My very first introduction to anime – as far as I can remember – was Spirited Away, something I suspect is the case for many people, considering the widespread mainstream success it has had. I then grew up watching all Studio Ghibli had to offer. There’s something magical that flows from the works of Studio Ghibli, Hayao Miyazaki, and Isao Takahata. But that’s a topic for another day altogether.
My favorites from all those years ago (well, more than ten) still stand up today, those being:
- Nausicaa and the Valley of the Wind
- Kiki’s Delivery Service
- Princess Mononoke
Beyond that, until somewhere around the age of 14 I had no further exposure to anime. So, in that regard, I was starting from something of a high point. And, maybe unconsciously my expectations held onto an unrealistic grandeur going deeper into the medium. In the years following years I stumbled across numerous anime films, not really paying attention to anything in particular. I came across things like:
- The Girl Who Leapt Through TIme
- Origin: Spirits of the Past
- Cowboy Bebop The Movie
All of which are pretty respectable, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time being one of my all-time favourites (the live-action adaption is quite good also, if you need something to watch.) In those early days I never watched anything that wasn’t an OVA, we didn’t have easy access to anything like that, and it was a little before the uprising of online streaming services. Not that the things I watched were bad, because in general, they were quite the opposite.
Anyway, over the past few years I’ve become initiated into the world of anime on a much wider scale and with much more consistency – despite a few breaks here and there. I don’t exactly know how much anime I have watched, quite a decent amount, though I suspect not as much as a lot of people might have. I try not to go overboard, because, well… we all know what happens in those particular circumstances, and I needn’t be travelling even further down that road…
What first and truly brought me into it was… ahh hum, Sword Art Online. Let’s say it was something of a rocky introduction. At the time, I loved it, of course I did. I’ve always been something of a… reclusive person who loves video games, and hates social interaction. SAO came to me at a somewhat turbulent time – maybe not the best of times. When I should have been leaving the house, I became stuck in fantasy, wishing for something to happen in the vein of SAO. Which of course isn’t the healthiest of things to dream about. Later, I re-visited the anime, after watching many other shows. That time, though I felt nostalgia, (not in a positive way) I realised how flawed SAO is, and in turn, how flawed my destructive world-view was. So, at least with that notion, I benefited in some way from it.
Shortly after, propelled into the community, I came to watch things like:
- The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzimiya
- Welcome to the N.H.K (It destroyed me…)
- Steins;Gate (Where have you been all my life?)
- Spice and Wolf
- Accel World
There’s more, but those are really the only ones worth mentioning, the ones that – to myself, at least – will always stand up to the rigorous test of time.
Now, in the contrived present, I will watch anything, well… as long is it appeals to me of course. But as with all other facets of my life, I try to not judge things without having experienced them beforehand. That would be silly. It’s the one rational part of my life, at least.
So, what does anime mean to me. Well, that’s a hard question. Do I feel that it goes past simple entertainment? Maybe, maybe not. Some, like Welcome to the N.H.K will always mean a tremendous amount, others, I don’t remember at all. But, that’s the same with all things, isn’t it?
There’s so much anime on the horizon, a lot of which I want to review and/or analyse. Without a doubt my favourite genre is slice of life, which many of the shows I’ve listed fit into one way or the other – so expect more from that area. Somewhere down the line, I will write an essay/analysis on slice of life, and why I think it does so well. Dare I blame blatant escapism…? I know that’s one of its attractions for myself.
So, there you have it, a history of my anime exposure and viewage. I seem to have forgotten the specific reason for why I was writing this, or why any person might ever want to read it for that matter. But, nonetheless, my frail mind slipped into insanity many moons ago. I’ve found that the best thing you can do is to embrace it – cuddle it with all your strength.
-Chris, Signing OUT! <3
If you’d like a review of any of the anime mentioned above, I’d be happy to re-watch and analyse any of them for you lovelies, just drop a comment, and I’ll do my best.
Leave your thoughts, I love reading them – your constructive criticism too!