Dedicated fans keep anime club alive for more than a decade

by | Jan 20, 2018 | A&E, Campus News, IGNITE

Nathalie Leveille
Arts Reporter

When school gets stressful, some students are finding Humber’s Anime Club to be a great way to unwind.

Anime is a facet of Japanese culture that often takes the form of a television series, and is based on manga comics. Manga and anime have become extremely popular in Western culture thanks to the many fandoms that exist on the internet.

This distinct culture made its way into room B215 at Humber’s North campus 11 years ago when a couple of people came together because they loved anime.

The club started off like most school clubs do, with a lot of paperwork, time and dedication.

Since then, it has slowly progressed into the club it is today, and now assembles every Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Deon Jerome Sikat, president of the Anime Club, said another reason people joined the club, aside from the love for their beloved anime series, was because room B215 was a stress-free place for people from all over the Humber community, including students from the University of Guelph-Humber.

“In general, the anime club is like a chill space,” Sikat said. “It’s more like a place where you can sit down, relax and watch some good anime that you’ve either seen or haven’t seen before.”

The club is also a social place where people can interact with other members, and learn about different types of anime.

These genres would include Action, Adventure, Romance, Humor, Horror and everything in between.

The club leaders have modernized their way to find out what sorts of anime their members wanted to watch, so they are not restricted to one particular sort of anime.

They have done this by setting up the Facebook group “Humber/Guelph-Humber Anime Club.”

Sikat said he and vice-president Brandon Lo choose what anime the group will focus on for the upcoming week after getting feedback from members.

“So, we don’t necessarily focus on one anime,” he said.

Sikat asks members if they know any anime shows within the most requested genre.

“I’ll download the anime on to a floppy disc, and we’ll play the video during club day,” he said.

The club also organizes activities periodically, which pertain to the world of manga and anime. This includes raffling out some key chains or some mini figures.

They also host “cosplay” contests, where members wear character costumes, which always played a vital part in anime fandoms.

Some people choose to buy their cosplay online, and others make theirs from scratch, using fabric, thread and sewing machines. They also make cosplay music videos and roleplay.

“First, second and third best costumes get some great prizes,” Sikat said. “The prizes come from AnimeXtreme in downtown Toronto.”

The club doesn’t go to big conventions as a group. However, traditions in the club hold it that leaders invite members to have dinner at Tucker’s whenever they go to one of the most well-known conventions, Anime North, held in May.

“If members of the anime club are going to the convention, they’ll let us know, or we’ll let them know we’re at the convention,” Sikat said. “We don’t buy tickets for our members. When it comes to conventions, you buy your own ticket.”

IGNITE usually takes care of the funding, as it does for all Humber clubs.

As the president of the 430-member Anime Club, Sikat knows some people need encouragement to join.

“I want Humber students to not feel ashamed about liking anime at all,” he said. “I know there are some people out there who watch anime, and they still feel scared to tell people that they do. I want to make sure to create a space where people can enjoy what they like without feeling ashamed.”

Lo, the club’s vice-president, who has been a member since 2014, said what moved him and Sikat to reboot the 2017-2018 anime club was all the support they had gotten from the regular members.

“The regulars from last year kept asking whether or not there was gonna be club this year. I thought about it with Deon,” he said.

He also gave a boost of encouragement to students who were thinking about joining the club.

“I welcome anyone that wants to join the anime club to come visit room B215 every Wednesday,” Lo said.