Adventures in cartoons

From left, Joshua Carlson, Arik Clark, Matt King and Bekka Taylor look over cards from a Japanese card game. -- Trey Mewes/trey.mewes@austindailyherald.com

AHS’s Anime Club experiences Japanese culture

Every Thursday, more than a dozen Austin High School students get together to share in a timeless tradition: Watch cartoons and play games.

AHS senior Thao Doan pages through Yu-Gi-Oh! trading cards, part of a card game based on a Japanese comic book.

These aren’t just any games, however. AHS’s Anime Club celebrates students’ interest in Japanese culture, specifically Japanese animation, or anime.

“It’s wonderful,” said Thao Doan, AHS senior. “We come together, hang out and talk about Japanese culture.”

Doan and a small group of friends formed the group three years ago, though the club’s seen its membership fluctuate. This year, about 20 students come together to discuss Japanese animation, a decades-old film genre that’s inspired American movies from award-winning Pixar flicks to the Matrix Trilogy.

“We try to include everybody that wants to come,” said Domingo Ramirez, AHS junior. “It’s an accepted thing.”

These students aren’t your stereotypical geeks with pop culture passion, however. There’s high school wrestlers alongside Knowledge Bowl participants, and students from all backgrounds. When not discussing the merits of Japanese animation, they learn about Japan’s pop culture traditions, from idol dancing to Go, an ancient board game.

“It’s grown a lot,” said Joshua Carlson, a Pacelli High School senior who participates in Anime Club.

Anime Club is set to grow further, as members hope to start learning Japanese as well as start learning about traditional Japanese activities. The group is also planning to attend Anime Detour, an annual anime convention held in the Twin Cities.

“It’s a lot of everything,” said Bekka Taylor, AHS sophomore.

AHS senior Thao Doan looks on as Carlson demonstrates idol dancing. -- Trey Mewes/trey.mewes@austindailyherald.com

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