Flashback Friday: watching anime!

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Anime fans unite.

“Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods,” a new movie based off “Dragon Ball Z,” was just released in Japan. The news is a big deal to longtime fans of the beloved series. It’s the first Dragon Ball movie to be released theatrically in 17 years. To say the least, news of this reminded us of not only the old days of watching Dragon Ball Z but of watching Japanese anime back when it was the hot new thing. So come and take a moment with us to travel back to the years of our childhood with a Flashback Friday look at anime!

We can all remember our first exposure to anime like it was yesterday. It usually happened after watching an old rerun of “The Smurfs” or “Scooby-Doo.” The commercial break would end, and on came a mysterious new cartoon that looked like nothing you had ever seen before. Instantly, the colorful, uniquely stylish characters and the emphasis on action and adventure brought about a kind of show that utterly blew your mind. Before you knew it, interest lead to obsession, and obsession would eventually become full-scale infatuation. After all, who doesn’t remember rushing home from school with reckless abandon to see the new episode of “Dragon Ball Z” or “Sailor Moon”? Back then, seeing what happened next was all that mattered.

For those who grew up in the ’90s, a lot of our exposure to anime came to us thanks to Toonami, a television block famous for broadcasting shows like “Dragon Ball Z,” “Sailor Moon” and “Gundam.” Others may have been liable to experience it through Saturday-morning airings of Pokemon or maybe even through the wonderfully animated English-dubbed versions of Hayao Miyazaki films, such as “My Neighbor Totoro” and “Princess Mononoke.” Regardless of how you were introduced, one thing was for sure: Anime was a phenomenon back then that was bound to have reached you one way or another.

Nowadays, watching anime is a hobby that tends to lend itself to niche groups. The animated genre has seen less airplay on major Western television networks than before and only shows up during late-night television blocks like Adult Swim. But despite the lack of network presence, there’s no denying that anime still holds an important place in our hearts that gave us many well-cherished memories, whether we know it or not.

For Cal kids who have a hankering to tap into current or former obsessions with anime, there are plenty of ways to satisfy the itch here at Berkeley. Cal has its very own anime club, called Calanimage Alpha, which showcases Japanese animated shows and movies on a weekly basis. Also, the newest Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli film, entitled “From Up on Poppy Hill,” is exclusively showing at Landmark Theatres down Kittredge in Berkeley. Both are really good places to start if you’re inclined to jump back into it. Of course, if all else fails, there’s always the Internet!

Anyway, how were you introduced to Japanese anime? Do you have any fond memories of shows that we didn’t mention? Feel free to share below!

Contact Matt Espineli at [email protected]

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