(Early) April Fools Day!!

29 03 2012

Another year, another OP/ED switch, so if anyone missed them, or wants to see them again, you can download here:

Google Docs



I’d post them to YouTube, but they’d probably get removed pretty quickly…


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!

End of This Year’s Anime Club and Thank You!

25 04 2011

Hey everyone. This year’s Anime Club is nearing its end. Our last meeting will be this Thursday, on April 28, 2011. Club will resume later this year in September under new leadership. For those of you who will be leaving us, good luck with your future plans! For those of you who will be staying with us, we hope to see you next year for another fun year!

I don’t know which of those two categories I’ll be in, but I surely enjoyed my four years as a member of Anime Club here at GW. It’ll be one of the things I’ll greatly miss. I got to meet a lot of cool people and watch a lot of great shows during my time here.

On behalf of this year’s e-board and club, I’d like to thank you all for another great year of Anime Club. I hope everyone had an exciting year and enjoyed this year’s lineup as well as Katsucon. May Anime Club be exciting and successful for years to come. Cheers!

-Akhi (President of Anime Club from 2009-2011)

Did you like the April Fool’s Day surprise?

17 04 2011

Check the video page! The Eden/Spice mix, the Samurai/Hetalia mix, and the Sora/Umineko mix are up!

Oh and if anyone can get me an HQ raw version (avi preferably) I’ll re-do the videos so that they’re better quality =D

**have been uploaded to gwanime’s googledocs: click here to download**

New Videos!

22 02 2011

Check out the Video Page for 2 new videos from Katsucon 17!

Also, if you have any videos you want to put up on the site, upload them to YouTube and post the links as a comment!

Why We Watch, Read, Play What We Watch, Read, Play

7 09 2010

Why do we watch Anime? Read Manga, or as many of our type of people are wont to do, read Fantasy or Science Fiction? Or play games?  The truth is, our day-to-day slog is pretty boring, uneventful, and not nearly as vivid or enjoyable as these other activities. Some would say its an escape, but I say these are the means by which we transcend our mundane reality and truly live our lives, if but for a few fleeting hours a week.

Here’s a quote about Fantasy by GRRM that captures very well what I’m trying to say. Of course, it applies to Anime and Manga as well:

“The best fantasy is written in the language of dreams. It is alive as dreams are alive, more real than real … for a moment at least … that long magic moment before we wake.

Fantasy is silver and scarlet, indigo and azure, obsidian veined with gold and lapis lazuli. Reality is plywood and plastic, done up in mud brown and olive drab. Fantasy tastes of habaneros and honey, cinnamon and cloves, rare red meat and wines as sweet as summer. Reality is beans and tofu, and ashes at the end. Reality is the strip malls of Burbank, the smokestacks of Cleveland, a parking garage in Newark. Fantasy is the towers of Minas Tirith, the ancient stones of Gormenghast, the halls of Camelot. Fantasy flies on the wings of Icarus, reality on Southwest Airlines. Why do our dreams become so much smaller when they finally come true?

We read fantasy to find the colors again, I think. To taste strong spices and hear the songs the sirens sang. There is something old and true in fantasy that speaks to something deep within us, to the child who dreamt that one day he would hunt the forests of the night, and feast beneath the hollow hills, and find a love to last forever somewhere south of Oz and north of Shangri-La.

They can keep their heaven. When I die, I’d sooner go to middle Earth.”

My Journey to the East

7 08 2010

Recently, I went to China for two weeks in order to take a course in International Economics. Additionally, the trip offered me an opportunity to see China with my own eyes. My primary major is International Affairs with a concentration in Asia, and though I focused more on South Asia/India and Japan, I took a fair amount of courses that were about or partly about China. Also, as I am a history buff, I have read a lot about Chinese history and philosophy, which happen to be among the longest and most refined of the world’s civilizations. All that being said, I was pretty excited to see China with my own eyes, though I was only going to Shanghai and Hangzhou and not Beijing/the Great Wall.

