As part of an ongoing experiment, I’ll be taking it to you, my readers, to share your stories, your experiences, and your passions in order to create a more complete narrative. As we wrap up each questioning, these shared stories will be woven into the greater narrative. Our ultimate ideal will be a concise, clear story that will both explain the hobby and appeal to the outside market.
For the inaugural installment, I asked a simple question: What first drew you to anime? While the input on this first segment was modest, the answers were heartfelt and genuine. So, before I begin, I would like to extend my deepest thanks to those who offered their own stories.
Without further ado, let’s begin.
Regardless of how old he is, or how long he’s been watching, every anime fan begins at the same point. Every fan is drawn into the medium in some way. There is always some form of initial exposure that leads to a growing passion for the hobby. Some individuals are exposed at a young age via programs that run on television, like Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball, or Zoids. Some people are given their first dose through friends or family. And others still find anime on their own via sheer curiosity.
A viewer’s first experience with anime is something difficult to describe. The idea that animated shows could exist in a context outside of the normal self-contained episode is unheard of to many American viewers. A show like .hack//SIGN or Dragon Ball, which have a longer arching story, is sure to give pause. Viewers are forced to slow down and digest the shows differently in order to adjust to different narrative styles, and to cultural shifts that may not be the norm. If the show resonates with the viewer, the hook will have been set, and he will begin craving more.
It’s often stated that everybody has an anime that they will resonate with on some level. However, one needs to first be drawn into the hobby in some form, in order to find it. Without that first contact, many simply will not bother to seek and enjoy what the medium has to offer.
Aside: As humans are social creatures, the ability to share and discuss hobbies amplifies one’s affection. Friends can talk about their favorite shows, give recommendations for new material, and keep the interest running far more easily than lone viewers.