Article by Martin Zhao
The anime community in Xi’an has gained a new hotspot recently. Indeed, it is none other than the Xi’an Anime Club, founded by our beloved Jason Rogers.
Mr. Jason Rogers comes from Maryland, USA. Amongst the sea of cartoon media during his childhood, anime was quintessential. Indeed, many of us started watching anime because of 4Kids and Toonami’s localized versions. To the young Jason, anime wasn’t too different from other cartoons, including his first anime, Pokémon, and his longest anime companion, One Piece. However, after learning about the differences between American cartoons and Japanese anime, Jason started to understand this form of media even more, which brought him to his first “adult” anime, Cowboy Bebop.
“It was a form of escapism for me, and helped me decompress from all the problems and exhaustion of mundane life. Back then anime was the nerd’s choice of entertainment, and it wasn’t seen as cool.” He said. “I was quite surprised at the diversity of the anime fanbase here in Xi’an after I founded the club.”
After founding this club, Jason discovered that people from all walks of life, all over the world, enjoyed anime in their own way. Currently the members and casual fans in the Anime Club go from middle-aged couples with kids to young students, and from Russia to the Americas.
Jason conjured up the idea of forming an anime club for the simple reason of sharing anime resources, since anime streaming services are different in China and the US. He didn’t anticipate this group to grow so much almost instantly. Despite being founded in late 2020, the group has already grown to about 100 members in one WeChat group, not accounting for the many casual members who show up at the door to the many events the club has already hosted, such as Movie Nights and Ramen Chowdown at Ichiraku.
The club at a glance may seem loosely organized, but that is not the reality. In fact, Jason has already made plans for the next event, the “anime trade session”, where the members could trade what they have with one another while watching shows and having a drink.
As for the future of the club, Jason hopes that the club could grow to include more members from both the expat community and the local community, men and women alike. He has made remarks on several milestone events that he hopes to complete, including anime themed parties, cosplay sessions, and joining local anime conventions. He hopes to see the community grow and expand with even more community leaders, who will host anime-related events independently.
“So expats can enjoy anime as much as they did back home, and the locals could also get to know more about the overseas anime community. Anime is a great way to bring people together.” He said. “We’re about openness and fun.”
The Anime Club welcomes hardcore fans who have watched everything from the classics to the latest titles, potential lovers who are just curious about this form of media, and casual viewers who might have only watch a few minutes of a Studio Ghibli film. People can grab a drink, share their resources, and dream up collaborations. Anime, manga, everything and everyone is welcomed.
“As long as you’re being nice.”
Jason Rogers is a mixologist extraordinaire living in Xi’an.