16 votes

When did you first start watching anime?

For the most part, I am a late-comer to anime. I'm in my 30s, and I didn't really get into anime until my late 20s when I started working as an artist and (occasionally) animator. My early exposure to anime before I was 25 was limited to Pokemon and Spirited Away (like most non-anime watching Americans). I enjoyed both, but just never really knew where to start with anime. It seemed like there was too much of it.

SAO was the first anime to really hook me. I binged it, and really enjoyed it. Since then, I haven't stopped. I've watched so many movies and series, and I love discovering new ones regularly.

So what about you? When did you start watching? And which have left a lasting impression on you?

34 comments

  1. [6]
    Empyreal
    Link
    I'm in my 40s. I've been watching anime off-and-on for as long as I can remember. I've probably been watching anime of some sort since the late '70s - probably starting with 'Speed Racer' and...

    I'm in my 40s. I've been watching anime off-and-on for as long as I can remember. I've probably been watching anime of some sort since the late '70s - probably starting with 'Speed Racer' and 'Lupin III' as my earliest recollections. My first real instance of being entranced/hooked as a kid was with 'Robotech' and a collection series called 'Force Five' in the U.S. These were on after-school, and a bunch of friends and I would all go over one person's house so we could watch them together.

    The first anime movie that really struck me was probably 'Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind'. Anime was really hard to come by back in the day, and you had to find circles of people that could get their hands on VHS bootlegs out of Japan. There were even some stores in my area that would 'sell' bootlegs.

    Not anime, but my first chosen Halloween outfit back in the '70s was 'Ultraman'. I still can't believe it when I look back at photos of it. I looked ridiculous :-D

    9 votes
    1. [3]
      maze
      Link Parent
      That's great history. I remember getting up at 4:30 am to watch Pokemon because it only aired then. A few of my friends would talk about the new episodes as they aired before homeroom class in...

      That's great history. I remember getting up at 4:30 am to watch Pokemon because it only aired then. A few of my friends would talk about the new episodes as they aired before homeroom class in junior high.
      I can remember sometime in the late '90s when anime got it's own section in the local video store, but that was before I started watching it.

      Is Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind worth watching? Did it age well?

      4 votes
      1. [2]
        Staross
        Link Parent
        Read the manga is you haven't, it's much better.

        Is Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind worth watching?

        Read the manga is you haven't, it's much better.

        2 votes
        1. Chopincakes
          Link Parent
          I haven't read the manga, but I've seen it a small number of times and I'd say it is absolutely worth watching

          I haven't read the manga, but I've seen it a small number of times and I'd say it is absolutely worth watching

          1 vote
    2. insomnic
      Link Parent
      Because our age bracket put us in such a niche group with limited anime selection at the time we'll all have very similar "first anime" stories from us I think...

      Because our age bracket put us in such a niche group with limited anime selection at the time we'll all have very similar "first anime" stories from us I think...

      2 votes
    3. xstresedg
      Link Parent
      Beauty! I'm 29, soon to be 30, and my first anime was Speed Racer. Good ol' re-runs when I was 3 and 4. After that, it would have been Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball, Samurai Pizza Cats (not in that...

      Beauty! I'm 29, soon to be 30, and my first anime was Speed Racer. Good ol' re-runs when I was 3 and 4.

      After that, it would have been Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball, Samurai Pizza Cats (not in that order). I'd say that the latter three had the most influence over Speed Racer, simply because I was so young watching SR that I didn't really quite understand it.

      Also, to the Halloween costume, I rocked the Green Mighty Morphin' Power Ranger, and yeah, those throwback pics are so bad haha.

      1 vote
  2. [3]
    s3rvant
    Link
    I’m also in my 30’s but started in my late teens with the likes of Dragon Ball Z, FLCL, Hikaru no Go, Bleach and Naruto. Somewhere in there I discovered the Shonen Jump magazine which introduced...

    I’m also in my 30’s but started in my late teens with the likes of Dragon Ball Z, FLCL, Hikaru no Go, Bleach and Naruto. Somewhere in there I discovered the Shonen Jump magazine which introduced me to some of these.

    Nowadays I like to use MAL’s advanced search to check the previous season’s best for my preferred genres and usually just watch one episode a day with my breakfast. I stick to completed seasons just in case I end up with idle time to binge a bit.

