Otaku Brigade: Not Just for Anime Fans

15/mar/2018 09:11:55 TonyaHolley Contatta l'autore

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Consisting of TVs and game consoles (and attracting many gaming aficionados), the unofficial gaming station at the long tables on DAC’s second floor has become a familiar sight to the University community.

You might be asking yourself: who are these guys? With over 300 active members, Otaku Brigade stands strong with its family of manga, anime, cosplay and video game enthusiasts.

At their Feb. 8 general body meeting, Academic Technology Director Eric Alvarado came and discussed getting school funding for gaming, particularly in an educational and competitive aspect through the use of virtual reality (VR) devices and games such as Super Smash Bros; Otaku Brigade will be taking a front row seat in this innovation exploration.

The Torch sat down with Otaku Brigade’s executive board members including its president, Amanda Carlson; vice-president, Nafis Mukut; secretary, Jonella Wong; and treasurer, Armando Cendali on this unique organization’s growth throughout the years and its plans for the future.

Q: What is Otaku Brigade? What’s the mission behind it?

Carlson: Otaku Brigade is an organization that supports any and all nerdy hobbies, mainly anime, video games, comics, manga, sci-fi, cosplay. It’s also a special organization dealing with inclusion since those kind of hobbies are kind of isolated and there’s a lot of stigma around them.

Cendali: It’s a place for nerds to be nerds and not be judged. It’s nice, it’s fun, it’s relaxing, it’s great break to relieve stress at the end of the day and make friends in college.”

Q: Where does the name “Otaku Brigade” come from and how did it all begin?

Carlson: Otaku is kind of a derogatory word in Japan. It’s supposed to mean someone who sits in their room all day and doesn’t have any social interaction and is obsessed with one thing.

Cendali: And brigade sounded better off the tongue than Otaku Organization.

Carlson: Otaku Brigade has been around for eight years — it was established in 2010. It started because of the people at the DAC tables. They were just playing video games and liked anime, and then a bunch of friends were just like “Hey, we should make a club.”

Then it got to be bigger where it wasn’t just a group of friends and it was really a professional club that’s trying to erase the stigma that nerdiness is just for weird kids.

Q: What past events stand out for you guys? Which ones have been your favorite?

Carlson: We’ve done service events—

Mukut: Like when our Event Coordinators did a Christmas Twitch stream to raise money.

Carlson: But my favorite event is the Maid Cafe. I think it is stigmatized a bit because members are dressed up as maids and serve other members. Occasionally, some of our male members also dress in maid outfits, which creates a backlash.

Mukut: They’re just jealous we look good in it. Ota-Fest and Aki-Fest both fill the same role as the end-of-semester events for hardcore members. It’s a great way to celebrate how far the club has gone each semester, and it really gauges member interest.

Carlson: Aki-Fest and Ota-Fest are like our mini-Comic Cons where we have a theme, members create booths for those themes, they serve food, and we just have a good old nerdy time!

Wong: I am mixed between Ota-Fest, Aki-Fest, and our game nights. During game nights, it’s a bunch of people gaming together, getting together, getting to know each other over these games, and it’s just really nice to see.

Carlson: It’s a huge community effort. Everyone brings their own TVs and games and systems and we all experience different games: individual, RPG, multiplayer, party, card, board —

Mukut: Any game. And I don’t think we’ve ever hard any reports of thefts.

Cendali: We do have safeguards, but nobody has ever done anything.

Carlson: There’s just an incredible amount of respect and care between people.

Q: How have you dealt with negative stereotypes concerning the org’s “nerdy hobbies”?

Wong: Yes, we have been cast with it. Like, at the Activities Fair. Amanda and I were in cosplay and people would just, like, pass by and be like “What kind of club is this? Who does this?”

We did embrace it in a professional manner — it’s something we all enjoy, something that we do, and if we get judged for it, it’s fine as long as it makes us happy. And we all have each other’s backs.

Read more at: cosplay store

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