Anime was still shadowbanned from pop culture, but to relate to these people, I would dip my toes into the popular fandoms. I did the research on what was trending – focusing on hot, rising shows — while making sure to stay away from anything bright and squeaky or overly sexualized.
I have always loved and supported the people that work to localize anime. For a few years, I worked as an ADR technician for a small cartoon studio, so I know what it’s like to spend all day recording lines. It’s not easy work.
The unfiltered behavior on social media is another story. It’s nothing short of a PR nightmare, and if localization companies paid their contractors worth a damn, they might be in a position to fire some of them.
My earliest memory of renting anime is from 2003. When it only costs a few dollars to watch a show, you’re not as picky as when you’re buying something at full price. Sometimes you’ll get lucky. That’s how I first saw Akira and Berserk. But more often than not you would end up with something like Ninja Resurrection or Sin: The Movie. It’s a dangerous game of Anime Rental Roulette.
Being an anime fan is a strange thing sometimes. There are things about the fandom that you don’t often find in other communities. One of those things is the guilt we feel for not watching anime hard enough. We might still rewatch our favorite shows and attend conventions, but we’ll find ourselves in group settings with other fans afraid to admit that we haven’t kept up with the latest trends.
The second half of 2015 brought on many positive changes. But I didn’t make it out of the darkness unscathed. Years of jumping financial hurdles, clinical depression, and more than one existential crisis left a blackness under my eyes that persists to this day. Things weren’t perfect, but they were the best they had ever been.