Anime: The Mainstreamening

CALLBACKS: Introducing the New Robot: Kawaii Bishoujoroid DX, Hot Tub Nostalgia Machine 2, Big O Parody Week

Welcome to our series on the history and rise in popularity of anime. I hope you are as excited for it as I am. I wanted to have James use the word “post-shonen” in the last panel because it’s such a James word to use, but it’s not really accurate.

Oh, and because I’m sure someone will either ask or comment about it: Beetamax.

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    1. I’m not sure if it was an official policy, but my local Blockbuster had every tape in the entire section covered with their little orange stickers. I guess it was a “better safe than sorry” kinda thing.

      1. Yeah, i remember the YRV stickers on anime back in the 90’s, i was reluctant asking my mother to rent them for me. Needless to say, most were harmless, but some would have mild nudity (like Ranma).

        As far as anime mainstream goes–it’s been mainstream for the last decade or so, i think. I don’t even think there are saturday morning cartoons anymore–the CW just shows badly dubbed Funimation animes now.

        I think the start of anime’s tide of popularity started with Sailor Moon and DBZ, then segued into the age of Pokemon/Yugioh, then Naruto in early/mid 2k’s, to whatever we have now. Cartoon Network’s Toonami also did it’s part in promoting anime.

        Neon Gen and others were always more like cult hits, the mainstream never really heard of them; it was the stuff of high school and college anime clubs.

        Most US cartoons these days are “anime inspired”, whereas that wouldn’t have been the case in the 90’s. It’s certainly come a long way.

        1. We really ought to mention “anime-inspired” cartoons like Teen Titans and Avatar during this sequence, but Jackson hasn’t seen more than one or two episodes of each, so he’s not in a position to write about them. Believe me, I have my opinions–Jackson just doesn’t know what they are yet.

      2. Yeah, I remember that. At Blockbuster I’d be checking anime out and there were all of these “Youth Restricted Viewing” stickers on them. Made me think they were porn.

        1. It’s amazing how this misconception persists. One of our warehouse guys saw me penciling this strip on my lunch break, asked what it was about, and I told him I was doing a series poking fun at anime. Coworker asks: “Inn’t that them Japanese porn cartoons?”

          1. Oh, I know. I used to round up rednecks in the middle of desert and make them watch anime at gunpoint. Well, these days they look forward to it. Back then I remember showing Strike Witches to them and they were “wow, helicopter pants!”

          2. I think what really broke their stereotype was Cat S*** One. The sight of F***ING RABBITS F****ING KILLING EVERYONE in a tactically correct fashion was just too glorious. Ironically CSO is not really an anime, but all the same.

          3. I’m pretty sure “them Japanese porn cartoons” are not anime. But they do exist. I’ve done a bit of research (cough two years of reading Memebase cough) and anime and the aforementioned quote are two different things that exist.

            Also, nice work combining a beet pun with an outdated defunct technology. 5 internets have been awarded to user “Jackson”.

      3. Another phenomena like that was having EVERY J-pop track in Amazon MP3 sport the “[Explicit]” in the title. E.g. “Album : Aile (Single Ver.) [Explicit]”. They quit doing that some time around 2012, fortunately.

      1. Hikaru No Go is the only Anime-style cartoon I’ve ever liked
        Studio Ghibli, of course, and Pixar if that counts.
        After that:
        King of the Hill
        Aquateen Hunger Force
        It starts tailing off pretty quick there…

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