CRESTVIEW — A number of Shoal River Middle School students gather after school to discuss anime, a Japanese art form that spans film, television and comic book genres, among others.
"Mostly, people think of it as a (TV) show," Liliana Smith, 13, says, "But anime is more than that. It's a culture."
Anime distinctly relies on vibrant colors and detail-rich settings, along with zooming, panning and other camera effects to tell the story. Fans can be a tight-knit bunch, and learning about someone's appreciation of anime can precede unexpected friendship, students said.
Destinie McCara, 13, said her love of anime helped her befriend a former classmate she previously didn't get along with.
"One day, I found her drawing anime; I told her I also like anime, and then we became best friends," Destinie said.
In the first meeting of its second year, the Anime Club at Shoal River Middle School has seen growth.
"I was expecting around eight or 10 kids — not a full classroom," club sponsor Chad Bouton said during a recent meeting.
Bouton, a fulltime University of West Florida student, became involved with the club with help from his mother, Donna, a school employee.
"I want (club members) to understand what goes into making anime," he said, adding that members will learn more about the artists and art form's origins.
For Liliana, that information will help her well past middle school.
"I want to make this my future job — along with being an architect," she said. "I want to bring anime to other people, so they could experience it.
Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Matthew Brown at 850-682-6524 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cnbMatthew.