The East meets the West at the revived Hillsdale College Anime Club.
The club meets Mondays at 7 p.m. in Lane 337 to watch and discuss anime, a form of Japanese art. Members said the club looks to bring a taste of Eastern culture to a college that has heavy emphasis on the Western tradition.
“We noticed there wasn’t that much representation of Eastern culture on campus,” Secretary Eric Rygh said. “We tend to get caught up in this insular echochamber with Western media.”
Although right now the club is mostly watching episodes of anime shows, President junior Summer Smith said she hopes the club will grow and do more cosplay and take trips to conventions.
“Anime is Japan’s version of our Hollywood,” Smith said. “They use animation, because live action costs a lot more to have special effects. It combines animation and storytelling in a way that’s unique to Japan.”
For one of the club’s recent meetings, members attended a cosplay event at Hero’s Nest, Hillsdale’s comic book shop.
“It’s about anime, but there’s a lot more culture that’s involved in that,” Smith said. “One aspect of the anime culture is dressing up as characters from your favorite TV shows.”
Rygh said many people have a negative perception of anime, since Western media uses animation differently.
“I think the reason why people have this not-so-great impression of animation overall is because cartoons haven’t been used to tell stories to the extent that they have been in the East,” Rygh said. “Anime has really well fleshed out characters, a strong plot, really good relationships, a lot of good themes — anything you would find in a novel worth your time.”
The club’s members revived the group, after a previous anime club became inactive. Reviving the anime club meets a need on campus, Vice President sophomore Natalie Nickel said.
“We have the Sci-Fi/Fantasy Club on campus,” Nickel said. “They don’t fill the gap of anime. It’s similar, but there are a lot of things that aren’t quite the same.”
And with many genres within the artform, anime always has something unique to discover, Nickel said.
“From what I have learned, anime is not what you initially think it is,” Nickel said. “There’s so much variety. There’s something for almost everybody.”