It's hard to believe that for nearly 20 years I've been watching Anime in some form. While it's not as prominent on US TV as it once was it is still a big thing in the US. 19 Years ago memorial day weekend it began for me when on Sci Fi channel I saw this hot red head chick in all sorts of random destruction. This Movie was called Project A-ko and it unknowingly changed my life. I was 12 at the time hormones were kicking in and something about those anime bitches allured me. Though I did not know it I had been exposed to Anime before, A childhood favorite, Maple Town a show I don't even remember but my mother does was Anime. Before that I had read about Dragon Ball Z and Sailor Moon games in EGM and UK Magazines Software ECT used to carry. Gaming will always tie into Anime I don't think without games a lot of us that watch Anime would be watching.,
Over the last 19 years I've seen many classics, From watching Toonami and seeing Gundam Wing (a show that bores me to tears now), Dragaon Ball Z, Outlaw Star, Tenchi Muyo, Sailor Moon, Ronin Warriors, Big O and of course Adult Swim and Cowboy Bebop a show that will never stop airing on US TV. Tech TV's Anime Unleashed introduced me to the great Serial Experiments Lain. Most of those shows became staples on my end some have not and others I need to grab on Blu Ray. Other Greats like Excel Saga, The Wallflower,Hellsing, Trigun, Evangelion, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Gurran Lagaan, FLCL, Ghost in the Shell and Ninja Scroll I discovered on my own. My Short time with the Brown University Anime Club introduced to me to X, GTO, Fullmetal Alchemist, The AMAZING Last Exile (one of the best), Genshiken, and the World of Studio Ghibli.
This weekend is Anime Boston, which this year I chose not to attend due to just how awkward it would be spending a day in the building across the street from where the 2[sup]nd[/sup] bomb at the Boston Marathon went off security in the Hynes convention center ALREADY had a stick up it's ass, I can't imigine what they'd be like now. However I've had a lot of fun attending these not with friends but with my Father. Not because I have no friends to go with but because Anime was something we discovered together So yearly convention trips became a staple in 2003 when Anime Boston became a thing. My Father and I both grew to appreciate Cosplays together The Art of the AMV, We've seen the Pillows in concert and Taiko Drummers Sadly, neither of us have witnessed wardrobe Malfunctions. For the love of all that is holy can some Mai or Yoko Cosplayer PLEASE HAVE A WARDROBE MALFUNCTION! Through going to conventions I discovered Artbooks and a whole manor of other things plus it really showed me how expansive and broad and genre bending the Anime culture in this country is. So while going this year would be awkward I can't talk about my 20 years of Anime fandom without mentioning Anime Boston. But I also need to give a shout out ot Connecticon when I don't go to Anime Boston, I go to Connecticon which really brings the concept of an Americanized Anime con to a whole different level as it does genre bend.
Wardrobe malfunction PLZ
From Anime cons we now go to Anime Clubs. After attending my first Anime Boston I felt the need to start my own Anime Club, social media did not QUITE exist in the form it does now but I did manage to find a few people interested in Anime to chat with in my area. It was in this manor that I met my best friend and Yin to my Yang Candis in the 10 years I've known her we've had a strange STRANGE relationship while her friends, and Cousins I've met didn't QUITE work out the in the same manor (obsessiveness due to anxiety can be a bitch) She and I have somehow remained friends all this time despite the fact she and I are near polar opposites. She remains the only friend through my Anime Club years I've retained. When my own anime club didn't pan out I started attending Brown University Anime club showings instead,. It was here I discovered some all time favorites especially ESPECIALLY GTO oh how I love Onizuka's tatics. One of the best nights though was my impromptu initiation of a Soul Calibur 2 Tournament in one of the large classrooms the showings were hosted at dozens of Brown students would flood this unassuming room in the Brown Barus and Holly building to watch six people duke it out in Soul Calibur 2 and Street Fighter III 3[sup]rd[/sup] Strike, great times. Nothing of course lasts forever In 2006 I believe a young Hmong refugee from Minnesota showed her self. This girl was cute REALLY CUTE very out going and friendly, but scheming and two faced underneath it all. She was the first wedge between me and my friend Dylan. She didn't like my sense of humor at ALL and didn't mind telling me off when she could. Eventually she became VP of the Brown Anime club and because of her vindictiveness and fact she just did not like me, made up a bunch of lies to ban me from all showings. How? Well she's a two faced bitch how else by harassing my mother at work that's how. I had access to these showing due to my mother's employment at Brown. That I should point out. So rather than taking up any issues with me personally a grown ass man by the way she decides to show she has not matured past high school by informing my Mother of my banishment and not me directly. And so due to a two face vindictive cute as all hell Hmong girl. My Days with an Ivy League School's anime club came to an end. Seriously ya'll this girl was cute. She's long since graduated and in theory I COULD start attending again, BUT really a 31 year old man at a University Anime club? REALLY would that not strike people as strange?
