Around 6th grade me and my sister made a big and life changing discovery. Japenese shows re-appropiated for American audiences. It's similar to how we copied the reality boom of the United Kingdom in the early 2000's (American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, Big Brother, etc...). I remember at some moment we were really into Disney's after school programming which had a commercial tie in with Disneyland's Toon Town.
Almost overnight though, a slew of Japanese shows started showing up. First it was the success of Power Rangers, who were a bunch of ethnically diverse teenagers fighting monsters after school. Then the Anime started slipping in slowly. Sailor Moon was a big hit with my sister, while I was obsessed with Ronin Warriors and the American Mighty Max.
I guess this phase ended with me with Pokemon. It may sound hard to believe to people younger than 20 but this was like crack when it first hit. The video game tie in, the collection of monsters, a popular card game, and the movies made this a phenomenon with unlimited merchandising potential. Even the shows tag line was consumer driven "gotta catch them all!" A lot of kids me included spent a lot of money on Pokemon. I'm not sure how this opened the doors for manga to infiltrate Barnes and Nobles or how much affect it had on animation in general, but it definitely seems weird to look back on. I guess we shouldn't have spent all that space cash.
PS: We have recently reached our 100th post. Kevin is planning a Best of the Blog so far and I can't wait to read it. His vision for this blog has been amazing so far and I know he enjoys working on it as much as you do reading it. Congrats to 100!