We Asked People To Describe The First Anime They Ever Saw & How It Changed Their Lives 4eva

October is shaping up to be a huge month for anime, with the hotly anticipated Chainsaw Man finally hitting the airwaves worldwide. 

But apart from that massive release, we’ve got season three of Mob Psycho 100, season six of My Hero Academia, and new Boruto: Naruto Next Generations — just to name a few.

To celebrate this wonderful time of the anime calendar, we decided to look back and ask some fine anime-loving folk about the first-ever anime they saw, and how it changed their lives. Let’s dive in, shall we?

Mateus, 26

My mother swears it was all downhill from when I first watched Pokemon with my cousins, but real ones know it all began when she took me to see Spirited Away. Watching Ghibli movies I think was a way for me to get into fantasy and all that kind of stuff before I could read. Fast forward 20+ years and I’m now a huge bookworm.

Claudia, 33

I was probs seven years old when my grandma got me and my cousins this cartoon to watch. It was Akira — I’m still slightly traumatised.

Ichigo, 26

The first time I ever watched anime — and I don’t count watching Pokemon lol — I was 14, still living in my Twilight-era when my best friend told me I have to watch Vampire Knight with her on ABC at 9pm.

I was enthralled by the art style, the vampire storyline and dude, the theme song! Even though I haven’t watched it in years, I still know the lyrics even though it’s in Japanese. While there’s definitely better anime out there, I went ahead and bought all of the manga, following the series until its completion, read more manga and forced all of my other friends to get into anime.

To complete the dedication, I decorated all my school books and screensavers with my favourite anime characters and went through a phase where I only drew anime characters. The whole idea of anime had me in a chokehold for about four years, but still has a soft spot in my heart.

Chris, 31

The first anime that I saw were pretty much the same before-school shows that every kid in the ’90s watched — Dragon Ball Z, Pokemon, Sailor Moon, Cardcaptor. The first anime that really sunk its claws into me was Gundam Wing. It was my first exposure to mecha anime and felt more “mature” than those other shows — that there was a whole world beyond the stuff I’d watch before school. But the thing that really hooked me was specifically this Cartoon Network ad that was set to Linkin Park’s ‘Crawling’.

Lliam, 30

Evangelion on SBS late-night TV around 1996 – 97. I would have been five or six when I watched it and ended up having a long-running relationship with the show. The first episode I saw on TV was episode 19, which if you know the show is when the show took an awesome turn. Didn’t even understand what I saw. 

When I was 14, I found VHS tapes at the library — I had to watch them out of order and piece everything together mentally. It was my first existential prompt that epitomised all my fears, inhibitions and teen angst. It changed my life in the sense that I didn’t feel so alone in my own suffering because I could relate to Shinji’s suffering. He’s a coward, he had to overcome mecha alien battles but also personal relationships — the whole story essentially is about a person coming to terms with themselves and loving themselves — it taught me how to love myself and that it’s OK to.

The original ending is the best ending for the record. Also, Shinji did nothing wrong, Misato is a mummy and Rai was my first crush.

Otis, 31

So the first one as a kid I got into was Digimon, thought the bigger monsters and more intense fighting for their lives story was more interesting than Pokémon (don’t worry though, Ash’s sassy Charizard will always have a special place in my heart). But as for Digimon, the villains felt more real and threatening.

But the show that gave me my first ‘holy shit this is awesome’ moment was watching Hellsing as a teenager. It was brutal, funny, and had language that could make even a teenage metalhead blush. I think anime definitely prompted a huge interest in stories and fantasy for me. Especially with animation being able to achieve effects that couldn’t be matched by live-action films at the time.

Ruby, 26

Sailor Moon was the first anime I ever saw, and it was via the 4Kids dubs released on VHS in Australia. The dub wasn’t great (although I can never forget Molly, Sailor Moon’s best friend) having the most nasally New York accent and now hearing her without it feels weird), but that anime changed my freakin’ life. It showed me that teen girls can be strong even when they cry, and it was also formative for me as a young girl trying to find female superheroes in media. 

Further along the line, the queer representation in Sailor Neptune and Uranus’ storyline (despite being desperately straight-washed in non-Japanese localisations) was really important to me growing up.

Got that anime itch? Check out Crunchyroll for your ultimate one-stop-anime-viewing-shop. With all the latest anime dropping just an hour after going live in Japan, Crunchyroll is home to timeless classics like all the above-mentioned, as well as enduring hits like Attack on Titan and Demon Slayer to name just a few. Plus, there’s never been a better time cos they’re slinging a 14-day free trial to new sign-ups.