Wyvern, Weber State University’s anime club, has been on campus for 10 years. Because of its decade anniversary, the club has potential events in the works to celebrate its time at WSU. This year is also its first year with funding.
“Last year, we didn’t have time to make meetings, and they take away all of your funding if you don’t have meetings,” said pre-med student and Wyvern Club President Josh Marcus.
This year, Wyvern has around 40 members who participate in the weekly meetings. Because it is its first year with funding, the club has been able to advertise on campus and around the Ogden area to invite students and the community.
“That’s part of our advertising, to let fans know that there are others in the community that like anime and won’t mock you for whatever show you watch,” said member Chris Ekstrom, who has been a member of Wyvern for seven years. “Part of the advertising is to get new members and to let them know they’re not alone, that you don’t have to just be living in your mom’s basement with a 12-terabyte computer. You can get out and enjoy each other’s company.”
Each meeting begins with a vote between members on which program they’d like to watch. Generally, the original Japanese program is shown with English subtitles at the bottom, rather than the dubbed version. The club adheres to a strict code of conduct that limits things like gratuitous violence, language and nudity to a PG-13 rating. Wyvern club meetings create a forum for fans to discuss why they like anime.
“I’ve always been a fan of animated shows like cartoons and everything, and the Japanese just do it better,” said Wyvern club member Sarah Marcus. “The art is better, the story is better — even the ones that are geared toward kids have plots and stories and character development. There are bad shows out there, but there is so much that is amazing.”
Along with having members watch a variety of anime programs, the club wants to be an environment for student to have fun and share their favorite anime and games with one another. It also wants to be a place for social acceptance for those that enjoy anime.
“Generally, for most people that watch anime, they’re just watching it alone because they don’t have other people to watch it with,” said club member Holden Willson Tanner. “It provides community, and it also provides exposure to different animes.”
Some members said they feel that anime and anime fans are somewhat misunderstood in American culture.
“There are a lot of assumptions in American culture that if you have an imagination after you’ve gotten old enough, that you’re a freak or a shut-in,” said member Kevin Ninov, a psychology major at WSU. “One of the biggest criticisms of anime is the stereotype that animation is only for children, that it can only be these light kid shows.”
Wyvern meets every Thursday from 6 p.m. to midnight in the University Village Community Center basement.
Each month, Wyvern hosts a free showing of an anime film held in the Wildcat Theater. The next showing will be Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works on Friday, Sept. 23 at 6:30 p.m. For updates on club events and meetings, students can go to http://organizations.weber.edu/wyvern.