A while back, someone in 4LS had the idea to do “influence maps” – diagrams that showed the major influences of all of the Devs. At the time I was stuck for ideas, so I put in a few of my favourite authors, a bit of music, and Higurashi.
But today, probably 4 years after the influence map, I heard a song which made me remember, clearly, the entire chain of events that led me to signing up to the original Katawa Shoujo forums.
A while ago I posted a similar post about Les Mis, which also played a part, however this story pre-dates that by a few years, as well as being a bit of a parallel track in my life.
So here goes.
When I was in High school I managed to beg my parents into upgrading to a 56kbps modem.
Suddenly, the world was my oyster. It only took about 15 minutes to download a 128k MP3. The luxury! You could actually see the status percentage increasing!
It was also around this time that my taste in music started to separate from my parent’s. Sure, like all human beings I would still head-bang to Bohemian Rhapsody, however the influence of my friends started to take hold. The first MP3 I downloaded was Tool’s “Stinkfist,” a song that still sits in my top 10 (even though Tool isn’t something that I regularly listen to these days).
In those days it was easier (and usually faster) to beg your parents to go and buy you a CD than it was to download a whole album. Due to the inevitable miscommunication between parent and teenage son, I ended up getting a slightly broader music collection due to having the wrong albums purchased.
I’m not quite sure if I asked for Rammstein, or if I simply “received” it. However, the insanity of the German band found fans in my brothers and I, and we soon had every one of their albums. My first “real” live gig was Rammstein’s tour of Australia, and I still remember most of it well.
The Rammstein gig was also important because it was the last thing I did as a “child.” The day after I boarded a bus and moved out of home to go to University. At that point we were still chugging away on a 56kbps dialup connection, so imagine my surprise when I hooked into a LAN in my university dorm room…
It wasn’t so much the 8c-per-MB high-speed internet that was exciting, it was the shared folders. In the pre-YouTube world, these scattered folders filled in the gap. It was expected that if you bought or downloaded something that it would be shared on the network, with various shared passwords. Of course, there were also shared tools to hack those passwords, and people would post the text outputs from the brute force crackers daily for the benefit of the Arts students.
As a relative noob to the process (at that point in time, “noob” was still spelt with letters, not “n00b”) I basically started searching for video clips of songs that I liked. Most of these were recorded of TV and were of crap quality (and, embarrassingly, I still have some of them archived on a hard drive somewhere).
But then, I found something interesting. I honestly can’t remember if it was “evangelion.avi” or “engel.avi”. In any case, I thought that I should check it out. This is the video:
I must have watched that clip hundreds of times over the last 13 or so years. But at the time, apart from thinking that it was totally awesome, I thought that it was custom-made for Rammstein. And so I went along with my happy life, playing Counter-Strike (the first one) and Red Faction whilst pretending to study.
Then, during one of the frequent get-togethers in our tiny dorm rooms, I put on the above clip, after having converted one of my good friends (surprisingly, still a good friend) into a Rammstein fan.
He hadn’t seen the clip before, however he had seen the footage.
“Oh yeah, that’s right. She’s German.”
At the time I nodded along, thinking that I knew more about what was going on at the time. However, knowing in my heart that I had no idea what he was talking about, I started hitting up Google, and was soon scouring the University LAN for Evangelion.
I ate it up. Sure, like most people who watched Evangelion I had no fucking idea what was going on, but it opened the door; as I’m sure it did for many others. Once my friend realised that I had started taking an interest in anime, he started drip-feeding me series, before a certain series led to another chain of events that further deepened my involvement with the Japanese-loving subculture.