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Anime, burping, video games

Good times roll on at Lakewood Library

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Teenagers lined the wall in the meeting room at the Lakewood Pierce County Library on a recent Wednesday afternoon. Why? might you ask. No, they weren’t in trouble. They were watching “Black Cat.” You’re probably wondering what the heck is “Black Cat.”

If you’re not an anime fan, you wouldn’t know. It’s a popular anime series that follows the adventures of Train Heartnet, also known as Black Cat.

Close to a dozen teens, mainly from Lakes and Clover Park high schools, gather every Wednesday as part of the Lakewood Library’s Anime Club. The teens not only spend their hour together with teen librarian David Durante watching anime, but also playing the ever-popular Guitar Hero on Playstation 2 and Dance, Dance Revolution. There was also this one time they made music videos using hand puppets.

Jan. 9, the teens pulled up some carpet, kicked back and “watched” two episodes of “Black Cat” and an episode of “Gundam.” I use the term watched loosely as the club members spent most of the time socializing, playing Nintendo DS or PSP, and sending text messages.

Sometimes the anime showing was barely audible. “A lot of the time the anime is just in the background,” said Durante, who’s been hosting the club since he was hired eight months ago — though the club itself has been around for close to two years.

Nick Anderson, a sophomore at Clover Park, has been coming ever since it started. “I like anime,” he said. He was thrilled last fall when library officials decided to host the club every Wednesday instead of once a month. 

Anderson enjoys hanging out with his friends. “It’s really fun just to be around my friends,” he said. He got one friend he’s known since kindergarten — 15-year-old Stephanie Huber, who attends Lakes — to start coming as well.

Clover Park freshman Rhiann Swanson described herself as an anime addict. “I come here to see my friends and watch anime,” she said. Like Huber, Swanson was dragged into it by 14-year-old Elizabeth Black, who comes to the club to socialize with friends like most everyone else. 

Lakes freshman Hannah Staniforth, 15, enjoys reading manga and watching anime. She said her favorite series is either “Death Note” or “Absolute Boyfriend.”

The library supplies the age-appropiate anime as well as snacks and soda to get the teens high on sugar before sending them home for the day. During a recent meeting, it seemed the club members were having a burping contest as well, seeing who could do it the loudest. “It’s always a fun time,” Durante said.

Library officials permit the teens to come and go as they please, but most stay the entire hour. Any 12- to 19-year-old is welcome to join the club.

[Lakewood Library, every Wednesday 3:30-4:30 p.m., no charge, 6300 Wildaire Rd SW., Lakewood, 253.582.6040]

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