Anime Club meets on Thursdays


Photo Credit: Kimberly Newman

Anime clubs meet on Thursdays

Many students claim that they don’t fit in with any of the academic or athletic clubs. They claim they’re too shy for Debate and too uncreative for Poetry. They can’t draw for Art and they don’t have the time or the drive for Computer Science. But, they are interested in reading the ever-popular and entertaining Japanese manga. They are also interested in watching the artful animè they love and introducing it to their friends.

And thus, Animè Club was born.

Animè Club is a club run by the English Department’s Sophomore English and Comparative Mythology instructor Mr. Jeffrey Grose after school on Thursdays in room 248. Designed to allow students to express their interests, the club allows students to learn about Japanese culture and view animè (a distinctive Japanese style of cartoon). Club meetings have often consisted of video-watching, video-gaming, and card-playing, alongside teaching and learning the Japanese culture and its eccentricities. The club is meant to be a place to have fun with others who share the same enthusiasm. As Mr. Grose affirms, though he has had little experience in Animè Club’s area of focus, the students who formed the club several years ago had asked him to supervise, and he couldn’t refuse. Any and all students are welcome to join, if only to understand the hype this visual genre has created.

Past years have had the club involved in tea parties and video game tournaments as fundraisers. Many of the students and staff at Colonia High have participated in the “Let’s Play” videogame tournaments. Winners have received certificates and prizes, such as gift cards and trophies. Calculus instructor Mrs. Lorie Merkel is a past-placer in the fundraiser.

This year’s Club President, Senior Julienne “Jill” Cagaoan, mentions that there was little discussion and far too much “fun” in the past years she attended the club. While this is not necessarily a bad thing, she explains that it gives the club a bad name, perhaps emphasizing how unnecessary the Club really is in comparison to other clubs. Furthermore, the heavy emphasis on “school-appropriate” viewing has largely scrapped many prospective ideas and plans the Club had initially had.

Thus, future plans are invested in introducing order in the form of analyzing Japanese culture and animation. More classic animè will be interspersed with a wider variety of the streamlined shows, if only to compare art evolution. In addition, animè with deeper purpose or plot behind them, or even obscure symbolism, will be viewed to open members up to new genres, new experiences. These will be viewed across a week-to-week basis, though little has been set in stone. Suggestions for what to watch are always welcome.

Moreover, the idea of holding a Cultural Festival for Animè Club has taken root, though whether or not the Club has the funds as of yet is undetermined. As such, there are also plans to expand fundraising from the “Let’s Play!” tournament and the “Tea Party” to hosting future cake pop and bake sales and making Club-specific threads and jewelry. The Club also plans to pool some of the money raised in order to purchase box sets of Japanese movies and cartoons that members are interested in joint-viewing.

Current meetings are meant to ease members into the Club, before jumping into the program. A few meetings have included Open Game Day, where Seniors Jill Cagaoan and Tam Vu, respectively President and Vice-President of the Animè Club, have brought forth Wii and Nintendo-64 gaming systems and video games for members to play with. More recent meetings have had the member partake in Animè Debate, where the group discusses which animè appear to have the best fights, or the best plotlines, or the best art or animation.

Discussions over cultural differences between the Japanese and American anime genre have also been brought up, as well as the “horrors of English subbing,” as Senior and Vice-President Tam Vu puts it.  As a way to bring the meetings to a close, origami-folding has also become part of the routine of Animè Club.

Despite their misgivings, students who have attended Animè Club in prior years have thoroughly enjoyed the creative outlet the club has given them. Many have confided that before the Club they’d felt as if they were “outcasts,” unable to be themselves. Animè Club has given them a chance to “fit in” and have fun with others like them. As a member explains it, it’s a “geeky club for animè nerds like us,” but also a club for students to have fun and expand their horizons.

Any student who wishes to join may contact Seniors Julienne Cagaoan and Tam Vu, President and Vice-President of the Club. The option is open to any and all students, so long as they’re willing to work with others and put aside their differences to make something great out of the experience. The club will run from 2:40-3:45 PM, so be sure to have a ride ready beforehand.