*I am aware that much of the anime we enjoyed in the 90’s was produced in the 80’s. But this is about what I thought anime was in 90’s, what was available in the 90’s that shaped that view, not what was produced at the time.
I started watching anime, at least what I knew to count among anime, in the summer of 1995 with the infamous Ninja Scroll. I followed that with Akira, Ghost in the Shell, Demon City Shinjuku, and more from the few local video places my friends and I frequented. If you had asked me back then, and people frequently did, just what was this anime we were gobbling up, I probably, no in fact I know, I would have said some thing about anime’s maturity, perhaps its dark or adult themes, and maybe some violence for good measure. And I probably would have thrown in some jabs at western works, too.
There is some truth in there, anime was and still is much more vast in terms of maturity looking at themes than American-made works. Heck, we throw hentai in there, though not mature in an intellectual way, obviously adult targeted and it pushes it way over. I must admit however, those titles that were, or are, so very well-known from our 90’s days weren’t representative of the whole, not even close, for better or worse depending on who you are. Though I guess you could argue that is a result of just so much anime being produced.
In some ways, I, we, kind of liked the stigma of anime in the 90’s. It was those violent porn cartoons from Japan. Okay, yeah, we wanted it to get more respect for what it was doing with animation. And probably not have people think it was all sex. But even as I saw more things that weren’t dark or mature, I figured that was the exception not even realizing I had it backwards. What was that ADV commercial, anime is totally not kid stuff, or something along those lines.
Oh but it is! And it isn’t! It makes me excited to say that anime is everything, a million different things, with genres and ideas and characters and stories that appeal to every age range. Anime is limitless and I guess that was what I truly loved about it all along.
Some of that is just personal growth, and I stopped pretending to dislike western animation a long time ago, in fact I’m a big fan. I have come to like so many genres in anime and I’ve become a fan of the medium of animation as a whole, too. I’m different. The amount of information we can get is different. Animation in the west is different, too. And yeah anime is different now, but maybe not as much as one might imagine because I was totally lying in the 90’s.