#67: Ellery

Age: 22

Location: Venezuela

When did you discover anime? I first discovered anime when I was a little kid. Anime was actually aired quite a lot back when I was young, even in local channels outside of cable.

The first anime I got into was Dragon Ball Z, specifically the episode where Goku first dies (really nice way for a kid to be introduced to something), DBZ’s hispanic dub didn’t have any censoring but my parents didn’t really care cause they just saw it as a cartoon (they did make sure to tell me not to imitate what I saw though).

After that I got into it through the usual anime like Pokemon and Digimon, but really anime was such a big part of my childhood, whether it was more shonen oriented things like Inuyasha, Yu Yu Hakusho and Gundam Wing or more kid friendly toy commercial brand anime like Medabots, Beyblade or Yu-Gi-Oh.

What appealed to you about anime when you first discovered it? I just liked how it was different from normal cartoons. I enjoy cartoons and the ones that aired when I was young (Dexter’s Laboratory, Powerpuff Girls, and the like) were fun, but anime offered a different type of rush plus I loved how the stories had continuity and the characters went through different things.

Not gonna lie though, I liked the cool fights, transformations and all that shonen cheesiness those shows were known for, it was like I fell in love and I still love it to this day even though I’m more critical of them.

What would you say was the most popular anime at the time? Dragon Ball Z, by miles. Even people who don’t know about anime know about Dragon Ball Z to this day.

How did you learn that? Did somebody surprising bring up DBZ when you were a kid? It was mostly due to the fact that pretty much anyone who grew up in Venezuela at that time has heard about Dragon Ball. I’ve known people who have no interest in anime and even hate it but who absolutely love Dragon Ball. Most of the reason for that is that the series really aired everywhere over here and the merchandise spread even more.

What was it like to be a part of anime fandom at the time? It was normal I guess; every kid watched it’ cause it was on all the time, to the point they were like any other TV series so we’d just walk up to school and start talking about the last episode of Digimon or how Goku pulled out a new awesome (really weird now that I’m older) transformation or if Ash was going to win the League (ha ha ha ha).

Was the Internet a part of fandom at the time? Not really, I mean we were kids and it was at the time when the internet was just starting to pick up ( I remember my mom showed me how to use it when I was eight) so it was more a case of just talking about it in class and stuff.

Do you remember your first convention? I actually don’t, I think I was six.

You were SIX? Well it was actually more like a regional festival rather than a convention, back then all the anime that aired was so popular that you had all types of people dressing up as the characters for it since it was an event where people could wear costumes. I don’t remember much from it aside from the fact I got a Wargreymon action figure.

What was the first anime that you became a serious fan of? Hmmm the first anime that I can say I was hooked on for a long time was probably Naruto. I think I spent a month marathoning what was out of the show when I first discovered it and was hooked on it for years. Aside from that one I was really into Digimon and Gundam, but could never find anyone to talk to about it but when I first started watching I think I re-watched Gundam Seed (yes…even Gundam Seed Destiny), 00 and Wing like two times.

What did your family think about your interest in anime? Well, when I was a kid they just saw it as me being into cartoons and stuff and then when I was a teenager I actually kept it a tight secret from them, which made them wonder if I was watching porn most of the time. Eventually they found out and accept it as long as it didn’t get in the ways of my studies (which it sometimes did… but they don’t need to know that), even if my mom still expects me to grow out of it at some point. I’m still wondering if it would somehow make things better or worse if I showed her some of the more serious aspects of anime.

What’s the biggest thing that’s changed between your anime fandom then and now? Well, I certainly am a lot more dedicated to it now. Not only do I watch a lot of anime, I also take into account why I like what I like and try to learn more about the industry and what drives it, not just about the studios involved but why anime is made the way it is. I also really pay attention to what other people think and say about the shows I like because I think that taking others’ opinions into account also helps you judge and change your own opinion, after all, there might be stuff you hadn’t noticed that others did.

Ellery can be reached on Tumblr.

#14: Chito

Age: 21

Location: Lima, Peru

When did you discover anime? Share as much as you remember. I’d say that the first time I watch an anime was back when I was five, when I first watched Cardcaptor Sakura, but apart from that, Dragon Ball Z, and Naruto, I really didn’t watch much anime nor I was interested.

It all changed in 2014. I was bored at home and decided to watch something on Netflix. There was an anime that looked like Cardcaptor Sakura that triggered my interest. I thought it was going to be the same fluffy adventures about a magical girl saving the world, but it wasn’t. It blew me away completely for how different it was from anything I’ve watched before—it was Puella Magi Madoka Magica.

