A few years back a few of my friends came to me with this interest of theirs that they thought I should get involved in. Anime. What we might describe as Japanese cartoons, I guess. Being a mature young adult of 15 I decided quite quickly that I was beyond children’s programmes that I couldn’t understand.
And for a while that was that. No way was I going to go back to my childhood of watching programmes like Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokémon, despite how much I had enjoyed them at the time. Whatever I was going to watch in my adult life, it was at least going to be live action if nothing else.
This state of ignoring my friends’ obsession continued as the status quo until around a year ago when on a nerdy sleep over (for all of my maturity, I am unashamedly proud), they decided to ‘show me’ the first episode of the original Full Metal Alchemist. Somewhat begrudgingly, I agreed not to turn on my 3DS and to leave the laptop alone and give up the next 25 minutes of my evening for the sake of my friends.
I won’t pretend that at this point I had an epiphany because actually after that first episode I didn’t feel especially hooked or otherwise swayed towards the view of the rest of the group. At that stage I had just become interested in a story. A story that did not seem to be as Cartoon Network friendly as I had imagined or for that matter, half as dry.
|Edward Elric. The first self confident hero
of my anime world
So, I went away and watched the rest of the series. Full Metal Alchemist, for all of the recommendations I would now give it, is without doubt the anime I took the most time to watch. An episode every other day; sometimes even more days than that would go by and I wasn’t bothered about watching the next episode. Yet, in the end I finished it.
Even now it didn’t occur to me to find another series to watch immediately and I can’t say I was even interested in watching the critically acclaimed reboot.
For reasons I can’t really explain, I went back to the same group of friends and asked them to give me a list: what are the best anime I should watch above all others. I didn’t want to waste my time watching cheap, badly produced money making stories.
On that original post-it note of a list which I still have on my desk were five titles: Angel Beats, Attack on Titan, Elfen Lied, Steins Gate and Code Geass.
I have watched the first few episodes of both Attack on Titan and Code Geass and I know that at some point, I’ll finish both off. I have seen only the first episode of Elfen Lied and was put off for reasons anyone that has watched the series can sympathise with. As of yet I am yet to touch Steins Gate for no other reason than a lack of time.
This of course means that I started with Angel Beats. The first on the list my friends had so diligently put together for me as well as, at least in one persons opinion, the best of the lot. It seemed the natural option.
After watching the 13 episode series in a matter of days, my outlook on the media was completely changed. My first thought was to find something to watch next, so I looked for similar anime and followed the Key/Visual Art’s production line to Clannad and then Kanon.
So it seemed despite the change of heart, my friends still could not control what I was watching. That is the beauty of anime though. No doubt there are some very good series out there that most people will give positive comments on, but everyone rates things differently and there is no such thing as ‘the best anime ever’.
30 series later I decided that now is a good time to start writing about my experience of anime. I’m still really being introduced into this world and the posts in this blog will reflect that. There will be reviews and previews but also comment, opinion and speculation on the things I’ve enjoyed as well as the things that I haven’t.
I’m not a purist and I know it will put some off when I say I stuck by one of my original thoughts when I said I want to understand what I watch so I tend to watch dub (there have been a couple of exceptions).
That about covers everything up to now. I’m going to leave you to watch an episode or two of A Certain Scientific Railgun, which, seeing as I’m watching it right now, might just feature in my first review in a few days time.