Since I was a young boy, I’ve been a product of the TV generation. It was always TV, TV, TV…could never quite get into listening to the radio to pass the time away. For me it was, “What’s the latest thing on TV that’ll keep my attention for this week” scenario. I was glued to the TV anxiously waiting for the latest cartoon or live action show that really and truly “WOWed” me.
It was a time when there was no cable TV or 24 hour viewing of thousands upon thousands of channels. It was either black & white or color TV with three or four stations that had a sign on and sign off time…this meant that television stations started their broadcast day at 5 or 6am and went dark at 12 midnight. Believe me this really sucked and wished I could’ve been born in the 21st Century.
But as product of growing up in Honolulu, Hawaii in the 70’s with KIKU-TV, I was fortunate to view different types of shows that the rest of the nation were not readily exposed to. I got to see:
Every week I made sure that the adults knew that Saturday’s between 6-7pm was my time to watch “my” programs. This was my world and I absolutely LOVED IT! It was such a mind trip seeing these fantastical beings doing action stuff.
I couldn’t get enough of it. Week in and week out my mind would wonder what each new episode would reveal. After their run ended, the station broadened their scope and started featuring such cartoons like:
I called them cartoons because back then that’s what they were known as “cartoons”; anime was not readily said in those times. Watching this was a change of pace from the “live action” stuff, but was AWESOMELY COOL nonetheless. After its run, the station starting airing more passive cartoons like
Candy Candy and Ikkyu-San; granted I gave it a shot and watched a couple of episodes but quickly decided that it was not my usual fare. A couple years after, that station soon stopped airing kids’ shows and concentrated on more adult themed programs.
As I advanced in age, I started watching the usual stuff like G.I. Joe, Transformers, Thundercats, and Silverhawks but nothing really captured my attention as “MUST SEE.” My life felt a little hollow and there were times when I longed to be fully invested in something different again.
In the late 80’s, our household got cable; back then the viewing was not like how it is in 2016, channels didn’t quite reach the 100 mark but it was different nonetheless.
One fateful day, I flipped the channel to Fuji Television and stumbled across Hokuto No Ken (Fist of the North Star).
With eyes widened and mouth agape; I stood there in silence. I was completely floored; the animation wasn’t as crude like it was in the 70’s and the action was off the charts. As soon as it ended I had an “OMG WTF just happened!!!” moment.
Something stirred from within; that hollow space was now whole again and I had to watch another episode, and another, and another. This became “MUST SEE” TV for me again. It was my first exposure to the world of Japanese animation…I became invested in a series once again and I LIKED IT!
The series ran for a couple of years and ended to my dismay. I was starved for more and eagerly scoured their listing for any and all new animation but no such luck. More adult themed shows popped up again and I was back to feeling empty inside.
Fast track to the 90’s…with the advent of the internet and the progression it made, I soon stumbled across internet sites where they featured Japanese “anime” for viewing entertainment. Now this was where I first came across the term “anime” and was awed at all the types of series that were out there.
The graphics were more refined and the movement and action were almost human-like. This was mind-blowingly insane and there were no words to describe my thoughts. I viewed a whole bunch of anime but was somehow drawn at the time to a series called Naruto.
I liked the concept and idea of the shinobi and their fighting aspects AND I thought the hand gestures to use certain jutsu’s was remarkably cool to boot. I followed the Naruto series religiously and all of the movies in-between.
When it ended, I was depressed that I would follow the same pattern as before BUT was pleasantly surprised that it continued on in the form of Naruto Shippuden…AND there were more movies to follow as well. I was in absolute heaven…so, this was “anime”…it was purely orgasmic to be a part of this world.
Living in the 21st Century and having two kids who are into “anime” helps to broaden my horizons as well. They introduce me to shows that they think I might like:
With a cornucopia of anime programs out there, it’s impossible to view every single one. Having extra pair of eyes helps to filter the awesome ones from the not so interesting ones. Such a time saver.
I’m glad that I went on this journey of discovery (and evolution) of Japanese animation. AND through all this, I learned that “anime” was not just a thing…but a way of life. It was a lifestyle that I had to experience to fill a part of my soul.