Once finished, I wanted more. So I watched the next show in the queue: Sword Art Online. I fell in love with it and was really sad when I finished it, but then I read in a local anime magazine that a new season has just been released. I was really excited and wanted to watch it ASAP. Fortunately, the article shared the place where I could watch it. That’s how I discovered Crunchyroll.

I got an account, watched a lot more of anime, then started watching anime seasonally, then started importing Blu Rays, then started buying manga, then discovered anime blogging, then created my own anime blog, and now I’m filling this survey while listening to “Renai Circulation” (on loop).

That’s how I discovered anime as hobby and a passion, and I’m pretty happy with my current life.

What local magazine was that? The magazine is called “Club Manganime”. A few days after finishing SAO, I happened to see the cover of this magazine with GGO Kirito and the main villain, DeathGun, [both Sword Art Online characters] on it. I bought it immediately and looked for their SAO article. There was this little box at the bottom saying that we could watch SAO II for free on Crunchyroll. My older brother told me that his friend had a premium account and he was really nice to share his account with me. There I discovered lots of new things, and my days as an anime fan officially started.

What appealed to you about anime when you first discovered it? When I watched Madoka Magica, I was absorbed by its dark story and its characters. It was completely different from everything I’ve watched before. I thought it was going to be like Cardcaptor Sakura, but turned out to be one of the greatest anime ever created!

It was amazing and changed my views on anime as a media forever.

What would you say was the most popular anime at the time? At that time, Akame ga Kill, Tokyo Ghoul, and Sword Art Online II. I think ufotable’s Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works was airing as well.

What was it like to be a part of anime fandom at the time? I guess it was really fun. It felt different from any other fandom. For the first time in my life, something felt really personal to me, and I wanted to share the things I loved with a lot of people.

Anime fans in Peru are really nice people and have a lot fun watching and discussing anime. And with the help of Twitter, I was able to be part of the English-speaking anime fandom. This part of the fandom helped me a lot to learn about this industry and, that way, love it even more.

What is anime fandom like in Peru? How is it different than English-speaking anime fandom? In my experience with anime fans here in Peru (especially beyond the Internet), I’d say anime fans here are very lively and like to have fun with what they’ve got. The times I talk to people in festivals and the like, they’re very nice. Casuals LOVE Dragon Ball, but the most hardcore fans tend to like lots of anime, especially the ones that became huge hits, like SAO, Attack on Titan, Tokyo Ghoul, etc. I really haven’t met people or read comments of people talking about things they don’t like, they usually just talk about the things they love. There isn’t much difference between Peruvian and English-speaking fandoms, but if I had to mention something, it would be the memes and the jokes, which are a bit dirtier than in English.

Can you share one of the dirty memes? No. I’m rather ashamed of them, to be honest.

What inspired you to start an anime blog? I’d say my main inspiration was reading Nick Creamer’s reviews at Anime News Network and discovering his own blog. Back in February 2016, I started working at a company where I had to use WordPress a lot. Shortly after I discovered that many people on Twitter talked a lot about anime in their own WordPress blogs, Nick included, I really wanted to talk about anime myself, too. So I said why not? I got my debit card, asked some friends to help me out with the website, and started writing! I started in Spanish, of course, but some months later, I discovered “12 days of anime“, which invited all anibloggers out there. I once again said why not, and started writing in English! My personal blog is called miblogotaku.com, and as I said before, I write in both languages. (but English is harder than I thought!)

How did your fandom change once you started creating content as well as consuming it? Once I started writing and sharing things on Twitter, I got to know a lot of very nice and fun people. Which really made me happy, because I felt there’s actually someone out there who actually likes and reads my stuff, and that feeling is really precious to me. There was one time one of these people took a screenshot of one of my articles and showed it to me on Twitter, telling me that he found that part hilarious and loved it. I was shocked and very happy at the same time.

What’s the biggest contrast between anime fandom when you got into it and now? As a Peruvian, watching anime legally was a bit harder than it is now. Online stores didn’t ship DVDs or manga to my country,  and if they did, shipping costs were very expensive. Licensing restrictions were hell to me, especially when Funimation licensed something I wanted to watch. But time has passed and shipping costs have gone down. Amazon started sending more stuff to my country, and the impossible “marriage” between FUNI and Crunchyroll happened, bringing even more anime than ever before.

Fall 2016 was the golden season to me, as everything was available in Latin America. Even Amazon Prime Video became available here, and I’m getting an account soon only to watch Rage of Bahamut: Virgin Soul. And there’s even a Mexican anime festival that is bringing A Silent Voice to my country!!! Believe it or not, back in 2014 I could just dream about these things, now they’re slowly becoming something possible and even true. It’s a very good time to be an anime fan.

Chito can be reached on Twitter