4 Reasons Anime Fans Have It WAY Better Nowadays

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You know we’ve arrived at the future once we can tell harrowing “Back in my day” stories about anime fandom. Nonetheless, it’s true — life wasn’t simple for us anime fans 20 years back, and it wasn’t just because folks heard that you liked something named Outlaw Star and intuitively wanted to cram you in bathroom. For instance …


Anime Video Rentals Were A Minefield Of Porn

Outside of magnificent, glorious Toonami, there were not plenty of televised options for anime lovers from the late ’90s. Thus, you had to search elsewhere, which generally meant going to the back of a video shop, where the shadows lie. My local shop called this section “Japanimation,” which is a word that only gets created when you ask a suburban dad to classify Dragon Ball Z.

Toei Animation“That is the one where they catch all the critters from the small balls and make them fight, right?”

And when you didn’t need to see three episodes from a Toonami show packed on a VHS tape, then you took a entire gamble and chose something else. One of my most vivid memories was when I leased Devil Hunter Yohko from Hollywood Video, a place that only exists in the memories of the dead. All I knew about it was that Yohko was a vampire, and the series was touted as sort of a magical girl / action anime. I then popped in the video, settled on the couch next to my mother, and discovered that at the first ten minutes, Yohko is naked, getting her sweet anime breasts sucked by some dude. So you have to have the “That is exactly what anime is” talk with your parents, and the “And it is not always like this!” Talk right after.

The difficulty was that back in those times, unless it was porn, there were not a great deal of evaluations on video covers. You could usually tell from the case art if there could be graphic violence (muscular animation dudes, women with katanas), but there were no “All of those people will be getting nude later!” warnings/promises. These films would all have been aimed toward older audiences in Japan, but in the USA, animation = kids. So films that showcased lovingly animated jiggling animation nipples sat right next to Pokemon on the shelf.


MadhouseThe non-boob moments from Devil Hunter Yohko were just like navigating a parental minefield.

And when you didn’t get blindsided by surprise porn, you got confused by names which meant absolutely nothing of research (and also the internet was in its infancy, so if the data was out there, it wasn’t easy to locate). So you get to the video shop, wanting to see if they’ve some Gundam Wing, which was one of the numerous backbones of Toonami, and you also visit … Victory Gundam? And G Gundam? And Char’s Counterattack? You realize that requesting Gundam is similar to walking into a butcher shop and requesting one pound of “meat”


You Had To Deal With America Butchering Your Beloved Collection

The sharp divide between what cartoons looked like in America and Japan was never more stark (or ridiculous) than if it came time to broadcast anime on TV. Keep in mind, in American cartoons in the ’90s, some superheroes couldn’t even be shown punching with a closed fist. This turned into a nightmare for shows that A) were completely cool with advertising violent brawls to ten-year-olds and B)’d hundred-episode narrative arcs that had to be viewed in order.

It wasn’t a matter of just cutting out a few frames here and there. Preventing “objectionable” parts supposed that storylines were hacked apart and glued back together. Liberties were taken with English dialogue translations, blood and other bodily fluids were eliminated frame by frame, and specific episodes had to be removed entirely. So when you watched them at the U.S., you were not getting the actual anime; you’re getting the anime as explained to you from the Baptist aunt.

One of the most famous examples is that the 4Kids Entertainment localization of One part, an anime that is adapted from the bestselling manga series ever and, as Cracked has covered before, is chiefly about punching. Aside from deleting full episodes, substituting a continuously smoking character’s smokes with lollipops, and generally shying away from the “I will beat you till the blood coming from your head looks like the chocolate fountain at a Golden Corral” vibe, 4Kids additionally included this shit to the beginning of every episode:

If you do not need to obey the worst thing that has ever happened in the united histories of anime and hip-hop, that is cool. It begins, as all dynamic shows do, together with 30 fucking minutes of narration, then … rapping. Specifically, a rap meant to grab the listener up to a show that had aired more than 200 episodes by the time 4Kids started showing it.

It attempts to explain the main characters employing vague one-word descriptions, but vomits to its lap once it gets to the only female character at the time: “plus a l-a-d-y Nami isn’t shy.” I don’t understand how superhumanly disinterested you have to be to devote half of the 1 line which you are committing to the sole woman spelling out the term “woman,” but I am thinking nobody worked that night.


