For the last 17 years of my life I have been a hardcore anime fan. The point of this article series is to give you guys a little more insight on myself as well as how the anime fandom has changed and how my own personal view on anime has evolved. This first part will cover the VHS era or what is better known as “The Dark Ages”. But before we get into all that I want to go into a little of my personal background.
First and foremost I AM A CARTOONIST, I did study in art school and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design. Outside of some minor freelance work I am currently planning to go back to school to get certified in Web Design. So my strong interest in animation was ingrained in me from birth (as well as my love of Smurfs, yes, I am blogging SMURFS the entire series and all the movies, TV specials, and whatever I could get my hands on). Growing up as a child I loved the classic Hanna- Barbara cartoons, Disney, Warner Brothers, pretty much if it was animated on TV I watched it.
Back in those early days I watched a lot of Nickelodeon, especially Nick Jr. It would come to later be known that this particular channel would set-up my love for anime. During the 80’s Saban would buy several anime series and air them on Nick Jr. Remember Fairy Tale Theater? Maya the Bee? Blinky the Koala? Noozles? Maple Town? These shows are obscure now but back then they were the backbone of Nick’s morning to afternoon programming. Of course I didn’t know they were anime at the time but this was the 80’s and a lot of stuff was outsourced to Japanese studios. Care Bears, Heathcliff, Inspector Gadget all had Japanese studios work on the series.(Ironically all helmed by…gasp…DIC ANIMATION, the people who originally brought Sailor Moon to America). If I had to trace back my love for anime it all started here. I didn’t know it was anime, heck, I didn’t know it was from Japan but these were the earliest examples. Oh yeah, I was also into Transformers…’nuff said.
The next little push to the edge was my love for Voltron. To be honest I barely watched the TV show, and the dubbing was horrendous but what pre-Nintendo child wouldn’t love a transforming robot toy combined from smaller robots (mind you, when I got the dern thing I think it had a few wires that weren’t “child safe”)? Voltron planted the seed that Power Rangers would later cultivate (Yes, I was 13 years old and into Power Rangers…mainly for the cute guys. Tee Hee ^_^;). Power Rangers was a fun show but it also pioneered my curiosity about Japan. Still, Power Rangers wasn’t the lone culprit in this happening, it was also my love of video games. It was Nintendo that got me into the anime verse, wetting my palette, and teasing my soul. Think about those early “Legend of Zelda” manuals, you know, the ones with all the faux anime artwork. Even the lyrical weirdness of Mario which was Alice in Wonderland meet blue collar worker had a role in this. Back during those days the now defunct EGM often spoke of games from Japan that would never see the light of day here. One often mentioned was that of Ranma ½, and it all went south from there…