Anime Club Escapades: 04/05/2013

So, the topic of publicity came up tonight.

Cue the simultaneous dropping of forks, spoons, and samurai chopsticks. The gobbet of rice near my mouth falls onto the table and crumbles across the tabletop. At first our expressions remain stone-faced, but soon it turns into disbelief.

“Haa?” Exclaims Tomoe from across the table. His reaction is the first to turn into one of those generic “mouth agape” expressions. Haro, Freddie, and I are still in a bit of a daze hearing something that weird coming out of the club president’s mouth.

Madarame-sempai is unfazed at this reaction and keeps talking.

“There’s a club publicity event going on this Saturday and I signed up for a table. I need suggestions on what to do.”

[FFF] Hataraku Maou-sama! - 01 [9B300091].mkv_snapshot_11.55_[2013.04.07_18.43.33]

Hataraku Maou-sama! Ep. 1: I get the feeling that this will become stale after a few episodes.

We’ve never been a club that’s especially concerned about membership. In fact, we’re perfectly comfortable with the assumption that about 99% of the campus population doesn’t even realize we exist. Our club is exceedingly small and given our shared sense of shyness we never expect many people to come in every week to view anime.

However, we do take solace in the fact that the people who end up visiting our meeting place do so because they explicitly want to be there. As of right now, the only way to know whether my campus has an anime club is to Google search for the possibility. In this case, I am no different than anyone else in the clubroom.

Yet, the prospect of gaining more publicity still seemed like a lucrative option. Who wouldn’t consider the option, truthfully? The only problem with that is actually going about gaining publicity.

[Commie] Saint Young Men OVA - 01 [DVD 576p AAC] [CBF535E4].mkv_snapshot_17.31_[2013.04.07_18.52.16]

Saint Young Men OVA 1: Jesus loves Sony, but is he in love with Sony?

To do this, the club must consider a variety of things, many of which tie into the concept of advertising. What do we advertise about anime club? One would assume that if we’re an anime club that we would have a group of people who are deathly addicted to things such as cosplay. Or dancing. You know, visual things to promote a club that’s mostly about visual media. We’d need posters, posterboards, flyers, a pair of balls… whatever it takes to make our club look like the funnest thing ever to the closet anime fan who is still unsure whether his or her hobby is worth sharing with like-minded people. But back to my first point, we’d still need people who are visually attracting.

Believe me, I’d love to be able to give my time into making some sort of cosplay that I can abuse for the rest of my college life. Yet, given that I have never gone to a convention nor have I ever been open about my little hobby until sometimes within the past two years or so, putting myself out there like that is still a wish that has yet to come true. I don’t even know if I want that wish to come true. The rest of the club is like this too; most of us primarily go to anime club to watch anime and nothing else. It’s kind of sad, really, when you consider the lengths you’d expect other anime club people to go to. Additionally, it’s saddening to visualize my other friends from high school who manage to spend the time to cosplay and have a blast at conventions while I just sit at my computer slaving away at these things called anime seasons, like I don’t have a choice in my anime fandom but to watch the latest stuff. Maybe in that regard I can understand people who follow different TV shows religiously, albeit in a more legal method.

%5BHorribleSubs%5D_DEVIL_SURVIVOR_2_THE_ANIMATION_-_01_%5B720p%5D.mkv_snapshot_15.27_[2013.04.07_18.46.27]

Durarara!! Devil Survivor 2 The Animation Ep.1: Anri Nitta best character

What do I say to a person who asks what our club is about? Do we just sit around and watch anime, awkwardly looking side to side as others shift uncomfortably in their seats and are as afraid to talk to other people as they are? It hits too close to the truth and, unfortunately, is the truth. As much as there are different types of socially awkward in the clubroom, the most prevalent type of person is the one with little practice in actually speaking to other people. Hell, if you look at my daily schedule I almost never get to speak with anyone (since I live with my parents) and I’m still more conversational than the people who are forced to live in dorms and subsequently forced to interact with people on their floor. I just don’t understand how someone can stay unsociable in such an environment. Do they shut themselves in, perhaps going out for about 10 minutes of sunlight as they move from lecture hall to lecture hall? That would only put themselves at the same level as me, and I still would win that trade.

Despite everything I say when it comes to people who are hopelessly unsocial, I recognize that it’s out of nervousness than an actual desire to shun their surroundings. Us staffies are not the best at being social either, and the President and I carry the brunt of the work when it comes to public relations. The rest of the staffies sort of peter out and converse with each other whenever we aren’t watching anime in the clubroom. I suppose it’s something that we have to straighten out, but at the same time it’s hard to tell people the same age as you what to do. Or is it? I haven’t tried to do that in an overt manner, even though I’m Vice President, because I also value my relationship with them as friends. I should learn to distinguish between the two when assuming executive power (my colleagues deem this as “zipping up your mansuit”).

[gg]_Anime_Mirai_2013_-_Little_Witch_Academia_(BD,1080p)_[FB8F8A1E].mkv_snapshot_00.49_[2013.04.07_18.47.11]

Little Witch Academia: Oshima Michiru marry me pls.

