The formation of Anime Fannatiku is another proof that Japanese animation is taking the Western culture by the storm. The quality of the animation and the sheer number of excellent writers make anime superior to cartoons and other forms of animated creations the Western world creates.
A club has formed for those who appreciate anime (Japanese animation), or just want to check it out. Anime Fannatiku meets the first Saturday of every month from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Hurricane Library.
“Evilness is bad,” Hillarie Gowers, a club member, quoted from an anime. “I like anime. Anime is fun. I go because I can dress up and not be laughed at.”
Natalie Daniel, a librarian clerk at the Hurricane Library, was inspired to start the group by a similar one that meets in the Charleston Library in Las Vegas, called Anime Vegas.
“I was sitting at the computer one day and thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if we had a club here where we could all get together with people who have similar interests?’” Daniel said.
She talked her co-worker, Sarah Hall, into helping her organize the club.
“We knew there would be a large fan base here,” Hall said, “because we have an extensive selection of Japanese Manga, which most animes are based on, at the library and we can’t keep them in. They’re always being checked out, especially by the high school students. When we advertised for the anime club, we received a positive response.”
The first meeting of the Anime Fannatiku
Anime Fannatiku met for the first time on Feb. 4. A total of 75 people were in attendance, and some of them were from St. George and Ivins. Even Anime Vegas founder, Rich Stott, brought a group of members with him from Las Vegas to support the club opening.
“Rich was really impressed by our turnout,” Daniel said. “His first club meeting only eight people came. He started the club three years ago, and now has over 200 members who come every month.”
The club’s meeting featured cosplay, where the members dress up like their favorite anime character and win a prize. The group watched anime music videos, where American pop music and anime are cut and spliced to the music. Gowers made an anime music video just for the opening.
“Hillarie’s video was really cute,” Daniel said.
At each meeting, the club watches new and classic anime, a movie or first couple of episodes, enough for the members to get interested in an anime series. On Feb. 4, Anime Fannatiku premiered “Final Fantasy: Advent Children,” which the people from Las Vegas hadn’t even seen. They also played DDR (Dance Dance Revolution).
“Kids lined up from the back of the room to play,” Hall said. “It was a lot of fun.”
The second meeting of the Anime Fannatiku
The next meeting is set for March 4. At 11 a.m., they will show “InuYasha movie No. 1: Affections Touching Across Time.” Afterward, the club will have its first art contest. The fanart theme is spring picnic. Contestants will need to have their finished product ready to be displayed, and members will be allowed 30 minutes to vote.
At 1:15, they will show the first two episodes of “Clamp’s Tsubasa Reservoir of Chronicles (Subtitled).” Then the winners of the art contest will be announced, and the first place winner will receive a prize. The winners of the art contest will have their entries displayed in the library for the month of March.
The meeting will end with a short J-Pop (Japanese popular music) dance. Costumes are always welcome.
“We were inspired to do a J-Pop dance to further expose our club members to the Japanese culture,” Hall said. “The more you understand the culture, the more you appreciate the media.”
The beginning of the raffles
In April, the club will start raffles for anime standees or life-size cutouts, posters and DVDs. In the future they will have Japanese Karaoke, songs from the popular animes, as well as cosplay workshops and how-tos. Anime Fannatiku also wants to have masquerades later in the year, where people do skits and vote for their favorite one and win prizes.
“I thought it was a fun place for people to meet with similar interests,” said Kelli Jo Hall, a club member. “We’d have to drive to the one in Vegas once a month. It’s just nice to have someone local, where people who like anime can be with other people who like it, too.”
Daniel and Hall have been fans of anime for a long time.
“I’ve always watched anime, and couldn’t find anyone else who watched it until I went to Tuacahn High School,” Daniel said.
“I’ve been watching anime since I was tiny,” Hall said. “I grew up watching Robotech and Voltron with my brothers. We’d get up early on Sunday morning and watch them when we weren’t supposed to. I started to get back into it when I got married and my husband owned several series of anime. I’ve been loving it and sewing costumes for it ever since.”
Each also has her own favorite anime series.
“I have two: Fruits Basket and Fushigi Yûgi,” Hall said. “I like them because of the really intricate story lines and the character development and relationships, and the art is so pretty.”
Daniel had a different favorite.
“FullMetal Alchemist,” she said. “I like it for the characters. You learn to love the characters.”
Daniel was excited about meeting and obtaining the autograph of Vic Mignogna, the voice of Edward, (the main character of FullMetal) at a convention in Las Vegas sponsored by Anime Vegas.
“He’s the most amazing, sweetest guy in the world,” Daniel said of Mignogna.
Anime Fannatiku member Travis Larson also enjoys the club.
“I think it is awesome,” he said. “I think it’s a great idea. I hope it works out.”