I’ll be sad indeed if I hear that I’m the only one who remembers these things. Truth be told, the days of the VHS are also the days anime began to take ground here in America. Although it would take the 2000s and the boom of the internet until anime would became more “mainstream.” Still, the old VHS days played an important role. Especially for those of us who were fans of anime at the time. Back then anime was only available on these old things. And you were lucky if you got more than two episodes per tape. You only had sub or dub to chose from (depending on the company). Not both. And heaven help you if you wanted an unedited version. Back then you got what you could and you were happy with it. Just finding an anime tape was a pain. Let alone finding exactly what you want. Prices were bad too. For just two episodes fans had to expect to pay at least $10, unless they found a wonderful sale or overstock somewhere.
Today, the DVD reigns as supreme in the industry and the old tape days are all but forgotten. Yet perhaps the greatest gift VHS has given me is an appreciation for what I have now. The industry has gone from episodes priced at over five dollars a pop to less than a buck a piece. From two episodes at a time to twelve or even an entire series at once. In fact, large packs of at least half a season are the common snag these days. And low and behold fans can choose between dub or sub on the same show! Clear colors, crisp sound and no need to worry about random lines showing up over time. No rewinding! We can even watch brand new shows from Japan streamed online for free! If you had tried to explain that to a 90s child glued to the screen watching Sailor Moon spin around on Toonami, you would have wound up in a straight jacket.
True, times are continuing to change and some anime has fallen off the map as companies have gone under or given up. And some stuff gets to this side of the Pacific a bit slower than many wish. Even so. We fans have it good. Very good. So, thank you, VHS. Though you sit on my shelf with your line ridden, two episode, badly dubbed shows collecting dust, I’ll never forget you.