A Lolita blogger I read (Miss Lumpy) talked about Anime Boston in a recent article, and since I’m going to a con for the first time in a few years, I thought I’d talk about anime conventions! Beware, this is a long article.
My con of choice and the one I’ve been to most often is Animazement in Raleigh, NC (USA). I’ve gone for 5 years (not in order - I skipped it for Otakon in 2004), and am very excited to say I’m returning!! It’ll be the first time since 2006 I’ve been, and the last con I went to was in 2007 I think. So I’ve been out of the circuit for a while. The conventions I’ve been to are Animazement, Otakon, Anime Weekend Atlanta, and AnimeUSA (I’m in North Carolina). I’ve gone to two cons a year but never more than that.
I’m so excited about the convention and cosplay and planning and … what? You’ve never been to a convention? Well let me tell you a bit about them!
There are many, many, many anime conventions around the world (here’s a map from animecons.com) And if you live in the US, it’s very probable that there’s a con at least 4-5 hours from you (which sounds like a lot, but lots of people travel further! I have a friend coming to Animazement from NYC!) Anime conventions are on the weekend for 3 days (Fri-Sun) 90% of the time (Anime Expo is 4 days I think, and some cons have pre-con events the night before). They usually officially ‘start’ with opening ceremonies around noon or one pm.
Every anime con has a program, which lists every little thing and what time it is. VERY IMPORTANT!!
Every anime con has a registration fee which is $30-$60 depending on how early you pre-register or if you pay at the door. Every convention will have a weekend badge, and every convention will have a 1 day badge.
There’s lots of things at cons, like guests, panels, Dealers room, artist alley, viewing rooms, AMV contest, cosplay contest, rave/dance… maybe I’m getting ahead of myself.
GUESTS! Members of the industry! Directors, voice actors, producers, authors, very cool people of both English and Japanese versions of anime/manga! They’ll have a panel about getting into voice acting to a signing session, usually both. The Japanese guests have translators of course!
PANELS! Usually they run for an hour. They can be anything from creating a fan forum to “History of [type of] anime” to learning silly dances - I don’t know, everything and anything! About a half to 2/3rds of panels are run by fans. I ran a panel on Jpop girl groups a long time ago, which filled the room! I’d love to do something similar some day.
Dealers Room/Artists Alley! One is people from the industry or anime stores or music stores selling official goods (Cds, art books, phone straps, manga); one is fan made everything! (fan-made comics of established anime/manga called doujinshi, original content, fanart, sometimes lolita accessories. Bring your wallet.
Anime cons have a constant stream of anime running in several suites on a big screen (hence my name, viewing rooms). There's a lot of different types, be sure to check this out!
AMV contest! AMV stands for Anime Music Video, and it's made by slicing pieces of anime into one short video with a music background instead of dialogue. The competition is seriously fierce!
COSPLAY CONTEST!! THIS IS MY FAVORITE PART!! The cosplay contest is usually a bunch of skits made by groups of fans to show off their costume and do something cute or funny relating to the anime/game/manga/whatever. Usually comedy, and apparently more dancing in recent years, make this a great thing to go to - or be in! I've been in the cosplay 3 years (My group got 3rd place in our division one year! I have the certificate on my wall!), and it was the best time I've had at a con. I want to be in a cosplay at this Animazement, but want to slide in and not have that stress. GO TO THIS, IT IS SO GREAT!!
Usually a con will have a rave/dance/thing where you can get your boogie on to some serious Jpop/rock!
What anime cons have you been to? Do you hate anime and would never go to one?
Next post will be about how to get ready for a con, and the one after that will be about cosplay!