Otaku Alliance comes together for anime

By Victoria Camarillo, Pulse staff writer

Photo of Otaku Alliance members at their PACfest 2013 booth.
Members of the Otaku Alliance run a booth at PACfest 2013.
Photo by Victoria Camarillo.

Manga, Japanese for comic, and anime, short for Japanese animation, has become a movement here at Palo Alto College with its own anime club, Otaku Alliance.

“College is a hectic place already…” said co-founder of the Otaku Alliance, Francisco Martinez. “Otaku Alliance is a place where people can just go and [shake] off all that pressure, where people can just go there and not talk about just school work. They can talk about other interests and connect on a different level and become a community, like a family.”

Manga is read from right to left and has a variety of genres, like romance, action, fantasy and school life. These genres also apply to anime, which is based on manga, games and novels from Japan.

“When I was a kid in Mexico, that’s all I really watched there,” said the president of the Otaku Alliance, Robert Castellon. “What I like the most about it is it’s all fantasy based.”

Manga and anime can appeal to all ages, such as “Beyblade,” “Yu-Gi-Oh!” and “Pokémon,” enjoyed by young and old. The older generation would also enjoy “Bleach,Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood,” and “Fruits Basket.” The manga and show of “Fruits Basket” would normally attract a female audience, while the manga and show of “Bleach” would appeal to a male audience, but either male or female anime welcomes all genders.

“You take American cartoons and you have a story drawn out through a season,” said Jessica Bautista of the Otaku Alliance. “But in anime, the stories are more to the point.”

The Otaku Alliance comes together on Tuesdays and Fridays from noon to 5 p.m. in Room 108 of Frio Hall to watch anime, discuss the shows, help each other with homework and socialize.

Vice President of the Otaku Alliance, Adrian Lopez, explained how the club opens him to diverse features of what he likes and exposes him to animes he’s unaware of.

“We participate in most of the activities the college has, like Club Rush [and] Spring Fling,” said Martinez.

Martinez, Lopez and Castellon also mentioned how the club does fundraising to go to anime conventions, host Halloween parties and partake in PACfest. Anime conventions, also known as anime cons, are where people with the same interest come to enjoy anime, gaming, cos-play (wearing a costume and acting out the character) and purchasing Japanese products.

The Otaku Alliance even does their share of cos-play when going to a convention, and they usually go as an entire group. At the most recent convention, Mizuumi-Con, a few members attended. Dustin Word, an Otaku Alliance member, attended the event at Our Lady of the Lake University on March 23, 2013.

“It’s a place for people to hang out and get to find other people who like the same stuff honestly… because at the end of the day you want see what kind of crazy stuff happens,” he said.

The con hosted a variety of panels, art stands, handcraft sellers, product vendors and games. Families attended the convention, as well, some in cos-play. There was even a baby dressed up as Aang from “Avatar: the Last Airbender” and a young girl dressed as a ramen box.

Members of the Otaku Alliance participated in some of the actions at the convention, such as cos-play dodge ball and tabletop card games.

The Otaku Alliance plan to attend the upcoming San Japan, one of the biggest conventions in San Antonio, held August 16-18 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center and San Antonio Grand Hyatt Hotel. Information can be found at www.san-japan.org.The Otaku Alliance may be found on Facebook.