Backstory Part 2 (Dragonball Z)

My initial interest in anime had lead me to purchase all of the available titles at the local On Cue (which at the time was about 8 or 9 titles on VHS). My thirst for these great stories needed to be quenched, I needed to see more. I felt like a caveman seeing fire for the first time, completely amazed.

At this time in my life I also was part of the collectible card game scene. In the early 2000’s there was no shortage of card games and all sorts of properties that were being converted into card games. During my time playing CCGs I met a friend that turned me onto a show called Dragonball Z (DBZ. The show opened my eyes to the first epic story I have seen.

By the time I started watching DBZ the Cell games story had just ended and the new season started with the World Games. The Trunks saga through the Cell games is regarded as the best story arc in the series, and I just missed the conclusion.

However, with some of the new villains being unveiled, I had to at least see what the hype was about. As I started getting more into the series, I started the long process of ordering back VHS tapes of previous episodes that I had missed.

Cartoon Network was also in the process of starting the show over from the start. I instantly started watching to gain the knowledge of the characters. Gohan (one of the main characters) started the show off as a small child. The episodes I was watching, Gohan was a teenager. This was my introduction to a character actually growing in physical appearance over the course of a show.

Over the course of my anime binge, I have been introduced to so many things that I haven’t seen in US film or animation. It was these shows that made me start questioning the role of animation. Why was animation seemingly only being used as a medium of comedy and kid movies? I was still in high school, but I was curious as to why adult themes or ideas couldn’t be expressed through animation. This is an area of question I would continue to have through college.

Backstory Part 1 (My intro to animation)

For those of you who don’t know me or the Cosmic Rage story, I want to fill you in a bit on how the whole story was started. I feel that when an artist reveals the foundation of their work, it helps the audience understand the piece a bit more.

Since I was a kid, I always enjoyed drawing comics and telling stories. Whether it was using characters that already existed (such as Garfield) or creating my own characters, I always enjoyed making these characters interact with one another and their environment. However, through the years I started drawing less and less until I almost didn’t draw at all. I found other hobbies and we moved to the city life and I now had many more people to do stuff with.

Around the time of high school I came home from work one night and watched the good ol’ Cartoon Network late night programming. A show called Outlaw Star was on and I immediately was intrigued. I had never known that animation existed in this way. The next day at school I talked to one of my good friends and he immediately knew what I was talking about. He referred me to the local On Cue store (On Cue was part of the Sam Goody branch of media stores).

The first anime I bought was Akira on VHS (Which I still have to this day). I was able to watch the first half of the movie before I went to work that night and was completely blown away by the opening bike sequence. That night I eagerly returned home and stayed up late and watched the rest of the movie. This film fueled my new found love for animation.

In the coming weeks I continued to get such films as; Ninja Scroll, Ghost in the Shell and Princess Monoke. I have never seen animation used to tell such amazing stories. These stories had characters dying, suffering loss and themes that I haven’t seen before. These films would unleash my love for storytelling.