By: Stefanie Sears
Where can you find bright lights, dance, screams, music and performance? At AnimeNext 2010, where MSU’s Japan Club Dance Crew (JCDC) performed a dance number to G-Dragon’s “Heartbreaker.” This routine earned them second place in the performance category at this past summer’s AnimeNext, which took place June 18 – 20. Other categories including solos and modeling.
“We were so ecstatic. We were not expecting to win second place,” said sophomore Bonnie Garcia, Japan Club media consultant and JCDC member. “It was a step up for us. We felt so great because we worked so hard.”
AnimeNext is an annual weekend anime convention that runs from Friday through Sunday in Somerset, NJ.
Left photo: Left to right: Sophomore JCDC members Adrianna Andino, cosplaying as Chrome Dokuro from Katekyo Hitman Reborn, Bonnie Garcia, cosplaying as Reira Serizawa from Nana and Elena Badillo cosplaying as Haruhi Suzumiya from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. Right photo: Left to right: JCDC members Andrew Sanns, Meghan O’Leary, Adrianna Andino, Julia Williams, Elena Badillo, Bonnie Garcia and David “Cherry” Caceres win second place for the performance category.
AnimeNext consists of many activities, in addition to the Anime Masquerade, which is the performance portion of the convention. A number of Japan Club’s members cosplayed, which means dressing up as an anime character. For example, Garcia cosplayed as Reira Serizawa from the anime Nana, clad in a white dress with a flower in her hair. Cosplaying is not limited to just anime characters, though, as there have been sightings of Jesus Christ and Abe Lincoln, along with others.
Other activities include Cosplay Chess, where the people dressed as characters are the pieces and the Anime Music Video (AMV) screenings, where clips taken from animes are set to music. Attendees vote on these videos and the winners are announced on the night of the Masquerade. There is also a Dealer’s Room, which has been described as a Japanese Wal-Mart, that sells posters, manga, cooking equipment, action figures, DVDs, etc., all imported from Japan.
Another interesting event that takes place are panels of the voice-over actors and production companies, such as FUNimation Entertainment, who lend their talents to create English versions of the anime, also knows as dubs. FUNimation Entertainment gets the rights from Japanese companies such as GONZO, and also American based companies such as Geneon Entertainment and ADV Films, to make these dubs.
MSU’s Japan Club prides itself in celebrating Japanese culture as well as anime.
“I want everyone to know we are not just anime and games,” said junior Kathy Sosa, Japan Club president. “There is modern Japan, which includes fashion, food and anime, a type of animation mostly used in Japan and [which] usually has a huge audience, and the traditional Japan, which includes geisha[s], female Japanese entertainers [who] perform classical dances and songs, and samurai[s], soldier[s] of high nobility and [who] follow the rules of bushido, which is a rule of conduct that all samurai must follow and it is a sense of loyalty towards the monarchy in Japan. We want the campus to learn the difference and anything about it. We want to maintain and create relationships with other organizations.”
So what is it about anime and Japanese culture that attracts so many people?
“What makes anime/Japanese culture so interesting is that it’s very unique. Here in America we’re used to the same stuff repeating itself over and over again but when it comes to anime/Japanese culture there’s history behind it and they incorporate their history with the more modern stuff,” said Sosa with a smile. “I guess what I’m trying to say is that the Japanese culture is always transforming itself like America but they are doing it in a more interesting way than America. Like they use cute characters to promote food, books and other stuff, while here we use celebrities constantly and it’s nothing new and interesting. I think what was so special about these shows is that it makes your imagination run wild and makes you want to be part of that world and the drawing is amazing.”
“It’s all the different kinds of stories and genres,” said sophomore Japan Club member Anthony Lazaro. “It’s not like those American cartoons I watched when I was young, where it’s one different story every episode. Most of the ones I watch have a continuing story throughout the series, and it builds up. That plus the actual animation, character developments, even the background music is sometimes really awesome. There are so many different kinds like I said. I’ve seen really mature ones, very gory ones, but also romantic school series where there’s nothing out of the ordinary.”
Japan Club holds their weekly meetings Tuesdays nights at 5:30 p.m. in Room 417 of the Student Center. All are welcome, even if you are not of Asian descent.
Japan Club’s Anime Nights, now creatively renamed “Japanatainment Nights,” are held every other Wednesday night this semester at 8:30 p.m. in the Center for Student Involvement (CSI), Room 104. These nights are going to be different from previous Anime Nights.
“We will be showing anime, live action movies and Japanese dramas,” said Garcia. Possible movies may include Transformers, The Ring and The Grudge with subtitles, though the anime may be in either Japanese with subtitles or English.
Of course, Japan Club’s events extend beyond Japanatainment Nights. Some others include the Scavenger Hunt, Mitsuwa Trip, Fall Food Festival, Zombie Run, Character Date Auction and Chibicon, literally translated as “small con,” Japan Club’s own version of AnimeNext. JCDC also performs at some of these gatherings. Students of all different ethnicities are welcome to join in the fun!
For more information, check out the Facebook pages for MSU Japan Club Media http://www.facebook.com/pages/MSU-Japan-Club-Media/142263092479142?ref=ts, Japan Club MSU http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=131665050184033&ref=ts, and JCDC http://www.facebook.com/pages/JCDC/295944970865?ref=ts. And check out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lwcabkeymic to watch JCDC’s winning performance