My Road to Anime

There was no single event that sparked my interest in anime. I'm old enough to have watched Astro Boy, Gigantor, 8 man, and Kimba the White Lion on regular daytime TV, but too old to have watched Starblazers. I also watched some animations on children's TV which I now realize were high quality versions of stories such as The White Snake Goddess. There were some really good artsy animations that were shown on LA TV in the early 60s as children's show. What sparked the current interest was seeing Galaxy Express at the Nuart, an art theater in LA. I was blown away, and I wondered how I could see more of this stuff. I had no idea at the time, so I let it rest there.

Along the way I did develop an interest in comics when the son of a friend showed me some of his comics. I became interested in American comics and along the way, since I gravitated towards indies, I started picking up some of the early translated manga from publishers such as First and Eclipse/Proteus. The next step occurred when I started renting videos and stumbled on the anime sections that existed at some rental stores, such as 20/20, long ago. At the comic book shops I also found some of the early anime journals. Protoculture Addicts and a now defunct English journal were especially good. From the journals I learned about anime conventions. The first one I went to was in Silicon Valley because I had been taking business trips up there. Seeing the tail end of Whisper of the Heart had me hooked. At that time I didn't realize Anime Expo was in my own back yard. Going to the San Diego ComiCon exposed me to some more anime. A friend told me about seeing a flyer for an anime club at UCLA while he was taking an extension class there. A few years later I actually went to a meeting of the UCLA anime club.

Anime mixes ingredients in ways that most western narrative and art forms have eschewed since the Victorian era. I think reading Dickens prepared me for anime. He mixed and experimented with narrative styles and voices in the same book in ways that are no longer accepted in the popular media. In the West we are slaves to consistency and our short attention spans. Studio Ghibli has dealt with themes that could never be merchandised over here. What would be considered stupid in this country can be breathtaking in anime.


Last Update: 30 October 2002
Web Author: Doug Ikemi