By Stanton Dobson, Copy Editor
Last Wednesday I sat in on Armstrong’s J-PAC (Japanese Pop Culture and Appreciation Club), also known as Anime Club. The experience I was treated to was very fun, lively and exciting—definitely not a bad way to spend a Wednesday evening. J-PAC’s member base is wildly passionate about what they do and its members are friendly towards newcomers.
Brandon Ellershaw, J-PAC’s president and a fine arts major here at Armstrong, explained the schedule of club events is divided into time slots for anime and for seminars. Each anime time slot is approximately 30-minutes. That’s just enough time to “watch a show or two,” Ellershaw describes. “[We] figure out which anime (and now drama’s) we want, and then place them wherever we see fit so that the most amount of people can get the most enjoyment out of it,” Ellershaw continued.
Anybody and everybody has a say in defining the semester’s line-up; even me, who also participated in picking the semester’s list of tentative shows. The final list is decided by several rounds of voting: a round for anime suggestions, a preliminary round, and a secondary round to finalize decisions. The result is an itinerary of around 10-15 shows slated to for watching across the entire school semester.
Strangely, the anime club is very political in their consumption of anime. Not only does the entire club vote on its club’s topics and foci, but there also various factions among their member-base divided among the particular anime they enjoy, the genres they prescribe to or even the specific interpretations of a series’ ultimate meaning that they validate. “Anime-politics” is a very real thing at the Anime Club. Max Hubert, a sophomore and criminal justice major here at Armstrong, explains, “It will be anime politics the majority of the time, [and]…it gets heated, but we know it doesn’t matter because at the end we’re going to watch some anime.”
Through it all, though, the Anime Club purports itself to truly be a “safe space” for the local community: a place where students and non-students can come to in order to escape the pressures of life, school, and work. “So the main focus of Anime Club or J-Pac is to be a social club where students and non-students can come together with friends and hangout and watch anime together. Too much work can dull out someone. You need some time to just relax, and I try to offer that” Ellershaw explains.
Ultimately Anime Club was a unique experience that I implore anyone to at least experience. The experience was a disorienting one at first to me. Interacting with this group of passionate young adults has been a pleasure, and I would gladly participate in another one of their meetings. The Anime Club convenes every Wednesday night in SC (Science Center) room 1401 6pm to 11pm.
To stay updated on the events on student organizations like the Anime Club be sure to pick up the latest copy of the Inkwell every week on Wednesday and check for my column.