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Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Robot Boy Strikes the US Army! Hold Fast the Sacred Wood Shoes!

What's the standard opening question in nearly every single interview you've ever read with anyone on this side of the Pacific on the subject of anime?  Yeah, me too.

But when anyone asks me when I first got interested in the stuff, I give them an answer that, due to accident of military deployment (my father's), generally raises eyebrows, along with a healthy dose of "no, shutthefuckup."

How long have I been interested in anime?

This long:

Yep, those are mine.  My mother tells me she paid fifty cents for 'em.

My father was in the US Army and was deployed to Okinawa in 1964.  Like a lot of good soldiers, he dragged his family (in this case, my mother and I) with him.  My first memories were of fishing the rice paddies, catching honey bees in jars, and, yes watching Tetsuwan Atom in Japanese.  Or I think it was Japanese, the series was translated and released around the world by 1965, so it could have been in English on Okinawa since it was still under US control then.  I was a whole five years old at the time, so I probably didn't care a whole lot.  My mother also tells me we used to watch Gunsmoke in Japanese, but if you tuned to a particular radio channel, you'd get the translation in English while you watched.  Oh, the things the US military did to keep the troops happy.  But now part of me really wants to hear what James Arness as Matt Dillon sounded like in Japanese.  I'm thinking Kenshiro with a badge and a gun.

No, seriously, if Abby Sciuto from NCIS ran these puppies under a microscope I'm sure she'd find dead Gibson toe tissue on Astro Boy's face.

I really don't know how, some forty-five years later, I still have these things - but I do.  It's not like they take up a lot of space, but it's difficult to believe my parents didn't throw them away sometime during one of our thirty-five moves since Okinawa in '65.  Kind of a miracle, actually. Of course, once I got heavily into anime fandom in the early '80's, there was no way in hell these little well-worn getas of my youth were going anywhere.  Along with the green stuffed frog my great-grandmother made for me, they'll probably end up in my coffin.  Along with all the Hokuto no Ken anime cels. And the "All About the Man" Jump Special. And the Queen Emeraldas manga.  And the Catseye manga. And...aw, hell, I guess I better not plan on dying.  It'd be too expensive.

And, no, you can't have 'em.  They wouldn't fit you anyway.

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