Anime club’s numbers small, loyalty strong

By Seth Endres

The dimly lit room looks to be a forgotten storage space, filled with a bunch of mismatched, slightly worn chairs as figures move silently amidst the long forgotten environment. It may look like a scene from an old horror flick, but it is the meeting place for the Anime Association of NIU.

Anime is the word used to describe Japanese animation. Anime is made for all types of audiences including children, adolescents and adults. In short, anime consists of the same types of genre  – such as comedy, romance, action and drama – seen in television and movies.

The club originated out of an anime film night held at Sycamore Public Library. The Anime Association slowly began to form after attendance numbers at film night increased.

“The club started in 1999, and had about 20 members. It’s hard to keep track of membership, because not everyone is signed up,” said senior criminology major Jennifer Sterczek.

According to the club’s Web site, it had an average of 55 members around November 1999 and has remained strong with a membership of 25 to 30 members a year since.

The most popular rumor is most of the members are male. Another popular misconception is club members just sit around and watch anime. The club’s location in the basement of Cole Hall also leads to rumors that the club members don’t like people.

The club boasts an average ratio of four females for every five males, and the current president is a female. For those who think the club is just a bunch of guys sitting around, discussing who would win between “Vash the Stampede,” from the series “Trigun,” and “Spike,” from the series “Cowboy Bebop,” you’re wrong. The group does more then watch anime series and movies.

“You get to meet people, go places, hang-out, it’s a nice break from class, and little thinking is required, but it’s a lot of fun,” said junior illustration major Mary Lythgoe, who is so dedicated she is “willing to show up with only four hours of sleep.” The club has planned two trips this year, one to Anderson Japanese Garden in Rockford, and another to an authentic Japanese marketplace.

To raise money for these trips and pay for party costs, the Anime Association holds fundraisers and charges membership fees. One such fundraiser is a monthly raffle. All of the funds head directly back to the members. The Anime Association has two major parties, the Halloween party and the end-of-semester party. The parties include food, games, music and even an Anime character costume contest.

“We’re all friendly here,” said former president Josh Earel, a computer science major graduate student.

The Anime Association meets in the preview room of Cole Hall out of tradition. The founders of the group knew students involved with the audio/visual crew, and were able to secure a room to use for meetings. The central location on campus and low cost are also ideal for club use.

The club may not be for everyone though. The club has decided to only play animes with sub-titles, which means if you’re not a fan of reading, the club probably isn’t for you.