Location: United Kingdom
When did you discover anime? Share as much as you remember.
My first experience was with Pokemon. It was the only anime airing on the tv at the time I started watching.
What appealed to you about anime when you first discovered it?
The story, the animation, the characters, the song. Everything.
What would you say was the most popular anime at the time? Definitely Pokemon. Everyone was watching it, even those who didn’t enjoy other “cartoons.”
How did you connect with other fans at the time? Mostly friends at school. With Pokemon being my entry point I was maybe 10 or 11 at the time talking about it at school and watching it with friends when it was on TV.
What was it like to be a part of anime fandom at the time? I don’t know if I truly was then. I felt I had to “grow out” of it pretty quickly as “cartoons were for kids” and didn’t rediscover it again until last year.
Where did the pressure to “grow out of it” come from? I think the pressure to grow out of it came mostly from society. I lived in a fairly small village and and just the concept of a girl being into “boy things” like games and anime was always a bit strange at my school, even if most of my friends were boys.
The other problem was the anime I saw snips of, after Pokemon and Thundercats, always involved girls being exposed, abused, taken advantage of for laughs. There wasn’t anything I came across that I connected with.
How did you get back into anime again last year? The biggest thing for me really was Anime Feminist and finding entry points that didn’t involve the almost stereotypical aspects of anime.
Also I wrote a blog post back when I was starting out about my history with anime and manga:
I wanted something lighter, though, and my eyes strayed to manga. I had a hard time figuring out what I wanted to try. After some friend recommendations, and a bit of internet research, I invested while at Forbidden Planet in 2015. I went for “Fullmetal Alchemist“ – a friend recommendation, “Blue Exorcist” and “Rosario+Vampire” – internet recommendations. I’d wanted to pick up “Fruits Basket,” another friend recommendation, but unfortunately they didn’t have any.
I found something enlightening in “Fullmetal Alchemist,” not every manga has awkward scenes. “Blue Exorcist” had a few odd moments, and “Rosario+Vampire” showed what you were getting from the start but I realised something about the manga I enjoy – I don’t mind fan-service shots when I know that’s what I’m getting. It’s when they creep into story lines and I don’t expect them that it bothers me. I still stayed away from anime but as I read more and more manga over the last two years I found myself wanting to watch anime too but I didn’t want to take the risk at just finding more and more anime that made me uncomfortable.
A website started up that I’ve mentioned before, Anime Feminist, a site I found from Kotaku and kept an eye on. I read a few articles and found myself returning time and time again. They did reviews on the first episodes of seasons on Crunchyroll and some of them sounded very appealing, but I was wary. A friend offered me a trial of Crunchyroll and I started watching some in October. I began with a recommendation from Anime Feminist, “Poco’s Udon World.” I watched the first episode of that, tried an episode of “Trickster” and also “Attack on Titan.” I’d finally found anime that I enjoyed and other places for inspiration and thoughtful articles too.
What’s the biggest contrast between anime fandom when you got into it and now? I don’t know if I could contrast it. I’m such a different person than the teenager me that felt ashamed to enjoy things that weren’t deemed “normal”. The internet has changed things for sure. Having found people who enjoy similar things and even just feeling like it’s okay to be able to look at anime and say “I like this but not this!” rather than having to enjoy everything to be a fan.