My "Canadian" anime experience

Topic started by AURON570 on Aug. 6, 2013. Last post by AURON570 11 months ago.
Post by AURON570 (552 posts) See mini bio Level 15

Hello! This is Auron570 with a blog response about my Canadian anime experience, please enjoy. I was born in Canada, my parents immigrated from China, and I currently live about an hour north of Toronto.

How did you get into anime?

Some pig!
Some pig!

The first anime I watched was the English dub of Sailor Moon and the Cantonese dub of Super Pig when I was 3-4 years old. I liked the colorful transformation sequences, fighting bad guys and the comedic/exaggerated/cute animation. To this day I still remember the lyrics to the Sailor Moon opening in English.

When I was 7-12 years old, a lot of anime was dubbed and shown on Canadian television. There was DBZ and Pokemon. YTV acquired a lot of anime including InuYasha, Yugioh, Gundam Seed, .hack//sign, GitS and Eureka Seven. Also 4kids had their dubs of One Piece, Naruto, Fighting Foodons, Ultimate Muscle etc. It was an exciting time! Most of my school friends were watching some combination of those shows and we had fun talking about our favourite shows and characters.

YTV's version of Toonami (2004-2010)
YTV's version of Toonami (2004-2010)

During high school I did not watch much anime. Anime wasn’t being shown as prominently on TV. Also no one at my (very small) high school really watched anime. However, in my senior year I started watching anime in earnest again. I had really great English and Philosophy teachers that year who opened my eyes to new ways of thinking about art and literature. I think anime can stand toe-to-toe with other arts/entertainment and it has a lot to offer if you know where to look. So that basically leads to where I am now and how I got interested in anime. :]

How do you view anime and fans who love anime in Canada?

Well I think anime can stand toe-to-toe with other arts, but I don’t think many people share this view. From my experience with anime clubs, friends (some like anime, some don’t) and also general media awareness, most people are just indifferent to anime, some still consider anime as for kids or for weirdos.

"I heard Bill has a 1st edition Zapdos, but he hasn&squot;t shown it to me so I don&squot;t believe him"
"I heard Bill has a 1st edition Zapdos, but he hasn't shown it to me so I don't believe him"

I guess part of the for-kids mentality has to do with how anime was promoted when it was on TV. If you watched Yugioh, you wanted Yugioh cards. If you watched DBZ, you wanted the latest Budokai game. If you watched Beyblade… you get the point. I remember kids would bring their Pokemon/Yugioh cards to school, some would show them off, some traded them, others lost them, resulting in schools banning them. I feel like that mindset is still around.

On the other hand, the impression I get from anime fans is that they like anime because it is cute, exotic or over-the-top. There seem to be pockets of anime fans around Canada, for example student clubs at universities or around different major cities like Toronto and Vancouver. Some are content that anime is a “niche” hobby. But I really think anime can enter the broader cultural conversation.

What anime series do you think should have been aired in Canada?

Wait, u want us to what?
Wait, u want us to what?

The first anime that came to mind was Steins;gate. Quirky characters and a suspenseful time travel plot! Otherwise it’s hard to say, I don’t think a typical Japanese high-school anime would work since high-school experiences are so different in Canada and even the U.S. Also anything ecchi I think is a definite no. I can think of lots of anime that I would recommend to just about anyone, but I’m not sure how well they would do on TV. Haha, now I’m overthinking which anime would do well on which TV networks and how each anime does/doesn’t appeal to certain audiences!

Have you been to an anime convention?

Sadly, no. I asked my parents to go to AnimeNorth when I was around 9, but they said no. So, slowly I lost interest in going to a convention. The impression I developed of conventions is lots of walking around, looking at stuff I am not interested in buying and being around lots of people who think they’re cool.

What is your buying experience like for anime and manga? Do you buy online or publicly?

I do not read manga. For anime, streaming sites like Crunchyroll and Funimation let me watch lots of anime for free, so I usually only buy anime movies or series that I really want to support. Very few stores within an hour of where I live have a decent anime selection, so I buying online is easier for me. I usually buy from amazon.ca because most other sites have huge shipping fees or only ship to U.S. I don’t have much interest in buying other anime-related merchandise, but it would be cool to buy a Chocobo plushie, a new Pikachu plushie or something One Piece or Evangelion-related.

