This post is inspired from a project Nopy is doing that involves looking into the Anime pasts of fellow bloggers. Anime started for me (in the 5th grade) at the kitchen table looking at it on a very small TV. My kindergarten aged sister insisted on putting this cartoon Sailor Moon on the TV. I was grumpy with the choice at first because even though it looked pretty, I didn’t understand what was going on since it was based on events from previous episodes. It took a few episodes of me being forced to watch it before I became addicted. Pretty soon we watched an episode every day and bought as many as we could on VHS. We each got Sailor Moon gifts as presents for a few years, there were plushes, purses, wands, and some leftover high heels to run around thwarting evil in. But before I knew it the tables turned, I was the one forcing my sister to re-watch episodes over and over again and she could barely stand it. I was obsessed with my VHS tape of the episodes where “Serena” was revealed to be the princess, and my home recorded one of them traveling to the moon kingdom. But alas…something odd was going on, every time the episodes reached a certain point in the middle of (what I later found out to be called) the Dark Moon story arc they re-started again at episode 1!!! I can’t tell you how many times I watched a full cycle of Sailor Moon hoping the show would finally continue from that cliffhanger, but it didn’t. I was really crushed by this and I partially moved on for a while.

Fast forward to 2nd quarter of 7th grade, my homeroom happened to be the computer lab so during the morning announcements I was allowed to browse the internet. One day I impulsively tried to look up what became of my old show Sailor Moon…I went to a web site where I saw a countdown clock that showed less than 10 hours until the “new” episode of Sailor Moon aired. AAHHHHH!!! REALLY?! But it was ONLY on Cartoon Network and my Cable Network didn’t offer that channel at the time. I knew my aunt got this channel and I called her up, she was kind enough to tape an episode every day for a LONG time for me. At this time I learned that Sailor Moon was made in Japan and was something called anime! I started watching the WB56 on Saturday mornings and some other channel Sunday mornings. I enjoyed Digimon, Flint the Time Detective, Escaflowne, Pokemon, and I watched a bit of Yu-Gi-Oh here and there. But the real game changer was Cardcaptors…I LOVED IT! But some things didn’t feel right, it felt like I was being misled about the relationships between certain characters and that whole episodes were skipped. I was devastated to find out that Cardcaptors was a chopped up version of Cardcaptor Sakura. I started saving up my allowance and went to Suncoast to pay $30 for a VHS subtitled Cardcaptor Sakura tape with 3 episodes on it as often as possible. Those were rough times, I couldn’t just ask for whatever I wanted all the time and my allowance was only $5 a week.

ENTER ebay…one day I went on ebay and searched for Cardcaptor Sakura and someone was selling the entire series on VHS. I convinced my dad to let me save up for it and buy it. The quality was terrible, but I was so happy to have my show. I also discovered manga, every few weeks I’d have my aunt/uncle drive me to a Barnes and Nobles nearby and I’d get a Sailor Moon “Pocket Mixx”, later I started getting Cardcaptor Sakura instead. But I remember staring wishfully at Fushigi Yugi wishing I could try that series out too, but I couldn’t bring myself to ask for anymore comics, and that one was more expensive at $15.95.

In high school I started working at a bakery in high school earning about $50-$100 a week, I used that money to buy a PS2 and Kingdom Hearts. I should note I began playing video games in 6th Grade, my friend showed me Final Fantasy VIII and my love was instant. I also got to play Pokemon Red, Pokemon Blue, Zelda: Ocarina of TimeZelda: Majora’s Mask, Pokemon SNAP, Pokemon StadiumFinal Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy IX,  Rhapsody, Thousand Arms, and Chrono Cross. But more importantly my PS2 was my first DVD player and its main purpose became to watch anime. Soon I re-visited ebay and found lots of cheap anime dvds with subtitles. Yes, these were Hong Kong bootlegs, but at the time I didn’t fully realize what they were. I think my next series choice was Marmalade Boy, and then Kodocha. But another turning point was when I stumbled across Fruits Basket. I had found a new love…I was obsessed with Fruits Basket for a long time. I hoped so hard for more seasons, but alas I could sign all the desperate petitions I wanted, it simply wasn’t going to happen. But I found new hope in manga, Tokyopop licensed the Fruits Basket manga!! I patiently waited for each volume eager to get to a point where the plot was new. I started getting into other manga series as well and bought at least 8 manga a month, in the beginning I focused entirely on shoujo and magical girl manga. I worked part time simply so I could afford my hobbies :) ok and well I saved for college too. Eventually I switched to waitressing and was able to afford a lot more manga.

At the beginning of freshmen year (high school) I had a dream of being a manga artist, I realized that wasn’t something I was meant to do within a few months. My drawing really is terrible, and my writing skills are lacking. I tried to avoid talking about my hobbies and only a few of my buddies knew I liked anime. My room was a floor to ceiling collage of lots of images (mostly anime). When I went to college I decided I couldn’t live without having a wall covered in anime so my hobbies were really clear to my dormmates from week one. I was surprised when a few of them started watching anime on their own and came to me for more series ideas. Even though I changed into someone who would talk about their hobbies when asked, I didn’t really push them on other people. They actually got me to watch Scrapped Princess and a pal of mine loaned me Yu Yu Hakusho and I started watching Shonen regularly. Sophmore year I came across FullMetal Alchemist and that was my obsession until the anime started straying from the manga. Up until this point I hadn’t fully realized the relationship between anime and manga. When I see an anime series that has a different ending from the manga, it’s ususally due to the animators taking over the plot to give the anime a conclusion because the manga is ongoing.

When I hit my World of Warcraft (WoW) phase my junior year I didn’t watch any anime at all during the school year. But oddly enough the series that helped pull me away from WoW was Naruto. At one point in my life Naruto was a really big series for me, too bad these days I let myself fall over a year behind :) After I got off WoW I started watching lots of anime using Netflix. I also began actively collecting manga again after stumbling across Yotsuba. I also bought some of my first figures, although most were fakes from eBay. I think my first official figure was of Rinoa from Final Fantasy VIII. After I got a job I REALLY started collecting figures, my collection grew really fast. A few years ago I started really opening up to lots of manga/anime genres and I’ve got to experience a lot of amazing stories. And now…this is my current collection of manga and figures. For more images go to this post. I honestly think this is a hobby I’ll continue for the rest of my life, even if I become a lot more casual about it once I have a family.