Autobiography of How I Became an Anime Fan (2009 edition): chapter 1

Back in early 2005, I wrote a “condensed” autobiography of how I became an anime fan. It detailed all the stages I went through, starting from when I was a little kid watching cartoons, to creating my own anime web site and watching all kinds of series. I recently reread this old work of mine, and I have to say that not only is it outdated, my writing skills back then kind of sucked. Now, almost five years later, after watching much more anime and graduating college, I figured it’s finally time to rewrite my anime autobiography…

Like with my previous 100 favorite characters posts, over the next couple of weeks, I’m going to make a series of roughly eight posts, each with a chapter, in chronological order, of my newly rewritten anime autobiography. I’m going to make this new version better than the old one, i.e, implement my improved writing skills, add pictures and links, and update it beyond 2005.

Just to be clear, this is not a complete autobiography of my life. Although it can get a little personal at times, I focus only on the things that led me to anime fandom, like past events, fads, or specific anime series that especially influenced me.

So, without further ado, enjoy chapter 1…

Autobiography of How I Became an Anime Fan

Chapter 1 – Animation Infatuation

Pre-Anime Cartoons I know it’s not unusual for children to love cartoons, but I was especially fond of them. Although I didn’t have cable TV in my childhood, I still watched just about every cartoon I could via local channels or renting from video stores. I loved all the cartoons that were popular when I was growing up in the early 90s, such as Tom and Jerry, Loony Tunes, Batman, Animaniacs (my favorite!), Peanuts, Garfield, Winnie the Pooh, and others. The animated Disney movies were particularly influential.


The characters that started it all

Whenever a new Disney movie came out in the early 90s, especially Beauty and the Beast (1991), Aladdin (1992), and The Lion King (1994), I would obsess over it. But I think The Lion King was, and perhaps still is, my favorite.


Boy, were these guys a big part of my childhood

The Lion King was the very first animated craze I got into, and my obsession with it showed an early indication of how my anime obsession would become. I watched The Lion King over fifty times when it came out on VHS (yes, I counted), and by now I’ve probably seen it close to one hundred times. I’ve listened to the soundtrack probably just as many times, I collected the trading cards, toys, books, and stickers, and I even decorated my room with cut-outs from various Lion King coloring books. And even now, all these years later, I can still recite every line of dialogue. Yes, Lion King was big for me.

Sonic the Hedgehog Another influential player in my pre-anime childhood was Sonic the Hedgehog.


Sonic Triple Trouble, the first Japanese game I ever played

The Sonic line of video games were the first games I got into, so technically Sonic is also the first Japanese series I was familiar with. Sega Game Gear and Sega Genesis were popular consoles in the 90s, and I had just about every Sonic game for those systems. I did watch one Sonic cartoon that was on local channels, but it was American-made. I loved drawing the Sonic characters, too. I saved all my old drawings and, considering my age, they really aren’t half bad. Later on, I liked a few Sonic games on Game Cube, but it’s the classic Game Gear and Genesis games that I really love, mostly because you have the option of playing as my favorite character…

null

…Tails!

Boys’ Toys One unusual side of my childhood was that I was interested in both boy and girl toys. I liked girl things such as cute stuffed animals, Littlest Pet Shop, and Polly Pocket, as well as boy things such as Legos, Beast Wars: Transformers, and the Attack Pack Hot Wheels cars.


He’s nearly 15 years old but I still have him in my closet!

Beast Wars was a particular favorite of mine. In the mid/late 90s I collected many of the action figures and watched the TV show, which was one of the first CG-animated cartoons. Although it was based on the Japanese Transformers concept, Beast Wars originated in North America. The show and the line of toys have long been discontinued, but I’m still hanging on to my collection for sentimental reasons.

Sailor Moon – My First Anime Sailor Moon was the very first anime I ever saw, even though I wouldn’t find out what anime is until years later. I was in elementary school when the English version of Sailor Moon was airing on the local channel 13 in 1995. After a friend recommended it to me, I decided to check it out.


