It's 1978. I just came back from school, did through my satchel somewhere and rushed in front of television. I am waiting for my favorite tv serie, capable of making my heart pounding fast in my chest and touch my feelings.
At this very moment, nothing counts else than being here, not my skates, not my friends waiting playing in the court yard. If you could have a peek in my dreams, this is what you would see: I desperately wanted to be on a space flag ship called Arcadia.
It's a fact that all we are is made by our past experiences. In the same way, I believe our aesthetics sense it's created -slowly building up during the years- by all we have seen and liked, thousands of images, imputs, objects, films, places and things to which we are exposed to.
The passion for Japan I feel today runs deep. It originates a long time ago, maybe it started when I found a special book as I wrote here. Surely it also began when I fell in love with Captain Harlock, a fictional character created by manga artist Leiji Matsumoto.
So imagine myself as a 11 years old girl, in a city in northern Italy, march 1968.
In those years it was no possible to get your hands on a real manga-a japanese comic.
But something else very interesting happened at the time: many series of Japanese animated film were broadcast on national television. Something completely new for us.
Initially -due to lack of understanding- Japanese cartoons, now called anime, were introduced as children programs but they were indeed stories written by adults for adults. As a result, parents often judged them too violent for kids and forbid them to watch it.
Anime were even considered poorly drawn by an audience who confronted them with traditional animations by Disney. What superficiality!
First of all it was no point to compare tv animated production with cinema productions (think of different budjet and technique). Most importantly though, the deep sense behind that apparent violence was not caught.
Generally created in about 52 episodes, Japanese anime were meant to be broadcast 1 episode per week and last for one year. They treated subject matter to which young kids were not normally exposed to. Subjects much more complex, interesting, compelling than the ones of the american cartoons of the time. Japanese anime depicted the difficulty of life, of growing up, relationship with fathers and sons, relationship with school, tutors, with society in such an new language that it had an enormous impact on young ones like me.
That is how I got to know about values such as lonelyness, courage, honor, respect for the enemy, the value of sacrifice oneself for a good cause or for a personal goal, things that I could not find such strongly explained -if at all explained- in other kids programs of the 1970's. As a matter of fact, the misunderstanding of the complex nature of these japanese animated series and consequently their daily massive appearance in kids tv hour, shaped me and many other kids of my generation. Japanese anime of the time became extremely influential for lots of us and definitely a major sources of inspiration for myself, for my drawing style and my aesthetics sense.
I used to watch nearly all Japanese animated series showing in those years. I remember distinct genres like mecha (robot machines controlled by people from the inside) and its Super Robot sub-genre such as UFO ROBOT GOLDRAKE, GUNDAM that I liked a lot. Or the series about the escapades of master thief Arsène Lupin III. This list could go on and on. My very best one -as the one of you reading this earlier post know- was CAPTAIN HARLOCK, the space pirate stoically fighting against totalitarian regimes.
I still own my old days black notebook completely filled with Harlock's self-adhesive stickers. One of my youth treasures I still like to browse from time to time.