The New and Improved Anime Club
The Forum is a small but state-of-the-art movie theater coveted by many of the clubs on campus. With its DVD and laptop hookups, it is a prime host for many events, from freshman orientations to Rocky Horror rehearsals. As of Feb. 20, it is the home of the SFUAD Anime Club which meets at 8 p.m. on Saturdays. At the first meeting, patrons of the club trickle in slowly, many wearing comfortable movie-watching clothes but a couple others dressed up for just the occasion in kimonos or anime-themed t-shirts and pajamas. Due to its Saturday night status, the Anime Club is not known for being one of the most populous clubs, but those it brings in are dedicated fans of all things anime.
Last semester, the club hit a small rut in its programming and went on hiatus for a time. “We kind of just felt like we were going… in no direction,” club President Chantelle Mitchell says. “Like we were just doing the same thing every week which we’re hoping we don’t do this year.” That “same thing” was watching various anime movies and TV shows every weekend. While that is popular among the clubs patrons, it makes it difficult for the club to grow, which is why Mitchell and club Vice President Brenda Lemieux are making plans to add some variety to the club schedule. “Instead of just watching anime we also want to watch live-action movies and not limit it to just Japan,” says Mitchell. “We think all of East Asian pop culture can be included in it. We also think we can talk more about culture—I think a lot of members want to do stuff that has to do with food.”
Although a new officer of the club this year, Vice President Lemieux is looking forward to seeing what this new Anime Club has to offer. “I’m excited for the format that we’re trying to input into the club and what we’re trying to add… I can’t wait until that starts getting finalized,” says Lemieux. One of the improvements already implemented has been the system for choosing which animes are shown. The poll was put up on the Anime Club Facebook page a few days in advance of the first meeting asking patrons to vote for which film they wanted to see. “I asked everybody in our Facebook group what they wanted to watch, for suggestions…” says Mitchell. “And then I took four suggestions and I did a poll and then everybody voted on it. So it was really like they got to choose.”
The winning movie is the 2013 Studio Ghibli film The Tale of Princess Kaguya. This Academy Award Nominated film drew many excited anime-watchers to the Forum—those who had yet to see it and those excited to see it again. When asked about it, Mitchell exclaims, “Yes! I love it!” She goes on to say, “I think it’s really beautiful. I think stylistically it’s really interesting too, the animation—which is something I hope people will talk about after they watch it if it’s their first time.”
For several of those sitting in the theater, it is their first time. When asked if he’d seen the film, Junior film major Michael Clark replies, “No, I haven’t actually… I’m looking so forward to this movie…It has an Oscar nomination.” It was even a first for Vice President Lemieux. “I like seeing things I haven’t seen before,” she says, “which is what we like to give to Anime Club. ‘Here’s some things you haven’t seen before.’”
Though they might be slow out of the gate this semester, the Anime Club is already bringing in a crowd of eager self-identifying weeaboos (anime superfans). “It’s kinda cool going to the Anime Club,” says Clark. “It’s like this little underground place… like there’s nobody really here…. It’s just us little weeaboos getting ready to watch a sweet movie.”
Check out the SFUAD Anime Club on Facebook for more information about upcoming events.