“I wanna get plastered!” says Dragon Ball Z to the antagonist from an Anime cartoon circa 1970, decked in an orange suit and knee-high white boots, sipping a Heineken. The awkward 1970s antagonist nods. “I wanna hit the dance floor when more people get here,” he says, bopping his bleach-blond head to the hyper sounds of Japanese techno and surveying the sparse grouping of Anime characters and Japanese schoolgirls clustered around the bar.
It’s the Fourth of July, and the Chicago Suicide Club hosts a party to celebrate freedom of another kind, to publicly enjoy “Anime, sushi, schoolgirls and debauchery.” Kevin, who runs the Chicago Suicide Club, masterminded the whole night. “It was basically just a freak idea,” he says. “I like to throw sushi parties at my house and hand-roll sushi for my friends. That’s sorta where the idea came from,” though also in part from a Japanese kitsch movie fittingly titled “Suicide Club” in which a group of crazed J-school girls commits suicide over a rock band.
Sarah, Kevin’s girlfriend, may be better known as Le Sprite, the DJ who kicks off the night, says “[J-Pop] definitely influences my style, my art, my comic stuff and my Djing.” She was also responsible for the night’s colorful posters. “A lot of people in this city are secretly into anime,” she says, sporting a pair of furry, pink cat ears. “That’s why we wanted to have J-Pop night, so people could let down their inhibitions…Anime is more a part of our culture than we realize.” (Reilly Nelson)