‘Someone mentioned me? Great, now I have to reply with Rob Dougan playing in my head . . .’
My university does have an anime club but I’ve never attended it – partly because digital fansubbing means it’s not the only way to see anime, partly because they rarely show anime which I’d be interested to watch, and partly because they charge a (small) fee for entry, but show fansubs. (Okay, there’re several other debates there which we’ll skip over because time forbids.)
From the size of the club’s mailing list, and the size of its venues, I’m guessing it’s relatively large (perhaps over forty people). This might be partly because my university in particular is not a university for mildly misanthropic middle class white boys (such as myself), so there’s more of an element of social interaction to it. I must pass the baton: Martin or Paul might know more about the shape of anime fandom in the UK. (It was actually the third question Paul replied to here.)
France is probably ahead of the UK, anime-wise. In fact, to hear a European anime industry insider tell it (well worth a read, I must say), France may be ahead of the US in some respects. They certainly have some big cons there. As for the rest of Europe, I know very little – beyond noting that one my Gundam SEED box set’s subtitle tracks is Polish. They say that in the UK and other parts of Europe there’s also an arthouse movie fandom (if ‘fandom’ is the right word) who pick up on the High Art end of anime in between Kurosawa flicks, but this may just be a myth designed to prop up European pride in our taste.
[Because constantly reminding United Statians of our supposed cultural superiority is a key element in (Western) Europe’s survival strategy. We have to pretend to be Greece to America’s Rome, or something. I won’t mention how I adapted a phrase from US politics for a post title.]
And I think fansubs are (even more) popular here because of the wider gap (both in time and in number) between the titles legally available and the titles discussed on the internet. I fear that some British fans mix their fansub habits with some anti-Americanism, too. (‘What did the R1 industry ever do for us?’)