Anime for Newbies|
I love sharing an anime experience with another person, more so than I like watching it on my own. It's not always easy, however, to get your mom, siblings, or miscellaneous friends to watch "some silly cartoons" with you, especially when they may have to watch in Japanese with subtitles. In fact, you may be too embarrassed to bring it up.
True you can say that DBZ, Sailor Moon, and Pokemon are great gateway series for your little sister or brother, but what about when you want to watch an anime you actually like, and you want someone with you who hopefully will appreciate it just as much as you do? That's when you really have to start thinking. It varies depending on the personalities involved, but there are a few general tips you can consider to increase your chances of success.
First, consider the subject's mentality. If you've got a guy who likes rock 'em sock 'em action and explosions and all that, don't start him off with something like Ah My Goddess, or Love Hina. BubbleGum Crisis, Gundam, or Evangelion might be ideal candidates. If you're looking to snag the interest of a girlfriend, then you may want to actually consider AMG, or something like Kimagure Orange Road.
Second, it might be ideal to start a complete newbie off on a dubbing that doesn't suck (If you can find one). Especially if it's someone who you think will have trouble reading the subtitles and concentrating on the action at the same time. Avoid frustration if you can, but don't do it at the expense of a dub that is so flat and shallow that it ruins the whole experience. You could even go back later and show them how much better it sounds subbed, to make your point with great effect.
Third, consider the length of a series. Rurouni Kenshin TV might be a phenomenol series, but it maybe isn't so realistic to expect a new person to sit down and watch 63 episodes. Ideally, try to find a movie or a short set of OAVs that it will be possible for the person to finish in a couple sessions. If you're trying to win over a real skeptic, consider a movie that can be finished in one sitting. Anything that looks too much like a pre-scripted TV show format might lose your subject.
Lastly, avoid real niche anime that contains a lot of Japanese cultural references or is super ultra cutesy (unless you know they will like that). I'd consider something like Slayers to be "niche" in that it has a lot of fantasy style humor that could be lost on your subject, and the Lina Inverse character is guaranteed to miff and annoy those who aren't expecting that type. A series like Escaflowne, while fantasy, is real enough to hook your audience.
Think ahead about what series you own that might fit the bill, and you'll be set up to pop one in on one of those boring nights where there's not much going on (Your anime has nothing to compete against). If you can get someone to look past some of their misconceptions about cartoons, japanese cartoons, and don't shock them with anything too outrageous, perhaps you'll soon have a devoted convert to share your interest with :)
Sunday, May 12, 2002