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Anime Fan for 25 years (since 1995)


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actually, technically, a good while longer, since i vaguely recall sitting through an episode of ROBOTECH  as a very young boy around what must have been sometime in 1986 or so.

a nephew gave me his old 1985 REVELL ROBOTECH CHANGERS VEXAR transformable model (U.S. market reboxing of 1983 IMAI MACROSS VF-1S Focker 1/72 VARIABLE TYPE)

around 1988/1989 or so, and then i got a taste of Mecha Anime tropes at a more readily-impressionable age around 1991,

thanks to the Mecha action-platfomer game "ASSAULT SUIT LEYNOS" (TARGET EARTH in the U.S.) on the SEGA GENESIS games console.

my Anime fandom truly began to consciously coalesce around 1995, when my dad bought me an old IMAI MACROSS 1/100 VF-1J Ichijo GERWALK mode model kit,

and PLAYMATES toy company reissued the old original MATCHBOX-made ROBOTECH Mecha toys under their "EXO-SQUAD" line.

around that time, i discovered SUNCOAST VIDEO at the mall, and their Anime selection. first i concentrated on ROBOTECH, -via the dual-episode FHE VHS cassette volumes-

found VIZ MEDIA's ANIMERICA Anime magazine, and began picking up issues often as i could,

and then i discovered MANGA VIDEO's MACROSS II and MACROSS PLUS movie compilation releases, Pure, uncut MACROSS, for the first time.

from there, i began to branch out from Mecha-themed anime, with series such as Galaxy Fraulein Yuna and Tenchi Muyo!

and then the early-21st-century and the DVD Anime boom hit, and i was well and truly off to the Anime Races.


i'm about as hardcore today as i've ever been, and, thanks to the internet, i now have the kind of Mecha and Character-themed merchandise

that i would have killed for as a young teen, two-plus decades ago...


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The 80s always sound like a really cool time to be alive for pop culture whenever I hear the experiences of someone who lived through that time. Especially stuff like real arcades and video game magazines and catching late night anime broadcasts. Or if you lived in Hawaii you could apparently sometimes catch real Japanese TV broadcasts. Maybe still can idk. Even BBS and IRC chat n stuff which are all horribly clunky compared to today’s internet sound like really cozy experiences to me.

 

I think Macross on VHS from the library was one of my first anime too, before I had a name for this style of animation. The only episode I really remember is one of the pilots marrying a woman from the enemy faction. There’s like this military wedding procession where the couple fly a jet down the middle of two rows of mecha. Pretty cool stuff from what I remember, but my mom decided she didn’t like us watching that and wouldn’t let us get it from the library after a while. My dad was super into Speed Racer though so we got to watch that after we were a bit older. Then there’s a big gap until we started watching Transformers, which my mom also shut down for being too violent. Then we watched Sonic X on 4Kids. We still didn’t know the word “anime” at that point but we saw enough ads for Dragonball and Pokemon and Yugioh and stuff (all strictly prohibited by my mom) to realize that this must be it’s own style of animation and not just more cartoons. At some point when I was around 14 I think I made a conscious decision to “try this anime thing.” I think I started with a 6 episode OVA of Murder Princess that had been uploaded to YouTube with the episodes split into three parts each. I think I saw Deathnote in the same format. Then I watched Angel Beats on an illegal streaming site because I couldn’t find it all on YouTube and that’s when I’d say I got hooked. Wish I coulda been there for the 80s though.

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Posted (edited)

in the 80's, the highly nascent Anime fandom in the U.S. basically consisted of a handful of college-based chapters of one or two general Animation/Sci-Fi fan clubs with connections to Japanese citizens

getting raw VHS or BETA off-air recordings of episodes of various series, and making and distributing dubs, made from the master tape, throughout the club's chapters.

usually many of those dubs ended up pretty poor in audio/visual quality, as many/most were invariably several generations removed from the master.

and then, you had to hope there was someone in the club with knowledge in at least spoken Japanese, who could either translate orally during group screenings,

or produce a printed transcript, to duplicate and pass around amongst the screening audience.

in any case, it wasn't really until the onset of the 1990's that the U.S. began to see pure Anime releases, Subbed and/or Dubbed, officially distributed on home video in any true capacity...

Edited by Tasuke
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