Post Reply My First Anime Convention
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Posted 4/24/18 , edited 4/25/18
I'd really like to go to a convention of sorts; however, I don't know really know anything about them...Hence this thread. Anyways, I thought it'd be a great idea to get feedback from the community. I live in rural Minnesota; and, anime isn't very common around here. At least it isn't to my knowledge. So, any feedback at all would be greatly appreciated.
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Posted 4/25/18 , edited 4/25/18

Ununoctium wrote:

I'd really like to go to a convention of sorts; however, I don't know really know anything about them...Hence this thread. Anyways, I thought it'd be a great idea to get feedback from the community. I live in rural Minnesota; and, anime isn't very common around here. At least it isn't to my knowledge. So, any feedback at all would be greatly appreciated.


I've been to a few, with radically different experiences each time. I mean, there are some common things.. (in my experience. I've been to several cons, but not to all, so your mileage on any of this may vary)

* Money. Nearly every con has a lot of shopping to do. If you're after pins, models, official art, fan art, DVD/BD, etc, you will find it. Be prepared to be tempted. I found it was always easiest to pay in cash, and only have enough cash that I was willing to spend at the con. Besides, at many cons the local ATMs run out of cash around late Sat/Sun, so you either have to go card or stick with the money you brought with you.

* FOOD. It's always expensive. Bring your own if you can, but otherwise be prepared for your food bills to add up pretty quick.

* Lines. Everything has lines, so make sure you plan your days. Certain events, like the Masquerade, autograph sessions, and panels for super popular stuff at the time usually have hours long lines. Even getting to the dealer's room on the first day opening can be a frustratingly long wait, but I say do other stuff at that time, almost nothing but exclusive items will sell out in the first day of the con. No point in standing in a line for 3 hours if you can just wait 4 and walk right in to shop, though that won't work for panels or events.

* Cosplayers. Many people choose to cosplay, others don't, and you will see a lot of people taking pictures. If you encounter a random cosplayer you want a picture of, just ask! Most will be cool with it, but all appreciate if you ask if it's a one on one thing. Sometimes there will be big group cosplay gatherings, they're usually much more casual about photos.

* Hygiene. I'm not sure how much of a problem this still is, but when I was attending a lot of cons, they actually put up signs reminding people to shower and use deodorant at least daily. There were.. some people who didn't take this advice.

---

The big differences come if you're going alone to a con, or with a group. Going alone can be a very lonely experience, but there are meetups and such where you can find others to chat and watch stuff with. Nearly every con has rooms reserved for screening anime, so finding one of those and chatting with folks can be a great way to meet new people while you're there.

General stuff, get your tickets and hotel as quickly as possible, prices always go up as the con approaches. Try to get a room at the hotel the con is hosted at, taking 2 cabs a day sucks even if it does make for a nice discount. Remember to hydrate, especially if you go in costume - people have passed out because there was so much to do that they forgot how much they were sweating. Most cons end the afternoon of the last day, but I've usually found it easier to fly out the next day just to unwind from the con experience.

I'd suggest starting with a medium-sized con. Not something purely fan run, but not something like AX or SDCC, those can be overwhelming. Look over recent attendance rates (I'm not sure https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_anime_conventions is a full listing, but it's a starting point), and see what you might find that's available to you.

Hope that helps some!
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Posted 4/25/18 , edited 4/25/18
^ All really great advice, but I must put emphasize on the DRINKING WATER part. Always have a water bottle with you. Most cons I went to had stand with water containers all over the venue for the congoers. But when your waiting in line it's not always obvious to get out of it.

Get the program as soon as you can and plan your days ahead of the con. If they are events that follow each other choose the one you're most interested in, chances are you wont make it to the latter event. It may be depending on the size of the venue, you may not reach one place in time and when you finally get there the room is at full capacity. And it's always better to have some time off after each event in case of needing to go to the bathroom, because, guess what? Line up again, they always seems worse for girls bathroom then the guys.

And the most important rule is HAVE FUN!

p.s a good pair of shoes will help too, lots and lots of walking to do.
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Posted 5/19/18 , edited 5/19/18
I have been to one so far and am fixin' to go to my second one. I went to AWA last year and had a total BLAST! I did not want the weekend to end one bit. I was hit full force by everything but I loved it all and totally enjoyed it all. I'll be heading this weekend to Momocon.

