It all started when I was around four or five. I watched the cartoon Tranzor Z religiously and was intrigued by it. I later moved on to acquire a second addiction…the Thundercats. Now that I think about it though, I can’t remember which came first for me, Tranzor Z or the Thundercats. I remember watching Voltron and being fascinated with every episode even though the animators would use some of the same scenes over and over again. Though I didn’t know it at the time, many of these cartoon greats that I loved so much were animated by Japanese artists. I don’t really consider these true animes, but it was the precursor to the anime I would start watching later.
The first real anime I ever watched was Akira when I was 12 or 13 years old. It was SO different than any other cartoon I had ever seen. The characters were darker, that what I was used to, the situations seemed so much more serious…needless to say, it wasn’t a family cartoon. I didn’t care that I couldn’t understand the story (I still don’t understand it fully…18 years later), Akira really whet my appetite. The next anime I remember seeing was Little Nemo the Dream Master. I remembered playing the Nintendo game over a friends house before, and thought…why not? I liked it even more than Akira because the story was simple. In late high school I was exposed to one of the most macabre cartoons I had ever seen, Ninja Scroll. This was the most brutal anime that I had ever watched, but the story was amazingly good and the character and animation were so well done. After watching Ninja Scroll, the floodgates opened and anime became a pretty normal thing for me. I watched some of the many Street Fighter anime variations, Yu Yu Hakusho, Cowboy Bebop, Trigun, and more.
I don’t know why, but the anime stories can be quite addictive. I am currently into the Naruto Shippuden series, which is extremely cool (except for the current filler episodes), and watch it every week. I want to try watching other animes, but lately I don’t because I don’t want another series to sink it’s evil hooks into my brain. I highly recommend watching at least one episode of an anime because they are such a big part of Japanese culture, but caveat emptor (buyer beware) if you’re not careful that small bit of nerd/geek that resides in us all could completely take over you.