“Animeniacs” overtake campus

Aaron Urist

Pointy faces, blue hair, flying forest animals – there’s only one place to find it all. For our fix of enormous eyes and large robots these days, we turn to anime. Anime has something for everybody, encompassing every genre most of us can think of, in both comic book (Manga) and pixelated form. It has been translated into hundreds of languages and has swept a huge portion of the U.S. population under its enormous feathery wings.
Lawrence is no different from the rest of the country, and our local anime fans come in the form of the Lawrence University Anime-lovers Union. According to LUAU president Erik Rinard, “LUAU started a few years ago but somehow dissolved into inactivity. It remained so until it was revived last year.” The mere existence of a club dedicated to Japanese animation begs one question: Why anime?
“I think it’s because you can do things in animation – especially this style – that you can’t do with live-action,” Rinard says. “The animation also seems to make the characters so much more dynamic and allows for much more interesting story lines. It goes place you otherwise couldn’t.”
Contrary to what one might assume, showing and watching anime is the mere beginning of LUAU’s realm of operations. “We do try to get public showings together,” Rinard adds. “All we’ve done this year is a private showing, because we’ve got so many new members.” To help increase visibility, LUAU ran a button sale fundraiser in Downer from Wednesday until Friday.
Rinard also says the group will focus their attention off-campus. “Our biggest event this year will be coordinating a trip to ACEN (Anime Central), an anime convention in Chicago.” Students can expect to see more information on the convention later. Until then, LUAU has advice for up-and-coming anime fans: first of all, attend meetings at 8 p.m. Tuesdays in the third-floor lounge of Kohler. As to actual viewing, Rinard has some recommendations on where to start your anime-watching career. “New fans, watch “Cowboy Bebop” or just check out Cartoon Network’s “Adult Swim” on weekdays and Saturdays. Everything they show is easy to get into,” he says. Also, if not watching anime, why not try drawing it? “There are quite a few of us who draw anime, at all sorts of skill levels,” Rinard says, “It’s good for all sorts of things. Also, a lot of us write fan fiction.”
In closing, Rinard provides new “Animeniacs” with words of hope and a call to reality for those who look down upon it. “Lovers: don’t allow yourselves to get put off by the weirder stuff. Watch what you like. Walk into it with an open mind. I understand how you might be creeped out by certain anime, but leave those be. Enjoy watching it, and try new things. Haters: well, we’re not going anywhere … sorry.