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Japanese Anime

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I discovered anime in 1985. But I didn't know that I was watching anime at that time. What I was turned on to, by a relative, was a show called "Robotech". At the time, I was fundamentally disinterested in 'cartoons', but after three tries, I gave in and watched a few minutes of it. I remember thinking, "now this is different from what I conceived cartoons to be". Within 3 days, I was hooked and watched the whole series.

A year later, the series was cancelled, and I wrote letters to the TV station. I learned who the syndicator was and wrote them a letter. Then one day I was in a supermarket and discovered a rack of comic books. One of them was "Robotech". I bought it and read it. I purchased a subscription and this became my first comic book experience (I am living my live backwards, going from adulthood to childhood. :) ) In the back of the comic book was a pen pals address exchange. I submitted my address and in a few months, I received letters from other fans. One of the fans was from Hawaii, and he introduced me to the 'hard core' stuff.

Simultaneously, there was an anime convention in New York City that year (now 1987) and I went. I purchased a 12" LP record of the Macross TV soundtrack, not knowing what it was going to be like. I also had unknowingly purchased the Macross movie soundtrack. I bought each because a familiar character likeness was on the cover of both). I bought a VHS tape of the Macross movie there too.

When I got home, I watched the movie that night. Talk about a 'context shift'! Here I was, seeing all the familiar characters from Robotech, but with Japanese names, in their original roles!

I listened to the LP recordings, not knowing what I was to expect. The music was not what I expected. It had a feel like the "Easy Listening" instrumental music from the late 1950s/early 1960s. But it was different. And it was beautiful.

And I was hooked.

My pen pal in Hawaii was prolific in sharing many original Japanese anime titles. Many were tenth generation VHS copies that gave me a headache to watch, but I watched intently. I was fascinated.

Time went by, and my penpals eventually went their separate ways, but anime stuck with me.

One day, through a fan club that myself and a HAM radio friend of mine started, we came into contact with a tape trader. He had an admirable list of anime soundtracks on tape and if we sent him blank cassettes and a list, he'd tape it for us. I discovered a lot of wonderful music that way.

I discovered the music of Joe Hisaishi, composer of most of Hayao Miyazaki's film soundtracks. I heard the hauntingly-beautiful soundtrack to Nausicäa and I was in nirvana. I thought that this had to be the closest experience to being under the influence of psychotropic drugs, and I coined the term "sonic narcotic", which I reserved for music that put me in a trance-like state.

I watched many anime films over the years. The 1980s were the "golden years" of anime.

My favorites:

Kaze no tani no Nausicäa (Nausicäa of the Valley of Wind)

...about a young princess who's valley is beseiged by war, in a time where the earth had already been destroyed by the "Daikaisho" (Seven Days of Fire) war some thousand years earlier. Readers of Ayn Rand's Anthem will see a parallelism in the world of Nausicäa's valley, where only ancient remnants of the modern world remain, buried beneath the ground. Nausicäa uses her cognitive abilities to discover the process by which to restore the ecology of the planet and she studies the forbidden plants of the Toxic Jungle and makes discoveries that no one else is willing to bother with. She alone finds the answer to why the world is dying and she must stop three warring nations before they bring about the total destruction of the planet.

Laputa: Legend of the Sky Castle

...this is loosely based on Gulliver's Travels. A story about a mythical 'flying castle' and the quest of a young boy and girl to find this legendary castle.

Kiki's Delivery Service

... a story about young "majos" (women of magic, literal translation) or witches and their coming of age. Kiki turns 13 and it is time for her to go into the world and find her trade as a witch. It is about growing up, leaning to cope with setbacks, understanding one's self, overcoming hardships and making a life for one's self.

Omohide Poro Poro (Only Yesterday)

... this film is a high fidelity anime. It's so realistic. The beauty of the scenery and the glimpse into Japanese common life is splendid. They say that this was the first animated film to convey the nuances that up til then, only live actors could convey. The story is just an ordinary love story, but the visuals and the nostalgia (it flashbacks to 1966 frequently) make it a very enjoyable film for older viewers.

Whisper of the Heart

...this is a film about a young girl who discovers her calling in life. She has a ironic love/hate relationship with her image of a boy that she is infatuated with--by the books he reads (she finds his name on all the cards of the books she takes out at the school library) and she is frequently annoyed by a certain boy who's grandfather just happens to own the antique shop that she frequents.. could it be that her dream boy and this boy are one and the same? This is a story about growing up, maturing and setting goals and following through. A wonderfully-inspiring story.

Hotaru no Haka (Grave of the Fireflies)

....the saddest animated film (actually of any genre) that I have ever seen. Ten times more saddening than Gone with the Wind, and told in retrospect, a powerful way of setting the stage for impending doom of a young boy and his little sister, caught in the fires of WWII. Sad, hopeless, with a message that war is hell.

(Incidentally, I worked for the import distributor at the time this film was licensed in USA, and I designed the packaging for the original VHS release.)

Rumic World: Fire Tripper

...this is a love story that takes place in two time periods: present day, and 15th centrury Feudal Japan. Suzuko is 16 years old. Most of her life is normal, but she remembers little about her past. But a gas explosion triggers a shift in time for her, and she finds herself on a battlefield in the 15th century. The boy who rescues her from bandits will have a strange attraction for her... a beautiful love story, if a bit confusing due to the several shifts in time and the question of who's whom.

I have more, but I'll post this for now.

Robotech....are you a woman...i love you. I love that show!!!!!!1 :pimp: :pimp: :pimp: :pimp: :pimp::lol:

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I'm not huge on anime, but I've always had a soft spot for Cowboy Bebop. I never had a chance to finish the entire series, which I have no good excuse for since there aren't that many episodes, but I find JMeganSnow's comparison to Firefly agreeable. As a side note, I initially thought the dog's name was "Ayn" as opposed to "Ein." :) If only...

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