I think it’s safe to assume that my exposure to anime was an experience that many American children who grew up in the late 80’s – early 90’s have a mutual understanding of; like myself, they were probably introduced through the “Original Three”. The “Original Three” that I am referring to is Dragon Ball, Sailor Moon and Pokémon. Up until that point, the only animation that I had seen was mostly Disney (with some Don Bluth films thrown in here and there), so my first time seeing such a different take on animation was so new and exciting for me. Japanese animation seemed faster and the character’s expressions were different from anything I had seen before, but I absolutely loved it. I watched other anime that were similar to the “Original Three”, but then a point came in my life where I strayed from anime all together (maybe I “grew out of it” or the shows I had been watching weren’t holding my attention with their simple story lines about right vs. wrong or good vs. evil).
After a few years, I remembered a couple of shows my friend raved about when we were younger but I hadn’t taken the time to get into them; Inuyasha and Wolf’s Rain. I recalled seeing clips of them on Adult Swim but not really thinking twice about them, but I finally decided to give them a try since she loved them so much. I won’t get into full detail about the two shows but I will say this; what these shows offered was what I felt had been missing from the “Original Three”. Both Inuyasha and Wolf’s Rain were much more mature than anything I had ever seen before. The stories and plots were complex and the characters had so much depth, these people were flawed but they felt real. As much as I love the “Original Three”, even to this day, the characters were sort of flat and a little too simple (at least in my opinion). I will give credit to Dragon Ball and Sailor Moon though, I believe that as the series continued, the characters grew and developed along the way. However, I can’t really say the same thing for Pokémon unfortunately (Ash is still 10 years old after all).
I guess my point is that anime brought something new to the table for me, as I was growing older I was ready to welcome animation targeted for an older audience with open arms. When I was younger, animation was considered strictly for children, but anime was a game changer and I am incredibly thankful for that.