The Evolution of an Anime Otaku

Just like the ever-changing landscape, our tastes change. Nothing makes that clearer than when I look at my anime list. Kyo, Momiji and Yuki from Fruits Basket. Photo by R-M Arca.

For the purpose of this reflection, I'll leave out the anime that I watched as a child. That was, after all, before anime became big in North America. My otaku story really began with Pokémon and Card Captor Sakura. Thus began my stint watching shonen and magical girl anime. Mostly coming of age stories with a hint of supernatural, like Fruits Basket and Magic Knight Rayearth I even started buying Furuba messenger bags and plushies!

At the time, anime provided a nice way to escape the stresses of the day and reconnect with my inner child.

Next came more shonen like, Bleach, Kekkaishi, History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi and Samurai X. This led to me finally picking up the martial art Iaido. I joined the Calgary Iaido Club (now "Ka Muso Kai") and worked my way up to Ikkyu and publishing three articles in The Iaido Journal.

My next big shift was towards "spirited away" tales, such as 12 Kingdoms, Spirited Away, Magic Knight Rayearth. Escapism once again.

Actually, one of the reasons I started to study the Japanese language is because there are some light novels that haven't been translated into English. Or, they are being translated at an extremely slow pace. 12 Kingdoms is one of them.

I think mecha came next: Neon Genesis Evangelion (because everyone has to at least once, right?), RahXephon, Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040. One of my favourite shows as a child was Battle of the Planets (AKA "Gatchaman"). Between G-Force and the Transformers, I guess I've always been a mecha fan. There's something fantastical about these humungous machines.

I even delved into a bit of horror (to my own horror). However, it was the story that drew me in. However to this day, I still wish they told us who the murderer was in Umineko no Naku Koro Ni.

After that, the shifts came in terms of storyline. Sure, there were still elements of shonen or magical girl, mecha or being spirited away, but the stories were getting deeper.

Soul Eater

One season, I watched only post-apocalyptic shows, such as Shinsekai Yori. Another season featured strong female leads (Soul Eater, Moribito). Anime with a bit of mystery and intrigue, as well as samurai ones remain a hit with me.

One thing that remains constant is that this otaku seeks a balance, a balance between light and dark, funny and serious, fantasy and reality. My otaku bookcase spreads across my home (anime and manga in one area, plushies and figurines in my office - because I want a cool workspace).

And wow, have I ever watched a lot of anime through the years! すごい です ね?