I guess the only option as of now is to keep those facts in the dark and let them experience the anime club meetings in person. This also means that I have to step up my game in being sociable, too. I have great pride in being able to hold a conversation longer than most people, but my social skills are still lacking. I may have experience, and I may have the tools available. I just need a bit more courage and initiative to actually get the ball rolling and be that great if niche anime club I first envisioned when I heard such a thing existed here on campus. Frankly, I doubt that will even happen within my time here as a college student. The least I can do is try.

“Would any of you be able to table with me on Saturday?” asked Madarame-sempai.

None of us had anything better to do, so we agreed to go. If it does end up being a flop, at least we all have our bitchin’ 3DSes to fight each other with.

[Commie] JoJo's Bizarre Adventure - 20 [9A03671E].mkv_snapshot_13.35_[2013.04.07_18.50.53]

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Ep.20: This is how we’re bringing disco back, guys.

Isn’t it weird? Watching anime has got to be one of the most isolated things we can do to ourselves. Yet in order to go to an anime club you must come out of isolation and enjoy yourself in the company of others. You must also, with great adventures in trial and error, find the right place in your personality to converse with others in a cordial and positive manner, even in the midst of heated debate. In order to accommodate for new people and get new people to stick around, I have to suck up my shyness and put myself out there for everyone to see. To prove to them that, yes, there are sane people who just like anime and don’t have to get into the nitty gritty of otaku culture to be accepted as a whole. Along with battling our own social inexperience, there’s always the uphill battle of rejecting the negative stereotypes that latch onto anime fandom no matter where we go.

So perhaps a lack of cosplay helps in that regard.

Now to explain why we’re going to blare obnoxious Jpop as loud as possible on our speakers when we start tabling.

Maybe we’re not so innocent after all.

Addendum

  1. We are going to pose and fight each other to the tune of “Bloody Stream” and it will be as awkward and fabulous as you may be envisioning it.
  2. Man, this iPad keyboard boosts my productivity like tenfold during lectures.
  3. Like seriously you have no idea how much I love this thing.
  4. I’d be lying to myself if I said my current lifestyle doesn’t make me feel lonely. But, that only makes me feel better about myself once I actually start talking to people as if I wasn’t alone the entire time. Maybe I have Skype to thank for that.
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7 comments

  1. “I should learn to distinguish between the two when assuming executive power…”
    Just from talking with other people/from 6personal experience, this is a problem that’s directly proportional to how active you want your club to be. If you’re sticking with the status quo, it’s fine, but it’s definitely a point that can lead to a fair amount of tension.

    “Our club is exceedingly small…”
    I mean, it might just be relative, but your club seems decently sized – at least you get turnout each week. Here, I’m not only the entire board but also the only consistent undergraduate member, and our showings usually consist of 3 people.

    “What do I say to a person who asks what our club is about?”
    This is actually a very legitimate question for any type of viewing club, but especially for anime, which has become an increasingly personal experience. I think the best way to go about it is to emphasize the community. There’s a lot of solace in knowing that you’re not alone, and meeting up consistently to watch shows together is a nice way to have that. It also can be a nice spur to keep you motivated if college is giving you a hard time workload-wise. You mention you don’t talk too much during the viewings themselves, but if you guys discuss episodes afterwards, or just talk about anime-related things in general some other time, or eat lunch together, etc., those are all also decent appeals I think many would enjoy and you could emphasize. Also food/drink, if you have that.

    “We are going to pose and fight each other to the tune of “Bloody Stream” and it will be as awkward and fabulous as you may be envisioning it.”
    I’ve always been torn about more visual ideas like these. On the one hand, they definitely get your point across and appeal to more hardcore viewers, but on the other, they alienate casual ones or people who might possibly see it as embarrassing. I’m sure it will be fabulous nonetheless ;). (You could even play Avalon from the OST and attempt the transforming sequence!).

    “…as if I wasn’t alone the entire time…”
    I don’t know about you, but I feel this type of lifestyle isn’t sustainable in the long term.

    1. Do you at least have a website for people to Google your existence? That’s how people end up finding out about us.

      Your suggestion of “Avalon” shall be taken into consideration.

      I believe that last bit made me appear a bit more pathetic than intended, but I am very much a reserved individual in real life. I can deal with not talking to people for inordinate amounts of time and find basic internet interaction to be sufficient human contact. You’re right in that this is not going to help in the long run, but I do have experience putting myself in the open at least.

      1. We do! Did you want to swap links? (ALTHOUGH THAT MIGHT DISCLOSE OUR ANONYMOUS LOCATIONS ZOMGWHATWILLWEDO)

        Eff yea – Avalon is the shit!

        Ah, I gotcha – I can completely understand then. Pardon me for taking the comment a bit too much at face value.

        1. ABORT MISSION.

  2. Man, one time, I got some pretty funny looks while blaring some Idom@ster tunes in my car one day at the Fresh and Easy. I mean, real talk, my “how-many-fucks-I-giveometer” was registering at about 0, I turned up the volume and put some treble in it. What’s really the killer of anime clubs or even bringing anime out in the public eye beyond your bedroom is the people, not the hobby. Needless to say that blaring obnoxious J-pop is gonna get you some bad press, but if you’re a cool guy who can function normally, no problem right? Unfortunately anime clubs seem to attract the lesser and worse elements of a fanbase, but you’re doing leagues better than most. At least you’re not on a Foam Adventure or making of video of the club. I’m not even sure why I’m writing this. Time to blare some Capsule.

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