What Does It Really Mean To Me To Love Anime?

Friday's Feature Banner Image

Now, there are probably as many answers to the question of what it means to love anime as there are people who claim to love it. Like most passions and hobbies, it is something that is deeply personal and becomes an integral part of the individual. So while we can share an appreciation of a love of anime, our reason for loving it and how we got there is likely one only we will ever understand.

For those who have read my blog a while you will know my love of anime began with Sailor Moon, though I guess that is technically not correct for two reasons. The first being that I’d seen Astro Boy and probably quite a few other anime prior to Sailor Moon but I hadn’t known what they were. And watching Sailor Moon didn’t make me fall in love with anime. It made me fall in love with Sailor Moon and stories with great female characters.

Sailor Moon, Tuxedo Mask, Sailor Chibi Moon and the Scouts

Given the access to anime at the time was limited, other than Card Captor, that love didn’t really go anywhere in terms of anime even when I knew that Sailor Moon was in fact from Japan, and then got to Australia via American translation. See, my next steps after Sailor Moon were actually Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Charmed. Stories that pushed imagination, had great characters and really good narrative arcs (even if the overall plots, now that I’m looking back particularly at Charmed, were a little questionable in quality).

Of course, I also just had a general obsession with stories and was busily devouring libraries of novels as well as pretty much every movie that hit the cinemas at the time. Even as a teenager, I had a healthy respect for even poorly told stories because even a poorly written story could reveal something, could entertain, could teach me a lesson about how stories and characters could and should function, and generally inspired me.

Conception Episode 12 Itsuki
Alright, my love of even poorly told stories didn’t extend to this. Conception was just bad.

I still remember watching Chronicles of Riddick when it came out and I was at university. My friend and I went in to a fairly empty session (even emptier by half-way through the movie) and set up in the middle with sugar filled drinks and chocolate. I don’t think either one of us had laughed that hard in a long time as the clumsy narration threw exposition at us and actors attempted to deliver nonsensical lines as if they were golden. Fantastic fun and a movie I bought on DVD because nothing works quite so well as a pick-me-up as seeing something fail as spectacularly as that movie does (seriously, they outrun a sunrise at one point).

However, it was around that time or just after it, that a certain someone, who knew I loved Sailor Moon and a few other anime that I’d managed to come across, suggested we watch Evangelion together. They just happened to have it on disc (how I do not know). There was also a Death Note watch somewhere around then or just after. I never can remember which of them I saw first but they both left an impact.

Evangelion - Shinji

You know, there are moments in your life when you just know everything is about to change. As I watched episode after episode of Shinji and the tragedy unfolding for the characters, even as I hoped they would win the day and realised that wasn’t where the story was heading, I think a switch somewhere inside of me was flicked on.

And then YouTube began.

And I suddenly had an avenue to access all of these amazing stories that I’d never seen before, heard about, or even dreamed existed.

Bleach - Gin vs Hitsugaya
If you weren’t watching anime when YouTube first started, you have no idea how frustrating watching fan-subbed shows in ten minute increments was. Like seriously, you rarely found the whole episode subbed by the same group so names and terms and things would change mid-episode, parts would be missing, mislabelled, whatever. And buffering. Wow, I remember waiting for the video to load enough to bother hitting play. Be thankful for better internet and video streaming sites.

It would be nearly 2010 before I would say I was an anime fan. Prior to that I would have claimed to be a fan of specific titles. Sailor Moon, Evangelion, Bleach, Darker Than Black and so on. At the time I was still watching as many live action TV shows as animated ones but the balance was definitely shifting.

For me, anime satisfies my love of stories all by itself. Whether I’m chasing romance or horror or action or drama or anything else, I know that there’s an anime for the mood I’m in and for the story I want to live through for a few hours. While I won’t give up reading books or watching movies, and every now and then I’ll get into a TV series that isn’t anime, for the most part, I don’t need to venture far from anime to feel that sense that I have found what I am looking for.

shirayuki and zen 2

Each new season is an adventure and trying out shows, whether they work out or not, is a delight. Each first episode is full of surprises and each show brings me new characters to meet (whether I end up liking them is another story).

