Remember when Cartoon Network was but a brand-new cable network? Remember when they showed only Hanna-Barbera, Looney Tunes, and Tex Avery shorts 24/7?
Call your cable operator and tell them you want Cartoon Network!
Remember once upon a time, back before Netflix and Crunchyroll, before Facebook and Wikipedia, back when there were few ways to find out about anime beyond obscure internet fora or trawling your local video store?
When I was a kid, it was a difficult–and expensive–proposition to find new anime. In west Cobb county, we didn’t have access to a hearty VHS sharing community, and the nearest Japanese shops were 30+ miles away in Gwinnett County. We did, however, have Hollywood Video on Dallas Highway and Suncoast Motion Picture Company at Town Center Mall!
Hollywood Video did manage to have a decent selection of anime for a video store in suburban Georgia in the 1990s–Macross, Fist of the North Star, and Ranma 1/2 to name but a few. Mostly older titles at the time, but it was a great introduction to the classics. Suncoast, being a retail store, stocked the latest titles being released by Bandai and Pioneer–they just happened to cost around $25 per VHS tape (a veritable fortune, considering only 2 episodes per tape). A series might cost someone upwards of $150, and you have no way to preview it!
To help sell these outrageously priced VHS tapes, Suncoast occasionally published a catalogue of upcoming titles to generate buzz. I grabbed one of these one afternoon while I was at the mall and, for some reason, held onto it these last 17 years or so. Obviously, I’ve seen a few of these titles in the intervening years, but I thought it fun to use it as a springboard to get back into anime as I haven’t really paid much attention to it since giant robots faded into obscurity. Keep an eye on this space; I’ll review each of these titles as I watch them and maybe get a little insight and reminisce about a bygone era in animation.
Akira was my first real dive into cinematic anime. I had long been a fan of Robotech and it’s Saturday morning ilk, but I remember something transformative about the first time I watched Akira–like being introduced to Baja-style tacos or even having sex for the first time! It was a defining moment in my life, one that I had been yearning to experience and one that opened up a new way of looking at the world.
One of Studio Ghibli’s best animators, Makiko Futaki, likely won’t be remembered for her very best work – one that’s influenced everyone from MJ to Kanye West