By: James A. Garrison
It’s a dark, brisk, fall evening on a Thursday, and the clock tower is just calling out seven pm. The wind slowly shuffles the leaves outside of Murphy, twisting them into small dancing tornadoes of oranges, yellows and browns. Just visible in the peripheral, a figure dressed in a long brown trench coat, a belt holding a line of bullets thrown over one shoulder and a hat pulled low darts into room 110. At his heels, a man with a black, Japanese style, robe follows him closely. A long black sword slung loosely back over a shoulder. Should fear be the emotion of the moment? Nah, it’s just the weekly meeting of Western’s Anime Club, yep we’ve got one.
For those that may have been inhabiting the underside of a rock and don’t know what anime is, they are movies or series that are skillfully drawn, or animated through cgi, that commonly pass down ancient Japanese cultural tales and lore allowing children, young adults and even adults to obtain these, otherwise, lost pieces of history.
Fourth year member, Mathew Kurtz gives his personal account and a warning.
“I first got into it when I was a kid,” Kurtz said. “I just thought they were neat cartoons. As I got older and found out more about it, I naturally got more into Japanese culture in general. I use anime as a way to pick up on cultural ideas, although you have to be careful with that, there can be some things that can be misinterpreted.”
Club president, Robert Bradley, goes on to support this idea of cultural distribution in anime.
“From a personal perspective, it also gives a little bit of insight into a counter culture going on here in America,” Bradley said. “The people who are watching anime.”
Five year club veteran, Cassandra Mohlang, explains what the club tries to introduce about the culture beyond just showing anime.
“We are trying to get more into the culture,” Mohlang said. “Last year we had origami and a drawing night which was pretty fun.”
They also attend, annually, an anime convention called Nakakan that takes place in Liberty. There is a charge at the door, discounted if there are seven or more to a group, of thirty dollars. The door fee is due prior to November 30th this year.
The club meets every Thursday night at seven pm in Murphy hall, and anyone and everyone are invited to join free of charge, although there is a small fee per semester that is optional.
“Five dollar dues per semester if you want to pay them,” Mohlang said. “They are mainly for if you want pizza, or stuff like that.”
For more information on the anime club at Western, or contact information, visit them via mwsu.orgsync.com.
Other than motivating people to learn more about Japanese culture, the clubs goal is a pretty simple one.
“Our biggest goal is probably just to get more people interested in this,” Bradley said. “Because we like it a lot and we think other people would like it if they gave it a chance.”