As everyone knows, China is currently undergoing one of the biggest economic expansions in the history of the world. This is fairly obvious; from the time I got off the plane in Shanghai, I saw signs of development, construction, industry, and commerce- in short, a booming city filled with excited people moving about with a sense of purpose- as though they knew their time had come. Much of Shanghai’s newer buildings in its commercial area (Pudong) and roads are much better developed than those in the United States. Other parts of the city are fairly developed, though not at the level of the United States, and obviously the standard of living is still lower since most things are cheaper there. I also cannot say how rich China as a whole is since I didn’t get to venture into the poorer rural areas in the interior; however, I did visit Hangzhou (a couple of hours south of Shanghai) and it seemed to be doing fairly well. Anyhow, the Shanghai I saw was an extremely vibrant city, perhaps because of the excitement of the people and capitalism, things the Chinese people have not experienced for much of their long history, which happened to have been extremely troubled for most of the 20th century. Napoleon is said to have once said “Let China sleep, for when she wakes, the world will shake.” This I believe to be an accurate assessment. The Chinese people are working very hard to push their country forward, and if they continue going at their current pace, much of it will reach Western standards one day. However, it remains to be seen if this will happen or not since there is a lot of discontent among China’s rural populace, and since it is dubious if the world’s resources can support China’s continued growth. From a foreign policy point of view, while China’s neighbors do benefit from its economic growth, it is doubtful if anyone of its neighbors wishes this to be translated into military expansion and Chinese assertion. These issues continue to raise questions about the ultimate future of China this century, as it faces both internal and external challenges. I would like to compare China with some other countries I know about:

  • United States: going to China makes one realize how unique and wonderful the United States is in some ways. The United State’s main advantage is its ability to give every individual freedom of political and social choice. Every person can make his/her own choice and grow to be the sort of person he/she wants to be. If a person has the skills and works hard, he/she can become anything (okay, I’m just going to use he for both he and she for now) he wants. America’s spirit of innovation and industry will continue to help it in the long run and attract immigrants. On the other hand, Chinese still think too collectively, are too passive about speaking their minds both socially and politically, and lack the spirit of problem-solving that has made America successful. That being said, America should learn from China the value of saving and hard-work. Additionally, Americans should stop bickering politically about what is essentially meaningless stuff and get their act together if they want to maintain their edge over China.
  • Japan: I mention Japan here because it is a country I have studied and because it is culturally similar to China in many ways. Despite this similarity, they are different in many ways and I think this is because Japan has developed a rather unique self-identity because of its isolation from most of the world for a lot of its history and then its longer and deeper exposure to the West. However, since Japan adopted to the West on its own terms and over a longer period, numerous quirks in their culture seem to have survived whereas a lot of China’s culture was destroyed by the Cultural Revolution.
  • India: I am of Indian origin, so I have been to India quite a lot. India is also developing quite fast, so it is compared to China a lot these days. The fact is, India is poor compared to China, and is still in a more infant stage of development. However, given its younger population and political stability, I do think India has the potential to outgrow China in about 10 years, once China begins to slow down. Indian society is also slower than Chinese society at adapting to the modern world, but again, I think that will also change as that is essentially a generational issue. Personally, I think India should learn from China’s growth in three main aspects: more education, more infrastructure, and more manufacturing destined for foreign markers. That being said, India’s legal system and democracy are much better developed that China. That being said, it is no surprise that Tibetans who have fled China have mostly ended up in India. India’s culture and nature are such that it will never be a political power like China aspires to be. However, it can be a very big cultural and economic power (more sustainable economic development), maybe more than China.

I have probably ventured too much into the political and historical aspects of China. Now I’ll mention some of the interesting observations from my trip. Before that, I should add that even though I may criticize China here and there, I greatly enjoyed my trip and had a lot of fun experiencing a different culture. What I want to do more of now is travel by living in foreign countries. There are several countries in Europe and Asia I want to do this in. Anyhow, there are three observations in particular regarding China that I would like to point out:

