I’ve always been interested in people’s anime ‘origin stories’, and that’s probably because mine is a little different. It feels like most anime watchers my age or a little older watched a lot of the 90s kids shows like Pokémon, Digimon, Dragon Ball Z, Yu Gi Oh, Sailor Moon, and Beyblades; and whilst I watched most of these as a kid, I didn’t move onto the popular 00’s anime like Naruto, Bleach, and One Piece. In fact, I had never heard of Bleach or One Piece until after I started watch anime as a medium.
I don’t remember exactly when I started watching anime, but I know it was either late 2012 or early 2013, but once again, it wasn’t through a popular show at the time… like Sword Art Online, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, or Attack on Titan (a little later in 2013). I started watching anime because of a certain visual novel.
I would never claim to be a visual novel buff, or even really a fan at all… I’ve played a few, and only completed like 2. That being said, this particular visual novel was completed by myself multiple times. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve completed it to every single ending, and I guesstimate that there are 11… yeah, I was fucking obsessed.
What is this visual novel? Why was I so addicted to it? And how did this lead me to start watching anime?
Let’s set the scene a little here. I was 15 years old, going to senior school everyday and playing video games every night, apart from one night a week when I’d see my girlfriend at the time who lived in the next town over (she’s irrelevant to the story, I just want you to know that I was a stud at school). A few friends of mine watched anime and were raving about it over Xbox Live and I ignored them because fuck that weeb shit, I just wanted to play Halo: Reach.
All of a sudden, they stopped raving about anime, but moved onto a ‘game’. Now I had always played a lot of games… so this was more in my territory. They told me that this was a game called Katawa Shoujo.
I’m expecting one of three reactions out of you after seeing that name:
- What’s that?
- I remember that, it was great!
- FUCK THAT SHIT!
I won’t deny that Katawa Shoujo is a bit of a weird visual novel… literally meaning ‘crippled girls’ in Japanese. And don’t get me wrong, I was definitely wary of this visual novel going in. I knew that this was a dating sim, I knew that the girls had a whole spectrum of disabilities, but more than anything else, I knew that there were sex scenes.
I started the visual novel up and began reading through it. From what I knew, it was actually quite well written and interesting. It was a new experience for me, and it was doing a good job of holding my intrigue, but it wasn’t amazing. That was until something important happened… that was until I had my first waifu (also I wrote a post about the word waifu a few weeks ago, so click here to read!).
Her name is Emi and this pout still stops my fucking heart every time I see it (which is apt as your character’s medical condition is arrythmia – a problem of the heart). On top of this, she’s a really fun character to spend time with. From the moment I first saw her I was caught hook, line, and sinker, and now this ‘game’ was the best thing since sliced bread. I became addicted.
After wasting about a month of my life smashing through the various storylines in Katawa Shoujo and avidly recommending to all of my friends, the friend who initially got me to play it said the following sentence: “If you liked Katawa, you’ll like Darker Than Black.”
At the time, this made perfect sense to me, so I set off to binge the first season of Darker Than Black, then going on to watch Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood and Death Note. In hindsight, Darker Than Black was not a very good recommendation if all you had to go on was that I liked Katawa, it’s an action series with only light hints of romance, rather than a full-blown high school romance experience like Katawa.
In any case, here I am 6 to 7 years later, writing for an anime blog and making anime videos. I never thought that what was a ‘weird game’ that was randomly thrust upon me would shape my life so drastically. When I look back on Katawa Shoujo, I always remember it fondly and I think I always will. This game made me who I am today, and I honestly don’t know what I’d be doing right now if my friend had never recommended this weird porn game to me.
What was your intro to anime?