In April of 2020 Hunter Houser and Katherine Benedict introduced an anime club to campus. This club was meant for students to have a place to go and meet other individuals who share a common interest in anime. The Anime Appreciation Association is now one of the over 200 clubs here at Ohio Northern.
Hunter Houser is a sophomore creative writing major, who came onto campus last year and struggled to find a place that was for him. He searched and searched for a club, none suited for him”I know that there are people who are like-minded who at first when I got here I couldn’t find a club that was necessarily suited for what I wanted and so I spent forever kinda just alone without a club to join”.
A comment made on the Ohio Northern Mobile App about anime by an individual on campus, sparked Houser’s memory of his fascination with anime when he was younger. He then banded together with Katheryn Benedict, third-year writing and multimedia studies major and the current vice president; along with their current advisor Chris Caldwell to form the club.
The club has roughly 70 to 80 members after a year of operation. They have not been able to host many meetings besides the one informational one they had this year and the celebration one from last year that marked the club as official. Houser says that “It has been hard to get people to come out with COVID.”
The focus of the club is to engage in enjoyable conversation regarding topics in anime. In their first meeting, the officers along with the members banned together to create a constitution. The constitution lays out the central understanding of the club—your basic rules and regulations.
The club has not had many meetings, but they do have future plans for the club. Activities such as watch parties and conversational meetings were noted. Both the president and vice president indicated future plans regarding a convention being held here at Ohio Northern. Houser discussed the idea stemming from the convention held at Wooster, Woo-Con.
The individuals who are in charge of Woo-Con describe it as a general nerd/geek culture convention. Ranging from the topics of anime, musicals, video games, TV, superheroes, sci-fi, fantasy, and more. Getting this convention to take place here on campus is a substantial goal for the creators of the club. With excitement in his voice, Hunter Houser stated that he “Really thought it would be a great idea to pull something off like that here.”
Benedict went on to express her feelings about what else she would like to do in the club. “What I really want to see is an environment not as you would see on social media with anime like I like this person, but I would like us all to have in-depth discussions as our club name is appreciation. I would also like for all of us to have insight on things.”
Houser created a casting video showing a brief conversation from the club’s first official meeting, where they discuss what activities they plan to partake in.
Houser elaborates more on the topic of Woo-Con, followed by Caldwell discussing some advantages you might get diving into this type of cultural club if you are interested. Benedict stated that this club’s “purpose is to bring people who enjoy anime or want to know what anime is all about since it has gained popularity, we can all come together form discussions, watch clips, celebrate and express what we enjoy in terms of anime in a comfortable environment.”