Melissa Gonzalez, gonzalezme@mnstate.edu

As the buzz quiets from Anime Fargo, one of the biggest events of the year for regional anime lovers, MSUM Anime Club members are reflecting on how joining Anime Club has expanded their friendship circles. Some credit Anime Club with helping them become more confident, even leadership-oriented people.

Anime Fargo showcases panel discussions, video game rooms, cosplay contests, and other opportunities for anime fans to come together in a shared love for anime.

The first-ever Anime Fargo was four years ago. This year’s event ran Sept. 20-23.

Feeling of community welcomes Anime Club members

Moorhead State sophomore Nicole Bojarski said a community feeling drew her to MSUM’s Anime Club when she came here her freshman year.

Bojarski, a graphic communications major, is now the president of MSUM’s Anime Club and says joining the club helped her come out of her comfort zone.

“It got me a bunch of friends,” Bojarski said, “and me to get out of my shell a little bit — because I wouldn’t be president of a club. I would be in my dorm playing games right now if I wasn’t part of it.”

Bojarski couldn’t attend Anime Fargo this year but plans to attend Anime Detour in the Twin Cities in the spring. A group of MSUM students typically goes to Anime Detour every year in Minneapolis. Commonly referred to as “Detour,” the convention is another opportunity for MSUM Anime Club members to find community and make new friends.

“It’s just a cool feeling to be there,” Bojarski said. “All the panels were pretty fun and interesting to go to — and to go and meet strangers who have similar things they like, it’s nice, you know?”

Anime shows on campus every week

Students can watch anime every Tuesday evening on campus. This semester the club is watching “Recovery of an MMO Junkie,” “Hinamatsuri,” “Steins;Gate” and “Beatless.” The officers keep in mind the length of the series they choose to ensure members can finish a couple of shows within a semester.

Brittney Berthiaume, MSUM alumna and former Anime Club member, came to MSUM in 2009 and joined the club. Even after graduating, she has the club to thank for some of the close friends she has after 10 years.

“It low-key changed my life because of how I interacted with my now, my future friends, or my current friends,” Berthiaume said. “That is the group that I hang out with and we, of course, have different interests besides anime but we were able to meet through that common interest.”

Berthiaume was a member throughout her time at college and enjoyed those club nights when she could decompress, be free from homework, and share her passion for the stories she watched.

Anime Club and design skills created one alum’s career

“Anime Club allowed us to connect through anime but also cosplay and what kind of games we were playing, what TV show we were watching,” Berthiaume said.

Berthiaume studied graphic design and graphic communications and blended her skills and passions together. She eventually developed a brand name, BBDesign, and uses that name for selling her minimalistic-style fan art and showcasing her cosplay endeavors.

Cosplay, a term shortened from costume-play, is a common activity that anime and other fans engage in. Cosplayers dress as their favorite characters and hand-make their costumes, commission them from others, or buy premade costumes.

Berthiaume has attended Anime Fargo since its first year in 2014 and attended this year as a judge for the cosplay contest and to sell her artwork.

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