What is anime?

We define anime to be a form of animation popularized and largely prevalent in Japan. It is hard, with the variety of anime TV and video series, shorts, and movies that exist, to describe exactly what anime is other than what it is traditionally viewed as: a cell-shaded, often exaggerated, portrayal of a usually-fictional reality. We encourage our members and you, the visitor to this website, to define anime in your own way, and provide the following links to assist you: Wikipedia’s Article on Anime, and Caroline Seawright’s helpful definition.

Please note: the word ‘anime’ is like the word ‘cinematography’. It does not define what subject matter the series, short, or movie contains, but merely the means with which it is expressed. Saying ‘anime is all children’s cartoons’ is like saying ‘TV is all reality shows’ and saying ‘anime is sexually-explicit’ is like saying ‘movies are porn’. None of those sentences encapsulate the entirety of the medium.

What is CTRL-A?

CTRL-A is the University of Waterloo‘s Club That Really Likes Anime based in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. We’re a student-run club under the Federation of Students. We were formed by students David de Jong and Brett Hoeffler in 1992 to “promote interest in animation, predominately of Japanese origin and to serve those members of the University community with this and related interests.” (From the Constitution). We’ve been going strong ever since, too. That’s because we’re so much more than just an anime club. We are a social club, first and foremost, and we have many weekly events that promote socialization amongst our members.

So what does CTRL-A do, exactly?

Pretty much whatever you want it to do. This is a club run by students for students, so if you have a good idea for something to do, there’s a decent chance we’ll do it. But, we do have a lot of scheduled/predetermined events. I’ll describe our main ones here:

Anime Shows – On four predetermined weekends every term, we actually sit down and watch some anime. This is the bread-and-butter of CTRL-A; without it, we couldn’t exactly call ourselves that, now, could we? The typical format is to show 5 continuing series (meaning that each show will have more of the same series), 8 sampler series (2 per show; we only show the first 3 episodes, hence, sampler) and 4 movies (1 per show). We also run a concession stand (profits go to support the club) and order pizza for a dinner break on both days.

Monday Meetings – These happen every Monday, starting at 6PM, and are usually followed by dinner. This is when we deal with all of the official club business, and make important decisions that influence the direction of the club, such as deciding what anime to show and when. All important decisions are decided by vote, so if you want to have your say, you are welcome to come, provided you are a registered member of the club. If you have something you want to discuss at the meeting, you can bring it up then, or send the president an email at prez@ctrl-a.org and they can put it on the agenda.

Project Nights – Every Wednesday, a smaller subset of CTRL-A meets for what is best described as “general socialization,” meaning you can pretty much do what you want. There’ll be lots of gaming, but the core purpose behind these nights is to give you chance to work on any projects you might have. If you need people to help you with an idea or half-finished project, come at 6PM every Wednesday.

Games Nights – A funny thing about anime fans is that a lot of them are also gamers. So on non-show Fridays (that is, Fridays where we don’t have a show scheduled) we get together and play games. Whether it be card games, board games, or handheld games, games are happening. Show up at 4:30 and get your game on!

And much more… Those are just our regular events. We also have sushi lunches, hot pot, card tournaments, anime marathons, and more!

So why don’t you show <A Particular Anime>?

As much as we try, we can’t please everyone, so chances are that on any given term we won’t be showing your personal favourite anime. But that doesn’t mean we hate you or anything. There are often very legitimate reasons why we can’t or won’t show something. In order of relevance, they are:

We already showed it recently. Chances are that if you think an anime was great, we did too, and we already watched it. There is naturally a statute of limitations on this, but if the majority of the current club members still remembers watching it, we probably won’t watch it again.

We aren’t allowed. This could be because the series isn’t yet licensed in North America, or that it is, but the licensee won’t let us watch it. Without permission from the licensed North American copyright holder of an anime, we won’t show it.

We don’t have a source. Even if we want to watch a series, if nobody has a legal copy, we can’t. This has become easier with streaming sources such as Crunchyroll, but is still sometimes an issue. If you want to watch something, it helps your case considerably if you have a copy of it for us to use.

Other people are against it. Simple enough; sometimes other people will disagree with your choice in anime. There could be good reason for it: if the content of a particular anime is too explicit, or there are too many episodes, we tend to stay clear. We usually vote on what to watch at the first meeting of each term, so if you believe you know of a good anime that we should watch, make your case at that meeting, and if you get enough support, we’ll watch it.

So why don’t you show fansubs?

Well, quite frankly, because they’re illegal. The unauthorized showing in public of any copyrighted work is copyright infringement under article 14 of the Berne Convention. There are plenty of arguments about whether fansubs are beneficial or harmful to the industry, and you’re welcome to stand for either side. If you watch fansubs at home, that’s your business. But, as an officially sanctioned club of the University of Waterloo, the university becomes liable for anything we do as a club that is determined to be illegal. So we won’t show them.

