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Promoted Fanboy / Anime & Manga

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Many, possibly the majority, of well-known mangaka got their start writing doujinshi; typically starting with fan fic before moving on to original work. Notable examples below.

  • CLAMP, creators of Cardcaptor Sakura, Chobits, and many other successful manga, started out as a doujinshi circle back in the '80s.
  • Kiyohiko Azuma, creator of Azumanga Daioh and Yotsuba&!, started out doing doujinshi based on various shows, including Neon Genesis Evangelion, Tenchi Muyo!, Battle Athletes Victory, and Sailor Moon. He even wrote erotic doujinshi under the pseudonym Joji Jonokuchi.
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  • Eiichiro Oda, author of One Piece, was a massive Dragon Ball fan; heck, he loved all of Akira Toriyama's works, and that's what inspired him to become a manga artist. Eventually, he ended up working at Shonen Jump, the same magazine that Dragon Ball was published in, and even collaborated with Toriyama on a DBZ/One Piece crossover manga.
  • Shiori Teshirogi, the author who writes the Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas manga, is actually a Shoujo author who once met Masami Kurumada. Saint Seiya was always her favorite series and she jumped at the chance of making a new story when Kurumada pitched the idea to her, and what was originally thought to end up being a rather brief series has exploded in popularity. To put it simply, she is writing a non-canon doujin, getting paid for it, and getting an OVA deal for it. Not bad for someone's first Shōnen story.
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  • Shoji Kawamori was an aeronautical engineer who had a family member on Super Dimension Fortress Macross's production crew. Apparently he has an addiction to those little wooden Mensa puzzles that are all about compressing multiple components into objects with much smaller external surface areas. When toy companies realized he "had a gift" for creating elegant transforming designs that most designers today still can't match (IE: transformations tuck limbs against the body and end up looking blocky), he ended up making more selling transforming robot designs than he was in the very dry aerospace business. Needless to say, he works as a Humongous Mecha designer now (and is the head of the entire Macross franchise to boot).
  • Some actors in anime dubbing were anime fans before getting work as Voice Actors, including Greg Ayres, Caitlin Glass, and Crispin Freeman.
  • After holding panels at some conventions and posting some essays on the Internet, Neon Genesis Evangelion fanboy Sean McCoy was invited by ADV Films to record some of the commentaries for the Platinum release of the series, giving him three full episodes and two special feature segments to share his incredibly elaborate theories (some might say ridiculously elaborate) about the meaning behind the show's abstract symbolism alongside ADV honcho and English dub director Matt Greenfield. Strangely, after this "promotion", he has barely been heard from again.
    • Along similar lines, self-proclaimed "Eva Monkey" Taliesin Jaffe co-recorded commentaries for Death & Rebirth and The End of Evangelion alongside dub director, writer and voice actress Amanda Winn-Lee and her husband Jason. Jaffe's situation differed from McCoy's in that Jaffe had actually worked in the anime industry already and voiced extras in the movies, and in that he spent his time on the commentaries offering various suggestions as to what the symbols in the movies could mean, as opposed to detailing his own theories as to what they "do" mean.
    • Mike McFarland, ADR director for the English dubs of the Rebuild of Evangelion films, was a fan of the series for the better part of a decade before he had a chance to actually work on it.
  • Voice actress and biker enthusiast Yuko Goto is a big fan of Fist of the North Star, particularly of the character Souther. She is also one of the editors of the Hokuto Musou series of games based off of the anime/manga series.
  • The HeartGold/SoulSilver miniarc in Pokémon had Lyra's friend Khoury voiced in the dub by Chris "Kirbopher" Niosi. Though she was already a promoted fangirl by the time she made her mark, Cristina Valenzuela as Layla also counts.
  • Matthew Mercer is a longtime fan of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. In 2014, he landed the leading role of Stardust Crusaders, Jotaro Kujo. This is also the case for Jotaro's Japanese voice actor, Daisuke Ono.
    • Mick Lauer was a huge fan of JoJo for almost 30 years—to the point where he made his own part on Youtube called Blood Sun Vendetta. He ended up being cast as Leone Abbacchio in the English dub of Golden Wind, a dream come true for him.
  • Mark Simmons and Keith Rhee, two Big Name Fans of Gundam, were hired by Bandai, Simmons working on the localization of several series and Rhee on the official website. Furthermore, the Federation male custom pilots in the Encounters In Space game are named after the two of them.
