At Lakeview Elementary, students bond around a common love for anime | Wyoming News

Cary Littlejohn Gillette News Record via Wyoming News Exchange

GILLETTE – At 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, more than 30 students invaded Anna Burbank’s art class at Lakeview Elementary School. They were going to spend their lunch period in the classroom instead of the dining room.

They weren’t in trouble. They had chosen to be there. They were coming for Anime Club.

Anime, for Americans, is considered animation that originated in Japan (whereas in Japan the word applies to any animation, regardless of its origin), and may be more recognizable to the non- masses. initiated in the form of the incredibly popular Pokémon.

For those who know more about the wide world of anime, classics like “Astro Boy”, “Speed ​​Racer”, “Sailor Moon” and “Dragonball Z”, to name a few, intertwine with the Oscar-winning work of The Studio Ghibli by Hayao Miyazaki and the current student craze, “My Hero Academia”.

It’s a rich and long-standing tradition, but, for more than a few students at Lakeview Elementary School, anime is a common interest that they can bond around.

The club is a brand new addition to the school’s after-school offerings, and that was the bright idea of ​​a pair of sixth-graders Briella Hoang and Nevaeh Moore. Burbanks said they approached her and encouraged the club’s formation.

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The girls said their friendship started earlier this year.

“I just moved in here and she was the first to appear,” said Nevaeh, 13. “The first common interest that we both found was anime. All of our friends love anime too. We both knew that more people wanted to join us and we wanted people to feel comfortable in it. ‘like it.

What is undeniable is the passion that children share for the subject. When asked what they like about the anime, they could barely contain themselves.

“The art, the action and the intrigue,” said Briella, 11.

Nevaeh totally agrees.

“Art is very interesting,” she said. “Here in America our art is more realistic, but theirs is more prominent, defined with sharp lines. It’s very, very fun to draw.

The teacher even draws, the girls pointed out.

For its part, Burbank saw its role reversed: on the theme of the anime, the teacher had become the student.

“I didn’t know anything about it,” Burbank said. “Whenever they come, I usually pick a kid to give me a character, and then I sit and draw with them. I am learning, slowly, about the anime. They give me a list of shows to watch. It’s good.”

As an art teacher, Burbank said the additional exposure to art is great, but for her, the club’s benefit is the opportunity to forge stronger relationships with students.

“It’s a good bunch of kids,” she said. “There are kids that I was a little surprised with who showed up, which is great because it’s a bunch of kids that I don’t get to spend a lot of extra time with. “

The club is very much on the drawing, Nevaeh said.

“We all have this common interest in art,” she said.

But there are thoughts to expand the offerings.

“We thought of doing anecdotes,” Briella said. “Or book clubs.”

“Or put our favorite characters in a hat, then draw each of them, then draw that exact character,” Nevaeh said.

“Ooh, that’s a good idea,” Briella said.

“Or scavenger hunts around the room or maybe the school,” Nevaeh said, seemingly off her head.

“It’s a good idea!” Briella said, speaking before Nevaeh had finished his thought. “How did you – you thought about it, didn’t you?” “

She was clearly in awe of her friend’s sight. Burbank said the students also mentioned wanting to learn more about Japanese culture and language.

When asked what they thought of helping start something that so many of their classmates clearly enjoyed, Briella spoke with a frankness that wears off as people get older as the refit question often prevents people from taking action.

“It’s not that hard,” she said.

The girls shared a laugh.

“Honestly, the first day we even started and the class started to fill up,” Nevaeh said. “I feel like Briella and I were shocked at how many people were interested in this. When we walked in there were so many smiles on everyone’s faces.

“I thought there would only be five or six (students),” Briella said.

“Yes, there were so many smiles in the room,” Nevaeh said. “As soon as you walk in there you start to smile because everyone is lighting you up. You can talk about new things that everyone discovered, different animes that people discovered.

Inside the classroom, long workspaces allowed students to work from both sides, with notebooks for sketches and iPads to search for reference photos.

Chloe Bean, another sixth grader, was one of those students. She remembered what she had thought when she first heard that there would be an anime club in Lakeview.

“It would be a place where I could, like, be myself,” said Chloe, 11. “Like, a club where you actually meet people who have your same interests.”

She is a big fan of the artwork.

“The design and all the graphics in it, like how much detail the designer actually puts into it,” Chloe said.

But like the best extracurriculars, Anime Club is more than it looks. It’s not just about appreciating a particular type of art. For so many students, it is about growth and development as a member of their school community.

“I’m getting a little more social because of the club,” she said.

Across the table, Grade 5 Aiden Green was working on his iPad. Much of his work has focused on cats. Domestic cats, jungle cats, it didn’t matter.

“They are so loving and sweet,” Aiden said. “I love them overall.”

Anime Club came at the right time for Aiden.

“Oh, I’ve been an anime fan for ages,” said Aiden, 11. He attributed his interest in anime to an aunt who had visited Japan on several occasions and was an illustrator herself.

“Then I started to get fascinated with cats and started doing my own cat anime designs,” Aiden said.

Dating other anime fans had introduced him to different styles of drawing.

“I couldn’t really draw anime that well before, but someone introduced me to the kawaii style, which I still use in a lot of my drawings,” Aiden said. “Kawaii in Japan is ‘cute’ and I use it in a lot of designs because, one, it’s cute, but for two it’s easy, it’s simple, it’s fun, it’s creative , and there is so much to do. “

Anime Club, in its short life at Lakeview Elementary, turned out to have a little something for everyone.

But it might as well never have been. Its existence shows what enterprising students can do to improve their schools. Briella and Nevaeh couldn’t have predicted the reach their club would have, but many of their classmates appreciate that their idea has become a reality.

“Anime Club is actually the first club I’ve ever been to so I was extremely excited,” Aiden said. “It’s just time to go out with people, you know?” “

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About Bernice D. Brewer

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