Sunday, August 19, 2012

Group Therapy: The first one is always free...

[JT's intro:] Today we are going to dive deep into the subconsciousness of each of NerdPop's authors; trying to find that first exposure that triggered our nerdom.  If you recall, our last GT was done entirely by me, but I told you (ok, more like warned you) that GT's from now on will be done with each author writing their own part.  Sooo... chaos basically...

We will be focusing specifically on our first exposures to anime and/or manga this week.  What was it that tainted us so many years ago that we now spend our time watching series in a language we don't know while reading the translations (Reading while watching T.V.?!  Unheard of!!!!)?  Let's take a seat on the giant leather couch, relax, and go back... way back... and see if we can find out, shall we?

Walmart. Where everyone expects his/her/the cats obsessionwith anime/manga to start. Right? Nope. But that’s pretty much where mine started. Whoa, Jas, you are crazy. Nope, (yes) I’m not! So, how did I become an otaku from Wal-mart? [JT's note: Yes.  She just had an entire self-depreciating conversation with herself...] Let me paint you a picture:  Lanky middle school girl walks down the magazine isle and sees a discount book rack, on said rack is one lonely manga. Whoa, is that CardCaptor Sakura? I haven’t seen that show since Elementary school! That was agood show, I miss it…..I should buy this thing even though I don’t really getwhat it is.
Sakura and Kero.  Pic from the interweb

Omg I need them all. This is book 6. I need 1 through 5.STAT! SOMEONE TAKE ME TO BARNES AND NOBLE RIGHT NOW!

Whoa, this looks cute. The girl wearing some cute pinkthing and she has cat ears! Oh and this looks cute.

500 mangas later….here I am, signed, sealed, deliveredfrom Amazon I’M YOURS!

Tokyo Mew Mew.  Again, credit the interwebs.
But really. That’s how everything started, volume 6 of Card Captor Sakura’s manga on a discount shelf at the local Wal-mart. Fromthere it was Tokyo Mew Mew and then, well, everything becomes a nearly debt-inducing blur. Though, I had one major problem. I had NO friends at the timethat liked anime, so I was completely alone on my conquest to buy out theentire manga section at Borders.

I didn’t get friends who liked anime until Sophomore yearof high school (which seems like ages ago now) and that was when everythingREALLY took off. Conventions and the like dug me into a deeper hole that isotaku. And now here I am, with too many manga to count, not that many animeDVDs, but with an apartment full of wigs and figures.
No, Jas.  You are not showing people your first hentai...

I miss the good old days of coming home and watching CCS,Sailor Moon, DBZ, Runion Kenshin, Gundman, and the like. When not many showswere on TV I turned to my local movie rental stores…where I happened to stumbleupon my first few hentai DVDs. (in high school) Oh man, those were to good olddays…

I, like many girls in the 90’s, watched Sailor Moon on occasion. Technically that was my first experience with anime, but I don’t really count that because I had no idea what I was watching and I didn’t nerd out over it (I had friends that did, but I was too busy nerding out over Animorphs [JT's note: mmmmmmmm... Tobias...  I mean... Rachel!  Yeah... Rachel... >.>  <.<  >.>]).

In highschool I had a Japanese friend who introduced me to Manga in my junior year, and it all went downhill from there. She would give me 3 books at the beginning of the day and I would give them back before we went home and ask for more. I swear it was like crack , I could not get enough. When she discovered that I did not watch anime she took it upon herself to change that.

About a week later she brought me three series on DVD that she thought would interest me. The first was Fruits Basket.  I had already devoured in manga form, and it was an instant hit, but I already knew I would enjoy it. I was much less certain about the others.

Jessica decided I should watch Read or Die simply because the main character reminded her of me….  This Anime has a very nerdy female lead who uses paper as a weapon. Really?! This is really a bad anime, I don’t recommend it, but I am still amazed that she owned an anime featuring a paper wielding bookworm heroine.

The third series was the only that I watched in its entirety. It is a very old school magic girl anime with two seasons that I absolutely DEVOUERED in less than 48 hours. I literally shut myself in the bonus room and watched this series all weekend; I barely ate, I didn’t shower, I didn’t sleep, I didn’t do any homework. My family was slightly worried. The source of this obsession? Magic Knight Rayearth. It remains one of my favorites to this day, and It also happens to be a CLAMP production and so brought on much squee-ing over Mokona. 

[JT's note: Yes... she finally wrote something... -_-]
Inner and Outer Senshi. 
My first anime, you ask? Oh boy, now that’s something I haven’t thought about in a while. I would have to say Sailor Moon was my very first anime, although I didn’t know what anime even was at that time. But I remember I loved that art style so much and I wanted to find more shows like it. It wasn’t till I was in 7th grade that I discovered what anime really was. I met a girl that was very much into anime and manga and she let me borrow her favorite ones like Marmalade Boy, Chobits, and Inuyasha. From there on out I was hooked and began finding new series on my own that tickled my fancy, after growing bored with all the ones Toonami and Adult Swim were playing. In my search I discovered manhwa, which are Korean manga, and also cosplay. The idea of dressing in some of the cute outfits my favorite characters wore seemed so inviting, I didn’t realize how much of an impact it would have on me later in life though!

I tried going as far back as I can remember, and came to one conclusion:  I have a confusing past.  When I tried to recall my very first anime, I realized (like I am sure most, if not all, of my cohorts realized) that I did not realize my first anime was my first anime until way after I had gotten over the show.  My mind naturally jumped to Dragonball Z or Pokemon, which would be a natural thought considering they is the gateway drugs (wow... I might be taking this whole mind-altering-substance metaphor a little far) to a majority of the otaku population here in the U.S..  I mean, it's not like there was any other Japanese series that made a splash stateside before DBZ, right?

Voltron. Pic from ... well... you can see

Ehhhhhhhhhh...  Here is where the lines began to blur for me when I was delving into my own mind (it's a scary place in here, let me tell you).  There were two series that aired before DBZ (since they were all re-runs, do not ask me which one came first in my memory.  I have NO idea) ever peeked my interest: Voltron and Speed Racer.

Speed in front of the Mach 5.  Pic from a fan site and the OP

"What???  Those aren't anime!" That just passed through your head, didn't it?  Let me assure you, they are indeed anime.  Voltron was made using clips of Beast King Golion while Speed Racer is from Mach Go Go Go ("Go" is five in Japanese.  Eh?  Eh? ;)).  I used to adore these two series, still do in fact.  I'm not sure what drew me to them.  Perhaps it was the art style, or the constant action (which, if you go back now, you will realize is all stock footage).  Whatever it was, these two tainted me looooong before DBZ ever did. A few years later and I find myself transfixed by TOM and the Absolution on Toonami, my godsend at the time.  

After that, the rest was history...

OK,  We've made a lot of progress here today.  We are beginning to see why we are all such freaking NERDS! ...  Isn't it wonderful?  Unfortunately our time is up for this session.  In the mean time, we would LOVE to hear from all of you readers out there what your first exposure to anime was!  Leave a comment and tell us!

Watch two episodes, and call me in the morning...

(Want to know more about us?  Check out our profiles here.)

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