Remember the time when 3:30 p.m. meant you were rushing home from school, to try and catch the latest episode of “Samurai X” on Sanyu Television? Not something you wanted to miss… I don’t know how many times we watched and re-watched those 80 or so episodes they kept airing (for some reason they never did finish the story!!). Ah, beginnings… for the fledgling pirate it was about the time we realized “Hey, I can record these on tape (tape!! Can you imagine, tape!!) and watch them over and over.” And for the fledgling Manga addict? Well, that was barely the tip of the tip of a huge iceberg.
Fast forward a few years (a lifetime for those born in the late nineties J), people have discovered and fallen in love with T.V shows that can now be borrowed from a video library, 24, C.S.I., Prison break, tree hill, that list is endless. Somewhere in all that, sometime during 2006, someone discovers “Avatar: the last air-bender”. It was a cartoon that even the “grown up boys” (read men) liked to watch (he, I’ve actually heard of an instance of some guy breaking up with his chic cuz she couldn’t stand him watching avatar!), and yes, it reminded many of us of those early days when “Samurai X” was the in thing. Of course, what with the digital age being what it is, someone had to go and look for it, and there curtains were drawn back… there was so much more…
BLEACH, Naruto, Inuyasha, Fullmetal Alchemist, Neon Genesis Evangelion… the list could go on and on, and “Samurai X”? Well, its real name was “Rurouni Kenshin”. We had found anime (pronounced ænəˌmeɪ). So what if most of it was in Japanese? That’s what the subtitles are for! After a while of watching it in Japanese you’ll actually find the translated versions a bit…, well, lacking.
Of course, the “normal” people at this point were wondering (still are I suppose), what is it with those guys and cartoons? And what language is that anyway? Why would I do that when I have a perfectly good season of Boston legal to watch?
Well, don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. From the dark definitely adult storylines of Claymore, Neon Genesis Evangelion and Blood +, to the cocky adrenaline rush that is BLEACH (yes, in italicized capitals) and Devil May Cry, to the more mischievous Naruto, there is literally something for everyone (yes girls, there are even romantic comedies, try “Honey and Clover” or “Oh, My Goddess”)*. Remember that iceberg I mentioned? Yes, everything above the surface had been uncovered (not discovered) and it was a veritable mountain!! People started talking about OVAs, omakes and chibis, yes, they do make sense to the initiated.
But what lay just beneath the surface? You know how the cliffhanger at the end of say episode 18 of season 2 of ………. (insert your fave show here) can have you aching to know what happens next? Enter Manga…
For those who know what I mean… “BAN-KAI!!”