Anyone who has been reading Otaku Digest for any period since its creation will know we like to shake things up here and there. We have even spawned another weekly column for Otakus only on The Arcade! As 2016 is coming to an end and lots of new possibilities for 2017 are arising, Otaku Digest is no different. Make sure to keep an eye on this space come 2017!
This week will still see the traditional list format but with a personal twist. The past few seasons I have begun to begrudge anime, crazy as it sounds, and I mean all anime, not just slice of life. I know it seems like an exaggerated thing to say but for the longest time it has been this way where I have not been motivated to watch anything new or even play catch-up on series I had already started. I cannot pin point where this resentment began but it seems to be in the constant repetitiveness of the past few seasons where it felt like I was watching the same things just with different names. I don’t think it was all because of that since there are always rays of hope per season, but I blame my personal and professional life. I took on too much and the thing that suffered is something I love the most – watching and writing about anime.
Something that pulled me out of this funk, albeit not fully, was my other half putting anime he watches on in the background which I would unknowingly begin following and enjoying. The main thing was reliving some of the memories of the series that made me love anime in the first place. These were the series that taught me what anime was all about. Not things like Pokémon and Digimon that were widely available to watch, but the series that, unless you were lucky enough for your parents to pay for more channels, you did not see. At least that’s how it was back then before the internet made everything so widely available.
I can remember the first time seeing each and every one of these series and how, from the first moment, I wanted to watch more.
First up is a bit of a weird one that I had seen before when I was young and with my parents in New York City but was too young to fully appreciate; Dragonball Z. I remember loving the colourful characters as it was so new and different to me back in the days of anime on Cartoon Network, Toonami and after school cartoons. This anime had a major impact on the types of anime I watched since I would literally rush home to watch it and discuss it later with my friend who also watched it.
This series was all about the characters. I got so invested in their lives and stories. This series gave me patience, which is an odd thing to say about a series, but for anyone who sat through this series then you know what I am talking about. It was enriched with filler, taking about six to eight episodes for one fight. It was insane, but yet I kept going back because the show was that gripping.
Next will come as no surprise since it makes nearly 80% of my top 5 lists for anime series, Cowboy Bebop. This was my first adult anime in the sense that it was on far later then I was usually allowed to watch TV. I would usually say that Outlaw Star was the first, but this series had much more of an impact on me then the other. Everything about this series appealed to me from the very first appearance of the space bounty hunters, the wild west theme that runs throughout and, of course, some of the best characters to ever be created.
From the very first moment the opening theme played, I knew this was the series for me. This was the anime that made me transition from watching anime and shows that are aimed at a younger audience to the big leagues. Not only that, but this was also around the time that I started watching Outlaw Star, which was a bit more crude than Cowboy Bebop. What Cowboy Bebop really taught me was to live life. In the story, the gang go through so many obstacles yet get up and get going each and every day. Lastly, this anime made me love the dog breed corgis, to the point where I now need one in my life.
Lastly, there is the series that I think made me the anime fan I am now. It is no secret that I am a massive fan of the magical girl genre, preferring it over most. So it will come as no shock that the series that has influenced me the most from first seeing it is Sailor Moon. Usually, I would have said that the entire magical girl genre was the thing that influenced me the most, but when I think about it, I have to say it was Sailor Moon. There were several similar series out around the same time, like Cardcaptor Sakura, but to me Sailor Moon is the one and only original.
To me, anime was a form of escaping my real life since I was not happy in it. Sailor Moon, in a way, helped me realise that it is okay to be myself and that there’s no shame in who I am. What I liked about the series was it was all about being magical and a hero did not shy away from the flaws of individual characters. At the end of the day, these are normal girls who have had this life thrown at them and they must learn to adapt, much like real life.
There you go! There are some anime that have influenced my anime watching life and still do to this day, never failing to make me smile or captivate me. What anime has influenced you in the past? Is there a series you can watch over and over? Let me know in the comments!