I don’t think I ever had a favorite Sailor Scout actually. I did love Luna though

Sailor Moon episode 59 (“Much Ado About Babysitting” in the English version) became the very first anime episode I ever watched. However, Sailor Moon came on at the inconvenient time of 7:30am weekday mornings, the time when I was usually on my way to school. But I was able to catch it once in a while, though I watched the episodes out of order and I still have yet to see the entire series. Even though I was young and ignorant back then, I could tell that there was something different about Sailor Moon compared to other cartoons I used to watch, not just the unique animation style, but also the way the story and characters were presented. Of course, I would not find out until years later that Sailor Moon was a show from Japan and had been heavily edited in its English release.

Samurai Pizza Cats Unfortunately, Sailor Moon was abruptly canceled from channel 13, but I quickly fell in love with the show that took its time slot, Samurai Pizza Cats.


The three Pizza Cats

By now I had a VCR that could record shows even when I wasn’t home, so I diligently taped all the episodes of SPC (wish I had saved them, though). I even watched reruns of all the episodes when they aired during the show’s year-long run from late 1995 to 1996. Like a lot of 90s TV anime, SPC was heavily edited and Americanized (however, most fans agree that the dub has its own unique charm). Of course, I didn’t know all this back then. But I could tell that the look and feel of Samurai Pizza Cats was similar to Sailor Moon. In my young ignorance, I simply thought that they were created by the same company or something, and had yet to find out that they were both anime from Japan.

Chapter 1 Conclusion The 1990s definitely comprised my childhood and showed early on how much I loved animation, games, and the art of collecting things – traits that would carry on to anime fandom. But at this point, I still had never heard of the word “anime.” I was just a shy but happy elementary school kid who loved cartoons and games, not knowing that some of them happened to be from Japan. However, things changed rapidly during my three years of middle school in the late 90s. Not only was I awakened from the ignorance of childhood bliss to sow the seeds that would dictate who I am today, but I finally did discover anime, all thanks to a certain and very conspicuous franchise…

My adventures with this franchise will be told in chapter 2 next time, though I’m sure most of you already know what it is.

Click here to go on to chapter 2.

18 Comments… read them or add your own.

  1. MacGuy says:

    My first anime would have to be Dragonball, as far as I can recall. But like you, I never knew what it was until I was in Middle School. That was when things just exploded, because my friends were into it and I sought to watch it whenever I could. But I always saw it out of order so that was confusing but at the time same time so mysterious and exciting. I really liked Tom & Jerry, Disney moves like Lion King, Gumby, Popeye, etc Oh and don’t get me started on how everyone at my school got into the whole Pokemon fad.

    Ever since then, I have been a fan but not to your extent XD I never saw a cartoon movie 100 times and didn’t buy stuff to stick them around my room. Probably cuz I didn’t have the oppurtinity since my Dad is against that kind of stuff. Now days, the only things I really watch is anime-related except for live action movies which is rather rare in itself. Not that I purposely avoid live action material, but that I just grew up with a fondness for anime/cartoons.

    Now… I hate the cartoons on Cartoon Network (heck it isn’t even fully cartoon-based anymore). They lost their focus and creativity. So that’s when I forced myself to move on from watching stuff on TV to seeing anime online instead. It was really the only way I could avoid the crap. BTW, this is a good article and I’m looking forward to seeing what you have to say. Love your blog!

  2. Yumeka says:

    @ MacGuy

    Thanks for reading! I intend to cover Pokemon and my middle school years next time. My story in middle school is kinda different from yours though…

  3. Jan Suzukawa says:

    It amazes me that there’s actually an anime named “Samurai Pizza Cats”(!).

    And I almost hate to mention it, but… on Live Journal someone wrote an essay slashing Sonic the Hedgehog and Shadow the Hedgehog together. (IT WASN’T ME – I SWEAR)

  4. Yumeka says:

    @ Jan

    “Samurai Pizza Cats” is the (relatively silly) English adaptation title. The original Japanese title is “Cats Toninden Teyandee.” But yeah, it was a heavily Americanized 90s anime that was still strangely charming and funny.

