A commuity formed through Kent State Anime Society

Jillian Holness

*** NOTE to copy editors: Rue Monroe is transgender and prefers “they” pronouns, so idk how the Stater works with that******


**** also, link to multimedia video https://vimeo.com/165720780

Hitting the beach, relaxing by the pool and exploring new towns; Most people love to take advantage of the sunny weather during the summer. However, some people travel to crowded hotel ballrooms to dress up as their favorite fictional character from movies, television shows, video games and comics.

Colossalcon, an anime convention in Sandusky, Ohio is next month.

Members of Kent State Anime Society have traveled to anime conventions before, and have created friendships through their love of anime.

Jessica Becker, president of Kent State Anime Society said people who like anime are often stereotyped or afraid to admit that they like it.

“When you say anime, people get this picture in their head of what a typical anime fan looks like,” Becker said.

The Anime Society has been at Kent State for at least a decade and has become a place where students can meet people who are open to liking it.

“I know some of the old presidents. One of the guys is 35,” Becker said.

The Anime Society is every friday from 6 to 10 p.m. in Bowman hall. The meetings start out with announcements from officers. The group will then watch an anime they voted on.

“Then we play a game. It changes every week. This week I’m putting together a trivia quiz that the members helped me to make,” Becker said. “They gave me the questions, sometime it’s anime jeopardy or anime family feud.”

For Becker, anime is more than just a hobby.

“It’s a culture. It’s a great way to meet some really great people,” Becker said.“It’s amazing to be into something and have someone share that interest with you.”

Corey Bryant, a senior computer science major and Ebony White, a junior teaching English as a second language major, are a couple who share a common interest in anime.

They have had similar experiences discovering anime.

White discovered Anime when she was 10 or 12 watching “Naruto” on Toonami.  

“Then from there, I just got more into it,” White said.

Bryant also watched Toonami when he was younger.

“I didn’t know it was anime,” Bryant said. “I  just thought they were the better cartoons and eventually it developed into me acknowledging it and getting more into it.”  

They have done a few cosplays as a couple. White decides on whom they should cosplay as.

“We’ve done Mako and Gamagori from the anime “Kill La Kill” and Rose Quartz and Greg Universe from the Cartoon Network show “Steven Universe,”’ White said.

The characters personalities and their designs have influenced them on picking a costume.

Bryant said they had planned to do more, but he always wants to do weird, random things that White doesn’t care about.

Bryant and White prefer to make or alter their pieces themselves.

“It’s a bit more fulfilling when you make it yourself or even if you get a base piece and alter it,” White said.

Most of Bryant’s pieces have been altered.

“Only one was completely bought,” Bryant said. “It’s great getting recognized at conventions for the work I put into it.”

Unlike Becker, to White and Bryant, Anime is simply a hobby for them.

“I think of it more as niche interest,” Bryant said.” When you go out and meet other people you are more likely to get to know them because you already have that thing in common.”

However, Anime can also be the guiding force towards a career.

Rue Monroe, a freshman exploratory major makes costumes for people who attend anime conventions and has decided to major in fashion design with an emphasis on costume.

“I started taking commissions four years ago to test my skills. It started when I made my friend a pleated skirt for a character from “League of Legends,” Monroe said.  

Monroe’s friend had people tell them the skirt looked really nice and asked where it was purchased.

“She introduced me to them and asked if I’m open for commissions and I was like, ‘what is that?”’ Monroe said. ”From that point on, I had people messaging me.”

Monroe’s last commission was from a friend. She wanted Monroe to make her an entire cosplay of Ruby Rose, from the anime series “RWB” including boots and a scythe.

“I made it in the course of two weeks. She loves it,” Monroe said. “My fan base has been growing from her cosplay and I have three more commissions for Collascalon.”

Monroe charges customers affordable prices to make the costumes.

“I charged her four dollars an hour for labor and she provided her own materials which I took into account,” Monroe said. “I think I made 70 to 80 bucks on that dress, which is really nice considering cosplay online is $150.”

Monroe and Becker are both thrifty cosplayers.

Becker doesn’t make her own cosplays, but she buys them on eBay.

“I usually go pretty cheap,” Becker said. “I spend 15 to 20 dollars on wigs because I know I’m going to end up ruining it.”

Becker’s Yumi costume from the anime “LoveLife!” costed her $100.

Monroe is resourceful and creative when it comes to saving money on materials. In a year Monroe will spend from $330 to $400 dollars on costumes.

“My last costume was made out of a bed sheet.That was for my Toriel cosplay,” Monroe said. “I used teddy bear fur for her ears, model clay magic for her horns and a periwinkle bed sheet and acrylic paint. That has been one of my most popular cosplays to this date.”

Monroe has been getting professional pictures taken of them in their costumes and would like to use those photos in their portfolio.

“I feel like cosplay could open so many doors for me as far as fashion and costume design,” Monroe said. “I would like to be pretty well known as a designer.”

Jillian Holness is the humanities reporter for The Kent Stater, contact her at [email protected]