My story of how I must have become interested in anime and manga is likely to be rather different compared to many others in the aniblogging community.
For the first nine years of my life, my father was in the Navy. When I was growing up, one of the places he was stationed was at a base in Japan. We moved there when I was a year old, and then my dad was transferred to his next assignment when I was five. I’ve said over the years that one of my biggest regrets is the fact that I had the opportunity to live in a foreign country, but was too young to have any real memory of being there. A lot of what I know from that time is from stories my parents have told me over the years.
While we lived there, my sister and I were exposed to Japanese kids’ shows, and our parents would buy us records with music from various shows. There was one show we have several records from. I’m blanking on the name of the show, but it was a live-action kids’ show that had a kappa character in it. I’m really frustrated about not remembering its name, because I recently read a volume of the One Piece manga where in one of the question corners, Eiichiro Oda actually referenced the show by name. Oy!
One of the records we had was for the opening theme song for the Candy Candy anime. Sadly, that record met a terrible fate in the mid-1980’s, when I accidentally broke it. 😦
Speaking of Candy Candy, I actually have a volume of that manga on my bookshelf that was bought while we lived in Japan. Unfortunately, it’s in Japanese, so I can’t read it. I have to guess what’s going on by looking at the pictures. LOL!
We also had a record with the opening theme song for Gatchaman (better known in the United States for its English dub under the title Battle of the Planets). A few years back, I learned that one of the records features a character on the cover named Temple the Balloonist. This must have been something I saw at the time but have no memory of. LOL!
One of my favorite stories that my dad likes to tell is when he took us to a movie theater in Japan to see the first Star Wars movie, A New Hope. There was a decent line, but a movie theater across the street had a much, much longer line for another science fiction film… one of the Space Battleship Yamato films. From the timing my dad gives, I believe this would have been for the second Yamato film, Farewell to Space Battleship Yamato In the Name of Love.
According to my parents, my very first word was in Japanese. LOL! Apparently, we had gone to the Officers’ Club, and I had my first taste of fried rice that night. After tasting it, I said, “Oishi.” While this really has nothing to do with how I gained in interest in anime and manga, it’s still a cute anecdote.
Obviously, spending four years of my life in Japan, especially at such a young age, would have left an impression on me growing up. So it’s not surprising that a few years later, when we lived in Hawaii and a local television station started airing Star Blazers, that I would have become instantly hooked. My appreciation for anime grew from there with Voltron and Robotech. And my interest grew even more a couple of decades later after I started writing for BellaOnline.