The Internet is full of indie animation projects — some silly, some serious. Some are anime parodies, and some part meant to mimic anime exactly.
And then there’s Senpai Club.
Created by Swedish indie anime studio Makebabi.es, Senpai Club is a deliberately tongue-in-cheek “anime” series that mixes animation quality, plays on common high school romance tropes, and isn’t afraid to make fun of itself or anime in general.
The heroine, Tsumiki Domen, has just come to a new high school. On her first day there, she meets the handsome (“handsome” here meaning “with a huge triangular face”) Hero-senpai. It’s love at first sight … but sadly, Hero-senpai is a member of Senpai Club, which is devoted to teaching upperclassmen how to scorn girls.
The series is voiced in Japanese and subtitled in English (occasionally inaccurately, always on purpose), and episodes are short and released in segments. Each episode has its own cover of the opening theme, as well as a new ending.
There was even an 80s episode — complete with new animation style, synth music cues, and old-school yellow subtitles. They also commissioned a new ending theme, called “Don’t Graduate, Senpai,” from from Japanese throwback pop band Satellite Young.
As silly as Senpai Club (and the whole Makebabi.es team) can be, creator Eric Bradford is actually doing more than making silly videos. Much of his art is deliberately bad, but his compositing is on point, especially for the 80s episode. And he shares his process, too! Check out his videos on how to use compositing to achieve a “real” anime look, and how to give animation that authentic old-school feel.
Right now, there are three episodes (in pieces) of Senpai Club available, as well as a Christmas special. Makebabi.es has also created several games, including My Lovely Nurse-chan Can Kill All These Monsters by Herself! and Impressive Dog. The full anime series, plus music videos and tutorials, is available on their YouTube channel.
So, does seeing Senpai Club make you want to try making your own anime?