The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

Behind the scenes (BTS, if you must) of the Kpop and Anime Club

October 13, 2020

Vice+President+Dima+Jones+%28center%29%2C+President+Maelle+Allanic+%28right%29+and+another+club+member+shred+down+Tahoes+snow-covered+slopes+on+one+of+their+unofficial+Kpop+and+Anime+Club+bonding+trips.+Unconventional+trips+and+events+like+these+have+bridged+the+divide+between+the+Kpop+stans+and+Anime+fans+even+during+a+virtual+school+year.

Vice President Dima Jones (center), President Maelle Allanic (right) and another club member shred down Tahoe’s snow-covered slopes on one of their unofficial Kpop and Anime Club bonding trips. Unconventional trips and events like these have bridged the divide between the Kpop stans and Anime fans even during a virtual school year.

Kpop and Anime Club President junior Maelle Allanic didn’t expect to organize a quarantine “Ponyo” party. She didn’t even want the Valorant tournament. Not to mention the ski trip, an excursion to Japantown or a dancing crew of BTS stans.

When she founded her club freshman year, Maelle never envisioned any of this, but she’s not disappointed by the turn of events. In fact, she’s rather proud.

Initially, Maelle started the club to simply connect with her friends who enjoyed Kpop, Anime or both. Over the last two years, however, it has evolved into a tight-knit community of over 60 members, divided in two by their interests.

“Envision this: In one half of the classroom, you have someone blaring their Kpop music and dancing, and on the other side, there’s a bunch of quiet people with headphones on watching Anime,” vice president junior Dima Jones said.

Despite how difficult quarantine has been, it’s given the club one advantage this year. Zoom breakout rooms have allowed the Kpop section to belt their beloved songs and practice choreography while allowing the Anime section their tranquil Anime soundtracks. Even with the inarguable differences between the cultures of Anime and Kpop, the two sections of the club intertwine harmoniously into one larger entity to support their club.

Their most frequent fundraiser, for example, featured members of all genders dressed up in cliché Anime schoolgirl outfits selling Ramune, a popular Japanese soda.

“The skirt, you know, it gets attention,” Dima said. “So people come over and buy something.”

“We were playing on the Anime trope of the schoolgirl,” Maelle said. “It wasn’t in a mean way, it was just for laughs.”

Through bonding experiences like this, the club is unified under the common goal of fostering a welcoming environment for students to learn about Kpop or Anime while enjoying one another’s company.

Before quarantine, club members took an array of informal field trips outside of the club’s premise, including an ice-skating excursion to Winter Lodge.

The trip was chaotic since, within the club, some members boasted their tournament-worthy skating skills while others had never even strapped on ice-skates before. In a sweet gesture, the more advanced skaters attempted to teach the newbies how to skate. While Maelle says they didn’t really succeed in these impromptu lessons, and many frequently fell onto the ice, at least it was entertaining and quality bonding time.

Since then, they’ve adjusted their bonding activities to accommodate for the virtual environment, including competitive games of Among Us and Gordon Ramsey-approved bake-offs.

Though things may change throughout quarantine, the Kpop and Anime Club will remain tight, through Anime movie screenings and Kpop concerts alike. Maybe they’ll even use one breakout room instead of two.

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