12 October 2011
My History with Anime
Fellow blogger Nopy has started a project back in February encouraging like-minded bloggers to share their own histories on watching anime. Many have shared their colourful experiences on it, and how anime has become part of their life now.
My history is nothing as amazing as those I have read so far, but I thought I will give this project a shot and share my story out. My childhood memory is pretty vague now, but I will do my best to put together the fragmented pieces to a picture of some sort.
For many years Hong Kong has been submersed in a lot of Japanese media, so watching anime, tokusatsu, or reading manga have been something that many people have shared in their childhood, and perhaps into their adulthood too. That being said, I actually don't get exposed to them as much as many other Hongkongers have. There were no particular reasons as for why this was so, but I remember that watching TV was not something I do very often, even back in childhood. Most things I have watched really early on were those I watched with my sister, rather than just by myself.
I can't remember what the first anime series I've watched back then (it may have been Princess Knight that I have watched with my sister), but I think Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid was the first anime film I have watched on a video tape, which follows closer to the original story unlike Disney's adaptation. I remember I was never able to hold my tears back by the end of the film.
While I have glimpse through a few odd episodes of various anime series on local TV network, Doraemon remains to be the one I've watched and read the most in my early childhood. The variety of gadgets/tools Doraemon has, the distinctive personalities of each character, and overall family-friendliness of this franchise is really appealing, and Doraemon is still one of my favourite characters to this day. I still have the 45 volumes of short story manga in my shelf.
I have watched a few Ghibli films back then on VCD, such as Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, and Laputa: Castle in the Sky. The music composed by Joe Hisaishi is still some of my favourite music even to this day. Among the Ghibli films I have watched, Graveyard of the Fireflies was surely one of the most profound one, and even though I have only watched it once it is one of the few movies that gives a vivid and stark image of war in my mind.
Around mid to late 90s, me and my sister have started to become more interested in watching anime, and like many people this was started with the more well known ones, such as Gundam Wing, followed by Rurouni Kenshin and Neon Genesis Evangelion. Other less well known ones include Yu Yu Hakusho, Fushigi Yugi, Hoshin Engi. Hoshin Engi was also one of the very few long manga series that I have read and actually finished. This was considered one of the peak times when we both watched a lot of anime I suppose.
Most of the 2000s had been a gap of some sort where I have very little contact with animation in general. It was also the time I have slowly reformed my interest in military, and mostly in WWII. It was in the late 2000s a fellow Hongkonger has tried to reintroduce me back into anime with series such as Gundam SEED, and Fullmetal Alchemist, as well as some of the older series such as the original Cyber Formula TV series (I have watched the 4 OVAs beforehand with my sister), Slam Dunk and Dragon Ball GT (though admittedly I have paid very little attention to the Dragon Ball series despite its worldwide popularity).
It was shortly after that I have then finally started to watch some of the series by myself, with some of the really popular series at recent times such as Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu, Shakugan no Shana, and Fate/stay night. They are a few examples along with the Gundam franchise and Evangelion where they have been heavily promoted for merchandise, and it appears that it is becoming more common for more series nowadays, but this is another discussion to be made in another place at another time.
This was the time shortly before I take up blogging again, and it was about the time when Gundam 00 started airing I begin to follow anime series as they start to air. With the aid of blogging network and the availability of the Internet watching anime, or choosing what to watch, has become much easier than it has been in the past.
And from then onwards is where I am now... I suppose.
If you are nosy into what I have watched and see what I like, you can always have a look at my anime list. You can easily tell what kind of series I like as well too. I tend to like series that are bound to be serious (e.g. Gundams, Fullmetal Alchemist etc.), while comedy or slice of life are usually not what I would watch or that I would find myself hard to enjoy.
So what can I say about the anime I have watched all these years?
There is a clear trend of what I have watched from those geared towards children, and later for teenagers, and later those that are a bit more complex. This is a change of sign in age, but perhaps also what anime is trying to do these days, from back then having a clear theme and point of what they want to do, to something that has become muddier and sometimes perhaps even "pointless". It's not surprising that a lot of people have yearn for things in the past, though now and then there are some gems that pop up now and then, but it is perhaps less obvious than what it has been for the past decade or two.
As long as there are still nice gems out there, there's still hope. While I don't watch anime as much as I have used to nowadays, I will still watch some as long as there are some that may pique my interest.
I do want to thank Nopy for making this project and get everyone to share out their history of watching anime. I have left this article backlogged for too long, but I am glad that I did manage to write it up at the end, despite the fact that the project was started more than half a year ago ^^; It's an intereting feeling to try and recall what one has done in the past and recollect them like putting puzzle pieces together. If you are interested, do check out others' histories as well, or even share your own!