Location: Madrid, Spain
When did you discover anime? Share as much as you remember. I knew about anime since I was little, maybe when I was around nine. I watched One Piece, Bleach and Naruto everyday on TV. Later, I kind of forgot a bit about anime, but I re-joined the anime fanbase when Shingeki no Kyojin [Attack on Titan] started to be broadcasted.
What appealed to you about anime when you first discovered it? The style (I love manga style) and the stories.
Were you a manga reader before you watched anime? Why did you like its style? I started reading manga right before getting into anime, so you could say I became a manga reader thanks to anime. I really liked it because it was more aesthetically pleasant than usual superhero and American comics to me. Also, I found interesting to read backwards back in the day. I was some kind of weirdo.
What would you say was the most popular anime at the time? Naruto or One Piece.
What was it like to be a part of anime fandom at the time? I wasn’t in the fandom itself because I was a child, but when I started to watch anime again, with SnK, it was exciting. I would discuss every episode with my friends.
Tell me how you connected with other fans when you got into Attack on Titan fandom. I didn’t really get into the fandom because I have never been a huge fandom participant. Aside from the classic “shitposting” and memes, I didn’t really connect with other people via internet for Attack on Titan. In real life, though, it was different. My friends and I would spend hours talking about how some character or some scene made us feel. We would spend hours trying to mimic the voices of our favourite ones, too. Bit of a childish habit we keep nowadays.
What was online fandom like? Were there certain sites you visited to connect with fans? I mainly shared my things with the other Internet fans of AoT on Twitter or some pages of Tumblr (I didn’t really get into Tumblr though, some people told me it’s a really strange site) through hashtags and all of that. I did specially connect with the Spanish fandom of AoT, since there were some funny simple jokes about the names of some characters in Spanish [Mikasa, for example] and that kind of stuff.
Living in Spain, do you watch anime with English subtitles? I watch anime with both English and Spanish subtitles. I do prefer the English ones though, at least the ones in Crunchyroll are more… “likable” to me, for my taste. Also, I have had some bad experience with Spanish fansubs who weren’t able to do translations that made sense at all.
Was it more difficult to get anime in Europe than it might be for US fans? Back in the day, maybe. I’m sure around 2013 there already were some official and licensed anime streaming sites on the Internet, but you know, a 14-year-old guy with no knowledge of how anime licenses work would watch anime in whatever site he found it on—even not-so-legal sites. Nowadays, I do my best to find and watch anime that has been licensed in official sites in order to help the community to get more anime. I am currently even looking for a job in order to be able to spend money on things like that—premium memberships in sites that I think deserve money and support. But in general, I think that it shouldn’t have been VERY difficult to find official anime in Europe in 2013. You just had to look for it, and I hadn’t the knowledge nor the patience to do it. It’s kind of embarrassing.
How did you watch Attack on Titan? Were you able to get it legally? Like I said, I didn’t get it legally, but once the anime got licensed and the manga came to Spain I tried to contribute to make up for it purchasing three copies of it for some of my friends that didn’t watch the show or read the manga. Since then, they became anime fans, and bought almost every AoT manga they brought here.
What’s the biggest contrast between anime fandom when you got into it and now? I think the community hasn’t changed much: it has just grew a lot. In that context, the number of fans of some specific type of anime has grown, while some other types have always had a ton of followers. It’s not that the anime fandom has changed, it has grown thanks to the broadcasting services’ work and the new territories anime is exploring. I think there is nowadays an anime for every type of person, and thus, every type of tastes.
Alex can be reached on Twitter.