At the corner of Crunchyroll and Black Twitter, you'll find Afrokami forging memes like Tōtōsai forges swords
Clocking in at just over 21,000 followers on Instagram, Afrokami makes anime memes.
I say anime memes because they're not just memes about anime, but also memes that are just on point with... anime elements? Take a look for yourself.
A classic loyalty meme but... Yup, that's Mai from Yu-Gi-Oh. How about another?
Perhaps a bit more esoteric but, yes, that's Roll Safe and if you've ever played Kingdom Hearts you're probably losing your sh*t right about now. The memes on Afrokami's account are either anime-takes on trending stuff or trending-stuff-takes on anime/videogame/general j-nerd content. Of course as soon as I found his account I had to contact to the admin.
His real name's Mike Bundage and he's a sophomore at UNC Pembroke. What drives him to make anime memes? His interests "are pretty much all tailored around anime." Mike's knee-deep in content that you could broadly label "J-Nerd," if you were so inclined. We're talking Square Enix RPGs, Shonen battle anime, and manga out the waz.
But he's also got his finger on the same the kind of pop culture that a lot of college students do. Whether you want to or not, as a social media active teenager you're gonna encounter more than info to keep abreast of the Jenner/Kardashian situation, the colorful dreads of Uzi and Yachty, and of course the latest memes of Black Twitter.
While the tone of his memes can range from whimsical to bitterly sardonic, Mike sees a purer purpose behind it all: "Above all else I post anime memes to encourage people that whatever it is I'm watching is enjoyable and interesting enough to grasp anything from it, not just jokes. It's less of me ridiculing a series with jokes, but rather exposing the shows and piquing people's interests with funny content, which in my case is two birds one stone. Hopefully by doing that we get more views on shows and support the franchises more, buying manga volumes and subscribing to legal anime streaming sites (i.e. Crunchyroll, Funimation, etc) and just all around supporting the official releases. The more we do that, the more they're able to give back to us with more content which just brings in more viewers and the cycle continues."
That's a cut above most anime fans, myself included, who have little problem with illegal streaming most of their content. But Mike's right, the more we legally consume the stuff, the easier it'll be to get access to good content.
When I asked Mike which meme he was most proud of he directed to one of his tweets.
This one actually ended up getting reposted and accruing millions of likes across platforms like Facebook and Instagram. That's the kind of exposure that contributes to that "trending" spot Naruto recently copped on Netflix. It seems like Mike isn't too far off his goal already.
As for future plans, Mike hopes to expand to YouTube content and Twitch streaming as well, with his eyes on the latest Resident Evil and Kingdom Hearts games.
Afrokami content that cuts across the lines of rap culture, pop culture, weed culture, and most importantly anime culture seems to be the exact type of cultural cross-section that lofty thinkers have long expected of the internet. It's a unification of broad interests and that's a really beautiful thing.
But I'll bet my bottom dollar that the cultural commentators didn't expect to come in the form of a beat-my-meat meme starring Gaara and Rock Lee.
Be sure to follow Mike a.k.a Afrokami on Instagram and Twitter to keep up with some primo content. And now, for your viewing pleasure, a short selection of my favorites from the Afrokami Instagram feed: