Posts tagged anime conventions
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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/
The other MAJOR difference in American fan conventions and Mexican? SUNDAY IS THE BUSY DAY.
I took more photos over the weekend of some amazing cosplayers including:
It was busy as soon as the doors opened and we spent the time watching the hoards of people pile in. The air conditioning couldn’t take the load, though, and eventually everyone began to get sweaty.
Mexican fanboy funk kicked in.
Needing a break, Troy and I took a walk to the local market to buy some authentic fake Oakleys (because I left my sunglasses at the hotel.)
it was there that we encountered our first Mexican drug dealer. Here is what we said to us almost verbatim:
Hey guys, you looking to buy something? I got everything. I can get you weed. Cocaine. Prices cheaper than Kmart, man.
Troy and I both came to the same thought: “They sell cocaine in Kmart?!” I mean, we DID see hard liquor in Walmart. LOL
Needless to say, we said no gracias and made our way back to the convention center.
Back at ExpoComics Cancun, Chris bad befriended a unique flavor of fanboy: Gears of Wars Cosplayers. Imagine a group of manley men in manley GOW2 costumes walking around in a group after a tournament chanting “GEARS OF WAR! GEARS OF WAR! GEARS OF WAR!”
Now add in the Mexican accent.
These guys were some crazy motherfuckers. No more so than their American counterparts, but they were dedicated to their fandom in the best possible way. After the Gears of War 2 tournament, the cosplayers all approached Chris and gave him one of their foam gun replicas… “for our number one favorite Gears of War fan!”
Great fans and great people.
Saturday in Cancun was our opportunity to answer the ago old question: Are the Mexican geek conventions like American geek conventions?
After sleeping in and waking up to the ocean outside our balcony, we began prepping for our first day of ExpoComics Cancun. The event, produced by Ecreativo, is an anime and comics fan convention that takes place annually in Cancun, Mexico.
A convention center event (it takes place in the Cancun Center) as opposed to a hotel based convention, the show opened its doors at 11:00 AM with a dealer’s room that doesn’t close until 10:00 PM… a far cry from the the event’s American cousins.
- Mexicans love to cosplay. Check out Mexican Sailor Moon:
(click here for other Mexican cosplay photos I took)
- Even though we couldn’t understand what they were saying, it was easy to read body language and actions. Thus, we were able to spot practically every stereotyped attendee: shy goth girl; socially awkward girl who talks in a funny voice; Narutards; dressed-to-sexy fifteen year old girls; screaming and running fanboys trying to glomp people; girls that think they are cosplaying if they wear cat ears; etc.
- Different dealers but the same exact merchandise. We looked long and hard for some uniquely Mexican anime merch and came up pretty much empty handed.
- Panels, costume contests, and the usual batch of events. Ever heard a Mexican with a Spanish accent singing in Japanese during karaoke. There is no difference in how painful it sounds.
- Con funk smelled the same.
- Mexicans don’t assume that the convention is a day care. We saw a number of young attendees, but they were with (shocker!) their parents.
- Attendees seemed more respectful of each others’ space. This is hard to describe in detail, but it all came down to a different “vibe” from attendees.
- Where American conventions find cosplay guests amusing, Mexican convention attendees see them as bona fide celebrities. I watched the girls from Cosplay Deviants sign more autographs than many voice actors at local cons.
- While not a standard at all American conventions, it is common to have a convention guide or even a schedule offered to attendees. The only schedule at ExpoComics Cancun was posted on a large banner at the entrance of the con (and on the website.)
- The Mexican voice of Mr. Burns from The Simpsons (aka Senior Burns). Check out this video from the convention. It is excellente.