By Barbara Young –
Anime conventions may sound a bit off center to some people, but until you’re attending one and experiencing the extreme culture shock that is otakuism, you can’t truly appreciate it. Sure, the idea of spending a weekend in a hotel with a group of people who are obsessed with a different country’s culture may seem strange, but done right, these conventions can be a great time.
On April 24, I attended No Brand Con, an anime convention in Eau Claire. I’ve been attending conventions since I was 16, so for 5 solid years I’ve been experiencing the Japan animation craze first-hand and loving it. So here are three tips for how to attend and survive an anime convention.
First, know how long you can stay. I don’t mean the length of the convention; these are generally a weekend long, starting mid-Friday and going to late afternoon on Sunday. I mean, know how long you will be willing to stay in this environment. If it’s your first convention, maybe try going for just one day. Most conventions allow for single day passes. If you like it, come back again the next day. If you don’t enjoy it, move on to your next new experience. If you’re a frequent convention goer, you already know you’re going to love it; get the full badge right away.
Second, know what you want to do there. Anime conventions have a wide variety of things to do. Three staples attendees can depend on are Artist Alley, Dealer’s Room and Panels. From there it can vary from electronic, table top, or handheld game rooms to a con suite, photo sessions or a stroll around the town.
Third and finally, have fun. Conventions are a great way to get out of your comfort zone and just let loose. Have a good time interacting with a group of people who have the same passion as you. Even if you’re not super into anime but love video games, you’ll find a place at these conventions.