By David Cabrera
#51 - KC Green's “The Anime Club”
(When I bought one of KC Green's other books, I requested a sketch of Card Captor Sakura. He drew this for me.)
I'd been thinking about it for a while: is there a Genshiken or a Otaku no Video for the American otaku; an biographical work for the subculture by someone who's spent time with it? Dramacon was a little bit too shoujo-sweet. Megatokyo is about an American otaku moving to a Japan that's a bishoujo-game wish-fulfillment fantasy, so maybe it'd be valuable if you wanted to know what American otaku dream of Japan being...
“They aren't doing the Haruhi dance. It's a funeral march. In memoriam of anime... death of a culture.”
The real choice is KC Green's “The Anime Club” (http://gunshowcomic.com/ac/). Unlike other comics about American otaku, it doesn't look like manga, and the author isn't an anime fan either. His main comic Gunshow is a very darkly comic collection of surreal shorts: in a comic that is recent as I write this, two blobs named Loneliness and Depression fall in love and birth a baby named Fear. In that spirit, The Anime Club is honest, brutal, and cruel about the day-to-day lives of a group of teenage anime fans.
Aside from the bright-eyed innocent Clyde, the members of the anime club aren't really very nice people. The self-proclaimed club leader, Mort, is a raging elitist who can't function in a social situation without going into a screaming tirade on the cultural superiority of Card Captor Sakura.
He's also everybody's favorite character... because we've met these people. We've heard these conversations. The over-the-top exaggeration, the bitter, personal arguments over the merits of something like “Naruto Goes To Law School”, the jokes about spending $20 on a bottle of soda “from Japan!”, we've seen it all.
When I was sitting on an Anime News Network panel at a convention a while back, a new fan asked us if there was anything they should check out if they were new to anime and wanted to see what it was all
about. I told the crowd that, if they were over the age of 18, they should read “The Anime Club.” For better, and for worse. I have no regrets.