GUN-DAMN!!! : 35 years and still counting

Like most kids, I grew up with my fair share of cartoon watching. So strong was my love for cartoons, I would wake up as early as 5:30AM to catch the Saturday morning cartoon slot, though struggling to wake up on a normal school day. It was not just Saturday mornings: I followed a post-school ritual to watch at least an hour or two’s worth on TV. Over the years I realized that only a few shows stood out from the rest in terms of animation quality, storytelling and sometimes catchy opening themes; invariably they all turned to be Japanese Anime. During my early years I watched a lot of Giant robot shows, or Mecha, and was mesmerized by them — I mean which boy’s dream isn’t to pilot a giant robot? Shows ranged from well known franchises such as Transformers (which I now think is garbage), Robotech, to little known ones – Saber Riders & the Star Sheriffs (actually Star Musketeer Bismarck), Ninja Senshi Tobikage (conveniently translated as Ninja Robots to appeal to English audiences), Yamato Takeru and a few others. Continue reading

Sakka & Pop Cultcha

After the Sakka series in my blog, my brother realized how much football had become part of pop culture. So here is the afterword on the subject (If you haven’t already read the Sakka series, do so now!).

The other day, I was browsing through the Kinokuniya book store (the Japanese book store outside Bryant Park in NYC) and I realized something. There was actually a whole section dedicated to football manga. This struck me as very odd. Football is not the most popular sport in Japan or in the United States for that matter. While an all football manga section in Japan wouldn’t be out of place, a similar arrangement in the US was surprising. Football is definitely well below all the popular American sports in the popularity charts. What struck me as even odder was the fact that there was no manga section dedicated to baseball or any other American sport. Perhaps this is an example of football & pop culture inspired globalization at its best. Continue reading

Hikikomori: Japan’s socially withdrawn

I once watched an Anime called “NHK ni Youkoso” (“Welcome to NHK”). The show revolves around the main protagonist, Tatsuhiro Sato, who is a university dropout living a reclusive lifestyle. His life takes an interesting turn when he meets Misaki – a girl who claims she can cure him of his reclusive ways. Sato blames his reclusive lifestyle on a conspiracy theory involving the NHK or “Nihon Hikikomori Kyokai” (“Japan Hikikomori Association”), a fictitious organization— in place of the real “Nihon Hoso Kyokai” (“Japan Broadcasting Association”). The Anime does a great job of providing insights into various Japanese subcultures such as Moe Anime, internet suicide pacts, gaming addiction etc., apart from having an engaging storyline and great characters. (You may want to check the Anime out). In this post I shall focus on the show’s main theme – Hikikomori. Continue reading

Subs vs Dubs

It’s time to look at the perennial debate of whether watching Anime in subs is better than their English dubbed counterparts. I like my Anime dubbed. Many fellow fans (so called fans) I have interacted with consider watching dubbed shows as blasphemy. Personally, I am outraged by this intolerance. I cannot understand why people get so riled up over this. As a kid I grew up watching Anime dubbed and it was that very reason that I continued to pursue Anime. If dubbed Anime did not play on TV, the chances of my being the fan that I am today would’ve been next to nil.

Now let’s look at some common arguments “Anime Purists” spout in an attempt to convince you subtitled Anime is superior. Continue reading

Anime’s entry into India Part II

In my previous post I told you how Anime came to the Indian household in waves. The first wave was the advent of cable TV followed by the second wave which was the entry of AXN. This broadly covered 1991-2003. What happened after 2003 I will cover in this post. Continue reading

Anime’s entry into India Part I

For my first blog post, I thought I would attempt to trace how and when anime truly entered India. Why Anime, you ask? ‘Coz nobody has done it! If you thought the first anime to appear in India was DBZ, you are way off!

It all started way back in 1992 (or maybe late 1991) when cable TV just launched in India — a turning point in household entertainment. Star TV gave Indians a taste of foreign media along with Anime (Yes you read right, Anime!). Those who are 20+ will definitely have fond memories of watching shows such as Small Wonder (4:30pm), the original TMNT(5:30pm), Batman (the campy 60’s TV show airing at 6pm) but do you remember an Anime gem known as Robotech which aired at 5pm? Robotech* was probably the first legit anime series to air in India, barring TMNT* (the first 4 episodes were animated in Japan, so technically you may want to consider it anime). Robotech was just the start with Star TV continuing to add other anime to its roster such as Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs, Transformers, Force Five*. In fact if you look closer you would see the first wave of anime was primarily of the Mecha* Genre which is why I’m a big Mecha fan today (thank you Star TV). Continue reading