Anime

Someone wanted to know how/why I got into all things Japanese, especially giant robots.

I remember getting into anime, knowing it was anime, in the early 90’s with Akira.
I was talking to someone in High School that was wearing an Akira tshirt, and he said I should check it out.
So I did, and I really liked it.
Real dramatic and life changing eh?
Well, that’s where the addiction started to form.

But I think it all really started with Grandizer, or Goldorak, depending on which part of the country I was in at the time.
At the time, it was just a really cool cartoon. Big robots, fights, explosions, what else could a 6 year old want?
It’s possible I watched things like Mazinger(Tranzor) but it’s hard to say.
I do remember Force Five though.
In fact, that’s probably where I saw Grandizer.
This moved onto things like Voltron, G-Force and Transformers.
Ok, so Transformers wasn’t anime, but who cares?

After that, there was a really long lapse until about 93/94. That’s when Akira made the scene.
Sure, I had scene the videos at Blockbuster, but I really didn’t pay attention.
Not that you had a lot to choose from at that point.
What does stand out in memory are Guyver and Bubblegum Crisis.
I loved those series, and still do.
I remember a weekend in Belleville where we rented all the Guyver tapes and then ruined it by getting the live action movie ^_^
Good times.

But even then it was more of a passing interest than anything really hard core.
It was the new thing, that’s about it.

The problems really started in College.
Around that time, anime started to boom in North America, but the selection was still just trickling in.
Anime clubs were the best, and sometimes only, places to watch anything decent.
That’s where I caught Saber Marionet J, and I was taken by anime; hook line and sinker.
Everything else before that was cool, but for some reason this show just pushed me right over the edge.
The music, the action, the comedy, everything about this show was just cool. Really cool.
It was around this time that I started returning to my Giant Robot roots. You don’t hear a lot of people say that…
This would be due to Gundam Wing. It was the new hot thing in 96/97 and everyone was talking about it.
It was also this time when I got into models. During Easter break I wandered into Silver Snail and picked out a gundam model.
Why? Because it was cool.
And nothing says “Rebirth of Christ” like a cool giant robot.

Gundam would become the main subject of my addiction.
All other anime existed, but it was just background noise to Gundam.
I ate breathed and slept Gundam. I knew all the mecha, most of the characters(I’m crap with names) and endevered to watch all the different series.
I started to collect the models and scoured the fan-subbers for tapes.
Sadly, there just wasn’t much to be had.
You would have thought that with it’s huge success in Japan(It would be like Star Trek here) that more then just Wing would be available.
But that just wasn’t the case.

Over the years I watched more and more, and eventually attended my first con.
This just added fuel to the fire and also opened up the merchandise side of anime.
That’s a killer all by itself.

With all due respect, Japan is a country that defines “Consumer Whore”.
If it’s popular, you can make anything out of it.
From models, to magnets, special version game consoles, cards, figurines, apparel, music, movies, books, mags. You name it, you can pretty much get it.
I’ve even seen a Gundam edition laptop for sale. Not to mention chairs in the shape of Gundam hands. And the less said about the HelloKitty vibrator the better.

Moving forward, mostly because the years between college and now are hazy, my love for anime and all things Gundam grew and grew.
Anime Expo was probably the peek of my anime geekiness.
I mean hell, I drove 5000Km just to get to the convention.
And I spent gobs of cash there as well. Far too much in a single sitting.
But those years were the golden years (for me at least) of anime.
Everything was new, and it seemed that in those years, everything was super fantastic as well.
Anime could do no wrong.

Then, as with everything else in my life, I started to get bored of it.
Maybe because it was everywhere and readily accessible that it lost some of it’s luster.
I do hate to say it, but maybe because everyone was into anime, it didn’t feel as special.
Or it could be that it just wasn’t new anymore, and I started to notice the same old patterns in the shows.
They weren’t as fresh as they used to be. It was becoming common. Predictable.

My interest started to wane and level off.
I started to become more selective in what I watched, what I collected.
It might have been that I was unemployed for a year and just couldn’t afford more DVDs or toys or whatever.
The clubs weren’t as fun because I had no one to really go with, and they weren’t showing things I was interested in anyway.

So, where am I?
Well, it’s not a bad time to be hooked on anime.
There’s plenty to choose from and it’s all over the place.
However, while this is good, it’s also really bad.
Why?
Because for every good show(and of course this is relative) there are a billion bad shows.
And for me this is a problem. I don’t want to invest any money on crap. Who does?
Reading the mags helps a little, but a review is just one persons view, and generally isn’t my view.
So I download now.
The internet is the best thing to happen to fan-subs, and if you’re lucky, you can generally get new shows days after they air. Subtitled even.
And for free.
Neato!

So I’m still hooked, I still go to conventions, and I still like to talk about it.
Just not as much as I used to. Unless it’s really fun.
And you know what’s really fun?
Giant Robots!
Why are Giant Robots so fun?
For the same reason being six is fun.

——–

It’s hard for me to describe why the goofy robot shows are so fun.
But as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.
And apparently, YouTube is worth 1.6 billion…
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVUmfGaHra4&mode=related&search=
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nL09DS5bFo
I’d show some Gundam, but there’s just waaaay to much on YouTube.

Buuuut, this isn’t true with all Giant Robot shows.
There was a movement that tried to create realistic robot shows. They were often moody and broody dramas. Yea, the original Gundam was one of these shows.
Now, I’m not saying that these shows are bad. In fact, in terms of plot and complexity, they really rock.
But they’re not goofy six year old fun.

And now I leave you with this.

4 Comments

  1. sidekickca
    ·

    I’m not sure how I did it, but I apparently skipped over all of Robotech.
    I’m trying to catch up now ^_^

    Reply
  2. thinkschematwo
    ·

    I too remember that weekend in Belleville.

    My particular favourite moments in the Guvyer series where the often unexpected, though generally supported by the story, expletive outbursts. Never over the top, but I seem to remember them as something that pulled me out of the story.

    (That and the Sho(?)’s introduction to the bio-armour… 🙂 )

    Wasn’t there also instant coffee and Dr. Pepper in that weekend, or was that another time?

    Reply
  3. sidekickca
    ·

    I think that was the same weekend.
    I remember that experiment going…poorly ^_^

    Not that it stopped me from trying again mind you.

    Head-butt the thing on the ground; still the best way to become a super-hero if I ever saw it.
    I just hope the remake is as good. I have it all downloaded just haven’t watched it yet.

    Reply

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