    6 votes
    1. [2]
      maze
      Link Parent
      That's similar to my approach, though I usually watch it at dinner instead of breakfast. Do you have any recommendations from recent years?

      That's similar to my approach, though I usually watch it at dinner instead of breakfast.

      Do you have any recommendations from recent years?

      1 vote
      1. s3rvant
        Link Parent
        I started typing a response and quickly realized that there've been a ton of great ones lately so it's faster just to link my MAL page (already filtered by Completed and sorted by Rank). Just...

        I started typing a response and quickly realized that there've been a ton of great ones lately so it's faster just to link my MAL page (already filtered by Completed and sorted by Rank). Just check the Finished Date column for a recent year and you'll see several I rate 9+

        2 votes
  3. masochist
    Link
    I'm in my mid-30s and probably watched my first anime, Serial Experiments: Lain (yes, I know, I started on hard mode) either in my very late 20s or early 30s. My exposure to anime before that was...

    I'm in my mid-30s and probably watched my first anime, Serial Experiments: Lain (yes, I know, I started on hard mode) either in my very late 20s or early 30s. My exposure to anime before that was Dragonball Z in high school and what little I'd seen of it at the time rather put me off; it seemed to live up to the childish cartoon stereotype with over-the-top silliness. I didn't learn that Pokemon actually has an anime until relatively recently; I thought it was just the games.

    Lain, of course, has left an impact on me, but what's really changed for me is seeing just how much depth there is in good anime (Death Note is basically an entire anime based around that conversation Gandalf has with Frodo about who deserves death), how it's not just pointlessly silly cartoons for children. I respect it as an art form now, whereas before it just seemed like cartoons to me. Of course, this is deeply ironic, because the western entertainment I enjoy is also commonly perceived as overly silly cartoons for children (Futurama, F is for Family, Bojack Horseman, Archer, Big Mouth, even Rick and Morty has a lot of depth and gravitas in between the stupid jokes).

    4 votes
  4. PancakeSquire
    Link
    As a kid, I had only really watched Dragon Ball Z and Pokemon. It wasn't until I got to high school that I really got into anime, as my friends were all into it as well. I think started with...

    As a kid, I had only really watched Dragon Ball Z and Pokemon. It wasn't until I got to high school that I really got into anime, as my friends were all into it as well. I think started with Cowboy Bebop as my first show, which was fucking amazing. After I finished that, I was hooked. Started watching more anime than american TV on a daily basis.

    4 votes
  5. [3]
    talklittle
    Link
    I started seriously getting into anime in the 90s after a family friend, who was like a big brother to me and also a huge otaku, visited our house occasionally and brought anime tapes with him. He...

    I started seriously getting into anime in the 90s after a family friend, who was like a big brother to me and also a huge otaku, visited our house occasionally and brought anime tapes with him. He introduced me to Kiki's Delivery Service, Record of Lodoss War, and Bubblegum Crisis. Plus some of the best SNES JRPGs. I always looked forward to picking his brain about the newest games and anime. Prior to that I was only exposed to whatever was on TV: DBZ, Ronin Warriors, Sailor Moon.

    He was great at analyzing the animation styles and details, his college brain pointing out things that were way over my grade school head. And he was a great storyteller (he probably played a lot of D&D) and turned these games and anime I'd never seen into vivid living worlds in my imagination. It was years later I realized that one story he told me about a boy, a girl, a fairy, and a magical sword, were a ripoff of Secret of Mana; but the story he told me made it so real, way more than the videogame by itself could be.

    He died young, some years back, leaving a wife and baby. He would have been a good dad. These days I do my best to carry on his legacy of being a huge anime and videogame nerd.

    2 votes
    1. [2]
      maze
      Link Parent
      My condolences on your loss. I'm glad you have this to remember him by though.

      My condolences on your loss.

      I'm glad you have this to remember him by though.

      1 vote
      1. talklittle
        Link Parent
        Thanks for providing the opportunity to remember and talk about him. :)

        Thanks for providing the opportunity to remember and talk about him. :)

        1 vote
  6. Jack56
    Link
    In mid 2005, started with Pokemon, card captor sakura, Digimon etc. The one I like the most is Gin tama.

