Lizzy’s Adventures in Wonderland: Introduction

Hiya, I’m Lizzy, a brand new AP staffer!  As a way to use my talents to their fullest extent it was decided that I would do well writing a blog. Anime was something I once loved and had hoped to fall in love with again. Wanting to kill two birds with one stone, my blog is a way to chronicle one fan’s journey back into fandom.  I hope you enjoy it!

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Falling into Anime Punch as a new staffer was something akin to falling into Wonderland with the added bonus of electing to hang around. From the outside I saw a set of convention staffers and a duplex but the inside turned out to be unreal. The denizens who populate the almost mythical place I now live are constantly at work. They dream up new ideas, test them out, or work to improve the old ones. The end goal is always to put on a better anime convention. Everyone has their eye on the prize of making the coming convention the best one yet. My place among these people came in a blink of the eye move from observer, to living in the Punch Haus as a full fledged staffer. Yet, the journey that lead me here was not a quick one but one that started long ago.

I grew up as an only child with my grandparents in “BFE Kentucky”, an hour from the nearest city.  All I had for company was a television and my imagination. Early on the two-hit combo of Pokemon and Sailor Moon pulled me into the anime style. Next to American cartoons the art style was much prettier, the characters so much more detailed, and the stories more interesting. They seemed to build entirely new worlds for me to explore when they were not on. I never fantasized about becoming a Powerpuff Girl, but I yearned to be a Sailor Scout. Other times, I would explore the yard around my house with my cousins on the hunt for pokemon in my pursuit of becoming a Pokemon Master. Those anime engaged me in ways that no other show ever had nor ever would.

Growing older I eagerly devoured more and more anime. The two hour block of Toonami in the evenings would get me through the week as I awaited the precious, elusive Saturday shows, which for me were more satisfying. I would wake up at sunrise almost vibrating with excitement as I awaited the start of my favored Mew Mew Power and the day would progress from there. Magical girls were my weakness then (and now), but my taste s began to branch out more. I fell in love with Zatch Bell, the various Dragon Balls, and Inu Yasha. I was restricted to watching only what shown were on television, but despite the questionable quality and spotty air dates I was in love.

Toward the end of middle school I had several exciting things happen at once. I received my first computer as a gift from a distant aunt and I began to read manga. Suddenly, I found out that not only could I watch shows in this beautiful art style but I could read comics as well! Every chance I got I would spend what little pocket money I had to pick up a new copy of Shonen Jump. At the same time I learned to navigate cyberspace and learned the name for the distinctive, Japanese cartoons I cared for so much was “anime”. Venturing into the online world of fandom I learned about fanfiction and fanart, found databases brimming with recommendation lists, and began to feel like I was a part of something bigger. My crowning anime from that age was Naruto, because it was the first time I had something to anticipate as I read the manga chapters in Shonen Jump in real time as they came out.  When the first episodes came out on Toonami it was almost euphoric to watch, as it was the first time I knew about something before it had came out.

I started high school in 2007, and was in for several surprises, the biggest of which being that a close friend of mine would finally attend the same school as me. She and I had met during county-wide school events in years past and clicked, so I was really excited! She was a huge anime fan, as was her brother, and brought me even deeper into a world whose surface I was just beginning to scratch. Lending me her dozens of DVDs, I was introduced to anime that aired years before, whose beginnings I had missed on TV, and things that had only been released on DVDs. She introduced me early on to Bleach, Angelic Layer, Cardcaptor Sakura, Gundam Seed, and Code Geass. From her I learned more about the various types of anime and started to figure out what I really liked. When high school ended I was huge into manga and anime, and had refined my tastes in both. I moved on from eagerly devouring the most popular things to looking for titles off the beaten path. I would still enjoy the more popular stuff, but it was no longer the be-all/end-all.

In 2010 the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada captivated me, and I found a new love of winter sports.  Immediately I began looking for manga that went with this new interest, and I found a deep world of sports manga! I could spend hours searching onemanga.com in the hopes of finding another manga series or a oneshot to read that fit my interests of the moment, and I refused to walk away empty handed.  I learned the sting of a beloved new manga having its run cut short, or of scanlators dropping a series or lagging behind. It was during this time that I was the deepest into anime.

College came and suddenly my interest in anime began to wane without my notice. Hours of free time was whittled away by schoolwork, making new friends, and a new found passion for theatre, leaving me little time for reading on my computer. I would read summaries of the big manga I had been interested in but I stopped looking for new things. The last anime I attempted to watch in that time frame was Hell Girl and I stopped around the sixth episode. It almost seemed as if my passion for it had become like beloved Heine Westenfluss figurine; something pretty I left on a shelf. I would fondly gaze at it on occasion, even take it down to hold, enjoy the memories it brought back, but quickly shelved again.

For three years I went without ever really paying much mind to anime again until August of 2014. Sometimes I would get the urge to read a few Naruto fanfics but even that left in favor of the Marvel movies or Harry Potter. I went on a chance date with who would become my “White Rabbit” (in this case a scruffy-looking coworker of mine named Charlie).  We really hit it off and started dating, and after a few months I moved in with him… only it turned out he was the head of video gaming at Anime Punch, and he lived in the Haus where they command all their operations! I met his friends, and eagerly agreed to enlist in their army of staffers.  After all, what better way to get back into something than to dive in head first?  And what better way to dive into anime than by volunteering for a group that puts on hundreds of events a year!!

Now that the New Year has started I have made it my resolution to reawaken my passions for anime and writing. What better way could I combine both things than with a blog to chronicle my journey back into a beloved fandom? Each update I hope to show another glimpse into my trip, document life in the Punch Haus, introduce you to the staffers, and share the new interesting things I find along the way.