Written by: Jensen Garcia |
Almost all students know T.V. shows like Pokémon, Naruto, and Dragon Ball Z. Most students watched these shows when they were younger. All these T.V. shows are anime, Japanese animation. In The Morgan School, there are some students who will use anime as a joke or call it “un-cool”, but there are other students who adore or slightly obsess about anime. These students spend their free time drawing or watching anime, reading manga — Japanese comic books that anime is usually based on — or creating fan fictions for their favorite anime. These students are the reason The Morgan School has the Anime Club. Though there are announcements at the beginning of the year, they are in the yearbook, and they were at open house, but no one really hears about it unless it is mentioned by a club member.
The Anime Club meets every normal Monday and Wednesday school day in Mrs. Barrett’s room, Room 22, after school. There, they watch, draw, or just discuss anime. The Anime Club is a place where people who love anime hang out with others who love anime. It is also a place for them to act as “odd” as they like without any person to mock them. Some even go as far as to role-play as certain anime characters to bring the fun of anime to life. Some of the younger members have the imagination to create a character for themselves, especially the fan girls who create fan fictions for their favorite anime. Also, they make use of the humor within animes with sarcastic comments.
Some of the members have grouped together to work on a project of making a new fan-made Pokémon region with their own Pokémon, characters and story. They are planning to ask the rest of the Anime Club for help. I spoke to the Director of this project, Miranda Holifield, and found out that she already has over 200 of her own Pokemon, and she and her group of friends have already planned on which parts they were going to create. I was able to find out more, but for security reasons, Miranda has asked for not too much information to be let out about this project.
These students and the other members of the club are very knowledgeable about not only anime but the Japanese culture or language. While watching anime, they will discuss the Japanese culture of anime. They even call each other by proper Japanese honorifics, like “-san”, “-chan”, or “-senpai”. Some take martial arts classes and show the group a mediation or form they learned. Especially when watching anime, they express their knowledge for the Japanese and other cultures that are expressed in the anime. Older members explain things to younger or newer members of the club while watching anime. Sometimes, they also listen to popular Japanese music and music videos.
Anime watched include: Attack on Titan, Black Butler (Kuroshitsuji), Hetalia: Axis Powers, Persona 4, Durarara, The Future Diary (Mirai Nikki), Lucky Star, Ouran High School Host Club, and many others. All anime is chosen by sophomore anime club member, Kevin LaFrance. Though he is open to ideas about anime using the Anime Suggestion Box, he chooses and puts on the anime. Though some of the members believe it is unfair, without Kevin, the Anime Club usually watches whatever the upperclassmen chose or just discuss anime because no one else would bother to turn it on.
The advisor of the Anime Club, Mrs. Barrett, said that she was first asked to advise the Anime Club by Kevin LaFrance last year. Though she didn’t know what anime was, she was happy to agree to being the advisor of the Anime Club. After watching the Anime Club for awhile, she started to learn more about anime and how the students were in the club. She stated, “I love the passion the students show for their anime.” In the club, she believes it is a time for the members to relax and discuss anime with people who share the same interests in anime, which they wouldn’t be able to do in their homes or during school. The line she stated that most wouldn’t believe was “It is educational.” The truth is while watching anime, the members learn about Japanese language, history, culture, and lifestyle. Even freshman member, Miranda Holifield, stated, “Hidden in Hetalia, (there is) some World War II stuff.” In breaks between little features, there is a little history lesson given by the narrator. Being a language teacher, Mrs. Barrett finds this great. The one thing she wishes there was less of is violence. Though there are many anime with violence, violence is still a common occurrence. However, Anime Club member, Tim Mathieu states that the anime they watch in the Anime Club is just “mild violence.”
Meredith Reynolds, member of the Anime Club says, “The Anime Club is awesome and fun, but I believe there are too many fan girls. Most of them (the girls) are. The bad part about them is they make the most awkward fan fictions ever!” Tim Mathieu says, “I like Anime Club because I get to hang out with people who make me feel less crazy, though I am still crazy.” Megan Appell says that she gets really attached to some of the male characters. This causes her to get upset when one of these characters dies or gets hurt. Miranda Holifield says, “I like Anime Club because I don’t really watch many different anime at home, so I get introduced to different anime. I also get to socialize with people who like the same thing, and I enjoy hanging out with them.”