Location: Arizona, USA
When did you discover anime? I discovered anime through my long distance best friend James’s blog when he watched and reviewed Death Note in 2013. I watched it that week, but I wasn’t sold on anime. After a year of reading his reviews as he slowly got into it, he convinced me to try Studio Ghibli. The Secret World of Arrietty amazed me, followed by Whisper of the Heart. I madly watched Studio Ghibli, then Satoshi Kon’s films upon James’ recommendation and loved them. I began trying TV series with English dubs (Fate/Zero, Spice and Wolf, Ouran High School Host Club, Psycho-Pass, etc.) Princess Jellyfish sold me even further. Then Gugure! Kokkuri-san sold me on subs late 2014 and I’ve been faithfully watching seasonal anime since then!
How did you meet James? We actually met through each other’s blogs as teenagers; I was looking for other Star Wars fans, I found his blog, and we struck up an online friendship! We commented frequently for years, then started skyping to discuss Marvel films, and then when he finally got me into anime we skyped almost weekly to discuss new episodes of seasonal shows.
Not only are we are still friends; we are actually long-distance dating now! He’s been my boyfriend now for over a year. We have met in person three times, at about two weeks time, and have made many plans for the future! He actually does not blog anymore, for personal reasons, but we are in communication all the time and we still watch and talk about anime! We always look forward to our next visit because we enjoy watching anime in person together.
What appealed to you about anime when you first discovered it? Death Note was addictive and strange, I couldn’t stop watching. Everything else about it was odd; the art style, the eyes, etc. But like any well-told story, if the story and characters are well-written, you can’t look away.
What was it about Death Note in particular that made you such a fan? I have a hard time understanding why Death Note grabbed my attention like it did, as I never marathoned shows in a couple days like I did it. I just remember I COULDN’T STOP haha! I think it’s because it felt so mature compared to the content I’d seen in American animation and how well the psychology and suspense was executed. It just grabbed me and didn’t let go.
What would you say was the most popular anime at the time? I wasn’t super aware at the time what was very popular. But most likely Attack on Titan.
What was it like to be a part of anime fandom at the time? I actually don’t have much comment on that, outside of my best friend, I wasn’t very involved in the anime community online. I wanted to experience anime without much outside input besides general recommendations and the like.
Was the Internet a part of fandom at the time? Oh yes. Internet is how I found out about anime in the first place, through reading blog reviews.
Could you elaborate on which blogs? It was primarily through my friend-now-boyfriend’s blog that I learned about anime. I had never heard of it before. He reviewed movies and TV shows on his blog, so when he discovered anime, he began frequently writing and posting reviews for the shows he watched. As his best friend, I read them all out of politeness and pure curiosity haha! I read his thoughts on different anime shows for a year before jumping on board with him—I was stubborn in my thinking anime was odd. XD It took a while, but he sold me on it!
Do you remember your first convention? I’ve yet to go to an official anime convention. I have attended the Phoenix Comic-con before and after being an anime fan. The last time I went, 90 percent of what I bought was anime-related posters and merchandise. I would love to attend an anime convention in the future though.
Can you tell me about your first anime-related purchase, what it was, and how much it cost? My first anime purchases included two 11×16 inch posters, one of Kise from Kuroko’s Basketball and a manga cover of Fate/Zero. They were eight dollars for each unless you bought two, in which case both were for $10. I remember thinking that was kinda a silly bargain and spent a good fifteen minutes going through the massive stack finding a second poster I liked, which was the Kise poster. I also bought a 13×22 inch poster of the boys from Free! all clothed and sitting on the edge of a pool with sunflowers looking just adorable. I don’t remember what I paid for that one. I also bought my first wall scroll, featuring the power players from Kuroko’s Basketball. It was around 20 dollars I believe. I’m a huge poster girl so I still have all of these on my walls, along with about eight new additions!
For you personally, what’s the biggest difference between your anime fandom then and now? I think the biggest difference is that I’m learning that it’s ok to put it on hold when I need to. I used to start crappy seasonal shows and feel like I had to finish them. Now with my life being a bit busier, I’m learning to control the fandom, not let the fandom control me. It doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy watching all kinds of good and bad anime anymore, it just means I’ve grown up a little bit. So I guess my fandom is little less obsessive and now more hobby-like, if that makes any sense at all.
Jamie can be reached on Twitter.