The Manga Student Association has been a small but steady part of Ohio State’s extracurricular offerings since 2006.
Manga are print comics created in Japan or by creators in the Japanese language that cover a broad range of genres, including fantasy, sports and comedy. The club seeks to foster interest and knowledge in this Japanese form of art and storytelling, as well as give students a community and facilitate an inclusive and safe environment for discussion, according to its mission statement.
Alex Ent, MSA President and third-year in biology, said the club isn’t widely known and it doesn’t boast large numbers, but it makes up for its lack of student volume with its devoted members.
MSA functions similarly to a book club, with members voting on a book to discuss at the next week’s meeting. Each club member can nominate a book to ensure everyone has his or her voice heard.
Ent is a lifelong fan of manga and said the club’s specific nature is the reason why it has been around so long.
“The community really is the best part about the club. The people that really enjoy it … this club gives everyone that is interested in manga a place to come and talk about it in a book club format. There isn’t really a lot of that,” Ent said. “It definitely isn’t easy to find a lot of other manga enthusiasts, and this club welcomes anyone that wants to give it a chance.”
Jamie Yoder a third-year in Japanese and the club’s treasurer, agreed that the community the club provides is an important aspect.
“The club is so great. You get to meet a lot of people and manga, well, not as many people are into it,” Yoder said. “So it’s really nice to be able to finally talk to someone about something that you both really enjoy.”
The club meets in the Enarson Classroom Building in room 258 on Tuesdays from 6 to 8 p.m. Club members participate in in-depth discussions of manga and manga culture.
In addition to discussing manga, members participate in manga-related games and activities at each meeting.
“Our participants tend to be very shy,” Ent said. “We have tons of international students involved in the club, and these activities help them better break out of their shells. It can be a very enlightening experience for all of them.”
Manga club newcomer and international student Louis Zhao, a first-year in computer and information science, originally heard about the club at the student involvement fair.
“I had fun at the meeting, it is a nice way for me to talk to people easier because I am a foreign student and sometimes it is hard to talk to people,” Zhao said. “Manga is something we all like, and so I think that it helps us be more comfortable.