About a month ago, Isaac Akers at CrunchyRoll posted about not talking about one’s favorite anime. What did he mean? He meant – what anime had an impact on you, more than that which is your direct favorite. And to talk about why. At the post linked above are a few examples of those from others. I thought about it then, but never got around to posting on the topic. So, here goes – the anime movies and series which I feel were most impactful on me.
Grave of the Fireflies – My first anime feature film and one which truly had an impact. One of the only films to have made me cry, and (at the time) the only animated feature to instill that kind of emotion. Seeing for the first time how such a serious topic could be addressed in anime was huge for me.
Blue Exorcist – For years I hadn’t watched a lot of anime after I got into the work force, starting having children; getting out of college and into the real world, I just didn’t seem to find time for anime. When my wife was pregnant with our twins, she had trouble sleeping – so I went up to bed before her. One night when I couldn’t sleep – I turned on the TV and checked out the Adult Swim anime On Demand options on a whim. There was Blue Exorcist. The anime was high paced and fascinating at its face. It hooked me quickly and I lapped it up. It reminded me why I enjoyed watching anime in the first place.
End of Evangelion – I ate up Neon Genesis Evangelion in college. I just couldn’t stop plowing through the series. When it ended, though, I felt…confused. The ending tried very hard to be deep and philosophical, in my opinion at the time. Then came End of Evangelion. It was an insane apocalyptic vision and I couldn’t turn away. I’m not sure why, but it’s stuck with me all these years.
Doraemon – Specifically, the Americanized version from Disney XD. I know this is blasphemous in some anime fan circles, but it made a fun, silly anime series REALLY accessible for my 6 year old son and 4 year old daughter, who both love it. While Disney tried WAY too hard to Americanize the series, my kids don’t notice. All they know is that they’re having fun watching Doraemon’s wackiness and it being anime made them interested in watching other anime, such as My Neighbor Totoro when I brought it up.
Cowboy Bebop – It’s my favorite series, hands down. This was the series that turned me from a casual enjoyer of anime to a full on anime fan. The action, the characters, the music – all together created such an amazing experience which was not reduced even when watching the dubbed version. Both subbed and dubbed versions are beautifully crafted and it still holds up. It got me really into anime and I regret nothing about that!
Your Lie in April – This series is hauntingly beautiful. It approached hard topics – death, depression, terminal illness – and dealt with them in such a way to make it approachable. It was a music series that focused so much more on characters dealing with their personal struggles. It was beautifully drawn and the music was incredibly well done. Yes, there are flaws – but all in all it touched me emotionally in a way few other series have been able to do.
So, I end with the question for anime fans – what anime series impacted you and how did it do so?