KHS club forms around popular art form

Members of the Kingsford High School anime club stand in front of a screening of “Sailor Moon.” From left are adviser Zachary Wedge, Gabriel Fortune, John Boivin, Cassidy Larson, Ethan Servia, Danielle Lucas and Dawson Turner. (Iron Mountain Daily News photo)

KINGSFORD — One of Kingsford High School’s newest clubs is hoping to gain membership on the strength of the growing popularity of anime.

Anime is hand-drawn and computer-generated animation originating from Japan. Some anime is well known, such as Pokemon, but there are obscure titles as well.

The club was formed about three years ago when a group of students started meeting informally, said adviser Zachary Wedge. Two years ago it was brought before the school board and made into an official school club.

“They wanted every kid to be able to have something,” Wedge said. It was one of about four clubs that were added.

Consistently they have six to 10 students who attend the Tuesday afternoon meetings. They are mostly sophomores and freshmen.

“More than half the club graduated last year,” Wedge explained. “It’s a pretty young group.”

Meetings are mostly informal.

“Most of the time we watch an episode or two of a different anime,” said Danielle Lucas, club president. “Then other days we have fun events, like one day we brought in someone’s Playstation and played anime games on it.”

Members take turns picking shows to watch. Sometimes they have manga days where they spend time reading anime books.

Wedge said they also try to find some authentic snacks and drinks to enjoy during movie days, which are usually shown before the breaks from school. Members sometime bring in items to give away.

Most of the members became interested in anime by watching clips online when they were young.

Lucas became interested in the club in junior high. “I heard about it in my seventh grade year. I love anime. Why not have people that share my common interest to talk to? One of my friends recommended it to me because I had watched a little bit in sixth grade. I love meeting the people that are also interested in anime. It’s fun to have some conversations with people that have different opinions about it.”

Member Ethan Servia also discovered anime in sixth grade. “I found random clips of anime, thought ‘Oh, this is kind of cool’ and I actually finished some. In eighth grade I heard about the anime club and I thought cool, maybe I can go there next year.”

“Mr Wedge told me about it. I didn’t know a lot of people so it was something I enjoyed,” said John Boivin.

Wedge saw Boivin wearing a sweatshirt. “I knew it was anime culture when I saw it,” he said.

Cassidy Larson’s favorite show is “Sailor Moon,” which they were watching Tuesday because it led to her introduction to anime.

“My uncle does cosplay, that’s when you dress up, and I was eight years old, which was the same age as the character of the show he was cosplaying. He made me watch the show and I got to dress up and I never really grew out of it,” she said.

“I like to meet new friends and hang out with the others and know what favorite anime they like and what I would like as well,” Dawson Turner said.

“I’m from Arizona, so I didn’t start out with many friends,” Gabriel Fortune said. “Even though I’ve watched most of all the anime they put on so far, its mainly about meeting people. Every now and again, I go to big events with lots more people.”

Some of the members are hoping to attend the Kitsune Kon convention in Green Bay, Wis., which is planned July 19-21 at the KI Convention Center.

The event started in 2011 and moved to the KI Convention Center in 2016 due to its growth.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper *

Starting at $4.62/week.

Subscribe Today