For me, loving anime isn’t something I decided to do. And it isn’t something that I hide. It also doesn’t come at the exclusion of other things that I also love. But I know my life would be a great deal emptier without it. I know that I am really happy to have come across anime like Snow White With The Red Hair, to have spent time with the characters of Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash, to have risen to great heights with the shoutiest of shounen protagonists, and to have been steeped in misery and pain with the edgiest stories that just want to push the limits.

Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash - Mana

While I did indeed celebrate Valentine’s Day this year (as I have for many years), I felt this was a good time to reflect on what it means to me to love anime. To know that anime has a place in my life and my heart and that I really treasure the people I have met through anime and my blog.

Now that the official Valentine’s Day is over, celebrate your love of anime. Share your story of what loving anime means to you.

Or, use one of my product affiliate links.

31 thoughts on “What Does It Really Mean To Me To Love Anime?

  1. I love anime so much. The culture,the shows, the variety, and the acceptance of so many interests,as well as the first genre to make me cry as a teenager and made me become way more aware of my own repressed emotions, anime has definitely changed the way my life has gone.

    Thanks for this post.

    1. Anime can definitely help us tap into our emotions. I’m not much for crying while watching movies or the like, but there’s at least one anime a year that will have me sobbing.

      1. Happens to me often enough I am careful what I watch. It can ruin an entire day. “Your Lie” destroyed me and I could see what was coming a mile away. Refuse to complete “Clannad AS” because I know what’s coming. I get weepy way too easy.

          1. LOL! You know, it was one reason I stopped the Prozac after 20 years. Prozac wouldn’t let me cry (among other things).

  2. Anime consciously started for me back in the days of VHS with titles like Fist of the North Star and Vampire Hunter D. I fell in love with it because it was so different to what I’d seen up until then. Then I lost track of it all for a while and returned tot he fold with the short-lived Anime Channel showing Bleach, .Hack//SIGN, and Ghost in the Shell SAC.
    As to what loving it means to me…I think that it initially meant being able to enjoy this strange, almost underground feeling thing, at least in the UK. As it gets bigger though, it’s more simply having this excellent artistic medium to get lost in. Sure, sometimes it doesn’t fit my particular tastes, but there are so many good titles out there that it really just doesn’t matter.

    1. There’s definitely so many titles out there that even when something doesn’t work out, another anime will come along soon and remind you just what can be so good about anime.
      I’m a little jealous that there was an anime channel even if it was short lived.

      1. Absolutely! It’s such a varied medium that they’re always something interesting too.
        I really miss the channel. It only ran between select hours too I think, but it worked out well because we discovered it shortly after my youngest was born. So, when it came to night feeds, we took it in turns and had anime to watch during.

  3. Anime had a different journey here in the UK, first appearing surreptitiously in the late 70’s under the guise of “remixed” US shows like Battle of the Planets/Gatchaman until the 80’s/90’s brought Legend of the Overfiend and other “x-rated” titles which spawned a campaign to ban these “filthy videos” as the idea was cartoons are for kids.

    Luckily intelligent people got the message and whist anime like Pokemon won the kids over, it was accepted that most other titles were intended for adult viewing, although there remains tiny pockets of ignorami who still don’t get it because of the timeless whimsy of Studio Ghibli films.

    Sticking to the topic, loving anime is no different from loving music, films, sports, or anything of interest – as long as it make you happy it’s all good. 🙂

    1. I find it bizarre the number of people who ask ‘why do you like that’ after finding out I like anime. I usually turn it around and ask them ‘why do you like watching cricket’ because you are right. It is no different to any other hobby or passion, it just comes with a lot of preconceived judgements from some people.

      1. Probably because anime is Japanese and when something isn’t in your native language it is considered obscure for the mainstream to compute that you’d look beyond your own culture for entertainment.

        Of course, these people also overlook the fact that English language properties like music or Hollywood films are universally enjoyed and crucially still, these same people no doubt enjoy an Indian, Italian or Chinese meal once in a while or drive a German or Japanese car without batting an eyelid.

        It’s amazing how the world is full of such ironies! 🙂

  4. A lot of the problem is that 90% of the anime out there is about teens and younger kids worrying about the next round of tests while they fall in love – save the world – do cute things. It is difficult for many adults to see something about children as worthy of an adult’s time.

