Friday, October 3, 2014

5 Fandom Fridays: October 3rd, 2014

Today is the first "5 Fandom Friday!"

If you don't know what 5 Fandom Fridays are, check out The Nerdy Girlie's post.

This week's prompt is: Gateway fandoms that made me who I am today.

Hmmm... this is a tough one.  I like a lot of stuff and get unapologetically excited about so many things that it's hard to narrow down which ones came first and contributed significantly to my identity.  I've always been a nerd, though I tried to hide it, but in writing this entry I am realizing that I learned a few life lessons through these fandoms, lessons about friends and being my own person.  And that's pretty cool.

Warning: I can be quite verbose.  Hence the cut.

1. Pokemon
While I would like to say Sailor Moon was the gateway fandom that lead to my interest in anime, the honest truth is Pokemon was the first anime I really watched and got into.  It became popular while I was in middle school, and while it was acceptable for the boys to be into it, girls at my school were teased if it was learned that they played the video game or watched the show.  Since I had few friends during middle school, I just tried to keep my head low and avoided as much bullying as I could.

In 8th grade I met the girl who would become my best friend through high school, and she liked Pokemon too.  While she never played the Gameboy games, we did collect and play the trading card game together, and played the N64 games on my system.  She later introduced me to Sailor Moon.  This early interest in Pokemon and Sailor Moon also helped me make friends with some other girls in the year below me, who introduced me to new series, like Inu Yasha and Slayers.

Since then I have watched several other anime series - His and Her Circumstances, Boogiepop Phantom, Cowboy Beebop, Chobits, Fruits Basket, and most recently Attack On Titan, are some of my favorites.  Sword Art Online is up next for me.  And in turn, I started watching K-dramas, many of which are based on manga/anime series or share humor/tropes with anime series.  K-dramas, or Korean dramas, are kind of like live-action anime, and I love them.  Lucky for me, Netflix has a great selection.

This interest in anime helped me make friends during a period of my life where I didn't have many, and thanks to that I had a good time in high school.  It also helped me learn that it was okay to like the things I did, and that I would make friends with other people who liked those things.  These are important lessons, especially during those crummy middle school years when everyone is trying to fit in, and I think they helped make me strong enough in myself and my identity that I was able to go on and pursue my academic interests and be selective about my friends.

2013 Trip to WDW with my seeeeester!
2. Disney
I grew up during the Disney renaissance, during the late 80s/early 90s.  I had all the movies on VHS, the 1987 Snow White re-release was my first theater movie, and 7-year-old me thought Belle was the best Disney princess EVAR!!! because she liked to read and so did I.

The magic and adventures of these movies colored the games I played as a kid.  We imagined we were adventurers, street urchins, fairies, witches, you name it.

This interest led to my life-long love of fantasy.  Books, movies, everything.  My mom, while she loved the Disney movies, was not interested in fantasy books with characters with made-up names.  And my dad just doesn't seem to like fiction at all.  But I've loved fantasy my whole life, and Disney movies like Snow White and Sleeping Beauty are the earliest and strongest examples of this in my life.

I can also probably blame my love of garden gnomes on Snow White... (seriously, I collect them.)

3.  Monty Python
I first remember watching Monty Python and the Holy Grail sometime in early middle school, and I remember liking it but being really confused - the humor was so funny but unlike anything else I had ever watched in my 11-12 years of life.  And after that, I was hooked, and I became very interested in British humor.  Then British history.  Then Britain itself.  Pride & Prejudice, Bridget Jones, Father Ted, Fry & Laurie, Rob Roy, Ivanhoe, Fawlty Towers, Keeping Up Appearances, Last of the Summer Wine - if an exported movie, book, or show came my way, you can bet I watched it and loved it.

A few years later we went on a family trip to London, and I became the first Anglophile in my France-obsessed family.  Since then I've been back three times, and lived there for six months during a semester abroad.  I've gone camping in Wales, hiking in Scotland, and participated in Dark Age reenactments all over England.  I participated in my first archaeological field school there.  I love England, and fiercely miss my friends.  The experiences I've had on my trips to Britain and the friends I've made have definitely informed my identity, my interests, and my humor.

4. Star Wars
While I was not always the huge Star Wars fan I am now, it would be wrong not to include it here.  It was the first sci-fi series I liked (though I firmly hold the opinion that Star Wars is fantasy, not sci-fi).

The first time I saw Star Wars, I was about 3 years old (I think...)  My uncles were watching it at my grandparents' house while we were visiting.  While I don't know which episodes we watched, I distinctly remember Tatooine, Yoda, and Darth Vader's helmet coming off, so I guess we must have watched all three.  I liked Yoda.  (No surprise there - I also really liked the Muppet Babies.)

Thanks to that early exposure to the best movie series ever (hehe), I grew up understanding the references that are ubiquitous in our culture.  When the movies were re-released in the mid-90s I didn't see them in the theater, but I quickly learned who in my class was a fan... and who was bullied for liking them.  So even though I loved watching the VHS tapes we bought of that remastered release, I definitely did not advertise my interest in the series at school.

A few years after that, I went to see the prequels in the theater with my boyfriend because he was a big Star Wars fan.  Once I was in that relationship I slowly learned that I didn't have to downplay my interests and that if people are worth my time, then they will accept that I like these things.  Now I wear my cinnabuns proudly, and cosplay as Princess Leia!

5.  Indiana Jones
When I was about 6 years old, Raiders of the Lost Ark came on TV.  I was in grade-school at the time, and had to go to bed, but my mom let me stay up just long enough to watch the famous opening sequence where Indy is chased by the large rolling ball.  I watched, mesmerized, while Indy escaped... and then I was sent to bed.

Years later, I finally watched Raiders in its entirety when it was back on TV... and I LOVED it.  I became a major Indyfan.  I once got into a huge argument online about what college he is teaching at in Last Crusade, complete with crappy screenshots of the school logo and everything!  And yes, I own a fedora.

But it was while I was watching Raiders that I realized... Indy's an archaeologist!  I had recently come to the realization that archaeology was a career I wanted to pursue, and the movies and their popularity were inspiring in a way.  If that makes sense... almost like my interest was being validated - my family thought it was neat that I was interested in archaeology, but did not take me seriously.  They wanted me to be a lawyer.  Or a dentist.

And what am I doing now?  Writing this blog post when I should be working on my dissertation Getting my PhD in archaeology from one of the best university departments in my part of the field!
I have yet to fight any Nazis, but I have worked in four different countries.  Pretty cool, if I do say so myself.

So those are my 5 gateway fandoms that made me who I am today.

Thank you for reading!


  1. Great post and great list!! Thank you for playing along!! xx

  2. Monty Python holds a special place for me too! Started with Holy Grail.. but then went on to Life of Brian.. All of which were introduced to me by either my youth group or the summer camp staff I worked with. :)

    1. Yes! Life of Brian! "Cast off the shoe, follow the gourd!" My youth group was full of Monty Python fans too, but our leader wouldn't let us watch Life of Brian during our Easter meeting, no matter how much we insisted.