It finally happened. It only took about, oh, a decade, but this badly edited and amateur blog about anime is finally hitting the big time! Man, it’s so crazy to remember what I was like back when I started this thing. Single, jobless, watching anime all day. Now everything’s so different, now I have a cat! Anyway, were here, so lets talk anime!!
Here’s a list of the most important anime to me personally. Are these anime my favorites? No. That’s another list. Do I consider these to be the best in the medium? Also no. Something can be important without being revolutionary. These are the anime that hit me at the right time in my life and influenced me in a meaningful way. For better or worse, they helped form my identity.
Dragon Ball Z
Short Answer: The first anime I probably ever saw.
Long Answer: For you young people, you have to understand that before the internet, anime was very scarce in the United States. Your anime experience was relegated to VHS tapes or random TV programming. For me, it was the latter. I was in Elementary school when my local Spanish TV station started playing DBZ episodes (DBZ hit public Spanish markets a little before English cable TV). I was too young to understand what I was watching, but I knew that I liked it. I spent my teen years playing the Budakai series (which taught me about the Cell arc), I’ve watched the Buu arc multiple times, and I’ve fallen in love with the Abridged series. And since DBZ is DBZ, it’s been around all my life and will probably outlive me.
Digimon Adventure, Adventure 02, and Tamers
Short Answer: It was like Pokemon, but for poor kids
Long Answer: I mean, it kinda was the Pokemon series for those without cable. In my area of the US, the WB channel was not a local broadcast, it was a cable channel. I was still a part of Pokemon mania, as was every young person in the 90s, but I didn’t watch the cartoon. Instead, I got my battle monster lore fix from Digimon. And what a story it was! For those that don’t know, Digimon has a lot of heavy stuff for a kids show. It dealt with death, depression, anger, fear, anxiety, self-doubt, the works. It was a great coming of age story for kids like me who were coming of age. I love the show so much that I drew my own O.C.’s (shout out to Dogmon!) and made my own fan faction. And while my story arc about a Hispanic Digi-Destined whose secretly the bravest and the strongest and marries Kairi at the end will never hit air, I still hold a special place in my heart for the first three seasons.
Short Answer: His non-aggressive attitude appealed to me.
Long Answers: A lot of these anime have stuck with me because I saw them at the right time. And I saw Rurouni Kenshin at a time in my life. What I liked about Kenshin was that he was funny, humble, but secretly strong. This show made me realize early on that a truly confident person doesn’t brag about it. Kenshin was very different from other hot-blooded shonen characters. Kenshin is basically what happens when all these characters grow up (except for Goku, who is not allowed to grow up). If I had to pick one fictional character that matches my personality the most, I’d probably say it was Kenshin Himura.
Short Answer: Ellie was my first waifu
Long Answer: There was more to it, but yeah, I had a crush on Ellie. I think it was because she was the first “spunky” or “genki” anime character I’d seen. To be honest, she was also the first anime character I’d seen in a mini skirt and tank top. I don’t mean to go on too long about Ellie, but I think she was my first exposure to sexy designs in anime (or at least the first I was aware of). But the rest of the show was super cool. I was this bombastic menagerie of genres, with a musical motif to tie it all together. It was also the first manga I ever read from start to finish. Since Rave Master wasn’t too popular, it got moved to the early morning death slot and I couldn’t finish it. I ended up reading it instead. Yeah, it was very much a troupe heavy mess, but it had personality. And sometimes personality sticks with you more than anything else.
Short Answer: My first experience with a “teen angst” anime
Long Answer: I never saw Evangelion as a teenager. So the mecha for emo kids didn’t affect me like it did so many others. Instead, I got to experience every other mecha anime that tried to copy Evangelion. Lucky me, right? And Eureka 7 was a Eva clone. Renton is just the skaterboy version of Shinji, Eureka is just Rei with a bobcut, and Anemone is just crazy Asuka. But I got into it. It was my first experience with a heavy teen angst anime. So it was no surprise that an anime where every characters is a mess of a person resonated with me as I went through my teenage career. Some people had 16 Candles, some people had Freaks and Geeks, some people have 13 Reasons Why, I had Eureka 7.
Abenobashi Magical Shopping Arcade
Short Answer: The first anime that I realized was an “Anime”
Long Answer: You know that anime is weird, right? I’m not talking about cultural differences or social climates. I’m talking straight up: anime is weird. Every creative genre is weird. Flying men in capes? Children who do magic with sticks? Yellow submarines? But for anime fans, it takes a while to realize the difference between mainstream anime that get international licenses, merchandise, and video games, and the other 90% of the medium. Abenobashi was that gateway anime for me. I had never experienced something so weird, so goofy, yet also so enticing. It oozes personality. Not surprising given that it was a Gainax Studios joint. And again, it hit me at the right time, so a story about a teenage boy learning that escaping into his obsessive hobbies won’t solve his real problems was a useful thing to be exposed to. Abenobashi isn’t really held in the same esteem as other Gainax anime, but for me, it will always be my favorite.
Short Answer: I just like romantic hijinks
Long Answer: School Rumble was the first anime high school romcom that I ever saw. Surprisingly, I would discover that this was a legitimate genre in the anime industry. Luckily, School Rumble is one of the best shows within that genre, so I started off pretty strong. I think I saw this largely through Youtube back in the day. I must have been in college, so I may have been feeling slightly nostalgic for high school. But it also helped spark my love for anime, as no other show had this mix of zany premises and emotional story telling. This comedy of errors about a cheery girl and reformed delinquent touched my heart and my funny bone in ways few other things have. It’s not only one of the most important anime for me, it’s one of my favorites.
Kenichi: History’s Strongest Disciple
Short Answer: I really liked the idea.
Long Answer: I just really liked the idea. Kenichi was another show that I discovered while watching Youtube in college (I should mention that I did not have internet until going to college). It’s also the second manga that ever I finished from start to finish. A lot like Kenshin, Kenichi is a calm guy that packs a punch. One of the themes of the story is perseverance, as Kenichi has no “natural talent” for martial arts, meaning that he has to work twice as hard to get results. The story also showcases a lot of different martial arts, so fans for fighting styles are right at home. The show and story are also very funny, though the story does begin to rely too much on fan service as it progresses. Still, Kenichi is the type of protagonist I like the most: humble, hardworking, and with a clear idea of right and wrong.
Short Answer: It’s what started this blog.
Long Answer: I mean, yeah right? The one that started it all. And once again, I saw this on Youtube during college. The funny things is, I only started this blog as a way to keep my writing skills from getting rusty after graduation. But this little writing exercise turned into an almost decade long hobby. This is the longest non-personal commitment that I’ve ever stayed consistent with. It’s longer than any job I’ve ever had, any institution I’ve ever been a part of, or any skill that I’ve practice. And the reason why is simple: I like doing it. It’s fun. I get to watch weird and wonderful japanimation and then reflect on it. It’s a simple life, but a good one.
Bonus: Personally Important Media
Star Wars ep.1-6
Spyro the Dragon