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Currents: the anime club

A Window into Japanese Culture

By Amber Cronin '11

While many people have heard of anime, it is a subject that few know much about. Before I spoke with Angela Eastman '08 about her experience with the Anime Club here at Colby-Sawyer, I did not know anything at all about anime, and I still do not pretend to be an expert on the subject.

First, what is anime? Where does it come from, and when was this club dedicated to the art form created? Talking with Eastman, I learned that anime is a Japanese form of animation that began at the start of the 20th century - the oldest known anime, a three-second clip of a sailor boy, is from 1907.

Beginning in the 1930s, anime-style animation was an alternate form of storytelling for Japanese filmmakers. The live-action film industry in Japan, at the time, was underdeveloped and suffered because of budgeting and location issues as well as restrictions placed on casting. Japan lacked “western-looking” actors, which made filming a movie set in Europe, America, or some fantasy world more difficult for Japanese filmmakers. Anime allowed artists to create any setting and any style of character they desired.

Eastman began the Anime Club as a sophomore in 2006, and the club has maintained a solid presence on campus since then. “I started it because I wanted an anime club,” she says. “I thought it would be fun, and it is. We watch anime and then e talk about it after. Sometimes we have little events, like showing a movie for the public, and we plan a trip to an anime convention every year in Boston.” Additionally, one of the members of the club planned to put on a murder-mystery show, where the audience watches an anime movie and attempts to figure out who the killer is before the end of the video.

The group meets on Fridays at 6 p.m. in Room 304 of Colgate Hall. “We meet on Fridays because the meetings do run kind of long,” says Eastman. “We watch a whole DVD, which usually runs at least two hours , and we don't want people to worry about homework during the week.”

The Anime Club gives students an opportunity to explore another culture in a unique way. Through the creative artwork of the anime animators, one can get a small glimpse into Japanese culture and life. This cultural window is one that Colby-Sawyer students should look into as a way to enrich their knowledge and understanding of other cultures.