Welcome to the UK Experiences Part 1, the Closet Nerd Theorem! Please welcome our guests, Supreme Marvel and SamJaz. Interviewed by Takashichea, they will share their experiences and outlook on anime culture in the UK.
I watched Dragon Ball Z and Pokémon when we had the craze here years ago. I loved watching Toonamiin its heyday. It never really went beyond that. During year 2 of Uni, I had more time on my hands than I thought. So I looked for an animé I liked: Tenchi Muyo - Blu-ray edition. I loved it again. Since that, I looked for more similar animé, knowing myself, I'd eventually know where to look for them in time. It wasTenchi Muyo that got me into animé properly.
I'm not a judgmental person, much. :P When everyone watched Dragon Ball Z, I was like, be arsed with that crap. During the Christmas period years ago, they showed from 1pm to 5pm non-stop Dragon Ball Z then I got into it during the Namek saga. But there are some insane fans out there, like there is with every other medium.
I guess it comes down to our culture and priorities. Here, football for guys is usually the #1 priority. That's on all the time, I loved watching it myself (Come on you Liverpool!). I know for damn sure, most of my city have no desire to watch it. Best way to describe them, they call it a cartoon for children. Even though they love Family Guy, Simpsons, and South Park, we don't have much of a problem with censorship. From my experience, we tend to show the animé to its fullest. I've never seen, here on TV, an animé censored. Unless we've got an American version - say Dragon Ball Z.
I haven't been to any anime conventions. If I did, it would be one were Linda Le would be at. She would be leaving that place with me.
Manga in my city are hard to come by. Unless it's already popular or new - with potential to be popular, then we mostly won't have it. Then you order it. I have every Dragon Ball + Dragon Ball Z manga. I have almost all of the Highschool of the Dead manga. If I like the show enough, I might get the manga. I have a select few Blu-rays: Rebuild of Evangelion series, Redline, Howls' Moving Castle, and Highschool of the Dead. Bad thing about animé here is that they never get released in our region and in our language. Just doesn't have the demand for it. We only have like 53 million people in England. Football, soaps and other things that might get their attention.
Once I have my own place and steady income. I guarantee, I'd have a cupboard full of animé I like.
I got into anime through Pokémon and Yugioh, being the only anime shown on every morning on channels we could afford, and a desire to know about this wonderful thing the other kids spoke of, Dragon Ball Z. My other strong recollection was when Cartoon Network created a new channel called Boomerang, focusing on shows like Scooby Doo and Wacky Races, but at night, it became something strange and wonderful I didn’t quite understand. I never got to see more than five minutes of it, but I remember something that seemed like a western anime, a guy walked into a bar, asked for some guy, and the barman asking for his sizes. For the coffin, he explained.
No idea what that show was, but that was probably when I decided, I want anime.
Next chance was after getting the Kingdom Hearts game, I got some Kingdom Hearts manga, and the first three books of Rurouni Kenshin. That’s how I got into anime. I used to put it on a pedestal, but now I just see it as another media for entertainment. I get as much enjoyment out of watching High School of the Dead as I do Walking Dead. Well, I’ve lost my taste for theecchi in recent years so I don’t watch the former anymore, but you get my point. Same reason I don’t watch Game of Thrones.
But, we can all agree that Death Note and Sherlock are both amazing programs and deserve our money.
How do I view other anime fans? Well, I never properly grew out of throwing imaginary fireballs at my mates in the playground, so when I saw other anime fans, I saw other kids. Because that’s what kids do, we watch cartoons. Growing up now, I have a different viewpoint. A lot of anime I feel are for children. A lot of anime are for adults. A lot of adults take anime far too seriously while a lot of adults treat anime like adults. Anime enthusiasts are like kids. They dress up as cartoon characters and go to conventions to eat sushi and to hug body pillows while shouting GARUUUGAMESH!!. Or so I hear.
Do I think anime is getting to the mainstream? No. Like I said, the only encounter I had, other than Pokemon and Yugioh, you had to have the posh, extra channels to get anime, and even then, you had to watch late at night for anything other than big name shounen shows. What made life worse was thatCrunchyroll and Hulu weren’t available to non US users, so I got my anime through Fansubbing.
For me, that was lethal. My experience with anime was one where I got whatever I wanted for free, with nothing getting back to the creator. That’s why I don’t watch as much anymore, simply because I don’t feel right watching pirated copies, and I don’t want to spend money that I don’t really have on DVD’s. When the majority of anime I watched online, I’d watch two episodes and write it off. I think the biggest roadblock for anime in the UK isn’t censorship, rather a lack of understanding. People will happily watch Futurama and Family Guy, but serious cartoons made for adults must be tentacle porn as far as anyone else is concerned. So I point them at Watership Down, where they dismiss the argument and couldn’t care less.
I have met other anime fans in person, one great experience in school was talking to a mate of mine about Muai Thai, who attended a gym locally. I confessed that I learned about the martial arts fromHistory’s Strongest Disciple Kenichi. Then, I found out he learned about Muay Thai from the same manga. Now, we still giggle like schoolgirls when the newest chapter of Kingdom comes out. He still hasn’t managed to get me to enjoy One Piece, however.
Yes, I still read manga online. But I get a chance to actually buy manga. I buy both online and in various geek shops when I manage to find one, but they are few and far between. I have two main cities near where I live, Bradford and Leeds. Neither of which have manga shops that I know about. Amazon has, however, provided great deals of Great Teacher Onizuka in the past.
Other than that, I’ve never been to an anime convention. I don’t think anime will ever be mainstream over here, other than the larger Shounen shows might make it on the nine PM sessions on some of the smaller channels. I do hope anime does become mainstream here.
About the Authors
Supreme Marvel is an Animé enthusiast and a passionate DC Comics lover. Liverpool Football Club is my blood.Follow him @WesOgo
|SamJaz is a psychology student and anime enthusiast who occasionally gets around to writing fiction. Follow him@samjazbreaker|