Yeah, I had my "trusty Pikachu water bottle" that I refilled repeatedly all day. Take snacks as buying food at the site can be costly obvious. Eyeball what you want and still to a PLAN on what you want to buy in the dealer's room and such. Even if there are great awesome temptations to overspend, most people will have business cards so grab them for saving up for future purchases! There was a dealer at AWA that made awesome custom bows and such out of wood. Perfect for a cosplay of InuYasha's Kagome or Kikyo (which I plan to buy something like that from him once I've saved up hopefully!).

Have a backpack that's comfy and don't do what I did: overfill to heavy with stuff. I did that once. Learned that lesson fast! lol

And, don't take anything seriously and have an awesome time enjoying anime and everything there!
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Posted 5/23/18 , edited 5/24/18
Some things to think about if you go in a cosplay outfit.

First, sooner or later you are going to have to pee. Shy away from outfits that require a support staff to urinate. Think princess or Cinderella gowns. Well, gowns in general I guess. I made the mistake of buying pants style hakama's instead of the skirt style. No zipper. Had to take the whole thing off to pee and deal with a bunch of belts to get it back on.

I would avoid props you have to carry. They do make the outfit, but you may be lugging them around for 10 hours or more.

Same for helmets. They get hot real quick and you will have to leave them off most ot time. Another item to lug around with you.

At some point, you are going to have to sit. Swords, tails and some other props can literally make this a pain in the ass.

Avoid wings or anything else that sticks out horizontally like the plague. You will have to walk sideways all day long.

If possible, wear cargo shorts under your outfit. You can store your emergency sewing kit, some extra parts that are likely to break, batteries, usb bank, wig brush, etc in the lower pockets. Put your wallet and phone in the upper pockets. Then you don't have to carry a bag with you all day.

Unless you are seeking some rare item from the dealer arena, go there last, so you are not lugging your purchases around with you all day.

Wear good sneakers if your outfit permits. Some conventions require a substantial amount of walking. My outfits require sandals, and I suffer for it.

If possible, stick with cotton. A lot of conventions don't have A/C that is up to the task. Synthetic fibers will make an uncomfortable situation much, much worse.

Hotels are expensive. See if you can go with a group of people that you are ok sharing a room with. A $400 dollar a night room then becomes $100 a night if you share with 3 other people. If you are going to a city like Washington DC with a transit system, book a room that is near a train station away from the city. You can save a couple hundred dollars by putting up with a 20 minute commute. I did this for the Otaku-con held in the DC convention center. Got a list of hotels near a Metro stop. Booked a room in Alexandria for $150/night vs. $400/night in DC. Surprisingly, no one stared or spoke to me while waiting on the platform or sitting on the train even though I was in full cosplay. Guess they thought I was a kook. For a $250/night savings, let the think I am a kook.

Even better, go local. See if there are any comic or anime conventions within a 2 hour drive or so. 3 hours is a bit much, especially if it is over after 11PM.

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Posted 6/9/18 , edited 6/9/18

flashsmith wrote:

Some things to think about if you go in a cosplay outfit.

First, sooner or later you are going to have to pee. Shy away from outfits that require a support staff to urinate. Think princess or Cinderella gowns. Well, gowns in general I guess. I made the mistake of buying pants style hakama's instead of the skirt style. No zipper. Had to take the whole thing off to pee and deal with a bunch of belts to get it back on.

I would avoid props you have to carry. They do make the outfit, but you may be lugging them around for 10 hours or more.

Same for helmets. They get hot real quick and you will have to leave them off most ot time. Another item to lug around with you.

At some point, you are going to have to sit. Swords, tails and some other props can literally make this a pain in the ass.


Hi hi!

Thank you for your cosplay advices. I do have a question, though, as to what day will it be a good day to wear your cosplay costume for a 3-day convention. First? 2nd? Last day? All 3 days?


Also, I'm a guy that will cosplay a girl's character wearing a skirt. Will there be a unisex bathroom to go to? haha
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Posted 6/9/18 , edited 6/10/18

huwoji wrote:


flashsmith wrote:

Some things to think about if you go in a cosplay outfit.

First, sooner or later you are going to have to pee. Shy away from outfits that require a support staff to urinate. Think princess or Cinderella gowns. Well, gowns in general I guess. I made the mistake of buying pants style hakama's instead of the skirt style. No zipper. Had to take the whole thing off to pee and deal with a bunch of belts to get it back on.

I would avoid props you have to carry. They do make the outfit, but you may be lugging them around for 10 hours or more.

Same for helmets. They get hot real quick and you will have to leave them off most ot time. Another item to lug around with you.

At some point, you are going to have to sit. Swords, tails and some other props can literally make this a pain in the ass.


Hi hi!

Thank you for your cosplay advices. I do have a question, though, as to what day will it be a good day to wear your cosplay costume for a 3-day convention. First? 2nd? Last day? All 3 days?


