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Anime memories

There's always a new discovery in our lives that may become a new hobby. Writing a poem, repairing machines, finding a sport that you like, etc... In my earliest childhood memory, never did I think I would get introduced to anime from the likes of a usual television block, and thus my venture into the world of Japanimation began.

1991 saw the the U.S. airing of the first ever anime show I'd ever watched. It premiered on the UPN channel (related to Paramount) and would show regularly on weekdays, sometimes even in mornings. The first I'd ever seen was Samurai Pizza Cats.


Samurai Pizza Cats (1991-1992)



The plot of the show involves three anthropomorphic cats in what looks to be mechanical armor who normally work at a pizza restaurant, but are also heroes summoned by the prime minister of their town. From left to right is Guido Anchovy, an average all-around companion and girl chaser that uses an umbrella for a weapon, Speedy Cerviche, the leader of the group who uses a pair of swords with an ego for getting noticed, and Polly Esther, a tomboy personality type girl cat that uses heart shaped weapons. The three are left with the task of ridding Little Tokyo of any baddies that cause trouble, and often times run into the leader of the baddies, Bad Bird. The show certainly had some charm as far as it went with the English dub being focused towards children. Pop culture references, cheesy character lines and quirky humor really brought the show to life. Two episodes weren't aired in the U.S., but it got a vhs release, and a dvd set years later.

Suncoast Video/Suncoast Motion Picture Company/fye (1986-present)



Suncoast was a video store that happened to be inside of the Greenbrier Mall in Virginia. Not only did it provide Hollywood blockbuster hits, but it was home to many anime films and TV shows that began appearing on VHS in the country. The only downside was to how much each video was priced. Some movies were passable, but as for actual TV shows on VHS, they had two to three episodes on one tape, and priced around $40 to $50 because of their so-called popularity. Even though I didn't have allowance money to spend early on, it was still interesting to see what was on display, and they had manga as well!

Vampire Hunter D (1985, 1993 VHS release)



You might remember me mentioning this one in my Halloween article from last year. Just to recap, here's the skinny on the plot. In a future where mankind goes back to its roots with a last century lifestyle, monsters of the night run amok and Doris Lang, a monster hunter seeks the help of a half-vampire named D who must hunt down a living vampire  known as Count Magnus Lee. Rather than finding this movie at Suncoast however, I chanced upon it at a large library years later. The English dub seems okay, but from what I've heard the original Japanese dub is superior.

Ranma 1/2 (1989-1992)



Based off of a manga, Ranma 1/2 (pronounced one half) tells the story of Ranma Saotome, a young teenager training with his father, Genma as they're in China for martial arts. Both of them train around different springs, but what they don't know is that by falling into one of each they take the form from a curse that they have. Genma takes a hit from Ranma, causing him to fall into a spring known as 'spring of drowned panda', causing him to turn into a giant panda. As Genma lunges out of the spring water, he knocks Ranma into the 'spring of drowned girl' causing him to turn into a girl. The effects of these curses takes effect when splashed with cold water, but with hot water, brings the person back to their normal self. Disgraced with his son's new apppearance, Genma takes Ranma to Japan to the Tendo training hall of martial arts, where his longtime friend Soun Tendo resides and asks if Ranma would take one of his daughters into marriage, only to end up with a rocky relationship with his youngest daughter, Akane. I found out about this series from a few friends that I'd met in Middle School, around 1998. They were apparently bigger anime nerds than I was, but the best part was that they weren't the only source. A trailer for one of the series' movies was on a Pok'emon VHS tape.

The Toonami era (1997-2008)



To branch the popularity of anime to the West and introduce it to a newer generation, Toonami was created in a new time slot on the Cartoon Network Channel, and was a great way to wrap up the 90's decade. Though some shows they featured weren't anime (Thundercats, the Powerpuff Girls, certain Warner Bros. action cartoons etc.) we got some shows that were already achieving success like Dragon Ball Z and Sailor Moon, while some others began appearing, like the Mobile Suit Gundam series, Outlaw Star and Tenchi Muyo to name a few. Unfortunately as time went on, a new adult-themed weeknight block by the name of Adult Swim slowly took over, and Toonami became a time slot only for weekend afternoons.

