcaptor Sakura surely did. I started downloading and printing info, analyses and lots of images. And that’s how I stumbled on the terms ‘anime’ and ‘manga’.
Through Cardcaptor Sakura I found out about CLAMP and gathered summaries of their various works. At the beginning of 2002 I hadn’t stumbled on any scanlation site –did they exist back then?- and only three-four years later I came across Be With You Scans and started reading X/1999.
2005 You Tube was created and soon afterwards I tried searching anime related stuff on it. Not exactly sure how I found out about Ayashi no Ceres, but it was the first Japanese-speaking English-subtitled (with those ugly big yellow subs) anime I watched. It was pretty logical that Fushigi Yuugi and others followed.
After graduating high school, I got involved in anime forums, where I met Cindy, Neko-kun and other friends. I discovered Crunchyroll and I kept coming back until my region was excluded and the pay-model got adopted. So, steadily other streaming and downloading sites appeared to me, while mangafox and other manga scanlation platforms became the source of my manga ‘supply’. For a short phase I played around with fanfiction.net, too. My otakuness level had seriously increased.
Afterwards, I was initiated in the aniblogosphere and it didn’t take long to make it my new anime ‘home’ instead of the simple-minded, busy and trolling forums. Meanwhile, my relationship with my otaku partner was blooming and developing to something crazy and fun. This lead to the creation of our own blog and to our simultaneously anime watching. Later, I learnt about SCCSAV and tried watching with fellow bloggers though it proved not an easy task with the different mentalities towards anime and moreover with the time difference. Twitter and tumblr also opened new roads of enjoyment of my fandoms and this is the story of why I am here today the way I am. I can only wish that this story will keep expanding and that I’ll be healthy and willing to write down its continuation even at the age of 70 or 80.
For those of you who are dedicated readers of our blog, I am sure you remember our project “Our Genshiken Diaries” I have already described pretty much how I got to be an otaku. So, because repetitions are no good, in this article I will talk more about what anime and manga meant for me in the past and what they mean now.
As a child born in the late 1980’s, my history with anime starts with the golden age of TV animation broadcasts in Greece. I used to watch many shows that were broadcasted at the time and I loved most of them. Since, because of my weak memory, I did not remember the titles and the names of the characters I tried to imagine different storylines for each one of them and I was able to create my own fantasy world. So for me, anime were not just beautiful cartoons I enjoyed but stories that I could think upon.
I do not recall all of the childish worlds I created with anime characters. What I do remember though is that anime functioned as an escape for me. An escape from the sudden awareness that, most of the spectacular things I could fantasize would remain just that -fantasies. For people as introvert as myself, such realization is despicable, thus I am always seeking a source of inspiration to make my own way out of it.
When I reached adulthood, I started reading comic books again. At that time, I had no idea that the origins of anime were Japanese. -for me, they were simple awesome designs telling amazing stories. Then I had the opportunity to come across the first volume of Inuyasha that excited me so much that I decided to start investigating this genre. Soon, I found myself talking to people in bookstores, asking for their recommendations, buying volumes of series like Kare Kano, Gravitation, Immortal Rain and Innocent W. That was the way I became friends with people who shared common interests and got myself open to people my age.
Now, I recall the names of most of the stuff I loved -from “Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind” to “Mahou Shoujo Lalabel” and from “Record of Lodoss War” to “Mahou no Princess Minky Momo” but still, my need to imagine alternative storylines for my favorite characters has not faded. After all, this is the most important aspect of my history with anime/manga; they have always remained a part of me, something that keeps my inspiration deposit full. They are also the reason I got to meet most of my good friends. If one thing has stayed the same after all these years, is the fact that from my dedication as an otaku I have profited to a great extent -mentally and emotionally. All I can say is that I wish for this passionate relationship to go on for the years to come.