Hailinel (Level 11)

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Hello, there.

This is the movie to blame for my interest in anime.
This is the movie to blame for my interest in anime.

Though I've been a fairly active blogger over at Giant Bomb, this is my first blog here at Anime Vice. That being the case, I suppose I should start off with a brief introduction and a history of my relationship with anime. I first became interested in the medium back in the summer of 1996, when I was still in the middle of high school. My discovery of it was almost accidental; earlier that summer, the cable system in my local area had just started to carry the Sci-Fi Channel. However, it wasn't until that August that I saw an advertisement on TV for their anime movie theme week that was set to begin that very night. I literally had nothing else going on and most of the family was out that evening, so I sat down and decided to watch the movie that they had on that night, which happened to be Tenchi Muyo in Love.

Holy Hell, did that flip a switch. Having grown up mostly on Disney animation, bloodless action cartoons and the usual Saturday morning line-ups, what I saw was like a punch in the face. Granted, Tenchi Muyo in Love is hardly, say, Akira in terms of its maturity or violence, but it was literally unlike any other animation I had ever seen up to that point. I was so fascinated that I recorded the repeat showing later that night on VHS, and also watched and recorded the rest of the programs that were on that week (Gall Force: Eternal Story, Roujin Z, and E.Y.E.S. of Mars). Then, on a whim, I checked the TV schedule for anything on the Sci-Fi Channel that might have been more anime. That's when I learned of their Saturday morning anime block, which that week was playing Project A-ko.

To put it simply, I was hooked. And frankly, I'm happy for that, as there was very little else that interested me in my hometown (Wyoming is pretty much a lot of nothing, unless you really like sports and the outdoors). For the rest of high school, I watched the regular anime rotation on the Sci-Fi Channel, which included classics like Akira and Vampire Hunter D, and not-so-classic titles like, well, E.Y.E.S. of Mars. To this day, it's the only place I've been able to watch Robot Carnival; the fact that that movie never received a U.S. DVD release really burns. But I digress.

The first anime film I ever saw in a theater.
The first anime film I ever saw in a theater.

When I got to college, I joined the university's anime club, where it was great to meet people who were actually interested in the same things I was. (My high school did not have many video game/anime addicts to whom I could relate in terms of interests.) From there, I learned a lot more about the medium, and my tastes were able to expand and refine based on the recommendations of others I could trust, rather than on gut instinct in video stores and questionable forum posts. The local theater near the campus even plays the occasional anime film (something unheard of back in my hometown). I hadn't been in college for two weeks before I made a trip to see Perfect Blue in the theater; and later that fall, Princess Mononoke, which I saw three times before it left.

After I graduated, my interest in anime started to wane. It's kind of weird to think of my my favorite titles as old school; titles like El-Hazard were just a few years old by the time I saw them for the first time; now they're at least fifteen. Meanwhile, I haven't kept up at all with the more popular recent titles; ask me to tell you anything about Naruto, One Piece, or Code Geass, and I'd be at a loss for words. This isn't out of any sort of disdain for new anime, mind you; my favorite titles canvass pretty much the range of years from the early 2000s all the way back to the mid-to-late 1970s. It's just that, well, I have a greater attachment to those titles from my (relative) youth. I'm thirty years old now; I've been a fan of anime for half my life, but I maintain a very strong, nostalgic connection to those titles that I watched so many years ago, even if the quality of some of them is enhanced by the rose tinting that time provides.

I suppose this is a point where I could attach a list of my favorite titles. I've enjoyed so many different films and series that it's hard for me to really nail it down my favorites, but I guess if pressed, I'd have to say that my favorite titles of all time are, in no particular order:

This list will almost certainly be different tomorrow. Or even an hour from now. (Hell, I'm still editing it as I continue to write this.) I've been on a nostalgic kick recently, and I've been going back to some of those movies from my early fandom days, where most of my viewing came from cable TV and a Suncoast Video about a hundred miles away. It's kind of amazing what I can find on Amazon these days. Gall Force selling new for about two whole dollars. The DVD turned out to be pretty quality, too. And it's kind of frightening how well I remembered it, despite my only previous experience with it being a TV edited version that I hadn't seen since perhaps 1997 or 1998. And despite its now evident flaws, I still can't help but enjoy it.

Wow, I'm only thirty, and I probably sound like a crusty old fart to a good portion of the audience here. Well, if that's the case, I hope you've enjoyed these ravings of an old man, readying for the days he'll spend in a rocking chair and waving a cane at the young punks that dare set foot on his lawn.

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