What Made You an Anime Fan?We've got big news today: an early start to our Black Friday sale! For the next week, get a whopping 10x J-List Points on all orders*! Plus you get one of those limited Megumi stickers for Christmas 2017 with every order. Browse and make your order now! One fun question to ask is, what was the one series or film that really got you into anime? A lot of fans get into the medium gradually or because of the influence of friends around them, but in a lot of cases there was some outstanding show that really pulled them in. When I asked my Twitter followers what was the one show that really made them an anime fan for life, I got various responses, including Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, Laputa Castle in the Sky, Sailor Moon, Gurren Lagann, Fullmetal Alchemist, Shakugan no Shana, Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo, FLCL...the list goes on. For me, I was first called to anime by the classic space opera Space Battleship Yamato/Star Blazers, which was the most dramatic thing I'd ever seen up til then, but it was the Macross 1984 movie that showed me the massive potential of what anime could be, in terms of the dramatic scale of the story that could be told. So, what made you an anime fan? Often it's the case that there's a lot more to anime than is visible to us, being outsiders to the culture, and Japanese perceive things quite differently than we do. Some of these references include:
- When you or I first encounter Kimi no Na Wa ("Your Name"), we think of it as a nice film by Shinkai Makoto, but Japanese all remember a famous novel and film by the same name about a boy and girl who meet on Ginza's Sukiyabashi Bridge during the Great Tokyo Air Raid and fall in love. They promise to find each other on the bridge six months later, but part without telling each other their names, and thus are doomed to never find each other.
- Anime with titles like Recommendation of the Wonderful Net Life or Recommendation of Climb are making references to a famous book called An Encouragement of Learning (Gakumon no Susume) by Fukuzawa Yukichi, the founder of Keio University.
- In addition to naming every character after ships that fought in WWII, Evangelion references a Japanese SF novel called Ai to Gensou no Fascism. The names of Shinji's classmates Touji and Kensuke are taken from this book.
- Bungo Stray Dogs is an innovative show in which the great Japanese writers of the 20th century are transformed into bishies who fight evil with supernatural powers. It might be a little difficult for Westerners since we lack experience with these writers, though the show is a great way to start learning about literature of the period.
- Finally, when Ayukawa Madoka catches the red straw hat Orange Road, she's making an homage to a novel called Ningen no Shomei, a reference that all Japanese understand, but which naturally sails over the heads of foreign viewers.