I’m still getting caught up from being in Japan last week, but I figured I’d better address something that happened right before I left the country since (you know) if it’s on the Internet it MUST be true, right?
Last year, Wasabi Anime® (Green Mustard Entertainment, Inc.) added two new conventions to our lineup – PinUpalooza and WasabiCon – which has kept us busier than expected. Currently, we also have two additional new shows in the design phase for later this year and 2014. As such, myself and the Wasabi Anime Team are pursuing other opportunities and will no longer be directly involved with Project Anime. The conference will be run exclusively by the SPJA (the Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation) going forward.
Also: the decision to part ways on Project Anime was not an easy one, but it WAS an amicable one. Marc Perez and his team have the full support of myself and GME as they continue to expand Project Anime under the vision we designed together… connecting organizers of Japanese culture conventions with rights holders, production & distribution companies, vendors and each other for the purpose of enhancing and growing the Japanese culture industry domestically and internationally. As a matter of fact, I made it a point to attend the Project Anime Japan Industry Party in Tokyo last week to show my support personally – hence the cool photo in this post.
As one of the conference’s original architects and as the guy who named “Project Anime,” I look forward to seeing the SPJA expand the concept further in the coming years.
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Since the ripe old age of sixteen years old, I’ve been going to fan conventions. For those of you that know me well, THAT’S A LONG FUCKING TIME. (In short, I’m old.) Over the years, I’ve worked hard to be less of a grumpy old man of anime and more of a vocal proponent for the cohesion in the fan community… which leads me to the douchebaggery that was pointed out to me last night.
First – a lesson in anime conventions from the eyes of Tom Croom. I went to my first anime convention at the turn of the century (in the year 2000) and since then I’ve attended literally DOZENS of them. During that time, I’ve determined that there are three types of anime cons in the United States:
THE COLLEGE CON: These quirky little events are awesome, but they come with a limited shelf life. College based anime conventions either disappear when the main people running them graduate or when they outgrow a college campus and move on to larger spaces. I *love* college conventions. There’s a vibe at these things you just can’t replicate at other convention formats. (See JACON and Yasumicon as examples.)
THE HOTEL CON: This makes up the majority of anime conventions. Industrious fans get together and rent some hotel ballrooms and board rooms and fans gather to celebrate their love of Japanese cartoons and stuff. Hotel conventions create another set of experiences since events usually run all night and many attendees sleep (have rooms) at the event location itself.
THE CONVENTION CENTER CON: Yes, I know that sounds redundant, but it is actually a correct description. Conventions in convention centers are huge and offer a different overall experience due to massive size and availability of content. These behemoths, while less intimate than the other two, are a blast and keep you busy non-stop the second you walk in.
There are hybrids that occur on the evolutionary track of events (College Cons with a hotel running events; Hotel Cons with a small convention center attached; etc.) but the primary categories are, as far as I can tell, accurate.
For the most part, convention politics usually keep the playing area level. Hotel cons will bitch about other hotel cons while convention center cons rarely get caught up in any of the silliness that “teh dramaz” can bring. What sucks is when an event further on the event evolutionary process decides to take actions that mess with others that are still working things out.
WHICH LEADS ME TO CHIBI-PA.
Never hear of Chibi-Pa? They are the “class act” of anime conventions in South Florida. A West Palm Beach event, they’ve been a blemish on the Sunshine State’s fan culture for a number of years now. If you haven’t heard of them, I suggest you take the time to read this:
So why am I not a fan of a convention called Chibi-Pa? http://www.tomcroom.com/archives/7746
So remember my post about why Chibi-Pa (the West Palm Beach anime event) SUCKS? There’s an update… http://www.tomcroom.com/archives/7775
So what AMAZING thing have they done now? Well, there’s a small convention from the University of Miami Anime Club that started last year called Miami Hurricon.
As a college club event with limited resources, their one day convention takes place on a Sunday. Last April was their first year and a couple of weeks ago they announced that they were returning again in April of 2013. Good stuff.
Enter Chibi-Pa. The promotors of West Palm Beach’s anime event (that berates anime fans) CONTINUES to show their disrespect to the community at large. How? Yesterday they announced a mini “Chibi-Pa Sampler” event the same weekend as Miami Hurricon. Oh wait, I’m sorry – I meant to say the same fucking day as Miami Hurricon - which, if you recall, I pointed out is on a Sunday. A SUNDAY. Who does that shit? Really?
Local events like Florida Supercon (the largest geek convention in South Florida) have already thrown their support behind the “little con that could” be establishing their attendance at Miami Hurricon and allegedly even giving away free Pocky there.
