When I first got into manga ten whole years ago, there was no one around me who liked the stuff. My last year of middle school was the first year of torment as no one at my (very small) school had any interest in it and most thought Pokemon was for little kids and losers. I gained friends interested in manga outside of my school (it was a K-12 school) during high school, but it was a rather small community that mostly consisted of me, my best friend and our crappy taste.
That all changed when I reached higher education. I was looking for a school where I could get a fresh start and Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo gave me the opportunity to ditch my immature high school classmates and gain a surprisingly awesome anime club.
I found Minna no Anime (their name, in case you’re looking for a university solely based on their anime club) instantly and was so excited by the idea that my school had an anime club that I started attending right away. It was a bit off-putting at first because I wasn’t a huge anime watcher and I didn’t know anyone. Then they announced their weekly Minna no Manga meeting, that consisted mostly of hanging out and reading manga. Minna no Manga gave me the chance to actually meet some people in the club and make friends. (And read manga.) It was such a great atmosphere that I attended both club meetings religiously right away. Over my 4+ years attending the school, I loathed to miss any of the meetings. I still long for my friends there now that I’m way too far away to drive up there every Thursday and Saturday evening.
Through my friends there I learned a lot about anime, manga and the world of fans. I had so much fun, it’s kind of tempting to go back to Cal Poly for graduate studies or another bachelor’s degree or just live in the area so I can keep going. Yeah, that’s how much I love this group of crazy kids. I even made a slide show and a video about the club before I graduated.
Since I’m feeling a bit lonely with my friends, I’ve even started thinking about starting a similar club in Los Angeles, since my area suffers from lack of a nearby college with an anime club. I’m still dreaming it up, but it’d be a fun regular even for a local comic book shop or a library if either was willing to host one. (So, if you live in the Los Angeles/Hollywood/West Hollywood area, let me know if you’re interested!)
What’s your anime and manga community like? Are they a group of friends or an organized club? Where you guys hang out and what do you usually do? Let me hear about all your fun times with your anime and manga friends!