Chapter 7:

Aspirations and hopes of an Otaku!

An American Otaku

It was early morning, not too early but early enough that most people would have still preferred to be in bed or barely dressed in their homes eating or showering. The time of day and lack of people outdoors was reflected in the sights and sounds of the town. It was quiet and only the sound of wind causing the leaves to rustle with the occasional car passing by were heard.

“Why are we out so early?” Anthony says after a long lets a long yawn.

Isabel, Trey and Anothny have gathered together and are one of the few people active and outside this early Sunday morning.

“Don’t tell me you’re not a morning person Anthony.” Isabel giggles


“Ha ha ha, up late huh? Watching…anime? A certain type of anime I assume?”

“What exactly are you implying! I watch legitimate anime. It’s not my fault they uncloth themselves every now and then. Besides, the naked anime body is art! Art! Forget the Venus de Milo, It’s all about the Nihon no Sakura.”

“Ha ha ha, oh my god, you’re such an otaku.”

“Damn right!”

During their back and forth banter, Trey keeps his eyes on Isabel and thinks to himself, “It hasn’t been long but she’s changed. I can’t really say that I know her very well but without a doubt she’s become more confident. Has understanding anime better given her better insight into herself? Or was it just because she now has a goal? Whatever it is, I won’t fall behind you.”

“So where exactly are we going?” Trey says out loud.

Isabel stops and looks and puts her hand on her cheek and then takes it off and shrugs, “I don’t know, I just wanted to talk somewhere.”

Anthony, “Eh?!”

Trey, “You really are scatterbrained huh?”

Isabel, “Hey…!”

Trey, “There’s a nice cafe down the street, it’s open so let's head there.”

They arrive at the cafe which distinguished itself from outside by being full of life with a lot of hustle and bustle going on.

“How can I help you?” The lady behind the register says

Isabel responds, “I’ll have an almond milk berry smoothie.”

Trey follows up, “Just a cinnamon bagel.”

Anthony, “Hmmm…let me see. How is the fresh fruit today and are the eggs any good?”

Isabel and Trey, “Anthony!”

Anthony, “What? I’m hungry.”

Anthony proceeds to hurry up and make his order, an egg sandwich and the group makes their way to a table positioned by a window. Isabel couldn’t help but to get caught up in the sights and of the local cafe. Turning to watch two people chat it up in a corner over coffee and then looking at the employees move about and prepare orders. Finally she turns and looks out the window gazing at the nice view and the barely risen sun painting the sky a reddish orange.

“Isabel.” Trey tries to get her attention, “Isabel?”

She turns and looks at Trey with a gentle smile, tilts her head and responds with a soft spoken, “Huh?”

“Spending time with you guys is fine and all but didn’t you want to go over something?”

“Oh that’s right, I wanted to assemble the anime club for our first mission!”

“…“Assemble the anime club”...”Mission”? Boy, Anthony is starting to influence you too much.”

“Hey! I take offense to that.” Anthony retorts

Anthony and Trey stopped talking when they noticed the incredibly serious look on her face.

“This mission is what exactly?” Trey says.

“It’s the solution to our problems. I think it’ll get the school to take our club seriously, get people to join, show our passion for anime and help us grow and learn as anime fans.”

“Go on.”

“Well I was thinking what makes anime special, not just for us but the creators. Each anime is telling a story and an underlying story. Instead of exploring the surface level, let's go beneath.”

Trey thinks about what she’s saying and then responds, “So, like a deep dive into anime huh?”

“Yes exactly!”

Anthony who was quietly listening while eating his sandwich chimes in, “What are we going to do then? Put up posters and stuff around the school? We have to get permission and those guys are never lenient.”

“I propose that we enter our works into my art class gallery. This semester my art class is doing a showcase and I think we should submit our projects to be shown off to the school.”

Isabel looks at them both noticing a certain baffled look on their faces; she decides to go on by giving an example so that they can better visualize what she wants to do.

“There was this one anime I watched about psychics, orphans and gangs. It was a great story and the art was amazing but I was looking it up recently and learned that it was about the creators feelings towards World War II and the outcome and state it left Japan in.”