You’d Drown In Useless “Filler” Episodes

You understand how Game Of Thrones eventually caught up with then handed the books it is based on, to the point where the show is currently just finishing the narrative on its own while George R.R. Martin labors away, two novels supporting? Well, imagine if rather than going ahead, the show just started inventing bizarre, random storylines to tread water before Martin could catch up. This happens in anime each of the time — thus “filler” episodes. Most popular anime shows are based on manga series (a Japanese comic book, for those of you completely out of the loop), and if they start to run out of publish storylines, they need to streeeeetch their own stories to allow the source material build up a buffer. The filler they slap together is stunningly awful.

For example: To finish an great story arc roughly time-travelling super hybrids, Dragon Ball Z gave us an episode in which Goku had to receive his driver’s permit. Goku fails the evaluation, incidentally, and the episode ends with all the driving instructor wishing that he could fly. Ya know, like Goku can. Which means he doesn’t have to drive in the first location. Welcome to the world of anime filler, bitch. Meanwhile, at the center of a struggle against a villain who controls folks like puppets and leaves them kill one another, One part burst into three weeks of anthropomorphized manatees doing kung fu.

Toei AnimationI swear it was nowhere as cool as that combination of words promised to be.

Bleach was filler to get a year. Filler episodes are God getting revenge on humankind for inventing fiction. And today’s anime fans do not need to bargain with them. Now they’ve entire sites describing exactly what can be safely skipped (and that which should be skipped from the name of maintaining your sanity). But in the ’90s, we had no such thing — we just sat through it all and choked it down. With no frame of reference, we just accepted that this was exactly how anime was. Sometimes you’d find a whole lot of good episodes in a row, and sometimes Ash Ketchum has to go fight a man who beats his Pokemon with a whip.

If it seems like only a minor difficulty, understand that my beloved Sailor Moon had 200 episodes, and 101 were filler. So 51 percent of the show which defined my formative years was dedicated to plots which, at the long term, didn’t matter whatsoever. And I watched each one of them, over and above.


Collecting Merchandise Was Confusing, Sad And Dangerous

Sure, today you can go into freaking Barnes & Noble instead of only see rows and rows of manga, but in addition anime action figures and toys. The average person doesn’t have to discover different manga series through getting a virus at robotechfan666.tripod.com. Teen Me, on the other hand, mostly collected $3 bootleg posters and decal cards (which for this day are in a binder, stored in my bedside drawer next to my grown-up woman toys). For figurines, we had two choices: Chinatown bootlegs, which were cheap, unlicensed, and hideous (although I bought them aplenty) …

Loryn Stone

Loryn Stone

… and officially licensed figurines which typically ran $100 or more, which you also had to paint yourself. Not only did early anime collecting demand that you go out of your way to get it, but also that you’re capable with a very small brush and hobby paints. Otherwise, you’re stuck looking at a Cowboy Bebop figurine suspended in futile, deathly gray.

Meanwhile, through sketchy Geocities sites, I’d found that a man in Canada had the best-quality bootleg videos. And since that man only accepted cash payments, I also found the dread of spending the time between order and arrival wondering if this man wasn’t just rolling into a pile of cash he’d collected from other naive nerds. And prior to the bootleg anime jewelry trend hit eBay …

Loryn Stone

… I used to get those shitty metal and enamel hooks and adhere people filthy beasts throughout my ears. It was just like I had been begging to get a more isolated friend group AND tetanus.

Loryn StoneThat. Was in. My earlobe.

One time, I dug through the litter of my mall’s hobby shop because I saw a broken bootleg Sailor Mars’ red high heel and had to reconstruct the doll’s corpse, which had been also somewhere in the garbage. After mending her various wounds, the finished abomination sat on my dresser until it fell apart. This was old-school anime fandom at a nutshell: digging through the wreck, piecing together what we could, and loving everything.

Loryn Stone is probably watching anime right now. Like, there is a really good prospect of that. She also oversees her own pop-culture site PopLurker. Check out her on Twitter.

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