Each Otaku has that anime, their gateway into the whole Otaku culture. The origin for many of us getting into manga, cosplay, dating games, light novels, etc. Came through anime itself, mine was Totoro but at the time I didn’t know it was anime or the origin of what land it came from, at this time I was entirely ignorant of what anime was.
Of course I had watched anime before, Pokémon and Sakura Card Captor but I had just assumed it was American because I was six and my knowledge of the world was lacking. 2 years go by and I am still ignorant of the wonderful world of anime, it wasn’t until the last day of the school year when my Japanese teacher sat the last class of the day down and we watched an old movie called Totoro. I was entranced and amazed by the style, we were halfway through the story where Mei disappears when the school bell rang signalling us to get up and go to the front of the school where will begin our final assembly of the year would begin. I wanted to stay and watch what happened next but of course everyone else wasn’t going to wait another 20 minutes so I could continue to watch. So I followed the teacher going into our rows for the assembly but during all I could think about was Totoro so as soon as the assembly ended I raced to the car and asked Mum to take me to the Blockbuster down the street so I could see what happened next. After a small conversation with Ash at the front desk and yes I was on a first named basis with the lady who worked there, I found my mystical item and got to see what happened to Mei but then I did something I never did before I re-wtched it again and again and again. Then before I knew it Totoro had to be returned and I was filled with despair but instead of just re-borrowing it for another week I decided to browse around as I had always gone to the new releases or the Scifi section this was the first time I had really explored the store as my curiosity was new and fresh, if Totoro was lying around what else could there be and after searching for a couple of minutes that’s when found them, a row of shelves containing what I had come to know as anime, with similar style of drawing that I had seen in Tortoro or at least those striking anime eyes we have all become familiar with. Picking up as many as my bank account would allow, so about 7 dollars worth of dvds, I got such tiles as Neon Gensis Evangelion and Bubble Gum Crisis.
I watched these dvds over and over again till I remembered their theme songs by heart but I wanted more, I needed more, so I looked online and found places that actually sold anime, conventions and community’s all talking about anime and things relating to it. This entire world was right in ours, I couldn’t believe how it was filled to the brim with such wonder, amazement, love and I was able to enjoy this world as no one blocked the way, it was a world of acceptance not rejection for me, with the way clear I became an Otaku.
Each our story’s are different and I would love to hear what your gateway was, what made you into a Otaku or just a casual anime fan.