It’s a dark, brisk, fall evening on a Thursday as the clock tower at Missouri Western calls out seven times from the shadows. The wind slowly shuffles the leaves outside of Murphy, twisting them into small dancing tornadoes of oranges, yellows and browns.
Just visible in the peripheral, a figure is dressed in a long brown trench coat with a belt holding a line of bullets thrown over one shoulder and a hat pulled low; like a ghost, he quietly slips into room 110. At his heels, a man with a black kimono follows him closely with a long black sword slung loosely over a shoulder. Both are gone within the span of a breath and a heartbeat leaving behind only the icy wind and the echos of the tower’s chime fading into the lonely silence of the night.
Should fear be the emotion of the moment? Nah, it’s just the weekly meeting of Missouri Western’s Anime Club.
Yep — we have one.
For those few who may not know what anime is, they are movies or a series of episodes that are skillfully drawn or animated, through computer generated imagery, that frequently contain ancient Japanese cultural tales and legends that were traditionally passed on through the , somewhat lost, art of storytelling. They help children, young adults and even adults to obtain these, otherwise, lost pieces of folklore.
Student Matthew Kurtz gives his personal account and a warning.
“I first got into it when I was a kid,” the four-year member said. “I just thought they were neat cartoons. As I got older and found out more about it, I naturally got more into Japanese culture in general. I use anime as a way to pick up on cultural ideas, although you have to be careful with that, there can be some things that can be misinterpreted.”
Club President Robert Bradley goes on to support this idea of cultural distribution in anime.
“From a personal perspective, it also gives a little bit of insight into a counter culture going on here in America,” Bradley said. “The people who (here in America) are watching anime (and are creating a subculture of their own).”
Five-year club veteran Cassandra Mohling, explains what the club tries to introduce about the culture beyond just showing anime.
“We are trying to get more into the culture,” Mohling said. “Last year we had origami and a drawing night which was pretty fun.”
They also attend an anime convention each year called “Nakakan,” that takes place in Liberty, Mo. There is a charge at the door; however, it costs $30 if there are seven or more to a group. The door fee is due prior to Nov. 30.
The club meets every Thursday at 7 p.m. in Murphy Hall, and anyone and everyone is invited to join free of charge, although there is a small fee per semester that is optional.
“[There are] $5 dues per semester if you want to pay them,” Mohling said. “They are mainly for if you want pizza or stuff like that.”
For more information or contact information for the Anime Club, visit them via mwsu.orgsync.com under the “social interest” category.
Other than motivating people to learn more about Japanese culture, the club’s goal is a pretty simple one.
“Our biggest goal is probably just to get more people interested in this,” Bradley said. “Because we like it a lot and we think other people would like it if they gave it a chance.”