    And Sonic+Shadow pairing? Never heard of that before 0_o

  5. Dragonliger says:

    O.O are you a twin self of me I never knew? XD we both liked disney, especially Lion king, I watched it once daily during a year and a half XP I was six so i think it passes, I have that same transformer plus some more and loved beast wars too, XD I’ve not seen sailor moon, but watched all the open air animes, I knew what an anime was though I didn’t cared. I dunno how i learn the term now that i think about it, and instead of watching samurai pizza cats i used to watch “dartacan” (spanish title, english should be something like “d’artagnan the dog or something like that) I guess by my own experience that the next will be about digimon, pokemon and in case that possible patlabor or shinzo.

  6. Yumeka says:

    @ Dragonliger

    That’s cool that we shared similar childhood interests ^_^ I’ve never heard of dartacan but I probably would have liked it =)

  7. Dragonliger says:

    @Yumeka

    Found it on english XD It’s called doganian and the moskehounds lol title

  8. Sayuuki-sama says:

    I have to say the beginning is really interesting! But, a month ago, before Christmas I started reading the old biography you made, and I found it really enjoyable to read. If there’s any chance that you could also post the old biography, I would be really thankful.

  9. Yumeka says:

    @ Sayuuki-sama

    I would like people to read my updated autobiography from now on, which is why I changed the links. But if you’d still like to read the old one, it’s available separately here.

  10. Sayuuki-sama says:

    Thank you! Although I already read the updated autobiography, I really wanted to read the old one.
    Thank you for creating this wonderful website, I think AnimeYume.com is the only anime site that I check almost everyday!

  11. Yumeka says:

    @ Sayuuki-sama

    You’re welcome, and thanks for the compliments ^_^ I’m flattered that you like my site so much.

  12. LovesAnime2much says:

    The first Anime I watched was umm…Bleach. I would always stay up and click through random channels in the middle of the night and I clicked on Bleach and watched episode 135 and I eventually became obsessed with it. One day when a friend of mine slept over I made her watch it and she fell in love with it. Now she has internet and has watched more than I have and so now I wait every Saturday at 12:00 am and watch Bleach, Fullmetal Alchemist,Code Geass(canceled #@!$%#%#$), Moribito:Gaurdian of the Spirit(also canceled !@#$ers),and FoolyCooly. I have so many pictures on my coputer that I need 2 files to hold them all! Luv ur blog alot more interesting then mine. the dragon on ur Fruits Basket Zodiac guide kinda looks like a sea horse.

  13. Yumeka says:

    @ LovesAnime2much

    It actually is a sea horse even though he’s the dragon part of the zodiac; that’s how he looks in the anime, I just took a screencap =)

  14. Hikari says:

    The first anime(s) i ever remember watching were sailor moon, escaflone, Astroboy and Speedracer. Because my mom grew up with astro and speed, and as a result I just kind of grew up around them too. Then i kind of got officially obsessed in 6th grade, get up extra early watch some anime on Cartoon netwoork, stay up late for adultswim, run home and watch toonami. and then toonami came on every day it was like heaven on earth! i adore this website by the way thank you for your awesome efforts *0*

  15. Emperor Sain says:

    A true Otaku, kudos to you.
    You have fill me with much nostalgia.

  16. AnimeKyoko says:

    Thanks for this amazing blog. I read the whole thing. It was absolutely beautiful. But the first ever anime i watched was Inuyasha. Then it was Sailor Moon. But of Course now that I`m older I don`t watch it anymore. But despit my age I`m still in love with anime. I ordered Wedding Peach a couple of weeks before Christmas. And I`m done with season one. This blog is very nice and i appreciate your hard work Yumeka. And when i first watched anime i kinda had a feeling that it was from Japan because of it`s image. And sorry comment is so late. Regrets!

  17. mandy says:

    i remember so clearly sailor moon being on at 730am! they would also play it… at 530am i think… in canada but that was way to early for any kid haha! i was just so in love with this show i would never miss an episode lol if that ment i had to suddenly become sick to stay home to make sure i saw ” crystal clear destiny” or made sure my mom taped it so i could watch right when i got home, so be it! lol

    sailor moon fan for life <3

  18. Matt says:

    My love of anime started in much the same way at the same time. I was even lucky enough to make it to two seprate disney premiers (Beauty and the Beaast & Oliver and Company) in trafalgar square.

Leave a Comment

*