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Narrative

Our Family

 
 

I do not know where or how I should start my story about how I met anime and fall in love with its world. Probably it all started when we got cable television at our home in 1992. I used to watch cartoons all the time. Tom and Jerry, The Jetsons, The Flintstones, Looney Tunes, Top Cat, Scooby-Doo were my favorites. In Sony TV, I used to watch The Real Ghostbusters and in Zee TV, I used to follow every episode of Disney Hour. And in the morning, just before going to school, I would watch Fantastic Four and G.I. Joe in Star TV. Eventually, I came across AXN, and it was airing Rekka no Honoo, Super Fishing Grander Musashi, Rurouni Kenshin, Fushigi Yuugi, and a mecha anime I have forgotten the name of. I did not know these were anime at the time. Even so, I loved the colors, and the stories made me very happy. On Sundays, there was a slot called Movie Time in Cartoon Network, I still remember that I would put a 2-in-1 cassette player in front of the TV and record the movie audio only to help me reenact the whole thing in my mind that night. When I was in grade six, in CN, they started airing Dragon Ball Z, Pokemon and Digimon. I would come home as fast as I can from school, I did not want to miss a minute of it.

Interestingly, my uncle who was a professor at Yamaguchi University, Japan came to visit us, and he brought some VCDs of anime movies for me. Unbeknownst to me, He was an anime lover. Among those VCDs, there were Mononoke Hime, Majo no Takkyuubin, Gekijouban Pocket Monsters: Mewtwo no Gyakushuu, and Digimon. I was elated! Shortly after, the age of the internet came along. Although it was very pricey, I would scrape together enough money to download anime. Soon I met Imran, Rafaat, Shuvo, Hasib, and Wasio. In 2005, I found out about a shop named Electro Museum in Eastern Plaza, Hatirpool. And there I met Monty Bhaia, in the following days, he and I would chat for hours about anime at Big Bite. We started exchanging anime right away. One funny thing, at the moment I had more anime titles than Monty Bhaia (57, if I remember correctly), but sadly now he has a lot more anime titles than me.

He then introduced me to two amazing persons who would become my friends afterwards– Shuvra Bhaia and Shonchoy Bhaia. They were also nuts for anime. Few months later, I introduced Prantho Ghosh Bhai (one of my neighbors) to the gang. Eight months later, I bumped into Wasio at College-gate bus stoppage. I was very excited to meet him after such a long time. I told him about the new friends I had made. I later brought Wasio to Monty Bhaia’s and introduced him to the group. Finally, Shuvra Bhaia brought Toufik Bhaia. We shared anime by taking out gigantic PATA/SATA hard drives from our computer chassis, such a crazy time it was!

Our small family was renamed from “teamOtaku” to MazeCity, and we embarked upon a journey to find and unite anime fans in Bangladesh and to put them on a common platform. We created an online forum, the first of its kind in Bangladesh. We were unsure at first, but we were taken aback with the responses that we were getting! In 2007, thanks to Tonmoy, we had a Facebook page and group of our own. Over the years, we have met so many wonderful individuals, and many of them became family to us. We all are students, kids, adolescents and people who are still young in their hearts. We did not have funds to support us, but we had the mettle to dream for bigger things. We always knew – even when we were dreaming to organize the first convention in Bangladesh, MazeCon, and when we were actually organizing it – that we can continue to dream, because dreams, they never die.

Akib Jonayeed
Co-founder, teamOtaku/MazeCity

Written for the MazeCon 3 publication in 2014.