Category Archives: cosplay

A Christian Guide to Comiket

Summer Comiket 86 has come and gone. While for last Comiket, I wrote a personalized post about my first experience, this time I decided to take a more streamlined and general approach. Comiket, as most of you probably know, is the largest otaku convention in Japan, and subsequently, the world. With roughly 170,000 people attending each of the 3 days at the convention center Tokyo Big Sight, it makes Anime Expo and Otakon look small in comparison, with its lines, lines, and more lines. As such, it can be a daunting experience for a foreigner to try out, especially when one does not even speak the language. So if you are at all interested in eventually attending, here are some things to consider.

Tokyo Big Sight

Tokyo Big Sight

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Jesus Otaku: Ministry for Anime Fans

Anime Expo is always a crowded, good time, filled with fun events, including the Masquerade, a competition featuring choreographed, costumed performances.  Beforehand, groups are able to play a short introductory video.  For one group, cosplaying as Magi, that video gave them an opportunity to showcase their message:

You are loved just as you are.

Based in Orange County, the group, Jesus Otaku, focuses on “creatively modeling the love of Jesus to bring otaku and the church together.”  Sssociated with Saddleback Church, pastored by Rick Warren, Jesus Otaku is an active group of about 15 members who cosplay and attend area conventions where they purpose to let anime fans know just what they expressed in that video – that they are loved just as they are.

Ouran genderbend cosplay

Jesus Otaku’s members doing Haikyuu and genderbend Ouran cosplay

Jesus Otaku was co-founded by Jonathan and Cecilia, each impressed upon by God to start a ministry for otaku.  Emphasizing Saddleback’s church planting (including a church in Tokyo), the idea for such a ministry had been in Cecilia’s mind for years, though everything came together when Jonathan returned from a mission trip and independently announced his ideas for something similar.  And from there, a ministry was born.

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A-Kon 24: Going to Church

Yesterday, I attended A-Kon for the first time.  It was a wonderful experience, and certainly the best I”ve had at a con.  There were certainly minor issues (and maybe major ones I’m unaware of), but that’s to be expected.  Overall, I had a tremendous time with staff, guests, and attendees.

I tried to reflect a bit on why I enjoyed the con so much.  Certainly, being the largest convention I’ve attended (for the uninitiated, A-Kon is a Dallas metroplex convention and the largest in Texas), there was just a lot of stuff to do.  And I liked being lost in a sea of people and felt comfortable both because of the large crowds and because I noticed a lot of people my age or older.

But another reason for the comfort was simply the people.  I felt that despite age and interest gaps, there was a celebration here that was common.  Charles Dunbar has written on conventions as pilgrimages.  They don’t definitely are, but I additionally felt a church vibe from A-Kon, as well.  At the least, I felt there was a general tone that I hope to see in my own church and that I hope other churches capture as well – a welcoming, loving, inclusive attitude.

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A Year Ago on Beneath the Tangles

A year ago…Hana of T.H.A.T. Anime Blog guest posted about how her religion affects her cosplaying…

…and I guest posted at Anime Instrumentality about Fractale and Japan’s love for Irish music.

Kanba and Shouma reindeer

A year ago…I wished everyone a Merry Christmas by analyzing the finale of Mawaru Penguindrum

…and a Happy New Year by discussing Gilles de Rais of Fate/zero.

A year ago…Goldy talked about Guilty Crown and being yourself…

…and “The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya” and getting out of one’s comfort zone.

A year ago…I visited my first con…haruhi-movie-182

…where I sat down for a second interview with Caitlin Glass.

A year ago…I scattered thoughts about the Toradora OVA episode…

made a judgment about our reasons for going to church (according to Hourou Musuko)…

saw four “faces” of God in Chihayafuru

…and gave thanks for Don and others for their various gifts.

Wandering Son

IKKiCON 2012: Where I Belong (It’s Not Here)

IKKiCON, the largest anime convention in the Austin area, is concluding today, and I think most of the attendees are probably leaving feeling happy with the guests that showed up, the artists and vendors that were selling, and the assortment of interesting panels – all of which were, to me, as good or better than last year.

This was only the second con I’ve ever attended, so I’m still quite a newbie (contrast Tommy, the con veteran who blogs at Anime Bowl).  A without a real agenda like last year, when I primarily visited to conclude my interview with Caitlin Glass, I felt quite detached from the proceedings.  But because of that, I perhaps had a perspective unlike many others – from the outside looking in.

I Don’t Belong Here

I dressed for the con like I would on a regular workday, and largely because of that, I was the oddball at the proceedings.  As I walked by Haruhi Suzumiya, Vash the Stampede, and lots of Hetalia characters whose names I didn’t know (strangely enough, I spotted zero Sword Art Online cosplayers), I probably looked the part of press, which I technically was, but…well, I’m a blogger, not a reporter.

My age also certainly played a role.  I’m 31.  Most of the people closest to me in age at the con were either organizers or parents walking their children around.

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Aniblogger Testimony – Dressing down while dressing up: on being a Muslim anime fan and a one-time cosplayer

In the Spring of 2011, I asked some of the anime blogosphere’s most noted writers to create posts discussing anime and their own personal faith.  Though the main phase of the project is over, I’m always eagerly looking for additional guest posts to add to the series.  Today, Hana, a wonderful blogger from the ever-popular T.H.A.T Anime Blog, gives us a wonderful addition to this series.

It wasn’t the first time that I’d been to an anime convention, but it was the first time that I’d cosplayed at one. Needless to say, it was a rather memorable experience.

