my anime otaku origin story

posted 2020年 4月15日

something that is said a lot is “i have always loved [x]”, “i have always believed [x]”, “i have always been [x]”, etc. but when such a thing is said it normally not something that is literally the case. i would hazard that the vast majority of the time when such things are said they are either idiomatic sentiments or, if meant literally, a product of human bias. i am sure i may at times have said things along the lines of “i have always been an anime otaku” but, taken literally, a statement like this said by anybody is, of course, absurd when looked at speculatively.

i have never disliked anime, but the same can said of many people whose experiences involving anime consist of nothing more than a few studio ghibli films, or a smattering of a few well-known series like death note, fullmetal alchemist, and shingeki no kyojin (attack on titan). but of course to be an otaku, by definition, one has to be more than even a casual fan of something.

to be an otaku of something is a little like having an obsession with said something, and that something is certainly not limited to anime, either. although in the west “otaku” and “anime otaku” are often synonymous. but i digress.

stop rambling and get to the point already or you’ll bore everyone out of actually finishing this.

maybe that’s my goal. did i say i wanted people reading my blog? i put health warnings on the front page of my blog website, i’ll have you know.

but the good people were expecting an origin story. i know you’re a rambler, but try and focus, alright?

i was getting there.

get there faster.


in the beginning

i believe my first anime, like many people who grew up in the 1990s, was pokemon. i also was a huge fan of shows like the biker mice from mars cartoon that not enough people know about which i why i mention it now [wink]. i didn’t know pokemon was anime (or what anime even was, probably) at the time, just like my dad didn’t know speed racer was an anime when he was young. but my otaku journey wasn’t one that started because of anime, in and of itself. it started because of my love of things japanese in general.

my parents both lived in japan for a couple years shortly before marrying and having kids. their having lived there shortly recently had a direct effect on their raising my siblings and me, which is evidenced by the very used condition of many of the japanese children’s books my parents brought home with them new in the 80s, my ability to use chopsticks before starting school, and my love of japanese food i developed growing up (i have especially fond memories involving onigiri, gyoza, and yakisoba).

skipping ahead

i don’t remember when i became a fan of anime and manga in general, so i assume it was more just something that came hand in hand with my weeb-like fascination with all things japan as i was growing up. i do know that one show that was really influential in my becoming an anime otaku in particular was the masterpiece rurouni kenshin. i was even able to buy the beginning of the manga, which i wasn’t able to do for most of the manga i wanted to buy because buying manga was prohibitively expensive (i assume because of how niche a market selling to english-speaking manga fans was [and is]).

side note: i would like to take a moment here and give a big F–K YOU to the unethical, horrible corporation that is amazon for successfully getting rid of all the book stores where i live and in countless other places as well. and for being horrible and obscene in countless ways and basically a shining example of a lot of what's wrong with modern global capitalism.

where was i?

oh, right.

i got the idea for making a post about my autobiographical anime otaku origin story because there is a specific time i can reference that i consider to be the culmination of all the stuff i’ve been talking about. another way of putting it would be a sort of “when my identity as an anime otaku became fully realised” or maybe a metaphor about animals reaching what might be considered “full maturity” or something along those lines. call it whatever you like; i was reminded of it again recently by a friend of mine on the fediverse, moongaia, and yes i realise now that i probably should have made that fediverse link a link to his profile instead of my instance, but i don’t really want to go back and change it now so if you’re reading this i apologise ^^’.

the thing that sealed my fate as an anime otaku ~

~ was when i first watched an anime as it was currently airing. because before that i just saw anime as a library of series/shorts/films/ovas/et cetera that i would peruse and enjoy at my leisure but i had not yet experienced what it was like to have to wait a week to see the next episode in a series i was watching. i don’t remember if i had been avoiding doing that on purpose because i enjoy binge-watching full series or if i just wasn’t actively looking for one. but the anime was very a very enjoyable one.


i found this wallpaper of the anime and i chose this picture for this post because it’s spot the k-on reference time!

kobayashi-san chi no maid dragon
kobayashi-san chi no maid dragon

kobayashi-san chi no maid dragon is a slice-of-life comedy that i found highly enjoyable. at the time i first watched it i was using kissanime for acquiring and keeping track of the anime i was watching and hard-subs didn’t bother me then. i mostly torrent everything now and am still working on an ideal method for keeping track of all the anime i see and have seen and doesn’t rely on having an account on any online anime tracking service.

as usual, this post has not been thoroughly checked for errors or to see if it flows well or anything like that and i wrote it over the course of a day so i hope it’s fine (but evidently not enough to, you know, check and see).

that’s all from me for now. stay tasty o/