Yumeka asks ‘How many favorite anime have you gone through?‘ I reply, ‘a lot.’ It’s funny, you’d actually think that I would have written about this before, and I talked about some very similar things when I wrote the Roadmap to My Anime Fandom and the explanation of Why I Love Magical Girl Shows, but I’ve never outright chronicled the progression of my favorite shows. So, naturally, I have to. I also think it’s interesting how mine and Yumeka’s cross paths a lot.
The Early Era – This was when I was first finding out about anime (though I didn’t know Pokemon was anime until years of watching). During this time, I became an anime fan to the extreme, but I only knew about the shows that were on Cartoon Network, and a few movies that Funeral owned on VHS.
Recall, if you will, that was born in 1991 – I was only 7 years old when the Pokemon crazy hit America, and I bit hard. Maybe all the Power Rangers and Godzilla of years before had buttered me up for Japanese crazes from early childhood hehe. Unlike most fads, though, I never got out of Pokemon. You have to call it an obsession – had I known then what I know now, I would have called myself a ‘Pokemon otaku.’ My family had all the games, all the toys, all the clothes, about 10,000 (not exaggerating) of the damn cards – my whole damn world revolved around Pokemon. I was into it long after it was cool, and I got picked on for it too. And I didn’t even care, went right on loving it – I’m telling you man, the otakudom was born early! I knew that Pokemon was a Japanese franchise for quite a while, and as early as then I had a dream of going to Japan just to be able to buy Pokemon merchandise. We even subscribed to Nintendo Power magazine because of some Pokemon-related subscription deal and I became a massive Nintendo fanboy because of the affiliation. Once I found out what ‘anime’ I of course found out Pokemon was anime, though I did have a hard time really classifying it that way, since it was less of a ‘show’ and really more like a ‘lifestyle.’
As a child, I feared anything violet, dark, or deep. That is, until Ninja Scroll and shows like Samurai Jack taught me how awesome violence was. I actually caught the first episodes of Cowboy Bebop the first time they aired when Adullt Swim was first created. I had no idea what it was, though, and it really shocked me at the end of the first episode when the woman shot her boyfriend and went off to die – I certainly hadn’t seen that coming. However, when Funerl found out about anime and started watching Adult Swim, it didn’t take long for CB to become all of our favorite because it had both action and comedy done perfectly. Episodes like the ones with Ed and Ein were my favorites alongside episodes with major fights. There were a handfull of episodes that bored the hell out of me back then, but the good stuff and the sheer love I had for Spike and Ed kept the show as my favorite even when I saw more lighthearted shows like Yu Yu Hakusho.
My Yu-Gi-Oh obsession, though, was more like my Pokemon one, in that it wasn’t so much associated with being my ‘favorite anime’ as just being a really awesome franchise. I got into it by chance, too – when my family had moved, we couldn’t get cable for like a month, and all I had to watch after school was WB, which aired Yu-Gi-Oh! around 4PM every day. I quickly got into it, and it wasn’t long before my brother and I were buying up asstons of cards and playing matches. I never lost. I always cheated and played mind games with my brother to win, which I sort of credit with instilling an addiction to strategy games and psychoanalysis later in life. I can even thank Yu-Gi-Oh for introducing me to the internet, as I was a member of some forum for the series. One of my primary passwords is even still the Yu-gi-Oh inspired one I had from back then lol. Yu-gi-Oh ended up being more of a fad, in that I’m not still totally into it like I am Pokemon, but nonetheless I haven’t stopped enjoying all the aspects of the series (yes, including the show.)
I’m kind of cheating here, because I don’t know that I ever considered X my ‘favorite anime’ – I would mentally separate series and movies, so X would have only been called my favorite anime movie, but I do remember thinking that I enjoyed it as much as a favorite series. It’s odd, too, since X was pretty different from most of the stuff I liked back then, and I even didn’t care for most of the trippy scenes – I actually never understood the plot of the movie back then. I purely liked it for the violence and action scenes (I know, such a shallow kid.) Might help, too, that X was one of the very first anime that Funeral ever bought (on VHS no less) and at the time was probably the most intense thing I’d ever witnessed. I remember that for a very long time, the moment wherein Kamui implodes one of the Dragons of Earth was my favorite scene in any anime.
I had to confirm this by reading through some of my hundreds of lists, but apparently there was a bit of time where I liked Inu-Yasha even more than Cowboy Bebop. It’s pretty easy to see why, though – Inu-Yasha had fighting in almost every episode and a main character who was an arrogant badass AKA everything a 12 year-old wants. Also, there was the insanely awesome Sesshomaru. You could really say that it was to me what DBZ was to most guys – I always hated seeing big muscley dudes, probably because I was always a scrawny long-haired kid, so I could relate a lot more easily to a skinny long-haired pretty boy with a badass sword killing demons. Also I think Kagome was probably the first woman I was ever sexually attracted to.
(continued on page 2)