So 2009 has started off with a bit of a bang. Late last year some people started up a group on facebook for anime lovers in nigeria. The response has been modest yet very encouraging at 248 members (last check).
I was particularly impressed because sometime last year I tried to start an anime lovers group on a nigerian social networking website that I shall not name here. I even used a really cool picture of Mugen from Samurai Champloo as the group image to make it extra enticing. Of the few people that showed any interest exactly one knew what anime was. The rest were more interested in my sexy Yoko from Gurren Lagaan ID photo. One person accused me of occultic activity. So as you can imagine I was delighted to find a place where Nigerians who love anime could gather!
Then, like having that page wasn’t cool enough, another group (though they are related), also on facebook, decided to organise an Anime Swap meet. The notice said to bring your external hard drives and that even if you didn’t have anime to share, leechers where welcome! I heard about the event a couple of days before it occurred through the first group and immediately cleared my calendar. Apart from the irresistible lure of anime gigabitage, I was curious. I wanted to see with my own eyes what kind of Nigerians would leave their homes on a sunday evening in the hopes of scoring japanese cartoons.
So Y and I went and the first surprise was the turn out. Where I was expecting a high point of about seven, maybe even ten people, I could swear at a point there were up to 30 people crowded into our little corner of Barcello’s! Other surprises followed. Where I feared I would be the only girl present, there were actually six other hard core fangirls in attendance! Where I assumed that all people would bring would be Bleach and Naruto, I was blessed with the sight of titles I had been searching for and even some new ongoing ones!
It was great!!!! We were buried in wires, laptops and external hard drives and it got a little warm but there was nowhere I would rather have been! The atmosphere was fantastic and everybody was cool! From asking around, we were able to find out that most of the people in attendance where in professions involving art, technology or both, which I thought was pretty cool.
I struck up a few conversations and it was interesting to see the different degrees to which people were into the genre and the variety of ways they got into it. At the end of the day, Naruto and Bleach are still the most watched animes here, I think, but there are also a lot of people here that love the vintage stuff from the golden period in Naija TV history when NTA aired Voltron and Gforce and the VHS versions of Akira, Wicked City, Ninja Scroll, etc. where traveling around Lagos! (I suspect that was when our romance with the genre began).
I feel that THIS sort of thing cannot happen enough! Events based on true hobbyist passion. Fringe cultures are the evidence of a progressive society and this sort of thing makes me feel that there is hope for Nigeria.
I think one of my best things about it is the fact that there was no fancy name involved. The facebook page is called “Are there 10,000 Nigerians who love Anime?” The Anime Swap Meet was called…An Anime Swap Meet. The guys who organised it are The Anime Exchange.
I raise my hat to them. Bodurin Oye, Mujib Waziri, Olubunmie Oye, Olumide “luminous” Alabi, Demola Sadiq, Funke Merink Famoyin (if I left out anyone, Gomenosai, I truly apologise).
Here’s my list of what I scored:
Fate Stay Night
Inuyasha (Just the movies though I know there was someone there who had a large chunk of the series!)
Itazura na kiss
Shakugan no shana
Nodame Cantabile (Some)
Suzumiya Hauruhino Yuutsa
I almost got Vampire Knight but there was a mix up 😦
Can’t wait till the next one!!!
NB. Go here for information about the next swap meet.