I consider the beginning of my anime fandom to have occurred in late September 2001, a couple of weeks after Cowboy Bebop’s debut as the first show on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim block. At the time, I was still a Pokemon devotee, though unaware of the term “anime,” and an avid Nintendo fanboy. It’d been a couple of months since my eldest cousin, then in his late teens, showed Ninja Scroll to myself and my cousin Boyd when we were ten and fourteen years old, respectively, which got Boyd hooked instantly. The timing couldn’t have been better with not only Adult Swim debuting, but also the magazine Anime Invasion, the first volume of which Boyd gave to me months later after we’d officially become “anime fans” via Cowboy Bebop and Yu Yu Hakusho. I think the point where anime became more important to me than Nintendo was around when Inuyasha premiered on Adult Swim in August 2002 and Yu-Gi-Oh! started.
Ten years is a long time—literally half of my life so far. By now, I’ve been an anime fan for longer than I haven’t, not even including four years of die-hard Pokemon fandom. It’s one thing to think of myself as a hardcore fanboy otaku, but it feels much more intense when I think of having been one for ten fucking years. I can confidently say that I’ve dedicated my life to anime.
Even more surreal to me is realizing that I found out about fansubs nearly five years ago, meaning that the period of my life as a “hardcore” otaku is almost longer than the period before it. I was fifteen when I started this site, after all. Wow.
I take a glance to my left and I see the shelves of my collection. A thousand dollars worth of manga, probably fifteen-hundred dollars worth of DVDs, a thousand dollars worth of figures, and this isn’t counting all the manga and DVDs that I sold over the years, nor accounting for the fact that it’s been over a year since I stopped buying anime altogether. I’ve still got about two years worth of Shounen Jump magazines from 2004–05 and a random collection of Anime Insider and Animerica magazines. Something like a hundred posters from Megami magazines, some that I bought, many which were given to me by a friend, and others from the likes of calendars and DVD inserts. Three big-ass wall scrolls of Gunslinger Girl and Lucky Star. A stack of artbooks and a stash of random character goods, mostly from my friend. One dakimakura pillowcase, two pillows with the Haruhi girls on them, a pillow with MiyaMiya from ef, and a bedsheet of Chihiro from the same show. A drawer of doujins, pornographic and otherwise. I’m probably forgetting something.
Even though I’ve only got a handful of posters up right now, you can’t turn your head in my room without hitting anime characters. I even just noticed I’m using a Last Exile mousepad.
According to MAL, I’ve started 944 anime. Of those I finished 447 of them, dropped 381, am watching 21, and have 95 on hold.
I’ve been to Otakon four years in a row, and went to Nekocon once, where I ran a panel. I’ve seen JAM Project live (ON MY BIRTHDAY). I sang karaoke alongside anime bloggers Omoikane and TheBigN.
I went to Manila and brought back nothing but cheap anime figures LOL.
I brought my two younger brothers up on anime and shaped them into the otaku that they’ve both become. I converted friends into fans, and helped to keep fandoms alive. I’ve met fans from around the world and all around the country. I slept in a hotel with Baka-Raptor and Patz. I let Patz stay in my house. I stayed for a month by myself in the Philippines with a guy that I met through anime blogging, and went with him and a bunch of other Filipino anime bloggers to a toy convention and to sing anime karaoke. We even got drunk together and watched Heartcatch Precure and Lucky Star, and played a Lucky Star drinking game until we were smashed on our asses.
I’ve run this blog for five years, with over 1,000 posts (counting ones set to private), a handful of which took days or weeks to write. I’ve had other anime blogs and a manga blog. I’ve posted on Yukan Blog, Oi Hayaku, We Remember Love, Shameful Otaku Secret, 2-D Teleidoscope, been featured on THAT Anime Blog, interviewed by Chocolate Syrupy Waffles (not yet up), and plan to post on Listeless Ink soon. I made it to the top eight in the Anime Blogger Awards (nevermind the means) and was called a true otaku by the Otaku Elimination Game. I wrote many attempts at anime magazines in my younger days as a fan, and I spent the better part of seven years as a member of Otakuboards and the Megatokyo anime forums, which I often forget (on purpose XD).
