I've been recently thinking about the future of the Anime Tribe and my part in it and a few things came to mind.
One obvious thing is that I really don't have time to be running a club when I am being a Mum. I think it's it's a bit inconsiderate of me to call myself the "leader" of a group I am not actively participating in.
Our club has educated and entertained and been a social network for a lot of people over the years. Many have come together because they "love anime" and have had their tastes broaden, change, or mature. When I first started this club there were only a few places you could get anime in NZ, and most of it was only available on VHS. Times have changed, markets have grown, fan bases have blossomed, withered and been reborn.
Over the years I have heard a lot of things said about anime, by fans, critics, the well-informed, the misinformed or painfully ignorant, the passionate, and the dispassionate alike, and I thought I would share some of them with you so I sat and brainstormed a bit this afternoon.
(Feel free to comment or add to this list ^_^)
animations made in Japan, a medium - not a genre, for kids, post-apocalyptic, imaginative,
childish, characters who can fly, panties, the demise of many once promising artists,
big eyes - small mouth, a reason to cosplay, cats, big guns, blue hair, gritty, romantic,
action, fine if you don't have to put up with the fans, derivative, tentacles and demons,
hot bois, repetitive, moody, deep, R18 cartoons, self-reflection, cool, stereotypical,
what I want to make for a living, pretty, fast paced, sci-fi, violent, robots, unrealistic,
martial arts, exploitation, Japanese, drama, demeaning, magical girls, political,
cheaply made, spaceships, intense, silly, porn, artsy, gay, gore, subs vs dubs,
guys who all look like chicks, character driven, foreign, artsy, slow, difficult to follow,
simplistic, well crafted, great because it makes no sense, beautiful, immoral, charming,
better than Americanimation, fantasy, more fun to watch than to make, liberating,
Pokemon and animal sidekicks, chicks with big boobs, not as good as fan fiction....
I think that one of the things made really obvious by this list is that the first couple of comments are true. Anime is a medium, and as such people will have wide and varied experiences of it and fans may find completely different things enticing about the material. Since 2001 we have had members who have had passionate interests in such various genres as R18 titles, mecha scifi, shoujo romance and shounen martial arts, zany comedy, and cute family movies (just some of a selection that come to mind). Some fans have been interested in their own manga creations, others, in making or enjoying other people's cosplay outfits, anime music videos, fan fiction, and even short animations.
The feedback that I have received from most of our older members is that an anime club holds very little interest for them any more because of a couple of things. One major reason is because of this variety of styles in anime. Most people who have been interested in anime for some time know what they like and a less likely to find a series that is not in a style that they enjoy to be at least a novel change. Basically it's difficult to keep everyone happy all of the time.
Another major factor is that times have changed. Anime is nolonger a fringe interest with very little industry support. We have done our part at the bleeding edge in this country, paying insane prices so that companies like MangaNZ (now Madman NZ) can get a foot in the door. Widespread English language releases, DVDs with alternate language options, and the internet as a distribution network have completely changed the availability of this, once fringe, medium. We no longer need to huddle together in darkened rooms watching something our friend got from Japan when she was on holiday, or hope in vain for 5 years that some American company might eventually release a subtitled version of the latest popular TV series in Japan.
While the Anime Tribe has been a valuable social network for a lot of people over the years (just thinking of the flats that have formed, couple who have met and close friendships that still endure), very few people have been attending meetings or posting on our forums lately. As a result I don't think we are losing much by calling it a day. I hear that there is a new anime interest group on campus at Canterbury University, but I don't know how well they are doing. I wish them all the best.
I will get around to cleaning up the website and posting an official "WE ARE CLOSED" type post there once I have time and a new FTP client installed on this machine :P This will be after Captain's exams so don't try to hurry me along.
I'm happy to keep a few remnants of the club going so if you want to discuss stuff I'll keep the forum live and this LJ Community would be a good place for folks to post messages about things like Film Festival movies and cons and the like.
I hope this doesn't leave anyone feeling left out of the loop or disregarded. If you want to start your own interest group or club the option is always that and I wish you all the best :)