When did you discover anime? Share as much as you remember. As a little girl, I watched loads of shows. I knew they were Japanese cartoons, but they were all dubbed in French. I used to browse the aisles of FNAC whenever I went back to France. In 2012, after lots of recent chats about Rose of Versailles I looked it up online, only to discover I could watch it again! And down the rabbit hole I fell…
So you bought it in France and watched it dubbed in French? Yes, I lived in France from age two to 17. I used to watch anime on kids TV shows on Saturday and Sunday mornings, dubbed into French. There was a bit of censorship, but not too much. There was some collaboration between the French and Japanese animation industries so we benefited from that.
What appealed to you about anime when you first discovered it?
What about those stories made them special? They were so imaginative! Remember, I was a kid back then (mid ’80s to very early ’90s) so I didn’t yet appreciate the various artistic components within the medium.
What was it like to be a part of anime fandom at the time? Just like any kids watching cartoons really…
Tell me about rediscovering anime in 2012. Why did you take a break from anime, and what was it like to dive back in? When I was 15 I started going to school here in Ireland, and moved back here full time in 1997. There was a lot less anime on TV here back then, which is why I stopped watching. I always remembered them fondly though, and could still sing the theme tunes to some of my favourites. In fact, I’ve also got a playlist on YouTube of my favorite OPs and EDs even today.
Shows from when we were kids was a favourite topic of small talk with friends and family members, but I didn’t have that many in common with those who had grown up in Ireland. Imagine my delight when I discovered that anime had also been a staple of kids TV in Italy way back when! My husband is 10 years older than me, so the only show we had both watched was “Goldorak”, which is what Mazinger was called. Some of our other Italian friends on the other hand were of the same vintage as me. When we were talking about “Oscar” (French name) / “Lady Oscar” (Italian name), one of them told me she had been watching it recently online… so guess who went on Google as soon as possible?
I started by watching Rose of Versailles, but subbed this time, and Georgie. The first new anime that I watched was Ouran High School Host Club, and I haven’t stopped since. I’ve come across some real gems, and I appreciate the medium as an art form now in ways I couldn’t when I was younger. I’ve cried, I’ve laughed, and I’ve been blown away by the intricacy of some shots. What I love about anime is that at its best, it marries music, sound production, direction, storytelling and visual art into a beautiful whole.
In 2012, did you participate in fandom? Talking on forums, creating fan art or a site, or anything like that? At first I just read some synopses on some sites like MyAnimeList, but eventually I wanted to keep a list of the manga I was reading and the anime I had watched. That is when I discovered Anime Planet. I’ve been active on and off on the forums on that site, and I’m a member of the Welcome Committee. This is my main link to anime fandom, though I also follow a few users on Twitter, which is how I discovered your project!
What did your family think of your interest in anime? Right now my family consists of my husband and my son. They don’t share my interest, but they don’t mind it either.
When you first discovered anime you saw it as just normal cartoons. When did you go from being a cartoon fan to an anime fan specifically? When I started watching anime seriously again in 2012. I have a much better appreciation of the work that goes into producing each episode… and more patience for different styles and types.