Of course as time passed and the DVD format of video came into play, I slowly became able to purchase certain anime home videos, depending on what little I had to spend. I even got to see some anime that I hadn't known existed.

Bubblegum Crisis (1986-1991)



A rather short series, Bubblegum Crisis takes place in a futuristic city akin to something like Blade Runner with its setting. Four girls known as the Knight Sabers are tasked with the job of destroying robots that threaten the populace, controlled by Genom, a man behind a wealthy corporation.

Slayers (1997)



Lina Inverse, a sorcerer of magic and veteran of the sword has pursued many adventures, and now her biggest awaits as she befriends an active and muscular swordsman, Gourry, Amelia, a princess, Syphiel a priestess and Xellos, a male priest. Lina herself is pretty much the leader of the group, and if there's anything that involves money, even if it involves a bounty, she'll always be up for it.

I hope I've given you all a good dose of the anime that I've become familiar with, and hearing about my tales of finding out about them as well. Anime may just be another usual thing for the older adults out there to groan and look past, but as for me I think it serves a purpose just as well as any other form of television show, to introduce us to fictional worlds that are worth revisiting. I'm Benjanime, signing off!
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munkysrench Posted on Jul 15, 2015 at 11:27 PM

This is your bro Stephen by the way, lol.

I remember the majority of these on TV growing up with you. Toonami was a blast to watch on Friday and Saturday nights when there was nothing left to do on the weekend. I bought the Guyver series as well as the first couple volumes of Voltron on DVD when I first got stationed to Grand Forks. One lesson I learned from that is they were only fun to watch when you're a kid, and don't care about the dialogue. Watching it again was painful as an adult, because nothing anybody was saying made sense (there was a point in the Guyver where an enemy was like, "Feel the wrath of 100 million volts!", like he really didn't know how much power he had). I was glad to see Suncoast, as well as Sam Goody's just because of how obscene their prices were.

Good article, bud. Thinking of writing one on here myself soon.

Hoju Koolander Posted on Jul 11, 2015 at 03:30 PM

Suncoast Video was the best source for weird/rare videos in the 90's, loved that store! Never got into anime outside of The Guyver, but Ranma 1/2 always got a lot of press, so I was aware of it.

pikachulover Posted on Jul 08, 2015 at 06:36 PM

Samurai Pizza Cats was funny my mom got into it a little. Where I live it took over Sailor Moon's old time slot so a lot of people were pissed about that and they expected me to hate it too. I was a closet fan of the pizza cats.

Suncoast was expensive. I bought a few anime things there. Remember buying a Sailor Moon backpack there and some Sailor Moon trading cards. The one at the local mall didn't have a very good selection of manga.

Mr Magic Posted on Jul 08, 2015 at 04:38 PM

I like fye a lot because they have movies that stores around here don't have.

Shows like Kimba the White Lion, DBZ and Hamtaro increased my interest in anime, while movies like Grave of the Fireflies and The Tale of the Princess Kaguya helped as well.

Anime has grown on me.

comic_book_fan Posted on Jul 08, 2015 at 03:36 PM

i was never a huge anime person but i had and have a few i like i was a big fan of toonami always went to my bothers house to watch hours of tec tv and then the saturday night block of toonami after that i liked mostly the justice league and teen titans megas xlr stuff like that but i did enjoy cowboy bebop inyuasha trigun yuyu haka Ruroni kenshin and samurai shamploo i probably got the name wrong but it was pretty good also

Benjanime Posted on Jul 08, 2015 at 03:32 PM

jkatz

I'll try to catch up to it eventually.

@Vaporman87

have you read the akira manga? each volume is enormous and has more than what the movie adaptation could fit in. I unfortunately haven't read them all yet.

Vaporman87 Posted on Jul 08, 2015 at 03:22 PM

My introduction to Japanimation was probably Voltron. Aside from that, RoboTech, Akira, and Pokemon.

jkatz Posted on Jul 08, 2015 at 04:56 AM

I too remember catching Toonami in its prime, but I was probably more excited about them showing Batman Beyond! Ruroni Kenshin quickly became my favorite though. Good stuff. Definitely watch the Japanese dub of D when you get the chance, they changed a few details (eg, Doris says she'll kill herself instead of "leaving the village").

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