Saturday, March 27, 2010

Anime Industry Then and Now Section 1: The VHS Era Part 3: Anime on TV, Blockbuster, and Anime Clubs! Oh My!

At this point in my life I was still in high school, not very socially conscious (I mean I had friends but I didn’t have the whole fixation on being “liked” which would come later and tie directly into why I REALLY identify with Evangelion…no…this blog is not going to get that personal just giving you guys a feel for where I was at, at the time). While I wouldn’t call myself a geek (I am an ARTIST!) I was definitely in the comic fan pool of things. My interests in anime during the later half of my 10th grade year continued to grow over that spring/summer as I used my dad’s blockbuster rental account to rent things like Akira, Project A-ko, Fist of the North Star, and even the now obscure Rumic World videos. All of these had dubs that were varying degrees of odd to just plain bad but still, through Nostalgia Goggles, iconic. I also started going to this anime club Manna Anime which had screenings at a library the next town over (where I lived everything was a small set of not-quite-suburbs/not-quite-city communities). This set up my first exposure to a certain anime called, Bishojo Senshi Sailor Moon.

Now I was exposed to Sailor Moon in a funky way and had it not been for the way this occurred I might not have gotten into the series at the time I did. My anime club decided to show episodes 44-45 of the first season. For those of you not in the know, 44 goes into explicit detail of the main characters secret past life, while 45 is the next to last episode of the first season when all the Sailor Senshi (sans Sailor Moon) die. I was very turned off by Usagi/Sailor Moon’s personality, I didn’t get why the animation went from simplistic to detailed (whenever they transform or attack), and I was more than happy when they killed off the Sailors one by one. About a month later DIC Animation did a sneak peak of the dub on Fox Kids Saturday morning. Remembering the show I wanted to see how awful the dubbing and editing was, what surprised me was that their sneak peak was of the first episode of the second season (more commonly know as Sailor Moon R). At this point, all the characters had been revived and lost all their memories, and it was the start of new arc. So to review, I caught this series in Japanese toward the end of Season One where they all got killed, THEN I got exposed to the first episode of the Season Two, THEN by the fall when DIC premiered the series from episode one I began watching the show JUST to see how all the characters got to the point I was exposed to at. Unfortunately that was the point of no return as I gradually got more and more into the show, which paralleled me getting badly subtitled, horrible video fan subs of the later seasons from Manna Anime (“There’s lesbianism in the later seasons! Cool!”).

Rewinding the clock back a bit, right before Sailor Moon premiered in the fall towards the end of summer at 6 AM I saw this old 80’s show that I originally thought was Robotech. I would soon find out it was a “new” show titled Ronin Warriors. Dubbed, once again, by the Ocean Group (and pretty much voiced by everybody who was in Ranma) this series was just a nice visual treat and good appetizer for the next Ocean dub show that would premiere Sundays in the Fall. I speak of DRAGONBALL. Now this is the original Dragonball where Funimation began their venture into the anime industry by editing and dubbing the first 13 episodes of the original series. It was a ratings bomb, but instead of throwing in the towel the next fall they skipped the remaining 140 episodes and went straight to Dragonball Z. DBZ was a minor ratings success and right at the beginning of my college days Season Two aired at 6 in the morning (much to roommate’s annoyance). But in my late high school days I was amazed to see a series that one year introduced the main character as a little boy went right to showing him as a full grown adult with a family of his own that in itself, was epic. Around this period of time I began frequenting comic book conventions where anything that had Sailor Moon, Ranma, and Dragonball on it I picked up. The end result is now I had two more long running series under my belt I had intended to finish whether or not the American broadcast was going on.

Up Next: Exposure to Miyazaki, Pioneer, and How Evangelion Would Define the Beginning of College


  1. "Sailor Moon" is on my list of anime I should watch. I'm passing on Dragonball stuff (I'm too old). Strangely enough, I don't think I've heard of "Ronin Warriors."

  2. Actually you're never too old for Dragonball. Seriously, I'm 30, and I still love the show. I also feel its no more juvenile than Urusei Yatsura and Inuyasha can be at times.

    To me Ronin Warriors (called Yoriden Samurai Troopers in Japan) is a lot like Saint Seiya with better developed personalities and a more linear sense of storytelling.

    Going to warn you with Sailor Moon, if you start from Season One most of the early episodes are a trial to get through. After the first 13 the direction of the show improved tremendously.