Anything you show I can watch at home, so why should I bother going to shows?

Several reasons! Whether they apply to you depends on the individual reading this, but there are lots of good reasons to come to our shows, such as:

Theatre-style screenings. All of our shows are in theatre-style lecture halls, and we use a projector to show anime on a screen that’s probably bigger than yours.

You get to sample a lot of different anime. Since all different people are picking out the series we watch, and because we show a lot of “sampler” series, by the end of the term you will probably tried a lot more anime than you would have yourself. They may also be anime that you never would have thought to try (or even heard of) so it can definitely expand your horizons.

They’re social! It’s no secret that anime tends to attract less social people, as anime itself is not a social activity. Chances are you don’t know a ton of people to share your interest with, so you watch anime alone. If there was any one good reason to watch anime with us, it’s the number of people you’re watching it with. Between series, you have the chance to chat with fellow fans about anime, and we hold activities during our dinner break, so that you can meet people and make friends. This is why I joined, and it’s why you should too.

Are the shows in English or Japanese?

We show anime almost exclusively in Japanese with English subtitles, unless the majority of the club prefer it in English (which is rare).

Can I be a member? What do I get if I am a member?

You may absolutely be a member! Anyone who wishes to be a member can become a member of the club, even if you don’t live anywhere near us and have nothing to do with the University! Our current per-term membership fee is $10 CAD unless you are either a first-year student at UW or entering into your first term of membership with the club, in which case it is $5.

As for what you get, you get a spiffy Membership Card, admission to our Anime Shows and social events, the privilege of voting at meetings, the entitlement to run for and hold an executive position (with some constraints), and the ability to participate in whatever special events we have planned this term (hot pot, karaoke, marathon showings, etc.). And the sense of satisfaction knowing that you’re supporting the enhancement and development of our club.

Where can I buy this membership?

You can get your membership in many ways. If it’s at the beginning of the term, you can come out to Clubs Days in the SLC, find our booth, and get your membership there. If you’ve missed that, you can just come to one of our shows, and pay a visit to the concession stand, where we will be continuing to sell memberships until the end of the term.

Can I be an Exec? Even if I don’t know anything about being an exec?

Not immediately, but there are very few limitations. We have two classifications of exec: the Executive Officers (namely, president, vice-president, treasurer, secretary and external relations officer) and the Officers (activities coordinator, concessions manager, electronic communications officer, publicity officer and web maintainer), and whether you can run for a position depends on a few factors. You can see it all laid out in the Election Requirements section of our By-Laws, but I’ll summarize it here. If you’ve been a member for at least one term in the past year, you are eligible to run for any of our Officer positions. If you have held an Officer position for at least one term in the past year, you are eligible to run for an Executive Officer position. Simple as that. You can be nominated by another member, or just nominate yourself. These rules are relaxed if there are no eligible members willing to run.

Also, the Federation of Students limits the number of non-UW undergraduate students that can be Executive Officers. At least 3 of the 5 executive officer positions must be UW undergraduates, so if you aren’t one, you may be made ineligible depending on how the elections go.

With these exceptions, there is absolutely no experience required. If you are running against other people, you will have to make a case for yourself, but there are no hard requirements for any position. All you need is some free time, enthusiasm, and ideas, and if you need help, talk to someone who has held the position before you, and I’m sure they can lend a hand. Elections are held at the first meeting of every term so that’s where you need to be if you are interested in running. The only exception to this is when someone drops out of their elected position.

Can I help with anything? I don’t necessarily know how anything works, but I’d like to help.

Yes, of course you can. We are often looking for volunteers to help setup and take down efforts at our shows, or to man our table at Clubs Days. Come to the meeting immediately preceding an event, and volunteer to help out. Or just ask someone if they need help. I’m sure everyone would appreciate it. And if you don’t know how anything works, volunteering is a great way to find out!

I have a question that isn’t answered here, or your explanation confused/didn’t satisfy me.

We don’t want any of our membership or prospective membership to be confused about anything we do, so if you have any questions/concerns at all, please contact us!

One way to go about it is to see if your question falls in any categories on the Contact Us page. We elect people both to do what they’re supposed to do and to answer questions about it. Alternatively, you can post your questions on the Club Forum. Check to see if there’s a topic there already, and if not, make a new one, and we’ll be happy to help out. If your question is regarding a news post on the main page, you can just comment directly on it. If all that is too confusing just send an email to ctrl-a@ctrl-a.org and the right person will get back to you. Or, just ask one of us in person! We strive to be as accessible as possible, so please don’t be afraid to talk to us. Hearing your questions/concerns helps us make the club better for you, and in the end, that’s what we’re here for. This is a student club, after all. :)