Every Friday the Japanimation Society meet for a night of scheduled programming free from the tropes and clichés of western film and television. I caught up with Peter Tran to find out more.
‘‘We are a free society that is centred on watching, discussing and enjoying anime, also known as Japanimation. We do weekly screenings to showcase various shows and films to introduce and engage both people unfamiliar with anime and fans who may just be getting involved (or are long-time fans). It’s all about opening up people’s horizons to learn about different and new concepts, which is one of the big aspects of being at University.’’
‘‘Japanese studios treat animation more objectively and use it to match and enhance the content of their work, so it’s not limited to kids-only fare. It can be applied to different age brackets and genres such as fantasy adventure, science fiction and even just serene drama, all of which can be played straight. The strongest benefit of animation is that it frees up the imagination more than live-action, when those images and scenes would then have to be matched to reality, what settings and actors were available and what the bank balance would allow for with effects. In animation however, all that can be interpreted as the creators wish and be presented directly to the audience. Detractors often dismiss anime as simply being weird, but that is one of the great things about it; it can be as weird, as extravagant, as surreal or as small, intimate and tranquil as it wants to be.’’
‘‘In addition, it is always fascinating to experience foreign products and see how it reflects different concepts and thoughts, be it on specific matters to Japan or on general matters observed across other nations (e.g. Environmentalism, technology in society). Plus, enjoyable stories along with enthralling imagery shouldn’t be overlooked by the general public simply because it’s not from a CGI-saturated Hollywood live-action franchise-spinner.’
As well as weekly screenings of TV shows, the Japanimation Society also hold a feature film double bill most months; next up is a Christmas-themed joint film night with the Manchester Japanese Society on Friday 14th December showing one live-action and one animated film. On Sunday 16th December they will also be holding a Christmas Cosplay Party at The Zoo: ‘The event is open to the general public and attendees needn’t have to dress up to get in. But it helps as cosplayers pay £1.50 (instead of the usual £3.50 entry fee). We have a DJ and there’s going to be a vibrant mix of Japanese and Korean music, so it’s going to be a unique event in the society’s calendar.’
UMSU page: http://manchesterstudentsunion.com/groups/japanimation-society