Every now and then I've noticed somebody publish to Ani-TAY their personal journey into anime and I've always found them enjoyable to read. It's because no matter who you are when you're at Ani-TAY you can relate to them as each of us has one of these stories. I really enjoy this because of how varied the anime fandom is and a common bond is often very important. Now I hope you enjoy reading mine and perhaps one day I can read yours.
I think my beginnings with anime are quite typical of a person my age born in the late 80's and raised in the greatest decade ever the 90's. I came of age when anime was starting to become more popular and mainstream. This was of course due to the massive popularity of Dragonball Z which quickly became my after school staple along with Pokemon (Digimon was before school). However to me those really weren't the beginning as they weren't really unique and separate enough from the other shows on TV like Power Rangers (Which I would learn later in life was Japanese inspired as well) and the Mon shows just seemed your standard children's show, probably due to the white washing of the localization process.
It wasn't really until I discovered two shows that my eyes would be opened to really what anime was and how interesting and unique a medium it could be. Those two shows were "Escaflowne" on Fox Kids and Gundam Wing on YTV (Canadian Children's channel). Without any doubt these two shows were my gateway into anime, while over time I would come to hate what I to this day dub Foxcaflowne the butchered localized product Fox produced (YTV would later air a more faithful adaptation in Canada which became a long time favorite of mine) Gundam Wing would stick with me as easily one of my top favorites. Indeed it was thanks to Gundam Wing I saw some of the great points of anime as a genre: the varied themes, the beautiful music, a unique and distinct style of animation, indeed it served as the perfect entry.
Overtime as a fan I'd remain kinda in a form of stasis watching what I could but not hunting for it and certainly not calling it my favorite TV genre which at the time was dominated by great serial shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and later 24. However that all changed when I went to University as for the first time I had actually fast internet which would of course make things much easier.
Indeed like many things the Internet vastly changed everything instead of waiting months and sometimes years for an anime to come on TV I could find it myself. The first anime I did this with was Bleach which instead of waiting week after week to watch with my friends we'd merely download the back subbed episodes, this would be my first encounter with fansubbing actually to this day I remember the sub group that created the subs Dattabeyo or DBFansubs. From here I would find myself wanting more and more and nothing could satiate my apatite for anime content.
Eventually I ran out of the classic anime's that I always knew I'd want to see and some anime I had
never heard of as I had discovered a website with literally thousands of series and a sorting mechanism that let you search among the most viewed, highest rated, most debated (lots of 5 Starts and 1 Stars), ect of its selection. Some highlights of this period of gorging were the Universal Century Gundam's (had previously watched SEED), Death Note, Neon Genesis Evangellion, Utena, Shakugan no Shana, Fate Stay/Night, Naruto, Elfen Lied, X/1999 (which started my love affair with CLAMP washing away the taste of the abomination Cardcaptors...), Full Metal Alchemist, and my personal favorite of the bunch Claymore.
In the end I of course reached the last part of the journey weekly series viewing. The first weekly series was a fitting one as in many way it brought me right back to where it all began Gundam; the series was of course Gundam oo. However while Gundam 00 was an amazing series it's the series that it led me to that truly cemented my place well within the anime fandom and that was Code Geass. For a glorious two years Sundays would see an alternation of Code Geass, Gundam o0, Code Geass R2, then Gundam 00 S2. Indeed as somebody who started his love affair with anime because of Sunrise Mecha anime this was quite literally the perfect siren song to pull me in and drown me.
This was now seven years ago and since then I have never looked back. During that time there have been great anime too many even to mention just one, some okay anime, some bad anime, some weird anime, what I'm saying is there has been a lot of anime. However when I look back like this I know for a fact I'd never change a thing... well except for having watched a few episodes of Pupa... seriously that show is trash.
Anyway if you managed to make it this far I'm sorry for the length and I hope you enjoyed reading about my experiences. I hope in time to read some of yours as I've said above they are certainly interesting. Remember even if your just starting out or well on your way like me we all have a story to tell and that is what makes this such a great community.