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.”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.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.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”).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.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.
- 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.
- Man, this iPad keyboard boosts my productivity like tenfold during lectures.
- Like seriously you have no idea how much I love this thing.
- 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.