From East To West

Otaku Anime Club promotes the appreciation and enjoyment of Anime

Alex Hawthorne , Staff Writer

There is an old Japanese proverb that says “Tomodachi to wa, anata ni kanzen’na jiyū o ataete kureru hitodesu.” This means that a friend is someone who gives you total freedom to be yourself. Luckily, at the Otaku Anime Club, this freedom to be oneself is alive and well.

For over 24 years, the Otaku Anime Club at Schoolcraft College has been running strong with a healthy dose of anime, manga, cosplay and events. Ever since the late 1990s, Japanese animation (AKA anime) has been growing in popularity within western culture. When the club first started, however, it was difficult to find translated material as most anime weren’t dubbed in English, had no subtitles and were not broadcast within the U.S.

Anime clubs first were started as a way for those to share whatever access to anime they had with other like-minded people, creating a dedicated following of watchers and a growing community of fans. Nowadays, anime is more freely available to populations around the world with many websites offering free downloads, and other groups willing to provide subtitles or dubs. Because of this, fans all over the world have been brought together to share their love of anime.

At the Otaku Anime Club, members do far more than just watch anime. They socialize, participate in special themed events and expose themselves to a different world of entertainment from a whole new culture.

According to Otaku Anime Club Public Relations Officer Tom Arthur, he has been able to enjoy everything the club has on offer simply by “being able to have a safe haven to express myself to the fullest extent without fear or judgment.”

Some of the anime the group has watched in the past includes, “Mobile Suit Gundam,” “One Piece,” “DragonBall Z,” “Death Note,” “Sailor Moon,” “The Promised Neverland,” “Hunter X Hunter,” and many more. Many meetings are created around a variety of themes that cater toward a specific topic such as a birthday of a club member, anniversary of a series or future events.

Julianne Sersen, the club’s social media manager, says that a few goals of the club are to “be able to form a comfortable environment for people in person in order to have great events and to share that same love through our social media.”

Despite the challenges of Covid-19, Club President Meg Kelly has made it her mission to “keep a steady schedule and continue to uphold this amazing group in person.” To ensure that the group will be stronger together. Throughout the pandemic, meetings and watchathons were scheduled over Discord. Now that events are allowed to be in person again, this club hopes more members will join.

Cosplay contests and special events the club participates in include going to conventions such as Motor City Comic Con or Youmacon. Whether they’re there as attendees or panel hosts, above all else, they’re there to have a good time.

Another goal they hope to accomplish in the future is to post more anime reviews on their social media and in newspapers to spread the wholesome content that they want to be associated with.

For a club with this big of a reputation, and a large amount of membership, it is not uncommon to find many members well into their late 20s and early 30s, making for a loyal and dedicated group.

For this amount of dedication, Kelly wants others to know that “not only will you find good anime here, but you will find a bond so strong with your fellow members and events so enjoyable that you may feel as if you found a second family within this club.”

With so many years of experience, in-depth knowledge of anime, fun events for all, content creation, leadership opportunities and a whole community of peers backing them, it’s hard to see why one would want to be anywhere else if the goal is to watch anime.

After all, according to member Colin Hickson, “There is no other place you would want to be on a Saturday night than at Anime Club.” Though no matter where a member of the Otaku Anime Club is, they can always know that they will have a home within the walls of this welcoming group.

Those interested in joining the club can attend meetings twice a month on Saturday evenings from 5 to 10 p.m. down in the Lower Waterman of the VisTaTech Center. Food is often provided, but it is recommended that one pitches in a few dollars to have the club continue running operations.

Want the latest news regarding the Otaku Anime Club, follow the club on [email protected] scraft_oa, Discord, [email protected] OtakuAnimeSC, and [email protected]_OA.