BONGANIME initially started as a YouTube channel back in June 2020 by a group of three people in Kolkata, who used to make anime-related videos in their local language – Bangla. The idea behind opening such a YouTube channel was to talk about Anime in Bengali language and promote the culture of anime in West Bengal. Here’s an interview with the brilliant team behind the rise of anime in Kolkata and Bengal at large.

1. Tell us about the Bonganime community

“Bonganime” consists of two words – “Bong”, meaning “Bengali” and “Anime”, which obviously refers to “Japanese Animation” as everyone knows. BONGANIME is a group of anime fans and enthusiasts based in Kolkata, West Bengal, who are interested towards the art of Japanese animation and the overall Anime culture in India. It currently functions as a community group, which posts anime-related content in their social media handles and organizes anime-themed events, such as screenings of anime movies which release in India. The Bonganime community currently has a Whatsapp group with around 400+ members. Apart from this, they also have a Youtube channel (with 1.8k subscribers currently), an Instagram handle (with more than 2k followers), a Facebook page and a Facebook group.

The community is filled with die-hard fans of anime and the love for art

2. How did the entire concept start?

BONGANIME initially started as a YouTube channel back in June 2020 by a group of three people in Kolkata, who used to make anime-related videos in their local language – Bangla. The idea behind opening such a YouTube channel was to talk about Anime in Bengali language and promote the culture of anime in West Bengal. Since most of the popular YouTube channels on Anime back then used to be in Hindi and English, discussing about the same in a regional language like Bangla was quite rare, according to the creators of BONGANIME. Their YouTube channel is currently active, and the content which they produce are – Analysis/explanation videos on particular anime series or movies, podcasts with different content creators who are mainly related to anime, vlogs on anime-related events which happen around, etc. From 2022, BONGANIME took another path alongside running their channel simultaneously – they started getting involved in various anime-themed events in Kolkata, through which many people got to know about them. From the second half of 2023 onwards, they formed an independent anime community group of their own.

The three founders of the Bonganime community (L-R Mayukh Roy, Soumyabrata Chakraborty, Srinjoy Majumder)

3. Who are the founders/core members?

There are three main founders of BONGANIME – Mayukh Roy, Soumyabrata Chakraborty, and Srinjoy Majumder. They are the core members of the group since the very beginning.

The active members of the community take part in various events and outreach programmes to popularise anime in Kolkata

4. What events have you organised in the past?

The first event which BONGANIME organised was an Open-to-all Gathering of Anime fans in Eco Park, Kolkata on August 2022. It was a Meet-and-greet event where many cosplayers (dressed up as their favourite anime characters) and anime enthusiasts joined in. After this, BONGANIME was involved in few more Cosplay-themed events. They even conducted small movie meetups for the “Demon Slayer” movies, which were released in recent times. On 23rd April 2023, BONGANIME organized their first official fan screening of the movie SUZUME, directed by Makoto Shinkai. The group had booked 60+ seats via Bulk booking in PVR Mani Square Mall, Kolkata, and many anime lovers showed up as Audience in their event. On 5th November 2023, they hosted a Watch party for the Final Episode of the highly popular anime “Attack on Titan” in MQXT Social Café, Kolkata, where the particular episode was screened. On 12th May 2024, they conducted another exclusive fan screening of the Academy-award winning animated feature film “The Boy and The Heron”, where they booked almost the whole hall in PVR Mani Square, Kolkata. The screening was widely appreciated, and many new anime fans showed up in the event. The latest event which the Bonganime community had conducted was a small movie meetup for the movie “Haikyu: The Dumpster Battle”, where some members of the community showed up.

Members of the community at the screening of ‘The Boy and the Heron’

5. What can fans of anime in Kolkata look out for in the future?

The main goal of BONGANIME is to spread the culture of anime all over Kolkata and give a boost to the community of anime fans based on this city as a whole, so that more passionate people come up and support the artform of Japanese Animation. After the successful fan screening of “The Boy and The Heron”, BONGANIME is looking forward to conducting more such screenings of other upcoming anime movies, so that these movies work well in big screens of this region and more such movies keep releasing in future. Apart from screenings, BONGANIME is looking forward to many other anime-centric events and ventures in the coming days, which the members of the group are expecting to be bigger and better than their past projects. In short, BONGANIME wants to represent the Bengali anime culture and spread the word about it nationwide. The only factors required to achieve this are support from more anime fans, and spreading awareness about anime culture across West Bengal, especially to the people who have no idea about the genre of anime.

The members meet regularly at movie screenings and fan meets to unite in their shared love for anime

6. How popular do you think anime is in Bengal?

Bengal is a hub of creative people and anime itself is a creative artform. So Anime has a vast popularity all-over Bengal, especially among the youngsters. The culture of watching anime was present long before; thanks to shows like “Pokemon”, “Dragon Ball Z”, etc. airing in Indian Television in early 2000s. But the culture got a spark during COVID-19, where it was observed that many viewers started binge-watching anime series and movies during Nationwide Lockdown. The popularity of anime has increased more in recent times due to release of anime movies in big screens, rise of the anime fan-groups, and legally streaming of anime content in digital platforms like Crunchyroll and Netflix. People in Bengal have also started showing enthusiasm towards anime-themed events and cosplaying of anime characters. The only thing required to grow this culture is the coming-together of more anime fans. In case of the BONGANIME group, it has been observed that many anime fans didn’t knew about the existence of anime fan-groups or anime communities before being their part.

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