Each week, a group of 20 people put aside their differences and bond over their shared love for anime. Anime is a type of Japanese cartoon that is generally aimed for older demographics which focus on a wide variety of topics.
Cynthia Curtis, a junior earth science major and anime club president, has been watching anime since she was 15. Curtis’ friend suggested she watch “Vampire Hunter D” for her first anime because of the animations and story line.
“He was right, the animation in it was beautiful and I loved the story line and it was something totally different,” she said. “It was a lot more adult (than other cartoons I had watched).”
From then on, Curtis said she’s been passionate about anime and would even get up early to watch it while growing up.
“At the time they used to show anime on the Sci-Fi channel at five in the morning,” she said. “Teenagers are usually not good at getting up for high school, but man, I would get up for cartoons. It was just so gorgeous that I got hooked on anime right then and I have been watching it ever since.”
Danielle Johnson, a sophomore psychology and addiction studies major, said she’s been watching anime since she was 11. She said anime is the “weirdest but best experience” a cartoon can give, and she likes anime with a deeper meaning that provokes conversations.
“Anime is a lot of things,” Johnson said. “It can be the weirdest heart provoking experience in a cartoon. You can get life lessons from them, or if you are looking for something totally random, that is anime. Personally I watch anime that provokes deeper meaning and life lesson. I think it is a great escape from reality. There is so much variety of anime.”
Curtis and Johnson not only share a love for anime, but also for Japanese culture. They both said anime and Japanese go hand in hand.
As anime club president, Curtis has been implementing Japanese culture lessons into their weekly club meetings.
Johnson said she wasn’t always interested in Japanese culture. She started learning more about Japan when she joined the anime club.
“She usually has a good description on what the anime is we are going to watch and small detail and the social references, and she makes references to Japanese cultural and what is happening in history at the time of the anime so we can understand the anime more,” Johnson said.
Curtis said the most rewarding thing about being president of the anime club is seeing members connect with a particular anime she shows.
“When I show them an anime that I saw probably before they were born and they fall in love with it, I think that’s awesome,” Curtis said. “So when they connect with it and really enjoy it, that’s great. Because then they get to see where anime actually started and how far it has come.”
Andrew Smith, a junior strategic communications major, said he’s not as interested in anime as the rest of the club, but enjoys the companionship that comes with being a member.
“To me, I only joined the club because a lot of my friends are a part of it,” Smith said. “Seeing the anime, I don’t really care about that. To me, the club is about the friendships, and that is why I go.”
Anime club meets every Tuesday and sees a weekly attendance of around 20 students. This club is open to all students, and they always welcome to new members.
“If people are looking for a safe open space where they can be themselves, as long as they aren’t being jerks, they should look into anime club,” Johnson said. “Everyone is welcome. You can be a jock and like anime; we don’t care. Just come in and enjoy anime with us. Laugh at the weird moments and cry at the sad moments and just forget about your stresses for a while.”
One of the main events anime club hosts is the Tori Conn cosplay event. This year the event took place on Feb. 24 and saw a turn out of 65 participants.
The event had vendors selling artwork and other souvenirs, screening of anime, a video game tournament, board games and costume competitions.
“(At the conn) we celebrate anime, some Japanese culture, a cosplay competition and hold panels,” Curtis said. “It is just all anime and Japanese culture based and it is a lot of fun. We just want to bring people together who are interested in manga, anime, video games and get together and have a good time and meet new people and talk anime. We like to have fun in club, so we like to have fun at the convention.”