    1. At the same time those stresses are relatable because we’ve been there and a lot of them are very similar to work stresses and relationship issues and the like don’t get all that much easier as you get older. I do like finding anime that has an older cast occasionally, but I don’t think anime that focuses on younger characters is not relevant or interesting.

  5. Back when Sailor Moon was first being published in English, it was stocked in the children’s section, and I was told by teachers and others that I shouldn’t still be reading kids books. Well, I’m a fully grown adult and still loving it, so take that, all those who said it was too kiddish!!

    1. I think people who think Sailor Moon is too kiddie have never paid attention to the actual plot. Sure, the 90’s anime looks very much suited for kids but really it takes on so many fairly difficult themes and honestly seeing Nephrite die was probably one of the hardest hitting moments I ever watched as a kid. That just broke my heart and even as an adult I find that moment hard to watch.

      1. I can’t speak to other countries, but here in the US there’s still a strong perception that “cartoons are for kids”. This despite the fact that the longest running scripted series in the US is… The Simpsons. A cartoon running in prime time on a major network. (Though it probably doesn’t help that the series hasn’t been a cultural icon in at least twenty years.)

        Despite several strong (and weak TBH) series over the last 30 years, animation just can’t seem to break out of that ghetto.

        1. I think people really underestimate the range of stories that can be told when they are animated because you aren’t bound by trying to actually create something for real actors to interact with. You can just create something as you want it to look.

  6. Loving anime means putting up with its garbage.

    “You know, there are moments in your life when you just know everything is about to change.”

    This immediately made me flash back to my own re-awakening to anime as a medium. Thanks for that. It was a nostalgic feeling.

    1. I kind of enjoyed taking this moment to reflect on something I love and why I love it. Sometimes I read my own reviews and wonder why I watch some things. Then I remember that feeling and I know that i love anime and as you said, that means putting up with some garbage at times, but it is so worth it for those moments and series that just shine.

  7. “Chronicles of Riddick”

    Pinnacle of cinematic greatness? Nope. Absolute blast to watch? Yeah…

    “to have spent time with the characters of Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash”

    I really enjoyed that series, too — such unobtrusively good characters!

    1. I’ve loved reading the novels – the Grimgar anime was my reason for starting to read light novels. I really wish they would make a second season because those characters and that world just get better and better.

  8. I already (thought I) knew what anime was… and had seen parts of Star Blazers and Sailor Moon, when we subscribed to Netflix. For the first couple of weeks, it was mostly discs and mostly fan-servicy and comedies. Then I decided to see what was streaming – and somehow Angel Beats caught my eye.

    Practically marathoned it across two days. The evening of the second, after my wife got home from work and had dinner, I told her “you *HAVE* to watch this”. And sat right beside her and rewatched the entire series.

    Angel Beats was the series that converted me from casual weirdo to full time anime fan.

    1. Angel Beats is a beautiful story and I think if it had come out sooner and I’d come across it, I would have been hooked immediately. Like you I binged it and then almost instantly watched it again and dragged someone else along for the second viewing.

  9. I fell in love with anime when I watched Vampire Slayer D on 16 mm projected film at LOSCON back in the 80s. I’d never seen anything like it in animation or live action.

    Eventually, Adult Swim came out and I was lost to it forever.

    1. Yes, we all have to thank the ongoing growth of services that bring anime out of Japan that have helped fuel the obsessions of so many anime lovers.

  10. Oh man, bringing up watching anime on YouTube really brought me back. The first big series I got into was Naruto, and I used to have 6 tabs open just so I could try and buffer every single 3-part segment of the episodes I wanted to watch. I remember getting to the big Zabuza finale and getting SO MAD because the YouTuber hadn’t uploaded part 3 so I had to hunt it down on Veoh!!

    1. The worse was stitching segments together from different You Tubers because sometimes I could find part one by one person, and part two and three by someone else, but they hadn’t cut the parts the same way so you’d end up rewatching a few minutes or you’d end up missing something, and then of course the translation never quite matched up either.

      1. And Veoh had anime in 30 minute segments but it was also not very well regulated so it had some….questionable content uploaded…it was a minefield! lol

Share your thoughts.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.