About Animania

Wanna know more about us?

Now that you understand just a little about how much our club has to offer, you can find out more here about exactly how our club operates and how you can get involved! Or for those who are new to the anime scene, we also offer a FAQ (frequently asked questions) guide to what anime is and where to find several links. Read this like a newspaper at your pleasure.

Animania Information, updated 10/1/09!


New Historical Information and thanks
Many thanks to Michael D. Hayden, the contributer of the historical information that we have received about Animania. After you read through this history, you'll see why Animania is such a great club to be in!

When did 'Animania' start?
The organization that became Animania began in the mid 1980s as a small club of  non-students -- mostly A^2 townies plus some others from around Metro Detroit -- meeting at a local community center. Unfortunately, material was very difficult to obtain at that time (e.g. nth-generation VHS tapes, a handful of laser discs) and most U.S. fans' knowledge started and ended with "Robotech", so the group stayed small for a while.'

How did Animania's popularity gain more popularity and members?
In 1989, interest in anime spiked with the art house-release of "AKIRA". The group started attracting more students from the University, but since the students lived on campus and rarely had cars, it was hard for them to get down to the community center. As such, the non-students -- who still made up the majority of the group -- agreed to move to the campus.

Who was in charge of Animania?
At that time, the group was primarily run by Dave Laing, Pres Nevins, and occasionally Tim Eldred. (Yes, Tim Eldred the comic artist. And if you don't know who he is, I guess that just proves how long ago it was.) None of them were students but they had the connections to get new material, so it was their show. Also, Dave was extremely charismatic -- the kind of guy you would NEVER expect to be an anime nerd, much like the Fonz hanging out with the rest of the "Happy Days" gang -- so everyone was glad to have him MC the meetings.

Being non-students, however, they needed to have students officially in charge of the group in order to have access to meeting rooms on campus and MSA funding. The first official student staffers were Doug Jacobs (Class of '95, double major, Comp Sci and Japanese) and Jonathan Mayer (Class of '94, Engineering), and Animania officially formed as a UofM student group sometime around 1990.

How did Animania develop into a solid anime club with a core group of friends?
Michael D. Hayden writes:

"I (Class of '95, English Lit) joined the club in Fall 1991. Tim had drifted away to concentrate on his career in comics, and Jon had taken a year off for an internship or something. The remaining staff consisted of Dave, Pres, Doug, and a couple of Doug's friends. The club met in the Kuenzel Room of the Michigan Union, and monthly attendance maxed out at 40 people. I was just another member of the audience for the first several months.

** Stuff we watched during that time: "Megazone 23", "Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water", "Record of Lodoss War", "Bubblegum Crisis", "Char's Counterattack", "Laputa: Castle in the Sky".

In Winter 1992, Doug announced that he would be studying abroad in Hikone, Japan for the 1992-93 school year and he needed some new student staffers to replace him. I volunteered to take over the club's newsletter and fliers, and after working with Doug on those for a few months, we became pretty good friends. When Jon returned in the summer of 1992, Doug turned the official responsibilities over to the two of us. Around the same time, Pres married a Japanese woman and moved with her to Japan, leaving just Dave from the original three.

U.S. interest in anime grew quickly, thanks to more releases from companies like Streamline and AnimEigo, and with it Animania grew as well. We outgrew the Kuenzel Room and moved to the Anderson Room. Dave continued to bring the material and MC the shows, Jon handled the official business with MSA and the Michigan Union, and I published the newsletters and fliers and represented the club on the University's BBS.

Through the 1992-93 school year we grew to a steady 100 people per month, with flood of newcomers who wanted to "get involved." Some brought material, some brought and set up the equipment, some posted fliers, some manned the Festifall booth, and so on. That was our first real staff, or as we called it at that time, our "Core Group." I honestly cannot remember most of them (hey, 17 years is 17 years) but I *would* like to make special mention of Bernard Yeh (Class of '94, Engineering), Anita Sengupta (Class of '94, don't remember her major but it was something LSA), and Gino Ruiz (dropped out). Gino in particular came to play a important role in the group, but more on that later.

By this time, both the audience and the staff consisted almost entirely of students, with fewer and fewer old guard townies, so Dave Laing began to step back from Animania. He was still the heart of the group and MCed the shows, but we handled everything else.

** Stuff we watched during that time: "Kimagure Orange Road" (a club favorite), "Kiki's Delivery Service", "Gundam 0080", "Bubblegum Crash", "Giant Robo", "Koko wa Greenwood", "Video Girl Ai".

As the Core Group really began to gel, we decided to flex our muscles. First, we organized our own subtitling and tape duplication group called "Operation: Secret Project," or "OSP" for short. (Sorry, an in-joke, ya had to be there.) This was when everything was still on VHS, and an Amiga with a GenLock card was the pinnacle of subtitling technology, so it was a bigger deal than it sounds now.

