When did your anime fandom truly begin?

To celebrate 10 years of being an anime fan (can you believe that?), I am writing a multiple post series focusing on anime fandom. I reckon despite more than four years of anime blogging, I seldom wrote about anime fandom at all (with few exceptions). So for this first part, I’ll discuss about that specific time when a person start being a true anime fan.

We have all been asked this very same question more than once. ‘How long have you been such a huge anime fan?’ The answer naturally varied depending on how you thought you started being an anime fan. But the diversity of definition on this subject made our answers somewhat unreliable.

For example, I once ask my RL friend (who has now retired from anime fandom) this question and he told me he had been anime fan for a decade. But he, in a matter of fact, had very low knowledge about anime which only expanded back for a year or two. Only after I asked in detail that I found out the truth; he had only watched the original FMA and then he was watching FMA: Brotherhood. If I had used the same logic that my friend did, I would have been an anime fan for more than twenty years now because I watched my first anime when I was like five years old.

You get the idea. Defining the specific time when your anime fandom actually started is not easy. Below is the list of possible definitions used by many people with a few that I throw into the mix.

Your anime fandom started at the time when…

When you were exposed to anime for the first time

This is the worse definition, in my opinion. Lots of people passively watched anime when they were really young (some didn’t even know it was anime). Then they got to some popular anime again when they grew up. If we use this definition, we would have countless of false anime fans who only have vague memories of watching anime in their distant childhood.

When you start watching anime other than your gateway series

This one is more interesting. Gateway anime ignites the love but it takes some determination to keep the fire burning. Many people fall in love with their gateway anime but never seek another title afterwards. Nevertheless, this definition lack specific details on exactly how many further anime one need to watch.

When you have completed the list of ‘classic’ anime titles

Believe it or not, good number of fans only accepts another as a fan when that person watches certain set of so-called ‘classic anime’. It sounds kind of selfish and narrow-minded. Of course, there’s no argue that some ‘milestone’ anime will help expand your view of anime and will get you deep into conversations. But forcing someone to watch something actually destroys fandom itself. Plus, diversity in experience and taste help keep the discussion interesting.

When you have been watching anime continuously for more than a year

I like this one the most. It’s not about how many anime you watch or how fiercely you love it. The most defining factor is durability. Time can prove lots of things including true love. But then again, how much time do you need to prove yourself worthy of being called anime fan? This point is up for debate but in my opinion, it must be longer than usual ‘honeymoon period’ in which a new fan usually goes on a ‘binge anime watching’. So I’d say 6 months or a year, perhaps? (Take Yumeka for an example, it takes her 6 years to become stable!)

When you start expanding your love of anime into other kinds of activities

At one point of being an anime fan, anime starts appearing in your daily life and in your thoughts. It’s only natural that you will take anime fandom up to another level by putting it out in the open. This is when you start participating in conventions, talking in forums and commenting in anime blogs (this also includes other advanced fan behaviors). This definition sounds most solid but its weakness is that many silent anime fans would be excluded completely.

So there you go. There are so many possible ways to define that specific time when you become anime fan. If you ask me, I would call myself an anime fan after I have watched anime for a year and be sure that I won’t give it up soon after. Using this definition, I am utterly surprised that I have been anime fan for 10 years now.

How about you? In your opinion, which factor should be used to identify the beginning of anime fandom?

And finally, how long have you been an anime fan? Answer in the poll below!

Also make sure you read the second part of my discussion on anime fandom here.

47 responses to “When did your anime fandom truly begin?

  1. I usually stick with the watching continuously definition…Started with Code Geass and Death Note for me, then I just kept going from there

    • Then we are generally in agreement ^^
      Though admittedly its tedious to wait for a long time before being able to all oneself anime fan. It was easier in retrospect.

      • I dunno…I wouldn’t call it tedious. It wasn’t like I watched a couple of shows and started thinking “man, I really can’t wait to be considered an anime fan.” Just started watching, got interested, kept watching, and eventually looked back and realized that I’d watched a lot

      • I was the same :)
        It’s something I realized afterwards…long time afterwards :)

  2. Yes continuosly :) That one!

  3. I like the second definition best because I feel there’s a real, honest-to-goodness place in time where the transition is made from “not a fan” to “fan.” A one year mark sounds a bit arbitrary – besides, by the one year mark, is your fandom starting at year one? What about the previous 365 days, which may have been filled with fandom-like activities?

