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A Minority Among A Minority Among...

By James Dawsey     -

After yet another enlightening foray through the forum here at Anime on DVD dot com, I decided to address a few ideas and ideals that have bubbled around in my odd little brain for a while now. I was first introduced to anime by, yes, Star Blazers. At the time, however, I was unaware of the show's true origins. It was an animated series, I never gave any thought to the possibility it might be a foreign show. In my defense, let me remind you I was all of 10 or 12 years old at the time!



Fast forward a decade or so. I still had not been bitten by the Otaku bug. In fact, what little I had heard or seen of 'Japanimation' turned me off rather than on. It was a friend in a role-playing game group of mine who finally sat me down and pumped some relatively modern Anime into my head. I believe it included a few episodes of BGC (which I was honestly uninspired by), Outlanders (which blew my mind), and the original subtitled version of DanGaiOu (side-kick WAVE!!). After these, I stumbled across a bootleg of Urotsukidoji, at that time called 'Wandering Kid' by the spooky trench coat-clad person who got me the tape (the details of the transaction are far too sordid for public consumption).



Now, with all of these different shows in front of me, I had to acknowledge something I had long feared: Japanese Animation kicks ass! Why did this bother me? Well, it meant I was bound for yet another in a long line of hobbyist buying sprees, which would cause me to once more question the virtues of food and clothing.



So I finally 'got into' anime. At first, I was alone in my hobby. I knew few people who had any interest in it, much less had access to news or gossip about the industry. Subsequently, the internet connected me with people who could grok my habit, and could help me learn more about it. After discovering fansubs (club-sponsored subtitles of Anime meant to help spread awareness), I uncovered shows and stories which I would never, to this day, find on American store shelves.



The years clicked by. As various companies began growing, and new companies popped up to import even more shows, I found myself able to buy and rent from a surprising variety of genres. When I tried to talk about these shows with my friends, however, many of my favorite shows were unheard of, even among Otaku! So I come to the crux of this very article: I was a minority among Anime fans! I would fall in love with shows nobody had heard of, or which had been off the air for a decade or more! Perhaps a series would strike me as wonderful when most thought it pathetic or boring. Often, I would be enamored of shows most considered too cerebral or 'too weird' for a cartoon.



Now, as an Anime-on-DVD proponent, lover of both a small (but growing!) genre of important foreign imported entertainment, and a new media, I am caught in a corner. I want all these wonderful, obscure shows I've already seen on tape, but in a permanent indelible media. LD doesn't do it for me, the reasons why are unimportant. I want my DVD, I want my Anime. But looking at the numbers, I see what *I* want is usually overshadowed by the teaming masses of Otaku who love the mainstream anime, discovering new shows only when they become popular enough for the point to be moot.



Here my rambling has brought me to a focus, and I have but one possible solution for my self-perceived pickle: A challenge. I challenge you, the Anime fans who own DVD players, to try *new* things. To demand shows which you don't already have in one or two other forms! To demand anime which hasn't necessarily proven itself time and time again. Yes, we all love Tenchi in at least one form, and yes, who hasn't squirted milk from their nose watching at least one episode of Lum's antics? Yes, I will buy those shows again, and happily, but how much satisfaction can they give me?



The other day, I had a nice surprise. I bought Takegami, Guardian of Darkness. I'd never seen it before. People told me it was good. I ordered it on DVD. I watched it for the first time. I liked it a lot. Now I can recommend it to others! When was the last time you could say that about a show you'd seen on DVD?



Here's hoping we get more pleasant surprises in the near future! (the weirder, the better!)

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