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ANIMECON 2008

10 May 2008

Armed with awesome Dealer powers, Animecon was a different experience after that three-year pause. The vast majority of con-goers will never know this, but when you visit a festival or convention as a dealer, your experience is radically different than when you're an ordinary guest. It's different, and arguably better.

The downsides, if they are that at all, are that you have obligations. You need to work behind a stand selling stuff, or maybe you have some chores to do, or a workshop. But in return you're rewarded with a half-life status of partially behind-the-scenes crew. You're not the 'in-crowd', but you're a notable nonetheless. You get noticed. You can get stuff done. Want to pop into the dealer room without having to stand in line for an hour? There you go, sir. You even have stripes of some sort, on which you might be tempted to stand. After over half a dozen of conventions where this mystical power was in my hands, it's hard to imagine being a normal visitor again.

And this is exactly why this Animecon may have been such a pleasant experience this time around. Security and management were still strict, but doors had been opened. I felt a fresh air of freedom, ripe to be exploited. Exciting stuff.

Well, without waxing megalomaniacal too much, I really did have muchos fun last weekend. As you may recall, for the past few months I've been building a Mr. Godot cosplay for a Phoenix Wright act I did with a large group of other, spectacular people. The nerves were in me for weeks before the event, but once on the convention, once in that little lounge where we were waiting to be pushed on-stage in front of a crowd of over 800, there was only the exuberant thrill of performance. I had energy to spare, but wasn't really nervous. I was excited, and on the jazz. This was basically my mood all weekend. I was super playful and had a blast socializing with all the cool folk around me. This is exactly why I go to these conventions. It's not any particular event there, it's not the anime or manga theme at all; that's just the excuse to get lots of likeminded people in the same ginormous hotel. Once that's established, it's a big social playground. Everyone is friendly, everyone is there to have a good time. There's a buzz, the air is electric. It's exhausting. It's fantastic.

Specific things that were awesome this weekend were:
~ Rock Band in the gaming room: so I could finally expand the Guitar Hero experience with drumming and singing. Now all I need is an all-Bowie version. C'mon guys, that's not too much to ask, is it?
~ The doujinshi lounge: which was separated from the dealer room proper, hurting small press sales, but it remains ever an axiom: where the doujinshi people are, is the fun.
~ Our lodge: While at the campingsite bungalow, I stepped out in my Godot outfit and pointed dramatically at a trio of children in a skelter. They promptly fell over.
~ Battle of the Doujins: some crazy competition where we, artists, had to draw stuff. It was poorly thought-out, but inspired some hilarious drawings.
~ The cosplay competition: 800 people shouting OBJECTION!! at the stage you're on. Biggest high you'll ever find this side of existence.
~ Taking a break from it all with friends outside a restaurant in the sun: bliss.

Can't wait for the next big convention!

Roderick.