As a lover of animation growing up in rural(ish) Indiana in the late eighties slash early nineties, there weren’t a lot of options at my disposal. The usual Saturday Morning Cartoons™ on the WB (which I’ve now been informed is the CW? WTF? Ok, whatever) led way to Looney Toons and Merry Melodies reruns, which then bled into everyone’s favorite pre-preteen drama, Saved By The Bell. I confess I only watched SBtB because everyone else on the softball team was watching it and I had gotten teased for preferring cartoons one too many times for my liking. I was a child, I was weak in my convictions.
Eventually I gave the animation hating softball snobs the boot (I quit) and joined the swim team (you don’t have to physically interact with anyone!), allowing myself to slip back into my cartoon watching ways. Practice times were all over the place and I found myself surfing channels for anything animated at random hours of the day.
One magical summer, I discovered we suddenly had Cartoon Network. Cartoon Network! A whole network of cartoons! This was new, exciting, and was showing something I had never seen before.
At least, my nerd friends at school told me that’s what it was called. Where else would I have learned the word? I’m a luddite and didn’t really use the internet until I left for college. Shut up, don’t you judge me, you don’t get to judge me.
Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball Z were all I was able to find on my own on the anime front. Like I said, limited tv, non-existent internet… it’s not like I’d be able to find this stuff at the school library.
Thankfully a friend invited me over for movie night to view what has since become my benchmark for Good Anime®. It would be a first viewing for all of us, and resulted in me a burning love for animated feature films. Princess Mononoke by the indomitable Hayao Miyazaki was my gateway drug. Sadly, it was one of the best anime highs I could ever hope to have; not much else could stand up to it at the time in my eyes.
Have I mentioned that I’m a picky bitch when it comes to film? I really am. Don’t watch movies with me, I’m horrible. That is, unless you want to see something good.
You might imagine my joy in finding there was an Anime Club™ at the college I attended. Overjoyed at the possibility of finding all new Mononokes to enjoy, I signed up immediately. “What will they show me first,” I mused, “there must be so many different kinds of stories and characters to fall in love with!”
Poor, naive child.
I never did get to watch anything with the Anime Club™ because almost immediately I was labeled a dilettante for my incredibly miniscule knowledge on the subject of Japanese Animation. It didn’t matter that I was eager to learn; if you rolled up to that Anime Club™ without knowing everything already, you got bounced. End of story.
This is an attitude I’ve never been able to understand. If you love something, set that shit free. There are others out there that identify with and adore the same things you do. All you’re doing when you cut others out is losing opportunities to make new friends, have good times, and share new interests.
I eventually met some people who were happy to help me with my anime inquiries. I’ve seen a lot more, found some new favorites, expanded my Miyazaki collection… there was so much I never would’ve found on my own had my new friends not been willing to share.
If you love something, share it. That’s kinda what this blog does. Go share the things you enjoy, and maybe someone will share their favorites with you.
Just for you guys, here is a little taste of some of my favorite feature length animated movies. They might not all be anime, but they’re lovely all the same.