Also, I got enough submissions to turn the club newsletter into a full-fledged fanzine. I still have several copies of those, if you're interested, but we can discuss that another time."

What things did the "Core Group" do together?
Michael D. Hayden writes:

"The Core Group decided to attend Anime Expo 1993 in force. We each got there on our own -- for example, Gino and I flew to Denver to meet Bernard, and then we road-tripped from there to San Francisco -- but once there, we were a pretty respectable presence. As part of the effort, we helped to bankroll the AX opening animation produced by RIAP (see the link in my previous email) in exchange for a mention in the credits and a semi-original character design for our club T-shirt. (I say "semi-original" because, at that time, we were all in love with Madoka from "Kimagure Orange Road". But to actually put Madoka on a T-shirt would violate AnimEigo's U.S. copyright on the series, so the RIAP crew fudged it for us. In the opening animation, look for the blue fighter with the fuselage art.) Anyhow, you can see several people wearing the T-shirt in that audience photo on the front page of umichanime.com. A couple dozen of us wore it all around AX, and at a time when there weren't many large fan organizations in the U.S. and AX itself drew only a few thousand attendees, we stood out."

Why did monthly screenings become SO BIG?
Still feeling the buzz from AX, the Core Group decided really grow Animania during the 1993-94 school year. We distributed fliers to every comics, gaming, and indie video shop in southeastern Michigan, and we also set up a huge booth at that year's Festifall. The result was that our October show -- still in the Anderson Room at the Union -- was standing room only with 150-200 people. I know that doesn't sound like much, but anime was still relatively fringe at the time. Doug Jacobs had also just returned from his year in Japan, so the Core Group had a good laugh about the SRO crowd being his "welcome home" present.

** Stuff we watched during that time: "Gundam 0083", "Porco Rosso", "Gunbuster", "Otaku no Video", and... I cannot remember what else because I was busy with Core Group stuff and rarely watched the actual shows. With attendance like that, we obviously couldn't stay in the Anderson Room, so the next month we moved to Angell Auditorium A. And the club just kept growing, so very soon we moved the shows to MLB3 and held our staff meetings at Angell. Ha!

This was when Gino Ruiz stepped up and saved our butts. Unlike Angell Auditorium A, MLB3 had lousy A/V equipment, so Gino went ahead and bought an LCD projector, mostly for his own use but also to loan to Animania for the monthly shows. (At the risk of repeating myself, this is another case of it being a bigger deal back then than it is now. Such projectors *started* at $5,000, plus $400-600 for each replacement bulb.) We would never have been able to do our shows at MLB without Gino's help, so it's nice to see that he's been somewhat enshrined on the current Web site: in the same audience photo where you can see our AX'93 T-shirts, Gino is the guy with the red-tinted glasses sitting alone in the taped-off area and that's his projector a few rows up behind him.

Throughout the spring and summer of 1994, we had a monthly attendance of 300-400 people in MLB3. This made us one of if not *the* largest anime club in the U.S. Our only real competitors were some of the older clubs in California, like Cal Animage at U.C. Berkeley.

How did "Con Ja Nai" get its title?
In 1994, the staff of U-Con approached us to run an anime track at that autumn's convention, but the room they offered us would hold only a fraction of our regular monthly attendance. We laughed in their faces. However, we also knew that if the previous autumn's show in the Anderson Room was any indication, then we had to do *something* for our first post-Festifall show of the 1994-95 school year. SRO in MLB3 would be a logistical nightmare and a huge embarrassment.

Thus, Con Ja Nai was born. You have your own experiences organizing and running Con Ja Nai, so there's not much more I can tell you about that. It wasn't a proper convention because the University wouldn't let us have dealers in MLB, but an all-day event that took up the entire first floor of MLB deserved a special name, so... not a con... con ja nai! Final attendance was 1000-1200 people over the course of the day, with people coming in from all over the Midwest. In essence, it *was* a regional convention, regardless of the name.

Following that first Con Ja Nai in Fall 1994, the management of the club shifted to the next generation. Dave Laing, our glorious leader, finally outgrew the whole anime thing. He and Gino had become motorcycle buddies so he frequently came out from Metro Detroit to visit us -- Gino and I were housemates in Ypsi that year -- but he didn't go to any more shows. Jonathan Mayer and Bernard Yeh had already graduated and were looking for jobs, and Doug Jacobs and I had to get serious about graduating ourselves. Gino still went every month, since it was still his projector, but beyond that he wasn't involved much. He had dropped out of school and could no longer be an official staff member.