  • Studio Gainax, who got their start by producing a well-known pair of independent anime shorts (the DAICON III and IV Opening Animations) for a Japanese science fiction convention in 1981 and 1983.
  • Lianne Sentar had been writing over 3,000 stories of Sailor Moon fanfiction since she was 13. She was hired to write the Tokyopop novel adaptations distributed in North America for only this reason.
  • Jason Griffith managed to accomplish this by accident. According to him, he was a big fan of Sonic the Hedgehog and auditioned for the role of Chris Thorndyke in Sonic X so that he could "know what it's like to be Sonic's human friend". Imagine his surprise when he got the role of Sonic himself.
  • Gackt (already mentioned under Kamen Rider above) is also a huge Gundam fan, having contributed the theme song to the long-dead theme park attraction "Gundam the Ride: A Baoa Qu", recording a remix of "Ai Senshi" from the original series, and even getting a concert audience to chant "Sieg Zeon!" by delivering Garma Zabi's funeral speech from memory. In 2010 he finally got to join the Gundam universe proper by voicing ex-, the Original Generation Final Boss of Gundam Extreme Vs.
  • As children, Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, better known today as Daft Punk, were fans of the anime series Captain Harlock. After recording their breakout album Discovery, they would work with Captain Harlock's creator Leiji Matsumoto in making it's visualization, the rock-opera anime movie Interstella5555.
  • Pretty Cure
    • Nana Mizuki, better known for her role as the Dark Magical Girl Fate Tessarossa, is a humongous Pretty Cure fan. When she got the role of Innocent Flower Girl Tsubomi Hanasaki, she was elated. Even when she was asked to come back for a few short lines in Pretty Cure All Stars New Stage, she expressed on her blog joy at being able to voice her again.
    • Hitomi Nabatame was a huge Pretty Cure fangirl too and actually attended the auditions for the first series, but wasn't chosen (though she did voice a minor character). Years later she was selected as Mana "Cure Heart" Aida, and apparently broke in Tears of Joy when she was told about it.
    • Megumi Nakajima is also a Pretty Cure fangirl and got her chance to play as Megumi Aino in HappinessCharge Pretty Cure!.
    • Eimi Naruse—the voice of Hikaru Hoshina aka Cure Star in Star★Twinkle Pretty Cure—is quite possibly the biggest example of this in the franchise. In a cast interview held before the season premiered, she was able to give detailed answers of what she loved about every season up to that point, to the point where she’s probably as obsessed with Pretty Cure as her character is with space. She also expressed her love of the series on social media both during and after her season ended.
    • All four main Cures in Healin' Good♡Pretty Cure have Pretty Cure fans voicing them. Of note, Chiyu Sawaizumi aka Cure Fontaine’s voice actress Yorita Natsu had a role in the immediate previous season as the Gemini Star Princess and the twins Takuto & Ikuto Amamiya, while Aoi Yūki (probably the most overjoyed of the four to be cast and better known as Madoka Kaname) was in The Movie for KiraKira☆Pretty Cure à la Mode as the Big Bad Cook before playing this season’s lead role Nodoka Hanadera aka Cure Grace. Cure Earth’s voice actress—Suzuko Mimori—stated in her own interview that voicing a Pretty Cure is something she’s aspired for since the start of her career.
  • Bryce Papenbrook is a hardcore fan of Attack on Titan and even wanted to be a cast member of it. When Funimation acquired the license, many fans thought that Josh Grelle, Greg Ayres, or Micah Solusod would voice Eren since they are their usual voice actors of choice for leading protagonists. In 2014, it was announced that Papenbrook would provide his voice.
  • Shoko Nakagawa was a huge fan of series such as Pokémon and Dragon Ball growing up, and has had a prominent role as a host on Pokémon Sunday and its successors and roles in several of the animated films, along with a minor role in Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods as the Oracle Fish.
  • Kyle Hebert was a fan of Dragon Ball Z before landing the roles of Gohan and the Narrator which started his career as a voice actor for animation.
  • French singer/songwriter Cécile Corbel became known to Ghibli filmmakers after she sent them a fan letter showing her love for their films along with a copy of Songbook, Vol 2, at the time, her most recent album. After Toshio Suzuki, the head producer of Arrietty listened to the CD, she received an e-mail asking her if she could write a song for the movie. She ended up composing the entire score.
