Once upon a time, a young girl wanted to make friends that shared her interests and have fun. Halloween was too far away, and she was bored out of her mind watching reruns of her favorite cartoons. Her father mentioned that there was an animé (Japanese animation) convention nearby, and maybe she should go. So the young girl went, and from that day on there was no turning back.
In case you hadn’t guessed I was that girl, and I’m still attending to this day. There had to be more to it than sheer boredom that kept me going, and I hope my quick look into these gatherings will give you an idea on why I am still going (or why you should try it).
Animé Convention (definition): Animé fans, decked out in elaborate costumes and overpriced merchandise streaming through the hallways of a convention center in an organized chaos. Normally starts on a Friday and ends on a Sunday.
The earliest incarnations of these gatherings were self proclaimed nerds watching animé at a friend’s house and examining the shows in way too much detail. Thankfully, over time, things began to change. Fans thought of new ways to entertain themselves that at least involved loud music and partying. That is my take on how modern animé conventions formed.
It could hardly be an event based on animé if there were none to watch, and there are always hundreds to choose from. Many are left in their native Japanese language. Rusty on the language? Japanese language classes, clothing shops, and custom tutorials are all over, drawing in those not dedicated to a particular series to the finer points of the medium.
Since animé has to come from somewhere, the individuals who create these series skyrocket to stardom just like a Hollywood celebrity. Industry professionals like artists and producers are often invited to share their expertise. Voice actors especially, since they are the closest one can get to the actual character, are put on pedestals and begged to share their experiences.
Cosplay, a typical Saturday night event that is the highlight of many cons, is propelled to a status of a rock show where fans compete in skits, creativity and song. The entire atmosphere is pumped with energy; the young, old and in between are caught in a wave of excitement that lasts well into the next day. It is there where you often find the true individuality of that particular convention and area, the little differences that make you want to explore each one for what it has to offer.
Cons, as they are more commonly called, are meant to be an escape from reality. There is way too much going on at one of these events to cover in one article, so the best way to really figure it out is to dive right in. Take the time to explore and see what might be lurking in your area. You might be surprised at what you find.