This time last week I was beginning to have the time of my life. I was burning with excitement to attend my chosen panels for the amazing, Naka-Kon 2016 Anime Convention. Little can stir up that same amount of jubilation within me, like Naka-Kon can. Being able to immerse yourself in anime culture, physically and mentally, with hundreds if not thousands of other guests is something of a wild fantasy. Conventions bring out that giddy child in us and it allows for a weekend of events that can help melt the wall that is societal responsibilities and give us a small refugee from the sea of financial anguish and sad realizations. I get this feeling every time I set foot at Naka-Kon and it is this feeling that I feel is essential to making any convention special. It may not be just that feeling alone. It is also the joy of showing off that cosplay you worked for months, if not years, on. It is the joy of being able to spend time with a community that has no real place until the convention comes around. Ours is a collective of online fans that hardly get to spend time with the fandom physically. A convention is literally a living entity that is the spirit of Anime.
I cannot express how giddy I feel in words when I get to go to Naka-Kon. It is like a birthday that never seems to end and that great vibe will last for days after the fact. However, not all conventions are created equally and many fans can run into bad experiences or they may feel even more isolated than they previously did. So what contributes to these negative feelings and responses to a convention? Well it can be a multitude of items: Harsh criticism, an Anime you like is socially ostracized, Your friends literally ditch you or you were ripped off by the convention. There are plenty more examples but these tend to be the biggest concerns that many have when attending a convention. It is never fun to go to a convention only to be bullied for liking a certain anime or for just being criticized over all. Sadly, we are all prone to doing this. Take the fans of Homestuck. I honestly cannot stand most of these fans. Why? Because of how many of them act at Naka-Kon. They were rude to other cosplayers and there were multiple times where they were harsh towards others. These were all conveyed via staff and volunteers, as well as a few friends who attended. Now, does this mean that all Homestuckers are to blame for this? No. The few do not represent the whole yet sadly that is the way things work. The few do represent the whole and it is this notion that we use against them. So, they not only helped to ruin a fan’s impression of a convention but the outward community hate ruined their enjoyment of the convention.
This is something that is always going to be unavoidable and sadly will always be a thing with conventions. Even so, I still manage to have a joyful time. The fact that I can go and be around merchandise that is literally there for small period of time is just mesmerizing. I mean I don’t live in an area where I have direct access to anime merchandise 24/7, baring Vintage Stock and Barnes & Noble, as stores of that nature do not truly exist. Yes B&N will carry manga and some select figures however, there is not a specialty store in my area that sells just anime related material. Thus being able to attend this convention and physically purchase items is just insane and addicting. It honestly is one of my favorite aspects about attending a convention. For myself this is one of the most enjoyable aspects and one of the reasons why Naka-Kon holds a special place in my heart. I also love the guests that Naka-Kon pulls in. They are top class and they are actually people who put themselves into their respective fandoms and enjoy talking about it. When you bundle all of the above, you get an enjoyable feeling that is hard for me to replicate through other sources. The pure joy that one can experience from a convention that they love is almost irreplaceable.
Granted the reasons for why someone enjoys a convention is different. It could be the people that go, the convention may have been their very first convention that they attended and have a long attachment to it or they could have had an impression like I had. This impression leaves this bubbly sense of joy and over fondness for a convention that had such an impact that it drove us to create this website. It drove us to pursue our passion for anime even more so. Others, it can push them to get into cosplay, cosplay photography, the anime industry or even into running panels themselves! A convention is able to leave a lasting impression on the person attending so long as they have an atmosphere that is both fun to be in and one that can keep that individual coming back. Every convention does this differently and they execute it differently, which is a good thing! If they all felt the same then the charm would be entirely lost on the attendees and may not even touch some of those attending.
Now we get to the point where we like to ask you all, what makes your local convention special? Is it the Vendor hall? The Panels? The Guests? Feel free to spill your heart out about your local convention down below. If you have yet to attend one then what are some of the aspirations you have about attending your first convention? If you also want to engage with us on Twitter then feel free to tweet us too!
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