  1. Food. The food in China is very interesting, to put it mildly. Even though I had heard that American Chinese food was different from Chinese food, I was blown away by how different it actually was. It was definitely hard to adapt to the food, which included unique things not found too much in western cuisine such as the various organs of animals, chicken feet, snake, numerous sea creatures, oxen, frogs, and yes, in some places, dog. Even the food that I was more used to such as chicken and rice tasted different. However, I did like the tea a lot (I always love tea) and I liked the Chinese banquet style of eating. In this style, people sit around a round table with a rotating glass and rotate the glass to serve themselves food. While I didn’t try any of the more interesting food specimens, my friend/roommate tried everything including dog and duck kidneys. He managed fairly well, I must say. (I guess you can say that technically eating dog is just like eating any other animal, however if you grow up in a culture where dog is not consumed, it is hard to get used to the idea of eating it; chickens were domesticated for meat and eggs but dogs were domesticated to be guardians and friends).

  2. English and Chinese: the rumors about interesting signs in China is true; lots of signs are mistranslated into very funny or very nonsensical English. On a slightly more serious note, very few people in Shanghai, supposedly China’s most international city, knew English, even on the college campus we were housed near. I was surprised, since I was led by numerous statistics to believe that hundreds of millions of Chinese, especially the young, were learning English.
  3. This leads us to the third point. How much of the new China is a façade put on to mislead foreigners? A friend of mine who spent a summer in China a couple of years ago agreed with me when I pointed out how fake a lot of the markets and tourist spots in China felt. Everything touristy was set up with cheap mass produced goods and photo booths thus depriving one of a feeling of authencity. The Chinese people also seem to be confusing becoming modern with becoming America with young people totally copying American fashions and music. However, I do think that as Chinese people grow a little tired of their newfound wealth and exposure to American culture, they will perhaps delight a little less in being fake copies of Americans, buying fake goods, and only visiting tourist spots for touristy reasons rather than appreciating their heritage. This doesn’t mean that I’m endorsing old China- there was a lot of bad stuff in feudalism and established Confucianism that the Communists rightfully got rid off. Still ironically, this exposure to new ideas is one of the things making Chinese society so vibrant today. People are suddenly being exposed to and adapting new ideas, and it may take a while for these to be absorbed into Chinese culture. This is a big reason why foreigners like China so much despite some of the linguistic and culinary shortcomings- it’s a place where ideas and cultures are currently mixing developing.

Some of the highlights from my trip:

  • Pudong commercial area: this area had an especially nice building, the Shanghai World Trade Center, which has a glass floor in which you could look down several stories.
  • Old Town Area of Shanghai/Yuyuan Gardens: very nice, beautiful, traditional gardens surrounded by an old town with a lot of teahouses and dumpling shops. Lots of nice shops too.
  • French Concession: A part of Shanghai built by the French during the 19th century. Its distinctively Victorian style stands out in contrast to the rest of the city.
  • Semiconductor Factory Visit: very good first-hand experience at industries and manufacturing in China
  • Metro Center: ultra-modern and futuristic part of the city with a lot of bright lights and malls. Made me feel like I was in some sort of Sci-Fi scenario
  • Jangan Buddhist Temple: my first time visiting a real Buddhist temple in a Buddhist country. Though it was very nice to be in one, the touristy feel of it was a bit annoying. Nonetheless it was really grand.
  • World Expo: This was the big event happening in Shanghai. It was really awesome, with almost all the world’s countries setting up pavilions. The most amazing looking were China’s, Japan’s, and Saudi Arabia’s but the lines on these were too long. Therefore, we visited small countries here and there as well as the remaining Axis of Evil countries for fun (North Korea and Iran).

  • Yangshan Port: one of the world’s largest ports. It is on an island, amazingly connected to the mainland with a 18 kilometer bridge! Here we claimed Yangshan mountain which was really refreshing
  • Hangzhou: A Song Dynasty capital about two hours south of Shanghai. The temples and West Lake area of this city were very beautiful and though touristy, still had an authentic and traditional feel to them. The willows on the lake are really beautiful. Additionally, the banquet style dining in Hangzhou was really royal and amazing.

  • Class: yes, I was also taking a class there. It was really interesting and I learned a lot about international economics.

So all in all, I had a very enjoyable trip. Some of the culture shock was a bit of something I had to get used to, but I think it was very important to experience living in another culture (that one’s not used to).