Monday, June 20, 2011

The anime that started my obsession

I had been a very, very casual anime fan for a number of years.  I wouldn't search out any anime to watch, but if I came across something on TV I'd usually stop to check it out.  This was back in the day when SyFy was Sci-Fi, and they used to do their Saturday Anime block.  That couple hours of programming showed me the likes of Vampire Hunter D, Iria: Zeiram the Animation and others.  That would be the the main anime content in my life for a few years, but then Adult Swim came around.

One night I ended up catching the very first episode of FLCL (Fooly Cooly) on Adult Swim.  I wasn't following Adult Swim's programming at the time, so I had no idea what I was watching.  I just stumbled upon it by accident, and decided to check it out.  All it took was that first episode to completely blow my mind and get me interested in the entire series.  The show had done its job...I was hooked.

At the time, Adult Swim was only showing one episode of FLCL a week, and there was just no way I could go that long without seeing the next episode.  I hopped online to find out how many episodes there were and how I could watch them.  Thankfully there were only 6 episodes in all, which made it easy to do a marathon session that night.  I found a place online to watch all 6 episodes, and I sat glued to my computer monitor for the next few hours.  When it was all said and done, I was completely changed.

FLCL is probably one of the craziest animes I've ever seen in my life.  The thing is, that's just the surface of the story.  At first glance, FLCL seems to be one of those anime features that make people hate anime.  All the telltale signs are there.  It's loud, it's crazy and it seems to make no sense.  If you're going to try and break someone into anime, this is not the one to go with!  If you happen to have friends that are open-minded, VERY open-minded, then perhaps you could give this a shot.

Once you actually start analyzing FLCL and moving beyond the colorful first layer, you happen upon an absolutely amazing story with tons of twists and turns.  There's a ridiculous amount of symbolism here, as well as social commentary and heart-felt emotions.  FLCL does so much so well, it still blows my mind that this project came together as it did.  It's one of the most solid anime series I've ever seen, as well as one of the most engaging shows I've ever come across in any style of storytelling.  I'm not kidding one bit when I say that FLCL gave me a different outlook on life.

FLCL is an anime that demands to be watched over and over again.  You'll have to go through repeat viewings before you pick up on even half of what the show is trying to tell its viewers.  There's nothing better than a show that makes you think, and FLCL is all about that.  It's almost like the crazy, loud exterior was put in place in order to keep close-minded people out.  The team involved is clearly full of very intelligent people, and they set out to tell  a truly special story.  

From there on out, I've been a huge fan of anime.  I've seen all kinds of amazing content, and I've only scratched the surface.  Hopefully you have an anime that set you down the same path as me.  What was that one feature that really got you into anime as a whole?


  1. Superbook was the anime that got me into the entire anime scene. I remember alternating between watching tapes of that and The Little Mermaid when I was only 3 or 4 years old, which means I've been an anime fan for easily 18 years now.

    I distinctly remember the art style of Superbook most of all. When DragonBall and Sailor Moon came along to America some years later, I remember seeing the art styles of those shows and comparing it to Superbook. For some reason, I knew it was a distinctly Japanese art style, and I have loved it ever since.

    So many good memories... now that I'm getting married, I hope that one day I'll be able to introduce my children to this show, as corny as it was, and be able to nurture a love for an animation medium that I love.

  2. Great article, definatly going to have to check out FLCL. For me, it was Bleach that got me into my current anime craze. closely followed by Claymore.
    Looking forward to more articles RMC

  3. I'm glad to hear you're going to check out FLCL, Big N. I really think you'll dig it. Just be ready to be completely lost at first!

  4. Iria on the Scifi channel did it for me for sure! Also seeing those late night "banned in the USA" commercials for mail order Akira. To my 10 year old brain, something that forbidden HAD to be awesome haha

  5. I've really got to pick up FLCL on Blu-ray! I think that while I watched a bit of anime before the early 90s, it was really Sailor Moon that got me into it. Shortly afterwards I caught Vampire Hunter D and Robot Carnival on late night TV, I think TBS played them during a lot of weekends.

  6. Well no one anime really got me into it. It's been a build up I would say. You know Toonami was where I first started watching anime...DBZ, Sailor Moon, Outlaw Star, Rurouni Kenshin, Gundam, etc... I didn't really watch every episode, but it was like cartoons, just watch them when you can.

    Then Naruto started showing and that was a series where I tried to watch every episode, and luckily the internet helped out if I missed one :P. Then Bleach on Adult Swim was my second.

    And so for many years I just stuck with that.

    Then summer 2010 I decided I would start watching anime more seriously. I thought I would start out watching Outlaw Star all the way through and that was fun.

    Then I took the plunge...Into subs. lol. Highschool of the Dead was my first sub, I was a little worried because I wasn't sure if I would be able to keep up, but I did pretty well.

    And so now I've watched more and more, some dub., some sub., some currently airing, some that showed a few years ago. So yeah. That's how I got to where I am now with anime.

  7. The anime that got me hooked was Pokemon actually, I was six when I started watching and from there I branched off to Sailor Moon. After years of watching reruns and old VHS tapes of the shows I stumbled upon were Zoids Chaotic Century on TOONAMI. Later on TOONAMI gradually started to show more animes like G Gundam, Outlaw Star, .hack//SIGN, Hamtaro and Gundam 08th MS Team. That's when the obsession was born. Once Adult Swim started though, there was no turning back for me! It's been about 12 or so years since I first got into anime and I don't plan on stopping. My collection isn't nearly as huge as yours but it's something I've accumulated over the years and I love it. :)

  8. Unfortunately, the anime that broke me in was Kannon. I say unfortunately because, at the time, I loved it. But today, I can't even watch it. So much drama and so much harem it makes my eyes bleed. So I sort of have two first series that really got me into anime. My old tastes, which was Kannon, and my new tastes which was School Rumble.

    School Rumble, in my eyes, is almost the perfection of the slice of life series. Perfect balance of drama, humor, story telling etc. Occasionally, I'll start thinking it wasn't as good as I remember it being. But every time I pop the DVD back in, I love it just as much as the first time.

  9. I agree with oculin about School Rumble. It was the series that got me into anime. It is simple, funny, and doesn't require you to know anime tropes right off the bat. I remember looking forward to watching the next episode and being so impatient. No series, anime or television, has made me feel like that in a long time. School Rumble made me an anime fan and it will always have a special place in my heart and collection (The "#1" Spot in my collection).