For those of you who don’t know what Anime is (or really is) they are for the most part animated dramas made for adults, as well as some for children and plenty that are suitable for both or as Wikpedia states “Anime are Japanese animated productions featuring hand-drawn or computer animation. Anime includes animated television series, short films and full-length feature films. The word is the abbreviated pronunciation of “animation” in Japanese. In English, the term is defined as a Japanese-disseminated animation style often characterized by colorful graphics, vibrant characters and fantastic themes. The intended meaning of the term sometimes varies depending on the context.”
I have watched anime for the best part of 2 decades and have loved it ever since. My first exposure to anime came when I was about 8 or 9 years old. Every Friday night on the Sci-Fi channel they would have a screening of an anime movie, the first one I ever watched was called Devilman (below). I loved every minute of it, I identified with the main character, up until he became Devilman, and just couldn’t get enough of the story, even thought the graphic nature of the movie was wildly inappropriate for my 9 year old sensibilities.
As the years went by I got my fix through the various other Friday nights that I could get control of the TV (which was a lot less than I would have liked), as well as through a new channel which started around that time called FOX Kids. On FOX Kids I was introduced to “Teknoman” and ”The Vision of Escaflowné” (below). These shows were so much better than anything I had seen before from a kids serial. It wasn’t dumbed down, they didn’t have simple tasks with always perfectly happy endings. It spoke to kids more like they were adults, as I think they were created for teenagers/adults, but the content was appropriate for kids, purple blood for the monsters, no visions of people getting ripped apart etc. But the action scenes were epic, and the story so engaging – so much so that I still watch them to this day, when enough time has passed.
Teknoman was a future based Sci-fi story, where an alien race known as the ‘Radam’ or ‘Venomoids’ are invading the earth and decimating the planet, the only people who can truly stand in their way are the Space Knights and the mysterious Blade who can turn himself into the eponymous Teknoman – giving him similar powers as the Radam Generals also named after weapons: Dagger, Axe etc.
The Vision of Escaflowne is more of a cross between a few different genres, but most resembles a semi-medieval world. It starts off with a girl named Hitomi in (then) present day Japan, within the first episode we are introduced to a man Van Fanel from ‘another’ planet , who she follows through a rift to Gaea. The show is part political, part mecha actioner and part magic/mystery story, All awesome!
With Secondary school, I went to a boarding school and totally forgot about anime.
In University, I discovered the wonderful world of torrenting, and it reawoke my love of anime, the fact that I could download any show I had watched as well as many other great shows can have that effect.
One of the first shows that I watched was Full Metal Alchemist (below) and it remains one of my favourite shows to this day. FMA is about 2 brothers, who having made a grave mistake with a transmutation, spend years gaining the knowledge and expertise to try and find the Philosopher’s Stone, the only object that can undo the curse they now live with. The show takes place in an alternate dimension, where instead of science, the study & practice of Aclhemy became prevalent, and led to a world quite different to our own, the show itself takes place some time in the 40’s, but they use a different date system. This show is incredible, action, comedy, drama, you will find yourself laughing, smiling and crying. FMA lasts 51 episodes and has spawned a movie and a second series based more closely on the original Manga series.
Over the years, I have watched many different anime series, some funny, some weird, some interesting, some awesome, many all 4.
My favourite anime is Mobile Suit Gundam 00 – a mecha anime by the great studio Sunrise. The series is set 300 years in the future, the world is mostly divided into 3 gorvernmental factions: the Human Reform league, Advanced European Union, and The Union. The 3 factions have each created Orbital Elevators which have been linked up to create a solar power generation system, to (supposedly) solve the worlds problems. Depite this, the world is a very unfair place, to change the world a private armed organisation known as Celestial Being starts performing armed interventions to ultimately create a peaceful world. This anime made me smile from ear to ear so many times, the characters are realistic, fully formed people with believable back stories who react appropriately, you see the story from many different angles for a fuller picture of the world they live in, the animation is pristine, the battles are incredible, and you find yourself getting emotionally invested in the characters, I have cried a few times watching Gundam 00, and the music is pretty awesome as well. There are 52 episodes and a great film which perfectly ends the story. If you have never watched any anime, and are even the least bit interested, I would advise you watch this, you will not be disappointed.