Generation 1- the 1st gen otaku are the Astro boy, Star blazers, Macross otaku. They are about 40+ now. When they started anime was called Japan-amation and the only way you could get anime that was shown on tv was by sending VHS tapes to people and then they hooked up 2 VCRs together to copy it over. Or you would have to go to a convention and make copies there (back then the video room in a anime con was the main attraction)
Generation 2- this is when America started changing anime shows to fit the American market ie: Transformers, G-Force (aka gatchaman), ronin warriors, Ultra Man, Power rangers (its not a anime buts it’s a otaku thing) This is when anime was main stream but it was looked at as a cartoon being that it was changed so much that it only looked like anime. This is also the time I was born, in 1988 a lot of big name things started to pop up in America ie: Mario, Zelda, Megaman (who is a rip off of Astro Boy) Contra, Metal Gear. This era made many kids into unknowing otaku (like me ^_^ )
Generation 3- This is the era when they tried to push the idea that “anime is not for kids”. This is when OVAs like wicked city came out, Fist of the north star, Akira, Ghost in the shell. This made A LOT of people into otaku ie: everyone that runs Anime World Order and Anime Pulse/Manga pulse and most big name otaku bloggers. Around this time is when anime just started to be able to be bought easily in America. The downside to this was, anime got a bad rap. Because of these shows/movies most people thought anime was only about tentacle rape (wicked city) and violence (dog solider). That’s why when some older people hear anime they think “crazy rape cartoons”.
Generation 4- This is where a lot of 18-25+ year olds got there start into anime (or pushed them to know they are destined to be a otaku). This is the era of Toonami (a anime block aired on cartoon network after school). They started off with Dragon Ball Z and with the popularity of that show, they aired Tenchi (all of them!) Gundam Wing, 8th MS Gundam Team, G Gundam, SD Gundam, Dragon Ball, .hack//sign, cyborg 009, Hamtaro, OUTLAW MOTHERF**KING STAR!!, Kenshin, Zoids, YU YU HAKUSHO!!! It was the greatest line up of anime EVER! This put anime on the map in America so much that EVERYONE at least heard if not watched DBZ. Fun fact Dragon Ball Z aired on other networks years before it aired on cartoon network and nobody noticed, it goes to show that if you air anything at the wrong time it will fail (im talking to you Adult Swim, airing good shows at stupid hours)
Also before this time Sailor Moon was going strong, so everyone has a anime to like. Then Pokemon hit America, and everyone went ape s**t! I can say that a normal week for me back in those days consisted of 4 hours of toonmai, then 3 more hours of toonami uncut (airing at midnight) and card captor sakura during the weekdays and watching pokemon on Saturday morning and cowboy bebop at 1am on Sunday.
Generation 5- This is the newer generation. At this time is kind of hard to say what is getting kids into anime now. I guess now is the yugioh, bakugan, haruhi, azumanga daioh, generation. Its hard to say because it takes time to say “this anime is why people became otaku in 2010”. Who knows if it was really Haruhi that got kids into anime, or whos to say next season is not going to have a smash it. Also you have to look at the fact that anime is not on tv as much anymore. Where are all the DBZ like shows that are airing after school that makes kids rush home? Its almost weird that most anime is being aired on Adult Swim and even they are airing it at CRAZY hours. Another thing that makes it funny is anime fandom is at a all time high ie: cosplayers, fan made things like AMVs and fan-fiction, and con attendance.
So I ask you, “What generation do you fall under?”. Me? Im a gen 4 that likes a lot of gen 3 anime ie: Evagenlion, Fist of the north star, etc. Also as a side note, did you notice how anime became less violent, more about selling things and more moe.