I think it was Bubblegum Crisis for me too. Weird, huh? Really though, it was videogames that introduced me to the whole world of anime art and writing styles and all its tropes. Like Wolfteam games, Valis, Cosmic Fantasy, and all that.
But after that, the first anime I actually rented on VHS was bubblegum Crash episode 3 (yes, the last Bubblegum Crisis episode… it wasn’t really by choice as video stores didn’t exactly have a large selection back then). I remember thinking that the animation reminded me way too much of shows like GI Joe, and I was hoping for something a little more lavish. I learned later that Crash was one of the more cheaply produced animes out there.
SEE IMAGINE IF YOU WILL Super Mario Bros. You’re at world 1-1, and there’s Mario, and behind Mario in the background is like the most impressive scenery you’ve ever seen. Rainbows, big shiny crystals, dancing dolphins, yellow submarines, pink hearts, blue moons, all shiny and shimmering and gorgeous… oh my god, is it a sight to behold. As for the actual game, you just need to run to the right. No need to worry about jumping or hitting blocks… just RUN TO THE RIGHT and keep running, and eventually you make it about a fifth of the way through the level and the screen will fade out and there’s a closeup of Mario and Luigi. You hear Luigi say “I can do this. I think I can do this. Can I do this? Yes, I can do this! I most definitely can do this. But can I? yes. Probably! Except I definitely can! Do this, I mean! When I say I can do this, I mean I can do this! So let’s do this!” and then Mario says “WE MUST RESCUE THE PRINCESS! RAAAAAAAAGH!” while punching the ground. Then it fades back to the game and you run to the right some more. And then you see…. a GOOMBA. To kill it, you must jump on it, but to jump with the right timing and precision to land effectively on the Goomba’s head is just way too complicated a matter for you, the player, to accomplish on your own, so instead you just mash the A button. Mash, mash, mash, and all the while the game figures out the perfect way to kill the Goomba for you. The exhausting fight awards you with another fade out and closeup of the two brothers and Luigi says “Do you think we can do this, brother?” and Mario says “WE CAN DO THIS AAAAARGH” while punching the ground that’s pretty much the whole game the end.