Thursday, October 21, 2021

Animation Club nurtures a sense of belongingness

Brad Procita

The Animation Club provides members with a judgment-free zone to discuss and watch their favorite animated shows. Instead of focusing on creating animation, which is a lengthy process, members share their appreciation of their favorite shows. However, if members want to create their own animation and use the club to spotlight their work, that is welcome and encouraged. 

“We want to harbor a higher appreciation for animation,” Club President John Lynch said. “We see it as an art form that doesn’t get talked about as much.” 

Clubs at other schools choose to focus solely on anime, which is a subset focusing solely on Japanese animation, but Lynch wants the club to be broader.

“People have different tastes,” Lynch said. “They want to show stuff that’s completely different than what I’m into.” 

Elin O’Hara, the faculty advisor, emphasized the fact that all types of animation are welcome to be discussed in the club. 

“There’s a little something for everyone,” O’Hara said. 

At a typical meeting, members will watch episodes of an animated show. Group members voted to watch “Infinity Train” for their weekly show. They will watch at least one episode of it every meeting. Lynch, along with other board members, will choose a theme for the week and select other shows to watch during meetings that he allows members to vote on. 

The voting occurs via polls on the club’s Facebook page SUNY Plattsburgh Animation Club (2021-2022). There’s even an opportunity for members to add their own poll options. Although he is the president of the club, Lynch prioritizes choice and creativity because he believes that they should function as a team and wants all members to have a say in club activities.

Some of the show’s on the ballot last week were “Bojack Horseman,” English-dubbed “Ghost Stories,” “Rick and Morty,” and “The Regular Show.” A member also suggested watching “Invincible” in a conversation with Lynch.  

Some animated shows choose to focus on action, drama or comedy, others choose to tackle a more serious subject. “Welcome to the N.H.K,” one of Lynch’s personal favorites, has a heavy focus on the stigma surrounding mental health.

“This is an actual issue and we need to focus on it more,” Lynch said.

The club is looking into traveling to animation conventions, but with COVID-19 and its emerging variants still being an active threat, this is proving to be challenging. In the past, the Student Association has provided grants to make it more accessible for students to attend these types of events. 

“Those SA grants really helped increase access for students to go who may not have necessarily been able to afford it previously,” O’Hara said.

 Bakuretsu Con, the convention club members usually attend, hasn’t posted a date for when it will be held, but members are keeping their hopes up. According to the conventions Facebook page, Bakuretsu Con, they have their sights set on operating in 2022. 

It’s unclear whether class will still be in session when the event is held but Lynch is keeping his hopes up that the group will be able to attend. According to the Bakuretsu Cons website, https://www.bakuretsucon.org, the event typically attracts around 600 fans and it is sponsored by The Anime Society of Vermont, a non-profit organization whose chief mission is to “promote cultural awareness and diversity through the celebration of anime and manga.”

Lynch discussed the possibility of the club attending Tora-Con if Bakuretsu Con turns out to be a no-go. Tora-Con, hosted by the Rochester Institute of Technology, has set a day for their convention. It will be held March 19, 2022. The event is described on their website, https://toracon.org, as “a two-day convention for fans of anime, cosplay, and nerd culture.”

For Lynch, that “nerd culture” is a winning way of life. Lynch said he’s met all his friends here through the club and seemed enthused about meeting new like-minded people and bringing the club back face-to-face after a year-long hiatus. 

Animation Club meets on Wednesdays, 7 to 9 in Hudson 106.

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