    In mid 2005, started with Pokemon, card captor sakura, Digimon etc. The one I like the most is Gin tama.

    2 votes
  7. Randomacts
    Link
    If we don't include KTLA cartoon block or w/e it was a kid with pokemon ect because I didn't know that was even Japanese at the time it would be when I was in High School. The way that I got into...

    If we don't include KTLA cartoon block or w/e it was a kid with pokemon ect because I didn't know that was even Japanese at the time it would be when I was in High School.

    The way that I got into anime was a bit weird as I first played katawa shoujo after my brother suggested that I played it. I then played Muv Luv extra/unlimited/alt and then Steins;gate and finally a bit of Clannad.

    It was not until after all of these VNs that I finally watched my first anime as an anime viewer and I believe that it was Cowboy Bebop with my brother. But yes I played eroges before I ever got into anime. 👀

    2 votes
  8. SuperbLunch
    Link
    Daring to assume I watch anime But in all seriousness I started with animes like Dragon Ball and Naruto pretty young, and I started watching death note when I was around 14

    Daring to assume I watch anime

    But in all seriousness I started with animes like Dragon Ball and Naruto pretty young, and I started watching death note when I was around 14

    2 votes
  9. [2]
    mftrhu
    Link
    Well, it depends on what counts as anime? There were Pokemon, Sailor Moon, Dragonball and many others on TV when I was in elementary-middle school, but I don't think I even knew what anime was...

    So what about you? When did you start watching? And which have left a lasting impression on you?

    Well, it depends on what counts as anime? There were Pokemon, Sailor Moon, Dragonball and many others on TV when I was in elementary-middle school, but I don't think I even knew what anime was back then. They were just "cartoons".

    I started watching it back again when I was 19-20. I think I started by watching the first episodes of Naruto? Then came Kino's Journey, but I never finished it, and much later, Fate/Zero, Fate/UBW, and Puella Magi Madoka Magica.

    2 votes
    1. xstresedg
      Link Parent
      Any Japanese made animation would be an anime. So Pokemon, SM, and DB would all be anime, even if you didn't know it. The channel I watched them all on (YTV) called them (and the block they were...

      Any Japanese made animation would be an anime. So Pokemon, SM, and DB would all be anime, even if you didn't know it. The channel I watched them all on (YTV) called them (and the block they were on) Anime/the Anime Block (which I pronounced A-nyme, instead of a-nih-may).

      All teh bracketz!

  10. Chopincakes
    Link
    My first anime was in 2nd grade with Pokemon, then Digimon, but then I quickly moved onto anime like Dragonball (and DBZ), Tenchi Muyo, and Yu-Yu Hakusho as I got a bit older and I'm still...

    My first anime was in 2nd grade with Pokemon, then Digimon, but then I quickly moved onto anime like Dragonball (and DBZ), Tenchi Muyo, and Yu-Yu Hakusho as I got a bit older and I'm still watching anime today.

    2 votes
  11. [2]
    vivaria
    Link
    i first started out with all the licensed series brought to canada on teletoon. i remember being a diehard cardcaptor sakura fan as a wee bab. then i transitioned to anything and everything you'd...

    i first started out with all the licensed series brought to canada on teletoon. i remember being a diehard cardcaptor sakura fan as a wee bab. then i transitioned to anything and everything you'd find in a shonen jump magazine (one piece, naruto, yugioh, death note, etc.) in high school. after that i mostly stopped being a weeb, but it's recently picked up with my renewed interest in slice of life anime. i've burned through all sorts of soft, comforting, and humorous shows.

    nichijou, lucky star, toradora, a place further than the universe, miss kobayashi's dragon maid, azumanga daioh, girls last tour, anohana, non non biyori, k-on!, etc.

    mainly because friendship is hard and it's fun to think about what things could be like one day if i find people i fit with.

    1 vote
    1. maze
      Link Parent
      Anohana is excellent. Didn't know what to expect from it, but it was excellent.

      Anohana is excellent. Didn't know what to expect from it, but it was excellent.

  12. Jealot
    Link
    Technically when I watched the original Naruto in around 2008 on TV. But my weebdom really began with Gurren Lagann in 2013, followed by Code Geass and Soul Eater.

