Otakus and Movies!!!

During my senior year of High School, I became interested in Anime. There were already several Azns who were watching anime from fansubs and continued to brag about their achievements and their basic command of Japanese phrases. My interest grew as I learned about the seemingly cool and funny shows from various websites specialising in the subject. Once I entered college, I gained access to their filesharing network, which allowed me to download and watch entire series in less than a week. However, as the years went by, my interest in anime began to wane and I only downloaded shows that fit my interests, such as Gundam, Initial D, and Ghost in the Shell. During my final year in college, I found out about a club called the Japanese Cultural Association, which was actually just an anime club despite claiming to be a club for Japanese or people interested in Japanese culture. At first, I did not put much thought into going to such a club because it seemed redundant when all the Anime is available on Direct Connect and they only screen licenced series. I only went to the meetings because Will talked me into going and because I didn't have any plans that day. As it turned out, Will showed up to the club meeting 2 hours late, but this was also how I first Ted and Edwin and found out Brian Cwiek also goes to the meetings…

After the initial meeting, I later went to the real Japanese club where I once again bumped into Tedwin and met people who I now consider good friends. Nonetheless, I still went to several JCA meetings to hang out with Tedwin and Brian. During several meetings, I learned from Brian that he mainly goes to spend time with Tedwin, who are his High School buddies and to also make interesting observations about American Otaku culture. Around this time, I started to notice that there were only about 1 female for every 10 males in the club and that some of these people were way past the age of 30 and not university students. I also noted that most of the club members were only interested in Anime that featured cutesy or busty Anime girls that were usually drawn like they were under the age of 16 and acted in ways girls would never act in the real world. For some reason, Rutgers has an anime club full of Otakus yet it never had a full-fledged Star Trek club in its history…quite odd. It did not help that these people would make references to hentai or hentai games…This was the time I started having doubts that I was an Otaku, but was reassured by my Japanese friends that I do not fit the profile in any way, shape or form =D

Later I heard some interesting stories about how someone went to a JCA meeting and took pictures for an anthropological study on the Otaku culture. Depending on who I asked, the photographer was asked to apologise to the club members by the officers or she was simply allowed unrestricted access, much to the chagrin of the Otakus. There was another account of how the JCA members were trying extremely hard to impress two Japanese RONs officers who were there to do Yukata fittings to teach people about Japanese culture. Moreover, I heard another story of how a former RONs member was being stalked by JCA members until she made them all go away by pretending to be Korean. A more recent story, involved my friend overreacting online when I assumed that he was a good friend with an Otaku/JCA officer since he left the club after the Otaku turnout increased.

I think it would be a great idea for the JCA to have an Otaku-themed tour of Japan during their Winter Break at RU. While touring Japan they have ample opportunities to visit Anime conventions to explore their interests in 20 year-old Anime shows and get chances to hit on or harass 18-20 year-old waitresses who are dressed up in "Kawaii" outfits in Maid cafes…

Today, I saw the films "Serenity" and "Appleseed". I thought Serenity was a great film that picked up where the "Firefly" series left off and answered questions about the origin of the Reavers, the series' villainous race of humans. The only issues I had with the film, were the poor Mandarin spoken by nearly all the characters and the assumption that the viewers of Serenity were intimately familiar with the TV show. The strong points of the film were the actress who plays Serenity's mechanic is very cute and the actor who plays Simon Tam did a great job acting like a stereotypical Asian-American. I hope the DVD sales for the TV show and the film are well enough to justify a TV movie if not a full-fledged sequel to the film.

Appleseed on the other hand was based on the manga and anime of the same name. The film was computer animated while using cel-shading to animate the characters, giving them a 3d animated look. The story was quite interesting involving the conflicts between artificial and real humans and the problems behind rebuilding a war ravaged society. Overall, it was a short but fun film with an interesting world and characters. I look forward to downloading the sequel when it comes out.

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