Kaitei Shonen Marine

I am currently editing a book on Japanese pop-culture, and keep stumbling across stuff that dredges up memories from my childhood. Which is odd considering I grew up in Australia.

The latest flashback is to a time I could swim-like-a-fish, using a special oxygen rich chewing gum to help me breathe; and how, with the help of my trusty white dolphin sidekick, I would fight off underwater baddies… I seriously used to dream of being Marine Boy.

I had totally forgotten about this cartoon, and it continues to amaze me how many of the shows I used to watch as kid were from Japan. I sometimes wonder if loving these cartoons when I was young is one of the reasons I am in Tokyo now. I am by no means an anime otaku compared to some people I know, but in the list of my favorite cartoons, there are a lot of anime. Kimba the White Lion, Kum Kum, Battle of the Planets, Speed Racer, Astro Boy, and now the recently remembered Marine Boy, were all big parts of my childhood TV-time. But it was not until I was an adult that I learnt they were Japanese.

I’m not sure why, but somehow I kind of feel I missed out on something. Maybe it’s because I see all these otaku—starting with those about ten years younger than me—who loved anime and manga so much they were inspired to learn Japanese; and I envy them a little. Perhaps in my teens if I had know Battle of the Planets came from Japan, I may have become obsessed with the place earlier. But then I wonder if my eight-year old nephew, who knows Pokemon, Dragon Ball-Z and Naruto are from Japan, will still be into anime when he is older. Or whether he will be like me, and will simply be reminded of them one day.

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