Land of Confusion: My First Anime Con Experience
Whew. It’s done.
I returned home from my first experience at an anime convention (in this case, IKKiCON) with a humongous headache – mostly from allergies, but certainly not abated by crowds and confusion.
That said, I actually had a pretty good time.
First off, let me praise the IKKiCON staff. I’m planning some rather large events myself in the coming months and I know how difficult it can be; I don’t yet know how hard it’ll be the day of, but it’s easy to see that such a large, complex gathering can be a major headache. Yet, a number of people went out of their way to assist this little blogger. In addition, staff was helpful and kind in general and security was surprisingly both staunch and non-invasive.
I didn’t get to sit in on much, but I enjoyed what I saw. For instance, Johnny Yong Bosch had a one hour panel, and it wasn’t long enough (I could watch him demonstrate the silliness of Dragonball Evolution‘s fight scenes with microphones all afternoon).
Most importantly, I got what I came for and more. After corresponding with Caitlin Glass (Fullmetal Alchemist, Ouran High School Host Club) for the last several months and conducting an interview with her, I was finally able to meet Caitlin in person and finish the promised second part of that interview, which will be going up here in the next week or two (and here it is). She also connected me with another voice actress, whom I hope to interview regarding the intersection of anime and her faith.
As for the attendees…woooh, man, it brought me back to my days as a high school teacher. I had two or three kids like these in each class, which was fun when I taught…but now, there were hundreds of them, and it was like a sea of uncontainable energy dragging me in whatever direction it wanted.
I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised by two things which stuck out to me: lack of clothing and lack of manners. The first was only shocking in how prevalent it was (I don’t think all these girls were dressed up as Yoko Littner because she strikes a blow for feminism with her awesome gunning skills). The second just reminded me that parents need to teach their kids manners – we don’t (or shouldn’t) teach them just because of social or cultural values, but because they teach us humility. For instance, let the woman with a little girl in her stroller should go before you – stop thinking about shopping for a keychain for a minute and hold the door open for her!
By the way, total spent at my first con: $5.00. Sorry, R86, I couldn’t pull the trigger and buy something for myself. There just wasn’t anything that particularly appealed to me in my price range.
I also had a fun time trying to track down cosplayers to take pictures of. My plan was to find those dressed up as characters from series I recommend to Christian viewers…but there was not a Madoka in sight. So I settled for those in series with some spiritual content:
Really, I thought that this post was going to be about the intersection of my faith and anime at a convention event. I thought about what Lauren Orsini wrote for us in 2011 (Can Anime and Religion Coexist Peacefully?):
At that Katsucon, I did feel uncomfortable around the Christian Values Summit. I was working at the Maid Cafe and I could only imagine what they thought of my outfit. I was concerned they thought I was a pervert and I really wanted to explain to them why a grown woman might wear a maid costume in public.
Of course, these attendees didn’t feel out of place around me and I didn’t feel out of place around them. I was one of the crowd – albeit, much more conservative and less excitable – but a fan, nonetheless. Perhaps the comfort I feel here will lead me to one day to a panel at a con – I’m not sure. But one thing I believe to be true is that God has placed me as part of the anime community (if not necessarily the con community) for a reason. And that’s more than okay with me.