So there you have it… Chibi-Pa is proving that they are still the same, sad little event that blamed local fans for their show failing in 2006. So what can YOU do about it? Here’s some suggestions:
- Email the promotor. His name is Jason Bailey and his email address is email@example.com. Tell him how you feel. Let him know that what he’s doing is wrong.
- Post on the Chibi Pa Facebook page. This seems the be their main communication tool to their fans. Let them know that they are NOT supporting anime fans by creating conflicting events in the same region on the same day.
- Don’t go! The number one way to send a message to a company about bad business practices is to not support the business. There are always options and better places to spend your hard earned money.
Me? I’m not sure where I will be that weekend in April. If I have the time, though, you’ll probably find me in Miami.
UPDATE: It appears that Chibi-Pa got the memo… way to go Florida anime fans for speaking out! https://www.facebook.com/events/428254473922182/permalink/429318813815748/
I got an email yesterday from the AMAZING Ms. Terri Hawkes (the English voice of Sailor Moon) forwarding on this photo of she, Darrel Guilbeau, Dan Woren, “Trace-Wrangler,” and I at Emeril’s at CityWalk in Orlando, Florida after Florida Anime Experience 2012.
Good stuff. :)
The more you work with fan conventions, the more you see certain patterns emerging. One such pattern involves the learning curve of hotels that step into the wild and zany world of playing host to anime, comic, and “geek” conventions. You see, “norms” (normal people – often hotel employees!) don’t always understand the entire convention culture and, without that foresight, they figure it’s just another group of people booking space at the hotel’s ballrooms and breakout rooms.
In fact, if there’s extra space left – unfamiliar hotels will sometimes try to book other things in the same space. If you’ve gone to smaller conventions, then you’ve seen it: the random dinner on Saturday night; the church group on Sunday night; etc.
And my favorite… the weddings.
In 2001, Anime Festival Orlando moved to the Altamonte Springs Hilton for their second year. I was on staff that year immediately took note of the potential nightmare some poor bride was about to endure… because the Hilton had booked her into the farthest ballroom thinking the anime fans would be far enough away not to intrude.
Anime fans, though, like to intrude.
I don’t remember who took this photo, but I do remember hearing about a young cosplayer walking up to the bride asking her what anime her costume was from. As you can tell from the photo, she is LESS than thrilled as she stormed through the convention center.
I’ve told this story fairly often, but I stumbled across the photo again this past weekend and thought I’d share for posterity. Enjoy.
Each year (well… almost – I think I skipped last year) I take the time to look at how many geek conventions currently exist “on the scene” in the land of Florida. This was originally a list of only anime cons but with so many cons “featuring anime, too!” the fandom scene as really become a convoluted mish-mash that looks like an all you can eat nerd buffet.
So here’s what I’ve found for 2013. If you find one I’ve missed, then let me know (by commenting) and I’ll add it.
2013 FAN CONVENTIONS IN FLORIDA
(21 AND COUNTING) (23 AND COUNTING)
SwampCon (Gainesville, FL)
ANIMATE! Miami (Miami, FL)
MegaCon (Orlando, FL)
FreeCon (Tallahassee, FL)
Tampa Bay Comic Con (Tampa, FL)
Khaotic Kon (Tampa, FL)
BelleCon (Jacksonville, FL)
Orlando Comic Expo (Orlando, FL)
Florida Anime Experience (Orlando, FL)
MAY-HEM (Orlando, FL)
OASiS (Orlando, FL)
KnightroKon (Orlando, FL)
Salty Bay Con (Tampa, FL)
MizuCon (Miami, FL)
Florida Supercon (Miami, FL)
MetroCon (Tampa, FL)
Anime Festival Orlando (Orlando, FL)
Mythicon (Orlando, FL)
UmiCon (Daytona Beach, FL)
Spooky Empire (Orlando, FL)
Necronomicon (Tampa, FL)
WasabiCon (Jacksonville, FL)
ShadoCon (Tampa, FL)
Holiday Matsuri (Orlando, FL)
This was my third year going to Gen Con to host anime panels and related events… at a gaming convention. As odd as that sounds, it make perfect sense if you ever go TO Gen Con. The convention is a 45 year old-
That’s not a typo; the convention is older than me.
-45 year old event that started near Lake Geneva (hence “Gen” Con) by Gary Gygax, the famed creator of Dungeons & Dragons. The over forty thousand people that show up for this thing annually are proof positive that card games, board games, and the dice industry are all alive and going strong.
This year I actually got to SEE some of the convention and I even (gasp!) played a card game. Plans are already in place for Wasabi Anime to return next year (which should make the My Little Pony fans very happy.)
For now, I’m just looking forward to going home, getting some rest, and (possible) changing the world dramatically over the next few weeks.