    By that second definition, I would pinpoint my fandom as starting very specifically in the spring of 2001. I had watched anime as a kid, but then returned to it through Digimon c. 2000 and then found Toonami in 2001. But in that spring, it was watching Evangelion that got me hooked. Up until that time, I wasn’t sure whether I was a fan of just Tenchi Muyo! or anime in general; Evangelion led me to believe it was the latter. It was also the first anime DVD I purchased.

    Thanks for the fun post!

    • Thanks for the comment! ^^
      Yeah, when a fan start seeking titles other than his gateway anime, it probably means that he is in fora long ride. But then again, I still think that certain time duration is needed because there must be someone who stopped watching after a few non-gateway titles because he doesn’t like them. Uhm… so many possiblities.

      • There are surely other ways, too, in which other anime fans would measure their fandom!

      • OMG, that’s the fastest reply I ever encountered!
        Yes, I think there are other ways. I may have to discuss this in the upcomming post which further covers this fandom topic.

  4. I’d say you become an anime fan whenever you get to the point that, if someone asked you whether you were an anime fan, you’d say “yes”. (Or need some reason to pretend otherwise.) Which is going to happen for different reasons, for different people.

    Personally, I think of my fandom as starting when I joined my university anime club and started to get exposed to and enjoy lots of different types of anime, prior to which I’d identify as “investigating this ‘anime’ thing with interest”.

    • Joining RL activity, in my opinion, solidifies the fandom status though it’s not nescessary to do so in order to become anime fan.
      Thanks for the comment! :)

  5. Hi there, I stumbled across your site somehow after looking for some anime review blogs and I must say that I’m quite impressed. I’ve started an anime review blog for myself and was wondering if you’d be interested in exchanging links.

    • Thanks for visiting :)
      I went to your blog and it is lovely and new. I may have to wait for a few more months for you to better settle into anime blogging. When that time comes and your blog is still going strong, I’ll personally ask for link exchange with you.
      Keep up the good work!

  6. I think I started my anime fandom back in the nineties. Funny that what “cemented” my fandom was when I watched Tenchi Muyo and Evangelion. I actually still remember the first two Tenchi Muyo movies like it was yesterday.

    • So in your case, there were certain anime (which were not actually gateway anime) that turn you into anime fan. Uhm, that does not fall into any category in my post! Maybe I’ll call it ‘landmark’ anime? I think I’ll add this to my post.
      Thank you for your comment! ^^

  7. I think watching anime continuously marks the start of one’s anime fan-ness. I’ve watched a handful of shows sporadically when I was like 7 (the likes of Flame of Recca, the original Hunter x Hunter, Rave Master) so I don’t really count those as my gateway. My real start was just around 08 when I saw Fate/Stay Night.

    And wow, a majority of those that answered the poll have been an anime fan for 10+ years, I shall strive the same ^^

    • Thank you for sharing!
      I am equally mesmerized by how many long-time fans there are, at least amoung my readers…But then again, I don’t really which criteria those votes used to define the start of their fandom -_-

    • awesome! i started with Fate/stay night too. :D
      i think the real start for me was when i actually started to search for more anime title( and f/sn) in the net. it actually opened up a whole new world for me.

      • Contrary to me, Fate/Stay Night kind of put my anime watching streak to a brief halt. Oh well, maybe I should rewatch that series 0_0

  8. I think it’s began when I watched Dragon Ball, but i like one piece the most. thank you

  9. I still have some memories of watching Anime. Aside from watching the first Miyasaki film back in my childhood, I remembered watching Pokemon along with Sailor Moon and Dragonball Z. It’s not until late 2008 where I started watching more…

    And today, well everything is expanded. Now teaching myself Japanese and other things, which shows that it has grown. I doubt I will stop in the near future.

  10. I think in my case the REAL beginning was when I started to watch subbed series (years ago) and then raw series (now).
    That should be the long past 2004/5…that implies 7/8 year of continued anime fandom.

    Before it was just some series on the TV…

    • Watching sub/raw series takes a lot of work to achieve compared to just watching anything showed on TV. So I agree that it was real beginning :)

  11. 2 years, but I started watching when I was around 6 and I still remember my favorite series, Zenki, Peter Pan, Magic Knight RayEarth and Yaiba. For the movies there’s Totoro which I’ve watched 20 times!!!!!! repeatedly!!!!!.