What are your views on Japanese culture? And do you think Anime is popular in Japan?

"You gonna get married and have kids?" "Uhh Iduno seems like a waste..."
"You gonna get married and have kids?" "Uhh Iduno seems like a waste..."

I don’t know too much about Japanese culture. I know some things about kabuki theater, samurai, geisha and Japan during WWII. Otherwise most of what I know about modern Japanese culture comes from anime, sites like CultureJapan or other sites/articles/blogs/videos that cover Japanese culture. For example I know some things about Japanese food, the Japanese school system, social customs, recent social problems like Japan’s suicide rate, aging population, also “otaku culture” in Japan.

About anime's popularity in Japan, yes and no. Anime might be popular, and people of different age and sex might like anime, but I think the general view of anime in Japan (from those who don’t watch anime) is “it’s okay to like, as long as you don’t like it so much that it’s creepy or detrimental to your health or others”. It’s always the extreme cases that get reported, like otaku who stalk voice actresses, that give a certain hobby a bad reputation.

Closing thoughts?

Mmmm.. culture..
Mmmm.. culture..

There are many different social factors to consider when thinking about how anime is received in Japan. In general I think everyone should be more mature and open to share their cultural experiences. Anime was made in Japan after all! The Japanese people should have a right to admire and appreciate the art and culture that its own country has developed! As a Canadian it’s a little bittersweet being an anime fan. I realize that anime is a big part of my cultural experience. I want to talk about that and figure out how anime fits in with Canada’s multiculturalism and what that means for me. I mean… everyone loves sushi… why not anime??

I hope it was fun to read about my anime experiences. Feel free to post any questions or comments, or talk about your own experiences! :)

About the Authors

Auron570 is an aspiring writer, whose hobbies include piano, video games and anime. Follow him @jasutinu
Post by takashichea (11,042 posts) See mini bio Level 25
Moderator

I was going to save this comment when we get to publish your story and Nancy's story on the front page. I'm become more of sociologist than a scientist when interviewing you guys. When you and I worked on Tari Tari, we saw a hidden message. The declining birth rate was a big impact on those kids. It makes you feel bad. Don't know if they want the viewers to have more babies. Nah, that's silly. It's painting a portrayal of the situation and telling the kids not to give up on their dreams. Don't regret and stay in the past. Keep moving forward.

Thanks for sharing.

Post by AURON570 (552 posts) See mini bio Level 15

@takashichea: Haha yeah the interesting thing about the low birth rate is that even if Japan starts having more babies, they wouldn't have a lot of room to expand since Japan is an island. It's definitely a complex economic and social problem.

Post by UsachanMaN (4,514 posts) See mini bio Level 15

AWESOME BLOG POST Auron570!!! :D Love it! As soon as I read "YTV", it took me back to my elementary school days..lol back when my friends and I were obsessed with DBZ (wont go too much in detail...I'll leave that for my blog post :P). Very insightful!

Otherwise it’s hard to say, I don’t think a typical Japanese high-school anime would work since high-school experiences are so different in Canada and even the U.S

Totally agree! I never thought of that since I've been watching a lot of anime for the 5 years so I've gotten used to the Japanese high school "customs", but you brought it to my attention how different they are from Western high school systems. And I totally agree with them airing Steins;gate :P

Very few stores within an hour of where I live have a decent anime selection, so I buying online is easier for me.

I know HMV and Futureshop have an anime section that is slowly starting to include more variety...if you have those stores in your area try checking them out :) In rare occasions, I find some anime dvds at Walmart (anime other than DBZ and Pokemon. I remember once coming across the Full Metal Alchemist OVA dub collection at Walmart).

Awesome blog post!! Do you mind if I link it to my status here on AV? :D

Post by AURON570 (552 posts) See mini bio Level 15

@UsachanMaN: That's fine by me, thankyou for the comments! I look forward to reading your post, and sorry for your recent loss.

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