  • Megumi Han, who voices Takeru "T.K." Takaishi in the 2013 video game adaptation of Digimon Adventure (replacing Hiroko Konishi, who retired from voice acting), has been a big fan of the franchise since childhood. Ditto for her role as Gon Freecss in the 2011 anime of Hunter × Hunter.
  • Kanetake Ebikawa won a design contest for Mobile Suit Crossbone Gundam; now he's become famous for his work on Eureka Seven, Full Metal Panic!, and Mobile Suit Gundam 00. It even came full circle when he got to work on Crossbone Gundam Ghost, a sequel to the story that helped launch his career.
  • Kohei Horikoshi, author of My Hero Academia was a fan of Shonen Jump as a boy. In fact, he submitted fanart that got featured in the 23rd volume of One Piece, which My Hero Academia runs alongside. Oda himself opened the Question and Answer section of Volume 77 by pointing this out, and explains he was ecstatic when he learned of it.
  • Toyotarō made the legendary Dragon Ball AF doujin in 2000 under the name Toyble. Ever since Shueisha hired him, AF has been officially sold as a tankobon, he has authored the Dragon Ball Heroes and Resurrection 'F' tie-in manga, is drawing Dragon Ball Super and is not only an assistant to Akira Toriyama, but also his chosen successor.
  • [adult swim] has said numerous times that the favorite anime they've ever aired was FLCL. Fifteen years later, they're now collaborating on a sequel series to the original.
  • Sui Ishida, the creator of Tokyo Ghoul, is a long-time fan of Hunter × Hunter. For April's Fool 2015, he created a false advertisement claiming he would be releasing a side-story for the series. Roughly a year later, this became a reality when he was invited to create a 69-page Prequel for his favorite character and got to collaborate with his hero, Yoshihiro Togashi.
  • Matt Shipman is one of the few voice actors who actually plays the Yu-Gi-Oh! card game. He later got to play Shay Obsidian (Shun Kurosaki in Japanese) in Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V.
  • Team Four Star, the makers of Dragon Ball Abridged are, naturally, big fans of Dragon Ball. Because they're based out of Texas, many of them have parlayed their roles in DBZA into performances in Funimation-dubbed anime like One Piece — and of course, DBZ itself, with Scott "KaiserNeko" Frerichs voicing a low-level Freeza soldier in Resurrection 'F'.
    • Perhaps more famously, Curtis "Takahata101" Arnott was cast in Dragon Ball Xenoverse as one of the Create-A-Character voices, where he's essentially replaying his role as Abridged!Nappa complete with tons of memetic Shout-Outs to the Abridged series. When Xenoverse 2 came out, the other founding members of TFS (KaiserNeko and Nick "Lanipator" Landis) joined him in the game's roster.
    • They also appeared in the Cell Games Reenactment in Kai, complete with several fandom references. However, this is only available in YouTube uploads, as it was taken off the TV broadcast likely due to Toei and the group often butting heads due to copyright reasons.
  • According to Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, her favorite show when she was a child was Crayon Shin-chan. When she was asked to do a theme song for the show and guest star in an episode, she was very excited about it.
  • Hiroyuki Imaishi loved the Mobile Suit Gundam franchise growing up, he eventually got to animate on Mobile Suit Gundam 00.
  • James Marsters of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame first became a fan of Dragon Ball when he watched the anime as character study for his role of King Piccolo in Dragonball Evolution, even going as far as to keep Piccolo's design from being drastically altered in a case of Executive Meddling. While no one likes to talk about that movie, this all came full circle for Marsters come 2016 when he was cast as none other than Zamasu in Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2, a role he would then reprise for Dragon Ball Super and Dragon Ball FighterZ. note 
  • Daiki Yamashita said that he was always insecure about his relatively high-pitched voice until his friend started showing him anime where Yūki Kaji played teenagers and young boys. This got him into voice acting. After landing his Star-Making Role as Izuku Midoriya, he regularly gets to work with his idol.
  • Atsumi Tanezaki entered the voice acting industry because she was impressed by the voice acting on Sailor Moon, which she watched as a kid. She would later have roles in two Magical Girl anime by Toei, who created Sailor Moon: Doki Doki Pretty Cure and Pop In Q.
  • Makoto Shinkai:


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