Trey immediately starts to brainstorm ideas after becoming intrigued by Isabel’s idea, “So we can do something like show photos of things from Japan alongside images from the manga that conveyed the feelings that the author was trying to symbolize.”

“Yeah that’s a great idea!” Isabel exclaims

“Or we can show off certain sections or crops of a manga to show off how cool the art is like in those pop art pictures?” Anthony adds

“That’s a great idea too, Anthony. Let's all brainstorm some ideas and decide what to work on to prepare for the art showcase next month.”

Trey's eyes widened, “Wait, what? Next month! Isn’t that cutting it too close?”

“Come on, we have plenty of time, right Anthony?”

Anthony avoids eye contact by looking left and right and then finally responds with, “Huh?”

“Right Anthony?” She reiterates.

“Well…last year, I had to do an art project. My teacher gave us three months and, well I ended up getting a zero because I never finished it…ha..ha ha…”

“Alright.” Trey says, “Looks like it’s just the two of us.”

“Come on guys, if it’s us three working together and about something we’re passionate about it’ll be fun. Think of this as a way to show appreciation to the creators of the anime and manga you love.”

Anthony stands up, “Anime made me who I am! I’ll do it!”

“Well not as dramatic as Anthony but anime did make me happy before I turned my back on it. I think it’s time for redemption.” Trey says.

“Alright! That’s the spirit. Now the first week we come up with the concept, second week we create it and the third week we put the finishing touches and make sure everything works. Well, since we’re out we can go ahead and pick up some research material from the libraries and stuff now.”

Trey smiles, “Good, no great idea. We’ll leave that to you.”

Isabel, “Huh…”

“Yup!” Anthony joins in, “Good luck with that leader-san!”

Trey and Anthony begin to walk out the cafe while waving bye to Isabel.

“Hey! Where are you going, traitors!” Isabel sits back down, grabs her drink and begins to slurp up the remaining bit. Then gets back up and heads out the cafe.

At the library, Isabel found herself in her element once again. In a quiet comfortable corner, by the window Isabel sat with a stack of books to the right of her and some manga to the left of her. At first she took on the research as something she needed to do for a project but then she just became enamored by the logic.

“Ah, so women didn’t start becoming heavily involved in shojo until the ‘60s.” She murmurs to herself while frantically flipping pages. “Wow and they were responsible for the popularity of romcoms.”

With every comment and page she read, she followed up by frantically writing notes and reevaluating each manga she brought with her and cross referencing what she just learned with anything she could find in them.

Finally stopping to stretch she notices that it’s now late afternoon.

“Wow! 1:00pm already. I guess I got carried away a bit.” She kept a satisfied smile on her face not only feeling accomplished with what she has got done but also happy how she passed her day. She packed up her bag, put the books she borrowed away and held on tight to her notes. As she walked out the library she thought about her day from spending time with her club, no friends to learning about her hobby on a more intimate level and putting herself in a knowledgeable position where she could show off something she likes in a wonderful new light.

Isabel gets home and decides to spend the evening with her family laughing and talking and then watching television with them.

The next day after her art class Isabel approaches her teacher.

“Sayavong..uh teacher.”

“Yes Isabel.” Sayavong replies.

“Well for the upcoming art showcase this semester, is it ok if my club participates in it?”

“Yes, as long as you guys make sure to follow the rules, then there is no problem. I think it’s great if clubs want to participate.”

“Great!” Isabel, filled with joy now that her plans are all falling into place, begins to head to her next class. As she’s about to exit the room, Sayavong continues talking which causes her to pause.

Sayavong, “I’m glad to see more and more people interested. I guess this special showcase this year has really got a lot of people interested.”

Isabel, “Special showcase?”

“Oh you didn’t know? This year the artwork is being displayed at the local mall and it’s going to have multiple schools, whose works will all be displayed and the winners get to give a presentation.”

“M..multiple schools, presentations and at the mall??”

“What’s the matter, did you still want to enter?”

“Oh nothing is wrong. Ha ha, just taking it all in.” Isabel exits the room and looks at her hand which was shaking a bit. “This feeling,” she says to herself, “Is it nervousness, no, it’s excitement.”

With all the determination in the world in her eyes, Isabel sets off to pass on the news to the Anime Club.