By Henry Wesson
As a late celebration of New Year’s, the Japanime Club partied it up in the Syre Student Center at Whatcom Community College on January 22. The club members enjoyed their meeting by watching various Japanese cartoons called Japanime, eating sushi, and celebrating Japanese culture.
You may be wondering why there is a club just for Japanime. Although Japanime is widely thought to be a form of entertainment, members of this club see it as something more. They consider it more as an art form then simply a kind of cartoon. They feel the artistic aspect usually goes unnoticed and even taken for granted.
“Something that many viewers don’t know is that the storylines of many Japanime movies and shows are actually references to events and beliefs that have happened throughout history,” said club president Brian Rowe. “Many of the films we watch have to do with Japanese culture and history but much of symbolism can be interpreted in an even deeper way and can be applied to world events like wars and revolutions that have taken place all over the world.”
A typical club meeting is much like a gathering of a literature or film club. The club members watch various Japanime movies and, while viewing them, analyze the content for deeper meanings. Many symbolic and metaphorical messages can be found in the storyline of many Japanime films.
At the New Year’s celebration, the Japanime Club watched two films, an episode from an undead thriller/action series called “Zombie Loan” and a medieval sword fighting movie called “Claymore.” While the New Year’s party was more of a celebration than a typical meeting, not much analysis took place. But otherwise, the members try to keep things productive.
One club member, who said he was a huge fan of Japanese animation and culture, described watching a Katsuhrio Otomo film called “Akira.” “At first glance it seems like your typical post-apocalyptic action story,” he said, “but after we reviewed some of the key scenes we noticed it was actually a symbolic attack on Japanese industrialism that was hindering their economy at the time of the film’s production, 1988.” He added that the movie also has a commentary that described the human identity as never constant but constantly changing throughout their life and that in a matter of time a person could be a completely different person than he or she is now.
As well as providing a learning environment, the club also is a place for its members to relax and make friends. Many of the members are drawn to it purely by its social aspect. Brian Rowe said that both the learning and entertaining atmosphere of the club are important qualities.
“Not many people are fans of Japanime so this club gives us a place to hang out with people who have similar interests,” said Shaina Anderson, a Whatcom student, who sat with her boyfriend and classmate Edward Carter. “We both like Japanime and so does the rest of club. That’s why we can really enjoy ourselves here.”
The club is always happy to admit new members and they meet from 1 to 3:30 p.m. on Fridays in room 104 of the Syre Student Center.
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