Exactly one year ago, I watched a Studio Ghibli film and fell in love with anime. I’m so glad I keep a film diary, otherwise I would not even be aware of this wonderful anniversary! 😀 I’m so excited about this milestone…for so many reasons which can’t fit into one post. So, to celebrate during the upcoming two weeks, I’m going to write special posts about me and anime! I have at least five posts planned, with my post series “A Weekend Flick” and “Tuesday Tunes” to join in the celebration as well! I hope you’ll celebrate with me too, like these cuties! XD
Today’s post is a look back on my journey into anime, a sappy, fun, chronological look at the last year or so of my life.
In July of 2013, in less than four days, I marathoned Death Note with the English dub. “But wait, Jamie, that’s two years ago, not one!” Very true. How on earth did I watch Death Note and not get hooked?! Death Note was strange, the animation was different but beautiful, and the story dark and mature: I couldn’t gobble it down fast enough! It was a thrilling marathon, I can tell you that much!
But then it ended and I didn’t watch another piece of anime for a year–for several reasons. The animation style was very different for me. The Japanese culture was strange and foreign. I was not at ALL interested in watching anything with subtitles. I remember the characters rarely blinked their large eyes, which unnerved me a tad. I made the list long. XD
My best friend–you know him as James the Reviewer–having been hooked by Death Note at the same time, blogged a lot of anime reviews after that….and I sat for a whole year and read them as a good friend does, seeing gifs of Fate/Zero and Psycho-Pass and Welcome to the NHK as time passed.
2013 into 2014 is actually quite important to my story, because over that period of time I slowly got comfortable to the art style–my biggest put-off. The huge eyes got less and less foreign and the Japanese culture became less weird-ish. James’ blog kept me consistently exposed to medium…
It was Studio Ghibli which broke me, the wonderful Disney dubbing with familiar actors being perfect for a newbie. In June of 2014, James bugged me to borrow Whisper of the Heart until I finally put it in my Netflix queue. It was being shipped to me when I saw a DVD copy of The Secret Life of Arrietty at the library… and out of an impulse, I grabbed it. On June 12th, alone in my room during a hot afternoon, I watched it on my laptop.
Simply put–Arrietty WOWed me. I watched Whisper of the Heart as soon as it arrived and I bawled my eyes out from happiness; the seal-the-deal film was the “new at the time” masterpiece, The Wind Rises. I cried through that too and marveled: “Anime is amazing!”
For the rest of the summer, I combed my library for anime films and began eating my way through them. I was very lucky to have James throwing suggestions at me because I would have missed some great films. This is how I saw Paprika and Perfect Blue as a new born. I WATCHED SATOSHI KON MOVIES AS AN ANIME BEGINNER AND I REALLY LIKED THEM. I only know now that this is a little unusual for a female fan to get started in anime. But hey, I’ve always loved mind benders and thrillers, so it really was a good fit.
And I actually guessed the culprit of Perfect Blue. I felt very smart after that. 😛 (Of the strange movies I first watched, Spirited Away honestly weirded me out the most… XD )
This was right before my 20th birthday–so I bought myself many Studio Ghibli movies as birthday presents–they are some of my most prized possessions.
When I had exhausted my library, I turned to Netflix. I rewatched Death Note, and then Psycho-Pass and Ouran High School Host Club and Fate/Zero and Welcome the NHK. I watched Princess Jellyfish on a whim…and it remains my favorite anime series to this day.
In the fall, I dabbled hesitantly with subbed shows until the 2014 comedy Gugure! Kokkuri-san broke my prejudice–the dialogue was so hysterical because of the subtitles, which really helped me adjust to reading and watching at the same time. Nowadays I eat subs for breakfast–though I still prefer my action shows in English, so I can completely soak in the motion.
Thanks to Kokkuri-san, Kohina, and all the ridiculous comedy that happened each week during the fall, I adapted seasonal (week-to-week) viewing, which I still do today!
During the last months of 2014, I needed to a place to write anime, as my original blog just wouldn’t work… I made the hefty decision to create a second blog and jumped into aniblogging with Jamie Talks Anime. Through the Winter 2015 season, I began blogging my opinions and reviews and then my own blog series on anime films and anime soundtracks!
Currently, I have written over 60 posts, gained 32 special followers, read 112 wonderful comments, and gained over 2500 page views! Not bad for being the new kid on the block! ❤
I want to say thank you to James here, too, as he’s been an awesome mentor the past year; he’s explained the Japanese culture and language to me before I could even be confused. I had and still have a large advantage of getting a more experienced viewer for a guide on what could be a difficult, dangerous slope to climb. This is why I often refer to James as Sensei here on my blog, because he really is my Otaku “teacher”. podcast with him. How many “first years” can say they get to do that!?
I feel very lucky!
It’s funny looking back at a year of my life and seeing myself in time. Somehow I managed to do all this while seeing through the end of my parent’s bloody divorce, and studying for, then passing three different parts of my GED test!
And I’m such a rookie, even now. I still have so much to learn about the culture, and so many big name anime to watch, and manga to sample–I can’t wait to look back at this post in a year and laugh “HA. Beginner. What did you even know.” 😀
So, this is an anniversary worth celebrating to me! Have a slice of cake, because today is a happy day! And keep your eyes peeled for more celebratory posts!
So what about you, my wonderful readers? What was your first year of anime (or manga, or otaku life in general) like for you? What got you into anime? Did you grow up with Sailor Moon or Pokemon or Ghibli? Did you discover it as a teenager or as a young adult, like myself? What’s an early anime (or manga) that you read that remains a favorite to this day? I’d love to hear all about it!