According to club president John Depa, the three rules of Anime @ Emerson are simple: “Get involved, discuss and question, and geek out and have a blast.”
Depa, creator of Anime @ Emerson and a freshman visual and media arts major, said he started the club in his room during the fall semester as a way of getting to know people, and within three weeks, the room had reached maximum capacity. As a result, Depa decided to move the weekly anime viewings to the sixth floor common room of the Paramount building. From there, his friends became the club’s first members, and silly rules thrown around became postulates the club aims to follow.
Anime @ Emerson held its first mixer Sunday, Jan. 26th to work toward becoming a recognized student organization. It was only last November that the friends decided to expand their get-togethers into a club that aims to foster a deeper appreciation for anime and remove existing stigmas.
“This really was an accidental club,” said Depa.
The Anime @ Emerson group now has over 56 members on Facebook. Nonetheless, it continues to seek out new members, which was the primary reason behind the mixer held in Piano Row’s Multipurpose Room. The event drew 23 students.
The mixer started with a 10-minute icebreaker, when students explained who they are and why they are interested in Anime @ Emerson. However, the officers made sure that the mixer stayed fun by making the opener the only traditional part of the whole afternoon. Directly after the icebreaker, rounds of a game called Pterodactyl began. The rules were as follows: Going in a circle, students either shout the word “pterodactyl” or make a move resembling one. Whoever shows their teeth first, whether from laughing or saying the word incorrectly, loses.
“By having our first mixer at Piano Row, we hope to extend our club to more students,” said Camille Ruley, a freshman visual and media arts major and one of the initial members of Anime @ Emerson.
The club has decided that one of the three hours of its weekly meetings will be dedicated to socializing, discussing, and critiquing what they are watching. The club is also working toward connecting anime to history. For example, episode six of Code Geass, a Japanese anime series, has links to Orwellian and dystopian societies, which is comparable to today’s treatment of third world countries, said Depa.
The club also found a faculty advisor in Mary Eberhardinger, a communications professor who has spent time in Japan teaching English. Eberhardinger said the club helped her reconnect with a part of her past when she was involved with Japanese anime.
Depa said Anime @ Emerson has come a long way in transforming a weekly hangout into a club with the goal of getting recognized. November saw changes to their meetings: they began holding discussions, organized special group events throughout the semester, added a faculty advisor, and held elections for office members.
Depa said the members of Anime @ Emerson highly encourage students to “check the club out to lose themselves in the judgment-free aura.”
Romano can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.