Despite Carl Macek's unfortunate passing the show must go on...
Animania made me sick of their anti-dub stance. During my first year my exposure of Fushigi Yugi (subtitled) finally took head and I got into the entire series. Toward the end of the year I also got into Galaxy Express 999 (thanks to Viz dubbing the movies…WHICH NEVER GOT A DVD RELEASE!). My second year expanded my tastes as, along with Pokemon, I officially got into Slayers (dubbed), Key the Metal Idol (dubbed), Utena (dubbed but later switched to sub, dub vs. sub article explains it all), Rurouni Kenshin (subbed, but got into the dub during the DVD era). The reason I’m mentioning what language I got into these series is because I want people to get an idea of how I get exposed to anime but to tie into the next part of my exposure.
As stated, the University of Michigan anime club Animania had a very strong anti-dub stance at the time. What I mean by this is, I can understand if an anime club chooses to screen all their shows in Japanese and that is fine, but when I was watching stuff at Kodocha and Manna Anime they never went out of their way to put down the existence of the dubbed version of a show. I have to admit, this was all pre-Cowboy Bebop where dubs were still not solidified as being good but still I don’t think you have to snipe on the English version of a show EVERY TIME you want to show the Japanese version. During one of their suggestion polls I made an anonymous remark that maybe they could tone it down and focus more on what made the show good in general. I believe they made a public announcement defending that by showing the Japanese version they were giving anime fans the closest thing to how the series should have been seen. Oddly enough, the dub bashing stopped after they made that statement.
Animania, did however got me into Irresponsible Captain Tylor that year (1998) and Cardcaptor Sakura the following year. 1998-1999 is the year that began building the foundation for the Anime Boom. Disney began dubbing the Ghibli Films starting in 1998 with Kiki’s Delivery Service and then the following year released Princess Mononoke in limited release in theaters. 1999 is also the year I got into Digimon, the series often accused of being “a Pokemon rip-off”. Digimon had a lot of things that Pokemon did not, I got into the series during the popular Digimon Adventure (Season 1) “Eighth Child Saga” which drew me into the realistic settings and the fact that characters actually have tragic backstories and DIE! I mean, I was still into Pokemon at the time but Digimon was a far more dramatic show. Later on that year would see the release of both Pokemon: The Movie which had a series of “build-up” episodes in the television show before the release of the movie (ironically we actually did this better than Japan who made said episodes AFTER the movie came out). From what I can tell Pokemon was the highest grossing anime movies released and this set up the upcoming Anime Boom era (and just so you know, Digimon was the Sixth Highest which was just below Spirited Away…which got an Academy Award).