On a larger scale, I watched the rise and fall of the American anime industry, all while my DVD collection went from being the most important part of my fan identity to the least important. I’ve seen the rise and fall of my interests in series or genres or characters and anything else.
My Inuyasha t-shirt is too small now even for my brother who’s six years younger than me. I still have a holo-covered special edition volume 1 of Naruto (332 of 5000) which is basically worthless because a friend of mine bent the cover when he borrowed it back in 2003. Today, there’s no way I’d have bought all of the special-edition Haruhi DVDs nor all of ABe Yoshitoshi’s artbooks. To this day, I make a lot of anime purchases that I can’t even explain to myself.
It’s been over five years since Evangelion changed how I saw myself—over four years since Manabi Straight made me have a nervous breakdown—over three years since Iriya no Sora, UFO no Natsu made me have a total meltdown.
I get into the bone of my sword
Unbelievably dull is my body, and Fuzakenna is my blood.
I have created over a thousand blogs.
Unknown to burnout, nor known to apathy.
Have withstood pain to create many lists.
Yet, those lists will never be complete.
So as I blog…Unlimited Favorites Lists.
I’ve written at least one thousand favorites lists. I’m not even slightly exaggerating.
Anime culture is my life—ten fucking years of it. And this is what I have to show for it:
I couldn’t be happier.
Longest anime that I’ve completed since becoming a fan: Ranma 1/2 (160 eps watched in 2.5 weeks).
Most impressive amount of anime watched in a short time: December 2010: 201 regular episodes, 1 movie, 1 long episode, 4 short episodes. Alternately: watching all 50 episodes of Eureka Seven within 24 hours.
Longest time without watching anything: 2006. Had no cable and no money for most of the year and I didn’t know how to watch anime on the computer.
Greatest moment as a fan: No doubt seeing JAM Project live on my birthday in 2008. I didn’t know the band nearly as much back then as I do now, but SoulTaker had been my favorite anime OP for five years and I never could’ve dreamed I’d hear it live.
Best pieces of my collection: Black Rock Shooter figure, Remilia and Flandre Scarlet nendoroids, Tsukuyomi Komoe tiny figure. But this answer almost depends on the day of the week.
Proudest accomplishments as a fan: I love karaoke a lot, but my major blogging projects are the best.
Complete list of anime that have at some point been my #1 favorite: Cowboy Bebop, Inu-Yasha, X/1999, Rurouni Kenshin, Samurai X Trust & Betrayal, Trigun, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Welcome to the NHK, Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, Eureka Seven, ef ~a tale of memories~, Earth Maiden Arjuna, Gintama, Kara no Kyoukai, K-On!!
Official date on which I “reached otaku nirvana”: July 24th, 2010
Greatest Blogging Accomplishment:
Without question, 200+ Anime Worth Taking With Us Into the Next Decade, a post that has not existed since last year because when I moved back to wordpress, the post simply didn’t come with me. I have no idea why. I haven’t been able to recover it because my old site domain was snatched and I just don’t know how. So instead, let’s go with the good ol’ Don’t Fuck This Up series, or the Diary of an Anime Lived, which is awesome for way more reasons than myself. Tokidoki Balloon.
Most memorable watching experiences: Both involve Lucky Star. One was a 2008 marathon wherein my best friend, brother, an I watched all of it on the living room big-screen TV while my parents were away, and through which we paused constantly to look up references, sang along to songs, and had an absurd amount of fun. The other, of course, is getting tanked with ghostlightning and shance through four episodes of a drinking game.
Through the ups and downs of these ten years, one thing I can say is, “the anime was good.” Anime fandom gave me something to love and be happy about and it’s never left my side. It introduced me to all of my best friends and sent me across the planet. This medium and I will be together for life.