My first encounter of anime started sometime in my middle school years with MAR: Marchen Awakens Romance from Toonami Jetstream, while it was in Cartoon Network. My younger brother was the one that brought me over to his computer one day to watch this cartoon with him. As we both watched it for quite some time, I got highly interested with the art style, for it was certainly nothing like the ones we see with American cartoons. From MAR, my brother introduced me to Naruto, found in Toonami Jetstream, and Bleach and One Piece, found on Youtube. From here on out, those four animes were the only things that I have watched and cared about anime-related until high school.
High school was the turning point that allowed me to openly claim that watching anime was a favorite hobby of mine. During my high school freshman year, I walked around to check out the Club/Pub fair. The Idea of clubs/pubs were new to me, for I have never had such an experience happened to me in my middle school. I wandered around a few times and came across the Anime Club. I was quite intrigued by it, finding it odd that something like watching anime, which I took for granted, can be treated as a serious, yet fun hobby. Wanting to see exactly what kind of atmosphere it provides, I decided to join this club. The people who run the club were very nice and welcoming people, something I found quite odd considering what I have heard about such people before. These are people who are planning to become artists, international affairs, pharmacists, doctors, yet the common thing that binds them together was anime. Regular people who relax at a room where they can fully express their love for amine. They existed. Then, it hit me. If they can do something like that, it should not be hard for me to do the exact same thing, correct? From then on, anime became a full-fledged hobby of mine.
During my stay in the anime club for freshman year, The anime that I was currently watched with the club was Gun X Sword. I conversed with those who were in the club about their favorite shows and animes. I was first introduced to popular anime that I have no notion of their existence, anime such as Fullmetal Alchemist, Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu, Lucky Star, and D.Gray-man. From here, I started doing online searches of animes for my own interest, some including Fate/stay night, School Rumble, Elfen Lied, and Rozen Maiden. I started to dig even deeper into the anime industry, searching for older anime such as Neon Genesis Evangelion, Trigun, To Heart, and Flame of Recca. Everything about anime continued to flow into my body. It did not take long before I realize just how much I became absorbed and interested in Japanese animation.
I think what probably was the final push on my love for anime was my very first anime convention with the club. During the summer of June, the club and I went to AnimeNEXT 2008. I was able to obtain an even broader aspect of the Japanese entertainment world. Seeing manga books, artists, cosplayers, and more, people who are just like me expressing their high interest in anime just as I do. To see so many people of different races, religion, and ethnic background come together on these three days just to spend some time expressing their interest in Japanese culture and entertainment, I was awe-stricken. There were so many people out there who share my interest and even talking to some of them, who, in turn, responded casually and nicely. This was of major importance to me, for it was then that I knew that watching anime was not just a hobby, it became a part of my everyday life.
Nowadays, with college and other real life events, I find it harder to set some time for myself for anime. Even so, even if it is just streaming a few to watch during the weekend, anime will remain an importing part of my young life.