By Santiago Felice
photos provided by the high school website, and interviewees.
The popularity of anime, a type of media that has been skyrocketing in its popularity over the past few years, is something that is starting to get harder and harder to ignore. In fact, the art form has become so popular that even schools around the country, including Garnet Valley High School, have started to adopt it into their extracurricular activities. After taking part in one of the club’s meetings and interviewing three people in the club, the enjoyment of the medium of anime is clearly shown.
Despite the fact that the club was founded almost 8 years ago, its popularity allows for it to still to run its weekly activities. The activities of the club revolve around both watching/Reading forms of Japanese media, as well as simply having some fun discussions revolving around the topic. In fact, the types of activities that you are bound to run into if you were to indulge yourself in Anime club can revolve around either one specific game or activity revolving around anime itself.
“So in our meetings, there could be anything from doing an anime Kahoot, we could be doing a drawing contest, as you see there is some evidence of our drawing contests from before,” club advisor Mrs. Kamman Mellus stated. “We also do voiceovers…we have a lot of fun. Honestly, it’s just people with common interests. You could have watched one anime, you could have watched 20 animes, you could have watched 100 animes, and we just have a lot of fun when we’re together. We like to talk, we like to laugh, so that’s Anime club.”
The activities themselves are simply a good way to become immersed in anime or just meet more people that have similar interests to you. In fact, one of the activities that the club provides is watching a certain anime every Tuesday.
“First of all, if they watch anime then obviously it’s a great community to discuss anime and to get recommendations to watch new anime,” officer Songlin Li says. “If they haven’t watched anime, I would ask what their favorite genre is for tv shows and books and recommend them an anime, and if they watched it and liked it, I would say join Anime club because we have lots of discussions, we watch anime, and yeah.”
“Number one, we just have a good time, we’re full of jokes, we like to tease each other, we just have a really good time, and if you are not finding a club that may fit you or if you’re in a million clubs and you just need a breather type club, anime is the place to be.” advisor Mrs. Kamann Mellus states. “You don’t have to have watched anything, it’s just full of a group of people that like to have fun and love to just watch or play games or hang out”
After reading the two quotes, you can see many reasons were provided as to why you can give both anime and Anime club a shot when it comes to incorporating it into your schedule, in summary, the main reasons provided to join the Anime club can be boiled down to two key points. For starters, it’s simply fun, everyone has a good time just hanging around other people with the same interest. Secondly, anime itself is very diverse, so if you initially don’t believe it’s for you, then there is a high likelihood that there are a number of shows that are available for you choosing that you may have not seen yet.
With all of those reasons now out in the open, there is still an extra thing to consider. What exactly is anime? While that may seem like a trivial question, as you may simply define it as “Japanese cartoons,” there is most certainly more to it. Anime itself is a very broad term, and despite what the first impressions may say about it not being too impactful, you may simply just have to wait to see how everyone who enjoys anime responds to a sentiment such as that one, as this topic is indeed very versatile.
“In my own understanding, anime is short for animation, specifically Japanese animation, so a lot of the stories are centered around Japanese culture, and Japanese traditions, but the thing is, when it comes to America, all of those same themes that you see in anime are relatable to American culture cause a lot of times it’s based around the concepts of love and friendship and revenge and family” club advisor Mrs.Kamann Mellus states, “so it’s not just exclusive to the Japanese, it can also be used in any other country and culture.”
Due to that relatability, you may expect to find any type of genre or topic that suits your taste, allowing you to get yourself immersed in anime more easily.
“Anime is animated media, it is not cartoons, it’s a form of animated media from Japan and has a lot of their cultural aspects and it contains a multitude of genres, you often hear people say anime is for kids, it is definitely not. It contains so many different genres and topics, it can be compared to the entire Hollywood Movie industry,” officer Songlin Li says, “It’s a big industry, and the thing about anime is that it’s just really enjoyable to watch.”
Even with all of the things stated here, you may still be heavily considering the idea of diving in, you may still want one more thing. So to help you make up your mind here is an experience of one of the club officers who decided to try out both anime and Anime club.
“Honestly, when I first joined it in 9th grade, I joined as kinda like a joke cause I haven’t watched anime at that point, and around the winter break of freshman year I’m like alright, I’ll watch one of these, and then, just from there, it just multiplied” club officer Dominic Florio mentions, “So like, even if you have never seen one before, you should still totally join the club cause like, I didn’t watch any of them for three months even while I was in the club at first.”
Even someone who has not seen anime can still find some enjoyment in taking part in a school community that welcomes newcomers into its curriculum, that is a very big thing that everyone talked to wanted to make very much clear about the subject. The overall message made clear from this is to simply give anime a shot, it’s a big medium that has plenty of topics for you to choose from for you to enjoy, and if you do enjoy it, then perhaps you can join Anime club to invest yourself further in a subject filled with potential friends.