Though I didn’t realize it at the time, I first became an anime fan probably around the age of six, when I saw a single episode of “Speed Racer”. I didn’t know what was going on in the story, but that car was awesome. Later on, I unwittingly fed the growing otaku inside me when I became addicted to “Battle of the Planets”. The show seemed oddly edited, and the plots a bit repetitive, but that plane/spaceship* was awesome. My final step came with my introduction by rattrap to “Robotech: Macross”. True, I cringed every time Minmei appeared on screen**, but those transforming fighter planes were awesome.
(What pattern? Yes, I’m a SF hardware nerd, so what?)
But my first “hey, this is in Japanese” anime told the story of a comedy alien invasion led by a green-haired, tiger-stripe-bikini-clad princess named Lum. I saw a single episode before leaving for a con, and began learning the fan technique of “supplying one’s own storyline to go with the untranslated video”. Still confusing, but the princess was adorable, and the love interest was clearly a complete dork: a character I could relate to!
Oh, I still might have escaped anime fandom. Pretty unlikely: I still had the “Dirty Pair”, “Captain Harlock”, and “BubbleGum Crisis” ahead of me, and all those wonderful, wonderful, animated spaceships and giant robots. But no, I was doomed: at the next con I attended, a local fan delectably costumed herself as Lum.*** That was pretty much it for me. I’ve been con-going, costuming, and performing ever since. And now that Starr’s picked out a couple of characters to try, and I’ve hooked up with Luna-C, I don’t see this changing anytime soon.**** As was said at Farpoint, I’ll stop by reality long enough to get the bills paid, but I’ve got the next con marked on my calendar…
*The Phoenix was only supposed to be a plane, but American translator/editors turned it into a spaceship. I have no grounds to criticize, as I did that often enough with my toys when little.
**In the Japanese original, Minmay does sing better… but she’s not really much less annoying.
***Longtime members of southwest Virginia fandom may well remember the lady in question. Especially if they’re straight males or gay females.
****Fear not; I have enough respect for your collective eyeballs to never wear a Lum costume. Besides, it’s drafty.