In a post I did a little while back about recommendations, several people who replied mentioned someone who was their ‘anime sensei’ so to speak. It got me thinking, all of us had to have a gateway into anime, and perhaps several gateways into different parts of the anime culture. You may have learned some stuff on your own, but I think a lot of us have someone who taught us all about anime culture (even if they didn’t really mean to.) I’m interested in knowing: Who was your anime sensei?
I owe my fandom largely to two of my older cousins – Funeral, and a much older counterpart who was to him basically what he was to me. The elder cousin introduced us formally to ‘anime’ with Ninja Scroll, and it just so happened that only a couple of weeks after we saw Ninja Scroll, Adult Swim was born and the revolutionary Cowboy Bebop started airing. Funeral and I were instant anime addicts and we both did plenty of research, though I wasn’t nearly as good at it as he was and most of what I knew came as hand-me-downs from him. In those early days, though, I didn’t so much have a sensei as I was one.
There was a kid who went to my bus stop in seventh grade who happened to show up with Inuyasha vol. 4 one day. I started talking to him about it and realized that he didn’t really know all that much about anime or what exactly he was reading. I immediately loaned him the first volume of Naruto (a limited edition one which the bastard creased the cover on, but I digress.) I got this guy hugely into anime, and it was cool because he had a lot of money and would buy series that I hadn’t seen yet. I moved away and haven’t spoken to him in at least 5 years except for once when I found him to be really into anime still. I can’t help but wonder how far he ended up going.
As you may know, I largely got out of anime between 2004 and 2007, and what got me back into anime was mostly my return to reading Megatokyo and exploration of it’s forums. At the time, Haruhi was huge, so I watched that and realized I wanted to get back into anime. I luckily arrived just in time for the AGP (which is about to start this year! Fuck yeah!) which gave me lots of great stuff, and I also picked up on people talking about current shows – I’ve gone through all this before, though.
There were a few people I could call an ‘anime sensei’ even though I don’t think any of them really made an effort to be such a thing to me. The first was Dagger from Otakuboards, the super-cool admin who was pretty much the only one on the site that knew anything at all about anime. She gave me tons of great suggestions and was the first to teach me about Revolutionary Girl Utena among many others. Then, from Megatokyo forums, I was equally influenced by Omo (who finally seems to be acknowledging my existence more) and Wildarmsheero (who has continuously put more effort into ignoring me completely.)
Omo has a way with words (i.e. I can’t understand a damn thing he says) but also importantly he is the super-cool mod of MTF. I don’t know why, but I’ve always really looked up to super-cool forum mods, so Omo always kind of looked like a king to me or something. Anyway, I learned many, many things about how to see anime from different angles and appreciate shows for different reasons than I might ordinarily. Studying his favorites list and following his (inadvertent) recommendations introduced me to a good chunk of my favorite shows. At some point, I created a list of all of his and dm’s (who you may know from writing on Drastic My Anime Blog) favorites list and decided that those were all of the shows I absolutely had to watch, and that list too carried me a good distance.
As for Wildarmsheero, he was great for helping me discover the depths of anime obsession and all of the wacky things it could bring. He was a lolicon pervert who wasn’t afraid to talk about dakimakura, doujinshi, and more, which I guess showed me that I didn’t need to be afraid of them. I think between reading him and watching Genshiken is what made my otaku balls drop and got me to be the full-throttle whacked-out fan that I am. It also helped that WAH and I had a lot of similar tastes, and often in things that other people didn’t like, so he kind of validated my appreciation of those things. Unfortunately, wah has always hated me and still hates me, even though I still admire him and agree with most of what he says.
That about covers all of the people who taught me about anime watching itself. I’ve had many, many more blogging sensei in the past couple of years, but as far as anime itself goes, I generally just have a lot more information than most of the people I talk to, and I do a hell of a lot of research to keep on top of things. In the meantime, I’ve played minor anime sensei roles to many others, most notably my 12 year-old brother who is quickly becoming as big a fan as anyone. I’m pretty excited to see how far he’ll come in his fandom over the years.
So, that’s my story – now tell me yours – who was your anime sensei?