Monday, March 02, 2015

Anime part 2

This is the second part (the first part is below) of an email exchange with a friend, Stephen, on anime.  I've been meaning to get back in touch with him to follow up a little bit to see what else he might have enjoyed that is current, but have yet to do so.  I'm also curious to see what other films he might have enjoyed.  So here goes.

Me: So Stephen, that's a lot to discover, thanks for all the information. I plan on tracking down some of these series so appreciate your feedback.  I wondered about the Galaxy Express 999 series. Some of the others you've mentioned I'll just have to keep an eye out for as time allows. You mentioned Akira, and I've had a copy of that on VHS for a long time now as well as owning the first part of the manga, and just recently picked it up on DVD. I did not know that it had been remastered until a friend told me. Then they showed it on Cartoon Network, and it still blew me away. So for now I'm just discovering some of this stuff little by little. I've also got Ghost in the Shell, but have not seen the subsequent sequels.

 The first I heard much about anime was from a friend who enjoyed Robotech and loaned me a version in Japanese from his VHS copy of the series. It wasn't subbed or dubbed, but at least you could see the artwork. I later found a English subbed copy and enjoyed it. Around the same time, they started showing Gigantor early in the mornings on some cable channel and I'd tape them.

 Then the SciFi Channel (back when there were good :) started showing some earlier anime along with the already mentioned Akira, which is where I taped my copy. They also showed Vampire Hunter D, which I enjoyed along with Robot Carnival (another great one), plus Lensmen, Roujin Z, Gall Force, Record of the Lodoss Wars, Odin, Venus Wars, Dominion Tank Police, and some others.

 I do like some of the current anime, like Neon Genesis Evangelion, Cowboy Bebop, and Space Dandy, but at times I think some of it lost some of its charm along the way, and others either I just just don't get or don't have the patience for.  That still doesn't stop me from trying something different or discovering something new.

Stephen:   The "problem" I had was that in the early 2000s, I had more disposable income than sense, and I bought a TON domestically released (in the US) Anime. Learned Japanese (at least being able to hear and translate, not so good with reading) and started buying Japanese DVDs (and some BDs) around 2004 or 2005.

My first taste of Anime was probably Robotech on TV in the early 80s. Not that anyone had a clue it came from Japan, considering how well they cleansed it before releasing it to the US. I also loved Tranzor Z (was made from Mazinger Z). Voltron. Then Anime stopped appearing (again, not like I had a clue what it was), or I grew up. Or maybe both?

It's funny you mention Sci-Fi. Saturday Anime. Akira was my first reintroduction to Anime. Well, if you exclude my brief interlude with Sailor Moon (still had no clue it was Japanese until I looked it up on the then budding Internet) I guess. After seeing Akira on Sci-Fi, I went out and bought the VHS copy of it. And picked up.... Ghost in the Shell (original movie) at the same time. Probably the worst $50 I ever spent, considering how much more I spent on Anime in the intervening years. There was also Lodoss War. And again, Robot Carnival. Dominion Tank Police. Wow. Not long after jumping into Akira and GitS, I went and bought Evangelion one tape at a time, when the closest video store that carried Anime was something like 40 miles away.

 My fascination with older Anime blew up when I learned Japanese and could understand most of what was going on. I kept thinking "there's got to be some great stuff we've just never seen that I can now get hold of and understand that won't likely be licensed." Mazinger Z was one of my first. My very first import was actually the Ah! My Goddess movie, but I didn't know Japanese so well then. So Mazinger Z was second when I knew more Japanese.

I actually bought the entire run of Galaxy Express 999 TV box sets, having no experience with the series at all, from Yahoo Japan Auctions for a pretty hefty sum. Couldn't be happier. And that sparked buying anything Matsumoto Leiji. Harlock, Queen Millennium, Harlock SSX (not my favorite), Queen Emeraldas, and quite a few others.

The nice thing about looking back into the 70s, 80s, and 90s is you can just completely forget the not so good stuff. Time gives us the perspective that allows us to see what REALLY shone through the murk. Classics are classics, even if it being a "classic" isn't apparent on its first release.

So Lodoss was license rescued... until it wasn't. Apparently Media Blasters picked it up and then decided not to bother. Not sure why, but probably has to do with a lack of money. Been a long time since they've made money as best I can tell.

Discotek/Eastern Star have picked up Robot Carnival. I bought it some years ago on Japanese DVD.

That all being said, most of what I gave you were TV series. There are plenty of OVAs worth watching, and films of course.

Gunbuster, the original not the newer one, is great and highly recommended.  Feel free to email me if you want to know more.

Me:  Thanks Stephen, I appreciate talking to you about some of this stuff.  There's just so much to check out, and like a lot of media, whether it be movies, comics, or books--different things appeals to different people.   I'm glad Discotek is releasing some of this stuff, and hope they continue to do so.
I found their Facebook page and "liked it", so I can keep up with some of their newer releases as they come out.  Another series I started watching, but haven't gotten to deeply into is Yu Yu Hakusho. 

At any rate, I'm slowly find new stuff all the time, which is probably why this genre is so seductive.

At any rate, such was the exchange.  I plan on emailing him back, but so far have gotten sidetracked by life.  Hey it happens...


At 7:18 AM, Blogger Richard Bellush said...

I'm of the demographic to have caught the first wave of anime released in the US (Astroboy, Speed Racer). But then I outgrew it until I outgrew having outgrown it, by then having missed the next couple of waves. I suppose it is past time to sample the classics of the genre.

At 10:20 AM, Blogger El Vox said...

It's been hit and miss for me on anime, but I still see things from time to time that I enjoy. For the more modern anime and to a novice I'd recommend:

1.Ghost in the Shell (movie)
2.Akira--sort of over the top, but still impressive
3. Howl's Moving Castle
4. Robot Carnival--see it on YT, an anthology of shorts from various creators & a good place to start.
5.Galaxy Express 999 (the movie) on YT, in fact you can see quite a bit of on there if you search enough.

For a series, I'd recommend:
1.Cowboy Bebop might be the easiest to watch
2.Neon Genesis Evangelion


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