    Technically when I watched the original Naruto in around 2008 on TV.

    But my weebdom really began with Gurren Lagann in 2013, followed by Code Geass and Soul Eater.

    1 vote
  13. halfey
    Link
    I'm in my mid 30's, and I started watching anime in the late 80's. I could say I started being into anime a few years earlier than other kids at that time. Most kids my age at that time only...

    I'm in my mid 30's, and I started watching anime in the late 80's. I could say I started being into anime a few years earlier than other kids at that time. Most kids my age at that time only started watching anime for the first time in the early 90's with shounen series like Dragon Ball or Saint Seiya. I was like the only one who started with Tom Sawyer no Bouken, and followed the series through to the end. Even the ending theme song was memorable, I'd hum to it for years to come even though I didn't know what it was called until 20 years later. (The song was "Boku no Mississippi" sung by Maron Kusaka).

    1 vote
  14. Firara
    Link
    I started watching anime when I was 6. My firat anime was Black Jack and really loved it. Then I continued with shows like Black Cat and Law of Ueki.

    I started watching anime when I was 6. My firat anime was Black Jack and really loved it. Then I continued with shows like Black Cat and Law of Ueki.

    1 vote
  15. JCPhoenix
    Link
    One of the first animes I remember seeing as a kid was Sailor Moon. I wanna say it was part of the Saturday morning cartoons in the mid/late 90s. I didn't watch it regularly, but I watched it...

    One of the first animes I remember seeing as a kid was Sailor Moon. I wanna say it was part of the Saturday morning cartoons in the mid/late 90s. I didn't watch it regularly, but I watched it enough to understand the basic storyline. Oh and I think in middle school, some friends showed me some Hentai on VHS! WTF...

    Toonami (and then Adult Swim) definitely exposed me to a lot more. Cowboy Bebop was what got me hooked. And by the time I got to 8th/9th grade, several of my friends and I watched DBZ.

    These days, I actually don't watch all that much anime. I probably binge 2-4 shows/season of a show per year. I'm really into the more philosophical dystopian future shows like Ghost in the Shell (prob 2nd favorite series after Bebop) and Psychopass. I also like "political" shows like Code Geass, Aldnoah.Zero, and Last Exile. Though that doesn't mean I haven't seen - and enjoyed - shows like Attack on Titan, Ah My Goddess, and Ouran High School Host Club.

    1 vote
  16. alcappuccino
    Link
    I'm on my late 20's and I think I started watching anime when I was 6 years old with the good old Dragon Ball. Actually, my childhood was awesome regarding to cartoons. Most of the cartoons on the...

    I'm on my late 20's and I think I started watching anime when I was 6 years old with the good old Dragon Ball. Actually, my childhood was awesome regarding to cartoons. Most of the cartoons on the national TV of my home country were mainly from Japan and some from France and Spain (France and Spain used to make cool cartoons also!).

    As with most kids at the time, the Japanese cartoons were the best, everyone loved them. Samurai X, Sailor Moon, Pokemon, Digimon, Doraemon, Beyblade, etc etc etc. So many good stuff at the time, really.

    I think I watched cartoons until I was a pre-teen, but always limited to what went on TV, of course. Then you start enjoying other types of shows, mostly, tv shows from the US and then cartoons were a thing of the past. You are not a kid anymore, right? :)

    I think I stopped watching anime until I started again with Naruto, I think I was 14 at the time. I was about to start secondary school. People were saying it was the "new Dragon Ball" and so I started watching and I have to say I got hooked again on anime. Nevertheless, it was only Naruto because we still didn't have internet to find other anime shows and so I would rely on that one person that had internet to download the episodes :)

    Eventually, I discovered Bleach. Also, I got internet around this time (I was 16) and I could download the stuff myself. Bleach was cancelled and Naruto was the only anime I was watching until University, I think. In between this time, a friend of mine gave me Death Note and I started getting more interested on more adult animes also.

    Then, I started getting more and more sick of American tv shows. US tv shows were still my main source of entertainment (Naruto was still the only anime that I watched). I could see that all of the US shows had mostly the same pattern: the first three of four seasons were great and then went downhill. Always dragging on and on. I think Lost was one of the shows that really pushed me over the edge. I invested so much of my time to watch everything and discover the mysteries and then the show ended with a lot to explain. Walking Dead was also one of the shows that really pushed me to start watching anime almost exclusively.