I probably could keep going on but what you really want to know is probably what in my 20 years have I watched that really stands out? What does a grizzled Anime Vet recommend for the kid who only knows Bleach and Naruto? Well You're about to find out like NOW!
- Hip Hop and Samurai, Heart and Humor and a rag tag group of 3 on a Journey to find the Sunflower Samurai. Fuu is as annoying as she is loveable, Mugen is the Hothead and Jin, not only looks like me but also kinda looks like me too. This is a show that like Cowboy Bebop which this show shares a director and a large about of staff, covers a lot of ground in 26 episodes.
Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood
- I HATED the original series HATED IT. Ed was a whiny little bitch, The Antagonists weren't paticularly detestable it took jabs at religion that weren't necessary and the ending was unsatisfying and left everything unresolved. But people for some reason still love it. Perhaps seeing money in an unadapted Manga or just to resolve those issues a second crack at Fullmetal Alchemist was done and Brotherhood is everything the Original isn't. It's odd that one of my least favorite animes has a second series that is one of my favorites if not my new all time favorite. From the music (I find it quite fitting the theme for the first few episodes is called Again) To the characters who all play a part in the story, no filler here. To the structure of the story that explores this interesting world to an ending which some may find Cliche is still very satisfying, there's just something for everyone in this redux of Fullmetal Alchemist. Even people who want nudity will be happy...Winry has a bath scene!
- Like Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood Last Exile runs the range of a little bit for everyone, it's not as fresh in my head as FMAB but my recolection of it is a magical world with likeable characters great music and a satisfying ending. The End wasn't The End a 2[sup]nd[/sup] Series was made and will make it's US Debut in the fall. I for one can't wait!
GTO: Great Teacher Onizuka
- ONIZUKA!!!!!! I was around the age of The title character when I first saw Great Teacher Onizuka. (that'd be 22) It goes as this, Guy wishes to be teacher, TO GET LAID, becomes teacher, gets a class of misfits, having been a misfit himself he connects with them eventually and hijinks ensue. This show has a lot of heart is is often overlooked due to a few factors. One is that it never aired on us TV. Two Tokyo pop distributed it and it didn't get a ton of exposure due to Tokyo pop only really being known for Manga and Three It's been out of print for ages save for a brief Funimation run. BUT this fall GTO returns care of the masters of old Anime reissues Discotek Media. You'd be wise to check it out.
Excel Saga/ The Wallflower
- Nabeshin the master of batshit insane Anime. Excel Saga is, I can't even describe the plot changes from episode to episode as Excel and Hyatt and crew try to conquor the world Pinky and the Brain style with a new scheme every episode and uh......BATSHIT CRAZY. If you do check it out track down the out of print ADV release as it has extras and cultural notes so you understand the batshit insanity. The Wallflower is a batshit insane version of She's all that in Anime form. In exchange for free rent a group of 4 overly attractive guys must turn their rich land lady's neice into a proper lady. When she turns out to be a goth loving social outcast not interested in being lady like it, turns into a challenge. Of coruse she is very attractive but the show rarely plays it up portraying her as what you kids would call Chibi style. It's still just as batshit insane as Excel Saga.
High School of the Dead
- Probably the most refreshing Anime of the last few years. It's a short 13 episode Anime cliche’s meet Walking dead show. YES it is overtly fans ervice as the girl's breasts seem to have in the wake of a Zombie apocalypse decided to obey their own laws of gravity and Physics. But it still is a very sastifying character driven unique take on the boring ass Zombie Genre. If you like Walking Dead and Anime. High School of the dead needs to be seen.
Others I don't have time to write up about
Ghost in the Shell
Vampire Hunter D
Hokuto no Ken
Apologies as usual for any spelling and grammatical errors. Never was my strong point.