Ready, set, manga. The Gulfport Library welcomed The Ravens Guild, a new club focusing on manga and anime for teens 12 and up on Saturday, May 12. Manga, loosely translates to “comics” in Japanese, traces to a style developed in Japan in the late 1700s. When turned into animated films, manga is called anime.
Library employee Sara Hack took part in unofficial manga clubs at Boca Ciega High School and Azalea Middle School while growing up. The clubs at both Boca Ciega and Azalea had great success, she said, bringing both experienced manga fans and new explorers together. Hack saw an opportunity to highlight manga at the Gulfport Public Library, and so The Raven’s Guild was born.
“It’s basically Japanese animation in a book form,” said Hack, speaking about manga. “Normally they cross paths a lot. If you have a manga, it turns into an anime. Just like a really good book turns into a movie.”
The Raven’s Guild will meet on the second Saturday of every month, in the meeting room to the right of library’s entrance, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Teens will explore both the graphic novel and animated TV and movie forms of the genre, while enjoying snacks and drinks. Hack, who leads the group, will also introduce guild members to related art forms or other fun activities.
For the group’s first meeting, Hack led an origami instruction, using space-themed origami paper. Standing in front of the group, she detailed the process step by step, creating a ninja star from carefully planned folds and interlocks. A more advanced origami artist, Daniela Arenas, 19, folded swans and a rose, impressing the group.
The five teen attendees seemed pleased in both the origami lesson and in the viewing of “Fairy Tail,” a 2006 manga-turned-anime about characters in a fairy tale guild.
“I thought since we are a guild, what better to watch than an anime about guilds,” Hack explained.
When asked what to tell potential newcomers about manga, Hack said with a chuckle, “It’s better than comic books, in my opinion.”
For readers who are interested in the manga genre, the library is home to a selection of the graphic novels, located in the Young Adult section. The Gulfport Library hopes for growth within The Raven’s Guild, but was happy with the size of the initial meetup.
For more information about The Ravens Guild or other library programs, inquirers can call 727-893-1074.