    I have the feeling that Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex was really the anime that started my adulthood anime watching. For then on (early 20's), anime is my main source of entertainment. Luckily, my wife also watched some anime before. She had some Ghibli movies (she's the one that introduced me to them) at her mom's house and he also watched Naruto in the past. With that in common, we both watch a bunch of anime together now :)

    Of course we still watch some US shows, but really nothing special. Game of Thrones (of course) and some comedy shows. I still think that, in terms of comedy genre, the anime world is not so much for us. I think only Great Teacher Onizuka and Gintama were really funny. Well, okay, One Punch Man is also very funny.

    Well, I guess that's my story :)

    1 vote
  17. mari
    Link
    As a small child I remember watching the usual shows such as Pokémon. I really liked Ghibli movies back then such as My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away and Castle in the Sky. I really started...

    As a small child I remember watching the usual shows such as Pokémon. I really liked Ghibli movies back then such as My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away and Castle in the Sky.

    I really started watching Anime actively when I was around 14. My first show at that time was Angel Beats and it got me immediately hooked. After that I've increasingly started watching Anime and that continues up to this day.

    1 vote
  18. zaarn
    Link
    I think the first anime I watched was Captain Future. Positively ancient but my father had VHS copies. The first modern anime (and the second anime) I watched was Avatar (not the movie), it's...

    I think the first anime I watched was Captain Future. Positively ancient but my father had VHS copies.

    The first modern anime (and the second anime) I watched was Avatar (not the movie), it's quite an enjoyable ride. I think I was around 12 at the time (to think that this series is that old now and I haven't even seen all episodes yet).

    And the first japanese anime was likely either Gurren Lagan or "Shinji get in the robot".

    I'm not sure if it counts but I did also watch the "Once upon a time..." series, which was to my knowledge animated in Japan so it might count as well. It was quite educational (for the time and my age).

    1 vote
  19. Durinthal
    (edited )
    Link
    I was in the Dragon Ball Z/Sailor Moon group in the mid-late 90s as well, but what really drew me in was TechTV's Anime Unleashed block. The only two I remember seeing from there are Crest of the...

    I was in the Dragon Ball Z/Sailor Moon group in the mid-late 90s as well, but what really drew me in was TechTV's Anime Unleashed block. The only two I remember seeing from there are Crest of the Stars and Serial Experiments Lain, but for me they opened up anime as a medium that can be a lot deeper and more complex than afternoon cartoons.

    1 vote
  20. jprich
    Link
    Ummm...gotta think back. I know there was Transzor Z and Robotech but the first anime I watched harcore was DBZ. My friends older brother, who was in the army, would bring him stuff back that was...

    Ummm...gotta think back.
    I know there was Transzor Z and Robotech but the first anime I watched harcore was DBZ.
    My friends older brother, who was in the army, would bring him stuff back that was always subtitled from where ever he was stationed. So we got DBZ with Korean subtitles.
    We watched the shit out of the cell through majin buu saga not knowing a damn thing they were saying.

    1 vote
  21. MrCudddles
    Link
    I watched anime since I was 5, since Sonic X is technically anime

    I watched anime since I was 5, since Sonic X is technically anime

  22. [2]
    Empyreal
    Link
    I think so. I enjoy it as a yearly rewatch, but that might be because I have nostalgia for it. The Bluray is very good quality. The English dub is pretty well done, although I prefer original...

    Is Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind worth watching? Did it age well?

    I think so. I enjoy it as a yearly rewatch, but that might be because I have nostalgia for it. The Bluray is very good quality. The English dub is pretty well done, although I prefer original dialogue with subtitles.

    6 votes
    1. alcappuccino
      Link Parent
      Original dialogue FTW! I always find that every Ghibli age incredibly well. Obviously you can notice one or two minor details that aren't so perfect but still, great pieces of art in my view....

      Original dialogue FTW! I always find that every Ghibli age incredibly well. Obviously you can notice one or two minor details that aren't so perfect but still, great pieces of art in my view. Watched Nausicaa last weekend again, only the second time. Forgot how damn good it was.

      1 vote