Not that the M.C.M. London Expo is strictly an anime con, as it’s more like a trade fair for movies, comics, games and related pop culture. Yet, I knew from the previous two times that I’d been, that many attendees cosplayed in outfits that were just as impressive as what I’d seen in photos of American and East Asian cons.

The first time that I attended the Expo was in May 2009, I went with two friends and I dressed how I usually do, in casual trousers with a matching top and headscarf. As a moderately religious Muslim female who wears the hijab (or headscarf), I usually wear western clothes (I’m Bangladeshi by blood, but born and live in London), otherwise whatever I want, as long as I’m dressed modestly. Sometimes, I’ll wear a hat instead of a headscarf, as long as it’s roomy enough to stuff my hair into it. So, comfy outfit in place, my first con was a positive experience, mostly spent walking around with friends, staring at the cosplayers, avoiding the ‘Free Hug’-ers, buying a few anime related items, buying a tonne of Pocky, and generally feeling very cultured and weeabooish.

The second time I went was in May of last year and it was rather different, as it was more of an excuse to meet up with Ame, a fellow anime fan and blogger who I’d met online (and a couple of another ani blogger friends called Scamp and Hanners, as it turned out) and had been friends with for about a year, also around the same time that I had my one year anniversary as an anime blogger. In short, it was slightly nerve-wracking, as it was the first time I’d be meeting people face to face who I’d previously only conversed with online. However, having already shared photos with Ame and Skyped with all three meant that it wasn’t really the first time we’d met, so it wasn’t a big deal in that sense and turned out to be a lot of fun. In terms of the whole what to wear thing, I decided not to wear a headscarf and to wear one of my Bakerboy hats instead, i.e. like the one in my avatar, the same avatar I use when posting/ commenting on anime blogs and on Twitter. Thus, I wouldn’t say that this was a deliberate decision to downplay the fact that I’m a Muslim, in the highly unlikely event that anyone else’s first impression of me face to face would be that of some kind of religious nut. Rather, knowing that at least one of them had already shared pictures with me and knew me fairly well by that point, and that quite frankly all three of them are simply really nice, non-judgemental, ‘normal’ people, I just thought the hat thing would be a fun way for them to make the connection with my online persona and to help recognise me in the crowd. Read the rest of this entry

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. Read the rest of this entry

On My Way (to My First Con)

It’s been a while now, but there was a time when I was a public schoolteacher.  Some of the kids in my class, particularly the boys, knew that I was an anime fan.  As classes let out one year, two of these boys asked if I could be a chaperone and drive them to a convention in Dallas.  I was excited to go to a convention, but alas, that never happened (almost definitely for the better).  I expected that sometime shortly after that, I’d go to my first con, but it never happened.

Eight years later, I’m headed to my first anime convention.

IKKiCON is Austin’s major anime convention (another is being held soon afterward in the suburb of Round Rock).  I’m not going a long way to attend (it’s being held three blocks away from my workplace) and the staff I’ve spoken with have been very nice.  Still, I’m a bit nervous (despite Hoshi’s advice otherwise).  I may be the writer on this blog with the least con experience, with R86 attending his first this past year and Goldy staffing one in her area.

But mostly, I just feel really strange being a 30-year-old man in this type of setting, particularly in light of recent events and articles.

Luckily, I’m armed with a great set of tips on how to be a “model press attendee” and a list of goals (maybe the biggest of which is to spend very little money – must…save…money).  Due to, well, life, I’ll also only be attending for the better part of just one day.  Best to get my first taste in small portions, I suppose.

I’ll be heading out tomorrow and will let y’all know how it went.  In the meantime, any suggestions, tips, or comments about attending cons might be helpful.

Any Excuse to Avoid a Shave: con-Jesus at Anime Boston 2011

Who would’ve known that Anime Boston 2011 would’ve been such a gold mine for posts about Christianity?  I’ve already given links to posts about con-goers celebrating Easter and Charles Dunbar’s panel.  Here is a third addition to this group of posts, focusing on a cosplayer known as con-Jesus.

The team behind Cosplay Nation, an in-the-works cosplay documentary, interviewed the frequent con-goer.  It’s an interesting piece, and what I didn’t expect was the respect the cosplayer had for Christianity.  Aside from mentioning Jesus’ “shows of force” (I don’t think any of the recorded miracles fit into this category), con-Jesus continually mentions his admiration for the faith.  We also learn about why he decided to dress this way and why he continues to.

I’ve never been to a con, much less the east-coast ones in which I assume con-Jesus attends.  Thus, I’ve never seen him.  Have you ever bumped into con-Jesus?

Spirituality in the Anime Blogosphere: Easter Sunday at Anime Boston

This past weekend, Anime Boston fell on Easter, as it has a number of times in the past.  So, what’s a Christian otaku to do?  Attend mass nearby, of course.

Otaku Journalist’s Lauren Rae Orsini wrote a wonderful post for the Anime Boston blog about the con and Easter Sunday.  Her interview with two con-goers who attended Easter mass was enlightening, and brought up the interesting idea of going to church in…cosplay.  Really, it’s an important topic – is the church quick to dismiss based on one’s outside appearance.  An awesome Casting Crowns song called “If We Are the Body” asks a similar question as it exposes Christian hypocrisy.

Lauren also discusses some potentially controversial wording and imagery at the con.  There’s definitely a schism between what Christians find holy and untouchable and what most others would consider “fair game.”  Unfortunately, I think this difference is what often leads to anger, misunderstandings, and an even larger divided between Christians and non-believers.

Please visit the Anime Boston blog and give Lauren’s post a read!

Easter Sunday at Anime Boston