A History of Anime Club: Part I (The Beginning-2003)

25 04 2011

This is a history of Anime Club as provided to us by Clark Munson, who was involved with Anime Club from 1999-2003. We are very grateful for this information, and its great to know that Anime Club has been so successful and around for so long. What follows is from an e-mail Clark sent GW Anime Society:

This is Clark Munson. I wrote to you guys last August to say hi & welcome to GW Anime Society leadership. I promised some club info and pictures, and I’ve been totally holding out on you for an entire academic year. I’m soo sorry! I think about doing it at work all the time (when avoiding work), but never when I’m home and can do something about it. I read that GW’s year is ending this year, so I finally forced myself to do it. I’m glad I did – I found some fun pictures.

As some history, the club was started as ‘Project 2501’ (a reference from Ghost in the Shell) sometime in the mid-1990s (I know one of the founding members was named Daehee Hwang). I guess it lasted for a couple of years and fell dormant. When I came to GW in 1999, a girl named Ling (I’m sorry I don’t remember your last name Ling!) and Mikhail Koulikov got the paperwork going and restarted the club. (Andres Ovejero may have had a hand in that, but I’m not sure) They got a lot of people wondering what it was going to be by posting simple flyers proclaiming ‘Project 2501… it’s coming.’ in all sorts of elevators and lobbies around campus. We met in the Marvin Center and watched shows for about 2~3 hours on the cool green LCD projectors. (do they still have those? I would assume not) I’m an audiophile and couldn’t stand the sound, so every week I packed up a decent stereo and an expensive VCR and wheeled it to the Marvin Center in my luggage. Everyone appreciated the effort and the club was happy as a clam. Our main activity was the weekly viewing, but we also went to Katsucon and Anime USA, which was tiny at the time. (check out the attendance) We’d occasionally go out to dinner as a club to a place in Rosslyn called Appetizers Plus, which was an all-you-can-eat Sushi buffet. Good times.

In 2000, Ling stayed on as President and Andres Ovejero and I became co-vice presidents. Basically, Ling did the paper work and club emails, Andres did the advertising (his Evangelion flyers were epic), and I did operations and a lot of the anime procurement. During that year, both Andres and Ling got bogged down in school work and I took over most of the duties. We had our first big non-watching-anime event, where Steve Bennet of Studio Ironcat came and showed us all how to draw cell animation. (see attached pictures) It was a smashing success, and a lot of fun. We also had some great pictures at the 2001 ‘GW Chalk-In’ in front of Gelman. (check out the chalk drawings in the attached pictures)

I spent 2001~2002 in Japan (Nanzan – the Greatest Program), and Andres took over as President. The club did really well under his leadership, and he started the idea that we should change the obscure name to something more obvious. I don’t recall if it was his idea to go with ‘GW Anime Society’ (I think it was), but we changed the name officially when I did the paper work in fall of 2002. I was back from Japan and did another year as president. We brought Steve Bennet back for another successful cell painting workshop (it turns out he was going through some turmoil at the time, unbeknown to us; check this fascinating page out!), and we had some fun marathons, most notably the entire Kyoto-arc of Rurouni Kenshin, watched over one night on the big screen at FSK Hall, with an excellent sound setup. At least 15 members stuck it out to enjoy one of the greatest single seasons of anime ever made! We started out watching on Laserdisc, since I bought a bunch in Japan, but we couldn’t get the subtitles working correctly (I was a sometimes-subtitler), so we switched over to DVD. (I still wish we had watched those Laserdiscs, just because they’re so crazy awkward, but just as good if not better quality than DVD)

Anyway, I believe the next year was led by Laura Moiseev and Dee Adams as co-Presidents. (or maybe Carolina Harper?) Well, my wife needs a break from taking care of our tiny baby. Please let me know if I can answer any of your questions or put you in touch with anyone, and I wish you all the best in the last week of finals!


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