I’ve learned watching anime with your girl/guy is not a common thing in the anime watching world. But when it does happen it’s special. It is probably even more unlikely that they get to follow you through your growth as an anime fan. With this post I’m going to illustrate OUR progression through MY anime growth. And maybe at the end you’ll find out how one anime lover became two.
My journey with her started where most anime lover’s journeys begin, with a good starter anime. You may have already guessed it was Dragonball Z. Not just a legendary shounen anime/manga, but for Americans one of the great introductory anime out there that got so many people started. Anime like Cowboy Bebop, SDF Macross, Akira and Gundam Wing; and like most of these anime they are not very appealing to the opposite gender. The case wasn’t any different with her. She couldn’t be any more bored with aliens staring at aliens and then punching themselves in the face.
I didn’t really make any progress until Adult Swim’s heyday. She popped in every now and then to check on Cowboy Bebop (the episode with the crazy assassin with the top hat still freaks her out to this day) and got into InuYasha with me. That may be the first show she was genuinely excited about. We still argue every now and then over the Kagome & Kikyo situation.
I have to give credit to her for diversifying my taste in anime as well. During a viewing of Big O she walked up to me and told me all I ever watch is violent anime. Everything in it has robots or violence, or more likely robots AND violence. Almost as if it was a challenge I scoured through my Newtype USA (*sniff-sniff* I miss that magazine) and found Azumanga Daioh which is one of my all-time favorite anime.
Now we come to ADV’s heyday, and I certainly gave them plenty of my money. But what was important was that my girl finally found an anime that she could obsess over and care about and another anime where we actually had a serious discussion over. The first being RahXephon and the second anime I’m referring to is the End of Evangelion movie.
With RahXephon she started shipping (oh god!) and looking on in amazement as the story unfolded for her. It was pretty nice to watch someone experience an all consuming anime like I did when I first watched the Evangelion series. It was like watching someone change from an anime caterpillar to an anime butterfly. And speaking of Eva, we still can’t agree on how we feel about that ending. It speaks perfectly to our unique personalities. While I thought the end that most of those people chose was a horrible thing, she loved it. I hate to say it, but I went with Shinji on that one.
As time passed she matured in her anime watching and followed along for some great series, like Fullmetal Panic: Fumoffu, Noir, Fruits Basket, Chrono Crusade (a great shared moment for us was that show’s ending), Champloo and her other obsession besides RahXephon. FLCL. Damn it! My girl has good taste!
The next stage in our anime loving relationship was fansubs. As my tastes got more diverse, the American anime market was crumbling around me. With ADV and so many other anime dubbing studios closing shop; Adult Swim shunning their anime; Newtype USA being cancelled; Suncoast my favorite movie store closing and Best Buy damn near hiding their selection I started to feel like an anime loving dinosaur after the meteor hit. I was starving for content and recognition. It makes me wonder how I survived honestly.
Well despite those troubled times I did survive… by my laptop. That’s right, fansubs. I was pretty ignorant before; I knew about fansubs and had watched them before. But always had crappy internet and a crappy computer. Now with the anime market all sh*tty and ever expanding desire for classics and brand new anime I learned quickly. This let me and my girl watch the nearly impossible to find Revolutionary Girl Utena which to this day is one of our favorite watches.
The next step was brand new anime and it wasn’t until Toradora that I started keeping up with a series “in season” that she found interesting. It’s an unparalleled experience being able to anticipate a show week to week and experience it brand new with someone you love. What’s funny is I had a girlfriend (not the same one I speak of) in middle school that could have cosplayed Taiga perfectly. She was just as mean, too.
Through all this I’ve learned much about her and how she thinks. I’ve learned that her love of a good romance and relatable characters is as strong as my love for giant robots and stylistic violence. I’ve learned that the two genders can come together on the nerdy things. I’ve learned that no one can hate a b*tchy female character like a female can hate a b*tchy female character. And I’ve learned that there is no explaining away episode 7 of Strike Witches at 2 o’clock in the morning. Ay! Don’t shoot me those looks! That’s my normal time for watching anime!
And this is far from the end of our journey. Real life is like death and taxes, there is no avoiding it so it has slowed us down quite a bit over the years. And our differing schedules ensure that I consistently leave her behind on just about every series that comes out. But we make time, I go back for her or wait for her. We still remember love for Toradora! and Utena in conversation. And our current weekly watches are still high points we anticipate. She’s keeping up with Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, which I find impressive, and like alot of anime loving women she’s cheering on Sawako in Kimi ni Todoke. And we’ll do this forever, because anime isn’t a hobby for us. It’s part of our relationship. You should be so lucky.
I have an extensive list of triumphs and failures when it comes to women & anime. For those of you with girlfriends, what 3 shows would (or did) you show her to get interested in anime? Try not to be too sexist; keep the shoujo to a minimum. And “anything with bishies” isn’t expressive enough.
For the other social aspects of loving anime. http://aspergers.dasaku.net/?p=1811
Though my girl is far from one of these, I can only hope. http://ogiuemaniax.wordpress.com/the-fujoshi-files/