    When I grew older (I’m 23) it’s hard to find a free time since my Dad’s strict with his rules, still, I prefer watching animes during my free time. Now I’m back again with my addiction and I’m having a hard time adjusting since there’s this Moe/Lolis/Tsun-Tsun and whatsoever. :)

  12. wow.. i think the “When you start expanding your love of anime into other kinds of activities” is a bit much but I agree with “When you have been watching anime continuously for more than a year” In which case i have only been a true anime fan for over 5 years

    Yea I have seen DBZ and princess mononoke ages ago and I LOVED them, but how could I say I was a fan when I didn’t even know what anime was O.o

  13. Pingback: Canne’s Criteria for Identification of True ‘Anime Fan’ (plus common scenarios!) | Canne's anime review blog

  14. Interesting post since I always thought that one would become a fan after s/he identified her/his gateway anime.

    Well, because that’s how I started to become an anime addict. Bleach was my second gateaway anime for me and it all started from there. It opened up endless possibilities just like the books are for me.

    Bleach anime was first aired in October 2004 which means I’ve been an anime fan for almost 8 years now

  15. I really can’t believe it’s been so long, but I’ve been a fan since the 90’s (1997) when Toonami first appeared. After absolutely despising anime my whole life, I finally watched Dragonball Z, and hated it. Then I watched it again, and loved the shit out of it, and changed my whole perspective. It took a few years to really build up my anime (I had to rely on Toonami and then Adult Swim. Those were the Pokemon, DBZ, Gundam Wing, InuYasha years, and they were good), and I didn’t really get into anime full fledged until Fullmetal Alchemist and the days when anime was streaming on YouTube (back when it was first invented, so I guess 2005 was when I started really smashing anime).

    Christ I’m fucking old.

    InuYasha is the best anime ever made, and this is one of the few times where I say “that’s the best so-and-so ever” and I actually literally mean it. It’s fucking number one. If InuYasha’s fillers were all made into a series, they would be fucking number one. The show is absolutely awesome. I’m going to bed now to dream of being InuYasha. Fuck haters.

    • Look like we are all pretty old around here, or at least among my blog’s visitors. The poll result is evident enough. In my early days, I didn’t have those Adult Swim or Toonami (Still don’t have those to this very day -_-) and it was also hard to get a hand on licensed anime. So I used to relied on illegal product which had very poor quality. Now I kind of missed those days…that sound old.

    • We don’t have Toonami or Adult Swim over here but I remember the local TV showed DBZ. I was in my teens. I watched the series but don’t give much thought about it. If I was, I must have been a fan for almost 20 years by now

  16. My first well remembered and liked Anime was Samurai X. I watched it on AXN when i was in second/third grade. I used to watch Dragon Ball and Yu Yu Hakosho when i was only 4 yrs old, So i didnt really remember them, until i watched them later.

  17. I like the second and fourth definations the best. I don’t remember the exact time but I remember I ONLY got hooked into anime so much more after I started watching Shaman King and FMA which my friends borrowed me. From then on, I was constantly trying to get more anime in the most desperate ways. No internet back then, so it’s kinda tough. I was able to keep the “durability” going on still, and after internet is available at my home, then it’s a no-brainer. Like any other kids, I watched Dragon Ball and Sailor Moon and stuffs when I was a kid, but I guess my “true” fandom only begun when I watched Shaman King and FMA.

    • Thank you for sharing your story!
      Shaman King was rarely mentioned as a gateway anime so your story was quite unique! Dragon Ball or Sailor Moon seemed to be mentioned a lot as the anime everyone watched when they were young without realzing that they were anime >_>

  18. SWEET! I’m part of the 10 year mark just barely lol. I’m 23 now & started watching when I was about 12 & my moms friend, Ryoko, took me to go see Totoro. I’m telling you…for a kid like me, that shit BLEW MY MIND. a little before/after, I started watching anime. And I tried to get my hands on whatever I could. I got HobbyJapan Catalogs from this store called Wizzywigs (in Ann Arbor, Michigan), watched anime movies on the premium channels like HBO & SHOtime (ghost in the shell anyone?), then tried drawing it. Oh and remember Newtype magazine? I was so cut when they canceled that!!! Anyways, I have a website so I guess that qualifies me alone right there lol.

    Nice to see you’re still going strong :D sorry I haven’t commented in a while :p anyways, I agree with what an anime fan SHOULD be :D

    • It’s been a while but I am glad to see that you are doing okay.
      And thank you for sharing your experience!
      Back in the old days, I also loved drawing whatever I like at the time including anime. I even took drawing class, though that didn’t last. :)

  19. Not really sure. I’ve been watching before I first learned what anime is. They’re just cartoons to me for the longest time. Eventually I figured out the difference between Western and Eastern animation (The basics anyway) and found out what I’ve been watching and enjoying since I was 6.
    So I guess the answer so far is 18 3/4 years and counting.

  20. like this post!..same goes here..really don’t know when did it started…just love watching it over and over again..I’m already in 20’s and yet..i’m still addicted to anime…certified Otaku Fans..

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