By Amy Taylor
Anime, a distinct, colorful and fantastical style of Japanese animation, is incredibly popular with tweens and teens. Prince William Public Library System is giving young adults a chance to come together and bond over their love of anime in several library branches. These programs are free and open to all students in 6th through 12th grades.
Afternoon Anime at Chinn Park Regional Library
Since 2014 middle and high school-aged anime lovers have come together from across the county for the Afternoon Anime program at Chinn Park Regional Library.
“We meet in the community room once a month during the school year. It’s usually on a Tuesday, but we move it to Wednesdays during the tax season because AARP uses the room then,” said John Diaz, a librarian at Chinn Park Regional Library.
Tweens and teens gather at the library for an hour-long anime viewing session, complete with snacks. They sometimes discuss the manga they are reading.
“Anime is the term used for films or TV shows. Manga is theterm for the books,” Diaz explained.
They watch a variety of different works during the program. They ask members for suggestions and try to accommodate them as much as possible. “The action shows are the most popular; we also watch some humorous and realistic ones,” Diaz said.
Since the program only lasts an hour, they don’t watch any feature-length films. Generally, they watch two, half-hour episodes.
According to Diaz, some popular titles have been “Naruto, Sword Art Online, My Hero Academia, RWBY, Bananya, and Tonari no Seki-kun: The Master of Killing Time.” These popular titles cover a large range of vastly different, imaginative topics.
Naruto is an anime series based on the manga of the same title. The manga is written and illustrated by Masashi Kishimoto. It tells the story of a ninja named Naruto and his quest to become the leader of his village.
Bananya is an anime series about a tiny white cat that lives inside of a banana. His lifelong dream is to become a chocolate-covered banana.
Tonari no Seki-kun: The Master of Killing Time is also based on a manga of the same title where a student named Rumi Yokoi always gets distracted by the student who sits next to her, Takuma Morishige. He is always goofing off in class by practicing his hobbies at his desk, and she gets in trouble for being distracted by them.
RWBY is an anime web series about young warriors training to protect the world from the Grimm, the monsters of the story.
My Hero Academia is another anime series based on a manga and tells a story of high school superheroes.
This program is about more than just a love of anime. The participants are there for the camaraderie and bonding over a shared love of anime and manga. According to Diaz, “the teens like watching the shows, but they also really enjoy hanging out with each other and talking about their favorite anime and manga titles.”
Anime Brigade at Bull Run Regional Library
The Anime Brigade is also for middle and high school-aged students who watch anime and discuss manga while learning about Japanese pop culture.
They welcome cosplay, where students dress as their favorite characters from anime or manga. Attendees share fan fiction and fan art and bond with their peers over their love of these art forms.
The program takes place on Saturdays once a month at Bull Run Regional Library. Students can drop in, and no pre-registration is required.
Library Programs Make Learning Fun
These are just two of the programs the library system offers free of charge to bring people with similar interests together to forge friendships, learn and have fun. They have programs for families, children, teens and adults.
The library offers a wide variety of events, so that there’s something for everyone. For babies and toddlers, they offer activities like the baby parade, where babies can begin to explore their range of motion.
For families and children of all ages, the public libraries have programs like Rainbow Puppets, which incorporates storytelling through dance, music and puppetry.
For adults, they offer programs like Simple Yoga and Meditation for Relaxation.
For those trying to learn English as a second language, the library offers English Conversation Group. People come together to practice their English conversation skills in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.
For more information on these free programs, as well as other library programs, visit the library calendar of events online at pwcgov.evanced.info.
Amy Taylor (Ataylor@princewilliamliving.com) is a freelance writer and editor. She earned her BLS in English from the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia.