Friends Never Say Goodbye

It’s a curious feeling when something you’ve been around to see the inception of ends. It’s bittersweet. On the one hand, you’re happy for all the memories while on the other, you’re not quite ready to let go.

Such is the curious case of Animax.

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Growing up, I was an avid watcher of cartoons. Back then, Cartoon Network became TNT at 9pm and showed mostly Hanna-Barbera, MGM and Looney Tunes cartoons. I was fortunate enough to be able to watch most of these things. In fact, to this day I brag about how I learnt English from Scooby-Doo.

I discovered Animax while flipping through the channels when I was about seven or eight years old. They were showing an advertisement of InuYasha and I stopped and thought to myself, ‘Is this a new cartoon channel I knew nothing about?’

It was, but it was also so much more than that.

These cartoons were wildly different from the ones I’d been watching until then. There were differences in tone, content, character interactions and development. It was something new and fresh and I was hooked. The fact that anime brought with it mature animated girls by the crateload was also a deciding factor. Animax single-handedly accelerated my hormonal development. There was no stopping me.

I tuned in to Animax right till the age of sixteen, when I stopped watching television completely. It was my introduction to the world of anime, and it was a good introduction. Shows like InuYasha, Astro Boy, Cyborg 009, Daigunder, Saber Marionette J, eX-D and Samurai X got me into it while others like The Law of Ueki, Flame of Recca, ROD: The TV, Blood+, Yu Yu Hakusho, Detective School Q, Get Backers, Initial D, Black Jack, Captain Tsubasa, Curious Play, Slam Dunk, Fullmetal Alchemist, Wolf’s Rain and Cowboy Bebop made me stay and also made it worthwhile.

Animax made me realise, as I grew up, that the animated medium could be used for serious and mature storytelling as well. They weren’t just cartoons anymore. The stories and the characters resonated with you and affected you. It made me open up to whole new form of storytelling, with tropes and structures of its own. This influenced the way I approach storytelling myself , and without it, I would be much poorer indeed.

I am indebted to Animax. Not only for lighting up my childhood with memorable Chinese cartoons, but also for influencing me in a sphere of work I had no idea I’d take to at that time. Now that it’s being cancelled, I – who have not even touched a remote control in six or so years – am left feeling melancholy. Like an old friend is going away to a different city and you know that no matter what promises you made each other, you won’t see them again.

Many people in my generation got into anime thanks to Animax. We dived headlong into this strange new world and have still yet to resurface. While Animax is no longer the only source for anime to us – and hasn’t been for a while – it was a gateway. No matter what we watch or where we watch it, we will always look back on our humble beginnings and think fondly of our old friend Animax. It’s like Phil Collins said: You’ll be here in my heart, always.

Did it have to go? Your guess is as good as mine. Was it unnecessary? I think so, yes. Is this a good thing? I’ve been too far removed from it to comment, but the folks over at Nihonden have a wonderful piece which attempts to answer this tricky question. Go check it out.

In closing, all I can really say is thank you. Thank you, Animax, for years upon years of feels, fanservice, action and drama. Thank you for the laughter and the tears and the memories. More importantly, thank you for the influence and inspiration.

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Thank you for letting us tune in.

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