After a bit of internal shuffling, the next club president after us was Mike Ho. (If you google his name with "animania," or with his email nickname "motoslave," you'll find some of his old Usenet posts.) He ran things until about 1997, when he was succeeded by his girlfriend. I'm sorry that I cannot remember her name -- she was one of the horde of tertiary staffers that we had during my last year in the club -- but she was a legend in her own right by the time she left in 1998 or 1999. If you still have some old guard townies in the club, they might remember her.

Screenings and Other Events

Where are the screenings usually held?
Animania's free monthly screenings are usually held in the Modern Languages Building, aka MLB, on the University of Michigan's Central Campus. The MLB is on the corner of Thayer and Washington. A convenient landmark to look for is the Burton Bell Tower, which is right next to the MLB. Parking is available in various lots around campus and in nearby downtown Ann Arbor. The actual address is 812 E Washington St., Ann Arbor 48109. The university's information about the MLB can be found here.

How do I get to the screenings?
If you are student here at the University of Michigan, we suggest you take the Blue Bus which will stop at CC Little or by the Power Center. It is a quick 5 minute walk from there.

Coming from outside Ann Arbor?

We get lots of people from in and around Ann Arbor at every screening, but we also get occasional guests from Detroit, Grand Rapids, Ohio, Washington (the state -- really!), etc. So, if you're from out of town, don't be afraid to come to one of our screenings, because you won't be the only long-distance visitor. It might be a good idea to print out the directions and the map, so you can look at them together.

Map and Directions

We have a map of the University of Michigan's Central Campus with the MLB highlighted to help you find it. Below are Animania's directions to the MLB from the major freeways entering Ann Arbor.

From North of Ann Arbor

From I-96:

Take I-96 to US-23 South. When you get to just north of Ann Arbor, you will have the option to go west to I-94 along M-14 West or to go east towards Plymouth along M-14 East. US-23 follows M-14 East, so stay to your left and follow US-23. After less than a mile, M-14 East splits from US-23, so stay to your right and follow US-23. Take the second Ann Arbor exit, Geddes Road, and turn right (west) at the light onto Geddes. You will pass through a T-intersection with a light (go straight), then travel along the Huron River for a little bit until you come to the corner of Geddes and Huron Parkway. You'll want to go straight at this intersection, and Geddes will now be called Fuller (Ann Arbor is strange that way). Follow Fuller through several traffic lights until you get to the corner of Fuller and Glen. This is a T-intersection, where Fuller actually continues to the right, but you'll want to go straight and follow Glen up the hill. Stay to your right on Glen, and turn right at the corner of Glen and East Huron. Once you're on East Huron, quickly move over to your left and take the first left, which will be Fletcher. Then take your first right, which will be East Washington. When you come to the three-way stop, you'll have reached your destination, because the MLB will be on your left. Now, good luck finding parking!

From M-14:

As you approach Ann Arbor, M-14 meets US-23 and you'll want to take US-23 South. Take the second Ann Arbor exit, Geddes Road, and then follow the directions above.

From South or Southeast of Ann Arbor

From I-94 (westbound) or US-23 (northbound), find your way to the US-23 / I-94 interchange and take US-23 North. Exit on Washtenaw Avenue heading toward Ann Arbor, and turn right to stay on Washtenaw. At one point Washtenaw Avenue splits into Washtenaw and Stadium Boulevard; stay to the far right and keep following Washtenaw onto the campus. When you reach the corner of Washtenaw and North University, veer left onto North University. Take a right at the corner of North University and Thayer, and the MLB will be on your right.

From West of Ann Arbor

As you approach Ann Arbor, you will have two choices. You can follow M-14 East around the north side of Ann Arbor until you get to US-23, and then follow the directions for traveling From North of Ann Arbor. Or, you can follow I-94 around the south side of Ann Arbor until you get to the I-94 / US-23 interchange, and then follow the directions for traveling From South or Southeast of Ann Arbor.

Are there any special screenings?
Yes, we hold themed screenings which are based on holidays and also Con Ja Nai every year.

What is Con Ja Nai?
Con Ja Nai is Animania's annual mega-screening. It is an all day screening event that Animania hosts in the MLB that shows more anime than any sane person would be able to intake, running four shows at a time in separate rooms, as well as including staff panels and games to win free raffle tickets.

What other events do you offer?
At the moment, we are planning other events such as dinner get-togethers, more anime showings, or karaoke night. If you have any suggestions, put them in our suggestions box. Thanks!

Are there any rules that I should be aware of?
Yes, there should be no loitering while we show our screenings and also minors need to be accompanied by an adult. Since we need to respect the ones who allow us to use the auditoriums, we need to abide by the rule that there need to be no food nor drinks inside.

When is your next screening or event?
Just take a look at our calendar to see what is the schedule for the next few months. We should have something on there. Also, take a second to subscribe to our newsletter to get nice updates about our plans!

