TBT: Throwback Thursday… How Did I Start Watching Anime?

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.gree


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.Katawa


I’m expecting one of three reactions out of you after seeing that name:

  1. What’s that?
  2. I remember that, it was great!
  3. 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!).Emi


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.DTB


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?

-Bodell

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12 Comments

  1. Haha: my response was: “What’s that?” This was a fun post to read, and I definitely agree: I also like reading people’s “anime origin stories” .
    My first anime experience was with a show called Robotech (I didn’t even know that it was anime I was watching, although I guess it technically isn’t seeing it was an Americanised version of three unrelated Japanese anime series). After that..time moved on, and I became older, and that was when the Manga Label started appearing. Most of the releases there were very violent or in the hentai regions, but occasionally they released something decent as well. My first real anime tape that I bought from that label was Orguss O2 a mecha OVA that I enjoyed quite a lot! After that time again moved on, and anime was getting harder to come by here in Holland. It was actually a few years ago that my love for anime was rekindled because of coming across Karandi’s blog. I learned of the existence of Crunchyroll, and the rest as they say..is history! Great post! 😊

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You should look into Katawa Shoujo sometime Raistlin, the history of the game is pretty wild as well. It’s very well put together with a lot to offer in terms of story. If this were to be the only VN you ever played, it’d be a respectable choice.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Okay, well…who knows, I might just do that. I have a vacation coming up in October, so maybe I will have some time then 😊 (Seeing how many things I have to catch up on though, it’s always a big if….but we’ll see😊). Thanks for the recommendation😃

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I wasn’t the biggest fan of Darker Than Black personally, but it was an extremely well-made anime and has one of the most adorable anime girls ever, Yin. Also one of the EDs “Tsuki akari” is my favorite anime ending song.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s been so long I don’t remember much of season 2. I do remember it wasn’t as well liked by fans as season 1, but it had some interesting character psychology I appreciated. Something about Hei in deep depression.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yeah, it was not received well at all by fans. The main reason was how Hei is portrayed, he’s pretty mean. This is all explained but only in an OVA that explores some of the details only mentioned in passing in the season proper. It didn’t bother me, but it sure did others.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m pretty sure I’ve talked about this on the site a few times, but my first proper introduction to anime was actually with Vampire Hunter D. I grew up with stuff like Sailor Moon, Pokemon, etc…, but like everybody says, that hardly counts. From there I saw things like Eva, Bebop, Trigun, and then I tried a modern anime in SAO since I had a Netflix subscription and remembered hearing how controversial it was. I figured it was a great starting point to see where my tastes would line up. If I loved SAO, great! I generally knew what camp I’d belong to when looking for recommendations. Same for if I didn’t. While I thought it was a relative mixed bag, I enjoyed it overall and from there I dove pretty heavily into the rabbit hole.

    As to Katawa Shoujo, that is a good one. I remember playing through part, didn’t do every route, of that game with a buddy back in high school. Was a good time. Like I was telling Raistlin, if that’s the only VN you ever played in your life, it was a solid choice. The history surrounding how/why the game got made is really interesting too, if you ever get a minute, you should look into it some.

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  4. I love Katawa Shoujo! Prior to enjoying that, I’d always had a lot of time for Japanese popular media, including anime, but I hadn’t really made it a major part of my life. The combination of that and the original Hyperdimension Neptunia on PS3 made me think “hmm, maybe this is the sort of thing I want to immerse myself in”… and I never looked back from there!

    It has a certain number of bittersweet memories attached to it, unfortunately, too; the original reason I and a number of others checked out Katawa Shoujo was because we ran a gaming podcast, and we thought it would be an interesting one to discuss — both from the perspective of its fascinating development history, and because it’s simply a really interesting visual novel. Unfortunately, two of our number didn’t agree, and it caused a bit of a rift between all of us, and the whole thing fell apart a little while later. Ah well. Life happens and sometimes you have to move on.

    As for my actual first anime experience… uh… well… Urotsukidoji.

    Let me explain! W-wait!

    Back when anime was just starting to be recognised in the UK, my brother was working on a PC games magazine, and they were doing a feature on Japanese games (that turned out to be hentai games — stuff like Cobra Mission, Metal and Lace, Knights of Xentar et al). Video distributor Manga Video thought this would be a good opportunity to bombard him with approximately three tons of prerelease sample VHS tapes of various anime series, which promptly ended up at our house.

    I was a teen at the time, and very interested in the fact that anime supposedly involved a lot of sex and violence. So the first time my parents were out and I was left alone in the house, I picked out an 18-rated video from the boxes — which turned out to be Urotsukidoji: Legend of the Overfiend — clunked it into the VHS player and sat down to watch it.

    Somehow that didn’t put me off anime for life. It was… a fairly eye-opening first experience, though, to say the least!

    Like

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