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Self-Indulgence 7: Half-Life

August 3, 2010
by

 

Been sitting on this post for a few days due to *insert lots of convoluted reasons*. So it’s a little past its due date, so to speak. Also, the above pic has nothing to do with this post. It’s just some badass Ukyo fan art stuff.

My birthday was last Monday, July 26th. I turned 32. Since I got into anime when I was around 15 or 16 years old, I’ve effectively been into this crap for more than half of my life.

Yeah.

Going by the nifty little “generation chart” concocted over at Anime Yume, I got into anime during the so-called “Akira” generation. That makes sense, since going by this chart that seems to be the last “generation” that was born out of other hobbies.

Something I’ve noticed about many “modern” anime fans is the fact that anime is often their only geeky hobby. They may like video games and comics, but those interests are always anime-related. They play jrpgs or doujin games and read manga, but these fans rarely branch out into game genres that aren’t anime-related and they often look down upon western comics (Or at the very least ignore them.). They’re also rarely into any other hobbies that aren’t somehow tied into anime fandom. You won’t see them digging on sci-fi stuff like Star Trek or Dr. Who,. They aren’t into collectible card games that aren’t Yu-Gi-Oh or Pokemon. They’re anime fans and that’s it. The line stops there. There’s plenty of exceptions, just like anything else, but that seems to be the ever-growing and prevalent rule for anime fandom nowadays.

Speaking as an oldster, the idea of just being an anime fan is kind of weird. By the time I got into anime in high school I was already a big table-top RPG fan. In addition to that, I’d been reading super hero comics since Batman came out in 1989, and I was essentially born at the same time as the video game era, having grown up alongside them. Some of my earliest memories are of my dad lifting me up to see the screen on games like Galaga and Joust. I was able to see all three original Star Wars movies in the theater due to the various re-releases the movies got before VHS became prevalent, forever marking me as a Warsie (Even if all of the books and the prequels and almost every post-SNES game in the series sucked ass.). Basically, I was a geek long before I became exposed to anime, so anime was yet another cool thing for me to get into.

I think I can chalk this up to the fact that my “generation” was one of the last in the US that didn’t get exposed to anime as anime during those “formative” years. Yeah, I saw Voltron and Robotech as a little brat, but no one was there to tell me “Hey kid, those robots are completely different from He-Man and GI Joe. Those are cartoons from Japan and were made for Japanese kids and play by different rules most of the time.” It wasn’t until I was considerably older that I realized there was things thing called “anime” that was essentially its own little world. It seems like that the kids that got into Pokemon were the first to have “the truth” spelled out for them from the get-g0. Most of them knew that Pokemon was an anime, and that it was a part of some larger whole that was distinct from all of the other cartoons on the air. Then those kids got hit by the wave of Toonami/Adult Swim shit, along with all the online arrdownloadpirate shit.

Those kids that came along later basically got to grow up as anime fans and never felt the need to “branch out,” so to speak, since they found their calling. While people my age who were likely “pre-destined” to become anime fans through some sort of DNA hard wiring had to deal with years of aimless, existential wandering as they tried to find that “shining thing” that would make their fanboy lives complete.

Or something like that. Basically, those of y’all that could grow up with this shit are damn lucky.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. August 3, 2010 9:38 PM

    There, there, grandpa. /patpat :V

    Also, happy birthday.

  2. August 4, 2010 1:40 AM

    You oooooooooold~!

    I guess people are just anime fans because they can be. I’d love to be a movie nerd but that would mean spending some of my precious free time doing something other than watching the mountain of anime I’ve yet to watch.

  3. August 4, 2010 7:21 PM

    I love anime, but I never really liked of diving headlong into the stuff and making it my sole hobby. All the extracurricular stuff that a lot of anime fans are into just goes over my head. I like the shows, and that’s about it … which affords me time to be a huge movie fan, too, and read on occasion. Had to cut out video games, though, because my interest in them just dips every year.

  4. Aile permalink
    August 12, 2010 1:26 PM

    A lot of what you’re saying about younger/’modern’ anime fans, that are just into anime and not so much a “well-rounded” nerd like ye olden folks, is due to The Internet. It allows people nowadays to instantly access and consume and endless and constantly updated amout of anime/manga – contrast and compare, pre mid90s I had five traded VHS-tapes per year and there was no anime in TV yet, the comic store imported just a handful of volumes; so after that’s consumed you actually had time to fill with other stuff.

    Personally, the internet didn’t suck me in deeper into anime, but I rather fell out because of it. After a brief peak phase of interest I realized that 99% of it is crap after you consumed the 1% classics (and the internet showed me just how much crap there is, when you have unfiltered access). I never partook in any internet communities, so there wasn’t any draw to put up with the crap (like the young folks can do nowadays, socialising solely around it).
    Rather, the net (therefore I qualify my statement, the internet doesn’t just produce narrow interests) showed me lots of other interesting stuff and different hobbies I could branch out and involve myself in.

    cheers

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