Club Hierarchy

What is the Animania president, and what do they do?
The president of Animania is selected by staff members in each annual election. Duties of the president include but is not limited to: lead the club for the progression of its well-being, guide and mentor other members to run Animania events, and make sure members are enjoying club events and animè!

What are staff members?
Staff members are University of Michigan students that help plan current and future Animania events, with the input of our general audience members. A certain number of staff members must be upheld in order to register the club with the university.

How do I become a staff member?
Are you an eligible student at the University of Michigan and want to make a difference in our club? If yes, send us an introductory e-mail us at animania@umich.edu for further details :) Or better yet, come in person to our next calendar event (see main page for details) and join there.

What are members?
Members are the core of the club - without them there would be no point to this club! Animania is all about furthering the enjoyment of animè in all of its glory and spreading the awareness that animè is more than a "cartoon."

How do I become a member?
The first step is to subscribe to our mailing list. Then come to our screenings and made yourself known! Anyone can sit at their computer and watch animè. Those who truly love it, come participate in our club activities. Check the calendar on our main page to see what is going on next.

Is there a membership tier system?
There is currently no tier system for our audience members, but we are still in talks to see if we want to give members special perks (such as snacks and drinks outside in our lobby, discounts at animè-related stores, etc.) for being more involved in our events. Stay tuned...


Who wrote this website?
Michael Mark and Johnson Mark took some time in December of 2008 to decide on how to improve the future of Animania through the Internet. This website is the production of their efforts.

Why is this website so great?
This is because of the decision to make the website based on PHP. PHP is a language that follows C++ code structure and is able to integrate itself with the database, HTML, and JS elements (and more) of a server. This makes it extremely flexible and allows for this website to run very smoothly.

Why isn't X feature available?
If you believe a feature needs to be added, please visit the contact page and ask away! Please read through the forums and see what, if any, our position may already be for a feature and then follow the procedure given there.

How can I find more information about making a site like this?
If you would like to create a site similar to ours, just contact Michael Mark and Johnson Mark directly. The two young'uns may have busy schedules, but they are very helpful people! Posting on the forums may be a good start to contacting them.

I have a problem with the forums...
Read this separate phpBB forum-related FAQ to see if it resolves your issue. If it does not, either post on phpBB.com's forum or on our forums here.

How do I use the forums?
Read this separate phpBB forum-related FAQ to see if it resolves your issue. If it does not, either post on phpBB.com's forum or on our forums here.

Who do I contact about abusive and/or legal matters related to this site?
Any of the administrators listed on the “The team” page should be an appropriate point of contact for your complaints. If this still gets no response then you should contact the owner of the domain (do a whois lookup) or, if this is running on a free service (e.g. Yahoo!, free.fr, f2s.com, etc.), the management or abuse department of that service.

General Issues

How do I become a member of Animania?
To become a member of Animania, all you have to do is attend a screening! To find out more information about this, check our calendar for event dates, or just e-mail us at animania@umich.edu !

How do I become a staff member?
To inquire about being a part of the staff, you need to contact us or request this through e-mail at animania@umich.edu. The duties of a staff member range anywhere from being a graphic artist to a webmaster, or even president!

How many members do you have?
The technical size of our club depends on the number of people in our mailing list. Right now, we have above 800 members! To subscribe to our mailing list, click here!.

What do you guys usually do as a group?
What do we do, you ask? Haha... there are all sorts of stuff that we "do." However, the most important part is the experience everyone receives together as a group. Take screenings for example. Every month we present a combination of a unique shows that are very good and hard to get. Now that's hard to beat, free seats in a rare theatre that shows anime! We are also planning other interesting events for the future.

What kind of events are offered?
At the moment, we offer screenings for the general public every month. We are planning more events such as sushi get-togethers, karaoke nights, and more! Just tune in on our events by subscribing to our newsletter.

Who is Animania affiliated with?
Animania is a club that intends to help change society in a positive manner by sharing our interests in Japanese Film and Art (anime, manga, etc.). We have affiliations with the University of Michigan through MSA and connections with WizzyWig's of Ann Arbor.

Who is your sponsor?
At the moment, Animania is actively seeking a department who is willing to sponsor our club. Please, please, if you have interest in sponsoring us, we would be very happy!

What is the Animania constitution? (or rules and regulations)
For screenings, minors must be accompanied by an adult. We will always be monitoring this rule strictly. Also, no food or drink inside the auditorium. We also follow the rules of MSA and the Law of Ann Arbor, which means that there should be no loitering around the MLB while we run our screenings. We also generally do not show licensed anime as a rule. The rules surrounding this issue differ from distributor to distributor, and aren't an industry standard. We might seek permission for Con Ja Nai, but Animania generally sticks to showing anime unlicensed for distribution in America.