So you’ve decied to go to your first Anime Convention. Congrats, ‘tis the season after all! Although, you realize its not a run of the mill comic-con right? Don’t worry, it’s nothing drastic; however, there are a few things that you should know if you want to have the best time ever – and remain respectful. So here are the 5 Things To Know Before Your 1st Anime Convention.
- Preparations Are Key:
As with all Cons, you need the proper preparation which could take anywhere between a day and a few months. Beyond getting your tickets, you will most likely also have to worry about Airfare and Hotel accommodations – since not every city has an Anime convention. Although as time gets closer, you should also start planning out the actual logistics of your time AT the Convention. Did you remember to request time off from work/school? What food/water will you bring with you? Do you have something to carry all your goodies in? Do you need a cosplay? These might seem like trivial things, but it’s much better to ask these questions ahead of time than freak out the day before – or day of – the convention.
Also, keep in mind that even though these conventions usually aren’t as big as say San Diego Comic Con, there’s still a ton of stuff to do. So make sure to take some time to look at the convention schedule ahead of time. See what’s happening when and where and perhaps make an Excel sheet – or simple pen and pad list – to see what you can attend and what might have overlapping time constraints. Be sure to account for ‘line waiting’ and ‘registration times’ for panels and other special events. Speaking of Panels…
- Be Polite & Respectful:
Similarly to major Cons like SDCC, Anime Cons also have panels – but with there sometimes being even more Panels as well as different subject matter – you might think the rules of big Cons don’t apply. Well they still do. So if you attend a Panel make sure that you aren’t being disruptive in any way. Additionally, when the ‘questions’ portion comes up, don’t ask for hugs, photos or random shout outs to friends that couldn’t make it. You wouldn’t do these during professional presentations or class lectures, so don’t do them here.
The same is true with other aspects of Anime Conventions – or all conventions for that matter. Remember you’re all there for love of anime and fun. So don’t turn potential friends into enemies/targets. Don’t creep on people. Ask permission if you want to take photos of/with someone. Remember to shower beforehand – nobody likes body odor. And if you see a costume that you’re not necessarily fond of – DON’T criticize! Cosplay is art and everyone has their own visions/limitations. Just because your favorite character wears their broach on the left sleeve and this person is wearing it on their right is no reason to shoot them down. Whatever you do, be respectful! Which brings us to our next hilarious – and sometimes terrifying – point …
- Beware The “Glomp”:
Think of any anime you’ve watched … ever. There’s a 90% chance – if not 100% – that someone will get really excited to see someone and run at them with a crazy jumping hug/tackle. Well this is apparently called a “glomp”; and considering this is an Anime convention, you can be sure a few people might want to do this. Fun fact: The human body can’t recover from these as well as they do in the anime.
So considering these are basically full on body tackles – of love – many Cons don’t allow these anymore. Thus if you’re attending an Anime Convention, see what their policy on Glomping is. If it is allowed – and you REALLY feel like doing it – then please ask permission first. In fact, ask permission before anything touchy-feely. Cosplay is not consent. So whether it’s a charging hug or a simple standing hug – ASK!
- Cosplay, Cosplay & More Cosplay:
Now of course cosplay is never required, but at Anime Conventions you really should give it a shot. Whether something simple or really elaborate, there are so many more opportunities to have fun at Anime Conventions if you’re in costume. Some conventions even have professional cosplay photographers – sometimes called ‘Cameko’s. Though the real cosplay fun can come during special events called “Masquerades”.
No, these aren’t your run-of-the mill masquerade parties where everyone is wearing a mask and no one knows who anyone is. Anime Convention Masquerades are where cosplayers put on little skits in character. You’re not acting out an entire episode, but just a quick little song or scene with some people in your cosplay group. In case you still can’t picture it, here’s an example from Otakon 2010 where Straight Line Association Cosplay performed “Pokegear” – a paradoy of Lady Gaga’s Telephone.
- Have Fun:
Anime Conventions – like all conventions of this nature – are a lot of fun! There’s even opportunities for Live Action Role-Playing (aka LARP). So don’t be afraid to explore and take advantage of every part of the convention you can. Don’t waste all your time in one area. Check out the panels, vendors hall, artist ally, etc. As long as you respect others and go with an open-mind, you can’t lose! And if you forget anything on this list – or want some more minor Tips & Tricks, check out the below Info-graphic from Viewster for Surviving Your First Anime Convention.