REVIEW: ‘Anime in America’ – Learning About Anime’s Journey in America

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Anime in America
Anime in America is a nine-part documentary podcast produced by Crunchyroll and hosted by Yedoye Travis. For decades, anime has entertained Americans with stories told in a style strikingly different than those grown in their home country. But long before the masses were going super Saiyan or plus ultra, anime was a far smaller niche. Its journey, rough spots, growing pains, and eventual break into the mainstream over the decades make for a fascinating story.

Like many fans of anime in their thirties today, my first experience with the media came by accident when stumbling across it on Toonami while channel surfing. From the first super Saiyan transformation I ever saw(Vegeta not Goku) I was hooked. From there it led me to even better shows like Cowboy Bebop and Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, all the way to modern favorites like My Hero Academia and Darling in the Franxxx.

But while anime has been a part of my life for decades now, I never really knew a ton about it. The struggles it had to find it’s footing here, or the intricacies of things like licensing, distribution, and localization. Happily, Anime in America seeks to fill those holes in the public’s knowledge and make you laugh along the way.

Over the course of its nine-episode season, Anime in America looks to give listeners a baseline knowledge of a plethora of topics associated with the phenomenon that is anime. While the bulk of it’s episode focus squarely on anime and it’s half-century journey into the American mainstream, it also takes time to look at how the successes and stumbles of associated media, like manga, impacted it’s a journey as well. I never got through an episode without being surprised at some of the obscure tidbits I learned each episode. From the earliest fan sub-networks to the modern streaming wars, there is so much to learn. And Crunchyroll found the perfect person to deliver this information.

Host Travis delivers this informative material with just the right amount of cheekiness. He never fails to call out the stupidity of the people who made some of the worst mistakes in anime’s history. Far from zany, Travis delivers this wit with an almost dryness. Often times coming across like that fan who, having to reopen an old wound, chooses to laugh about it. After all, when having to retell the story of how the earliest distributors of anime in American seemed determined to make the English versions NOTHING like their originals, what else can you do? The infusion of head-shaking humor helps the listener to chuckle along at some of the bigger disasters in anime history.

When all is said and done I absolutely loved Anime in America. It taught me so much about one of my favorite forms of media and made the information thoroughly enjoyable. Now that this season has covered the broad strokes of anime in America’s history I deeply hope Crunchyroll brings Travis back for follow up seasons to take deeper dives into certain topics, or even the history of particular shows.

Anime in America is streaming now on podcast services everywhere.


Anime in America
  • 9/10
    Rating - 9/10
9/10

TL;DR

I absolutely loved Anime in America. It taught me so much about one of my favorite forms of media and made the information thoroughly enjoyable. Now that this season has covered the broad strokes of anime in America’s history I deeply hope Crunchyroll brings Travis back for follow up seasons to take deeper dives into certain topics, or even the history of particular shows.