Doing a full blog round does give me inspiration for a special post from time to time. This post is largely inspired by Eternal’s and Ryan A’s theory and opinions on gateway anime. They make me reflect to myself and other fans I’ve met and thus, this post takes shape.
I few weeks ago, I talked to one of my senpai at work and learned that he was a die hard fan of Dragon Ball Z since he was a kid and that he was still watching the old series (for the hundredth time) until now. I was so shocked that I almost fell off my chair when I realized, through further talking, that he didn’t know what ‘anime’ means (he could not even correctly pronounce the word, for god sake!). And of course he had minimal to none knowledge about other anime series, not to mention the currently airing ones. I also ran into few similar situations last year with two other people I knew; one was Ultraman fanatics and the other was Mask Rider fan. Their fandoms were limited to their childhood experience. For some reason, they never expanded their interests further and I doubted that the wide world of anime even existed to them. I was perplexed and after doing some thinking, here’s my theory.
Gateway anime or the anime that brings someone into the world of anime and anime fandom, in my opinion, plays a significant role in shaping up each anime fan. It affects how a fan perceives and expects from anime and eventually influence his/her choices in choosing anime whether that fan realize it or not.
For me, Doraemon is my childhood gateway anime and it greatly affects my taste in watching anime. I’ve already written about that subject in my other post. Nevertheless, I haven’t always been watching anime consistently since then. There was time when I almost completely stopped watching anime during my junior high school years. I thought I had grown up and those kiddy shows were no longer for me. Of course back then I had no idea about the existence of countless anime made for late teen and adults.
I wouldn’t have been here writing anime blog as anime fans if I hadn’t been exposed to a small group of Ghibli anime like Whisper of the Heart, Ocean Waves, Spirited Away and certain anime series such as X TV and Serial Experiment Lain. They were my second gateway anime, the anime that rekindled the fire inside me. Thanks to them, I continued my anime fandom through my late teens into my years in the university until now. It was something kiddy shows like Doraemon, Ninja Hatori or Dragon Ball Z could never have done. This is what I’m saying; we need more than one group of anime to get us through different stages of our lives. If all it took to become a long term anime fan were one or few kiddy shows, half the population of the world would now be part of our anime community.
What do you think about this matter? Please share them here.