If I had ever had an addiction in life, I would have to say that it is animѐ. I was an addict, in every literal translation of the word.
It all began with the GMA animѐ fever. You remember Ghost Fighter and Flame of Recca? Even though I was a Sailormoon fan, they were the ones who got me addicted.
In a time when pirated DVD’s and uTorrent downloads weren’t yet popular, I managed to record every single opening and closing animѐ song of both GMA and ABS-CBN (although ABS doesn’t finish any animѐ song) using just a cassette recorder. That’s right. It wasn’t a very techie world back then.
I not only had recordings of animѐ songs, I also had “photographs” (printed pictures of animѐ characters as well as the all too famous “texts”) and of course, posters that I get to hang on the walls of my bedroom. Soon enough my bedroom were full of posters – which were protected with plastic covers (the ones used for books) – that there was no space for any additional ones.
I also collected Questor magazines, although each costs a hefty 200Php and I had begun to self-study Nihonggo in the hope of understanding the animѐ songs that I had committed to memory.
I was an addict indeed. Obsessed was the word my mother and siblings used.
And at that time my animѐ sources were just confined to GMA and ABS. I have yet to discover AXN, which aired animѐ in pure Nihonggo without subtitles and Animax, which aired animѐ dubbed in English. Imagine how my animѐ world expanded when I discovered these channels. I remember back then that I would tirelessly watch AXN animѐ shows even when I can barely understood a word of what I’m watching. Somehow, I don’t know how, but I did manage to get the gist of the story and for me, coupled with the aesthetically pleasing nature of the characters, it was enough.
All of these however were drawn to a sudden demise when I entered high school. Studying in a “bulod” school wherein we didn’t had any access to a television forced me into reclusion from my fave animѐ. I was in tears. I could almost see myself giving up that school in exchange for another school wherein I would still have access to decent TV. But such is life, and eventually I conceded to fate and to years of animѐ seclusion.
I was not alone, however. I had a number of classmates who were animѐ addicts themselves and in whom I found solace during those lonely years. But no animѐ merchandises can ever compensate for the real animѐ one gets to watch on TV. Soon my addiction became a thing of the past.
Maybe I was finally growing up and my animѐ addiction was just a phase in my childhood years. Maybe the lack of a solid and strong catalyst finally put my animѐ cravings to a rest.
What I do know, however, is that even when I eventually got exposed to a couple of animѐ orgs in college, and to more animѐ in cable TV, and even to the proliferating pirated animѐ DVDs, the addiction never quite returned.
Yes, I have downloaded animѐ songs from uTorrent. Yes, I will buy animѐ DVDs – pirated or not. Yes, I still keep my animѐ “photo” albums. Yes, I still have animѐ songs memorized by heart. But all these, to me, are just mere shadows – reminders of an addiction and perhaps, a fantasy world, I had in the past.