Also, I'm a guy that will cosplay a girl's character wearing a skirt. Will there be a unisex bathroom to go to? haha


Well, you can wear it all three days, but if you have to pick one, pick Saturday. I wear my second favorite costume (Tomoe) on Friday, my favorite (Inuyasha) on Saturday, and just a Samurai on Sunday. Sometimes they get real sweaty and you can't wear them a second time without smelly funky.

Don't worry about the bathroom. It's a costume party. No one will raise an eyebrow. Even if a woman went into the men's room, no one will raise an eyebrow. They will just think it is a really good costume.
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Posted 6/10/18 , edited 6/10/18

Well, you can wear it all three days, but if you have to pick one, pick Saturday. I wear my second favorite costume (Tomoe) on Friday, my favorite (Inuyasha) on Saturday, and just a Samurai on Sunday. Sometimes they get real sweaty and you can't wear them a second time without smelly funky.

Don't worry about the bathroom. It's a costume party. No one will raise an eyebrow. Even if a woman went into the men's room, no one will raise an eyebrow. They will just think it is a really good costume.



Thank you for these inputs. You seem to have attended different conventions already. Are there a lot of people who wear the same costumes again the following day?
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Posted 6/11/18 , edited 6/11/18

huwoji wrote:


Well, you can wear it all three days, but if you have to pick one, pick Saturday. I wear my second favorite costume (Tomoe) on Friday, my favorite (Inuyasha) on Saturday, and just a Samurai on Sunday. Sometimes they get real sweaty and you can't wear them a second time without smelly funky.

Don't worry about the bathroom. It's a costume party. No one will raise an eyebrow. Even if a woman went into the men's room, no one will raise an eyebrow. They will just think it is a really good costume.



Thank you for these inputs. You seem to have attended different conventions already. Are there a lot of people who wear the same costumes again the following day?


When i only had one costume, I wore it Saturday and Sunday. I had the good fortune of attending cons with good A/C. I am not sure I can tell if a lot of people do that. There are only a few dozen costumes that are noteworthy and I only see them on Saturday. I am not sure I would notice people wearing costumes from animes I have never seen or video games I have never played showing up a second time. Also, lots of people wear the same costume from a recently popular anime so I wouldn't be able to tell if they were different people or not.

Just make sure you have an odorless costume for Saturday. Friday and Sunday are half days at most cons, so a lot of people just wear their street clothes on those days. I put a lot of effort into my costumes so I wear them at every opportunity. One of my perverse joys is walking into a coffee shop or McDonalds, on the way to or from the con, in my costume and noting the reaction. Can't get enough of that, so I wear my costume on Sundays, even though I usually just spend the day taking a thorough look through the Dealer/Artist gallery.
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Posted 6/11/18 , edited 6/11/18

[When i only had one costume, I wore it Saturday and Sunday. I had the good fortune of attending cons with good A/C. I am not sure I can tell if a lot of people do that. There are only a few dozen costumes that are noteworthy and I only see them on Saturday. I am not sure I would notice people wearing costumes from animes I have never seen or video games I have never played showing up a second time. Also, lots of people wear the same costume from a recently popular anime so I wouldn't be able to tell if they were different people or not.

Just make sure you have an odorless costume for Saturday. Friday and Sunday are half days at most cons, so a lot of people just wear their street clothes on those days. I put a lot of effort into my costumes so I wear them at every opportunity. One of my perverse joys is walking into a coffee shop or McDonalds, on the way to or from the con, in my costume and noting the reaction. Can't get enough of that, so I wear my costume on Sundays, even though I usually just spend the day taking a thorough look through the Dealer/Artist gallery.



I was about to point out the "effort" you put in preparing for your costume to just wear it for a day. I'll try to keep it odorless... or see if I can wash it the night before the 3rd day. Oh and what do you suggest about meet ups? One of my end goals is to finish this convention gaining new friends. Any thoughts about this? :)
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Posted 6/11/18 , edited 6/12/18

huwoji wrote:


I was about to point out the "effort" you put in preparing for your costume to just wear it for a day. I'll try to keep it odorless... or see if I can wash it the night before the 3rd day. Oh and what do you suggest about meet ups? One of my end goals is to finish this convention gaining new friends. Any thoughts about this? :)


Depends. At some cons, the social space consists of the carpet. No seating, other than in the panel rooms. The better events have tables in the concession area, preferably round tables with 8 chairs. That's too big for people to claim exclusive use of the table so the table gets shared. and since it is round, you can converse easily with 7 other people. Some cons use the hotel lobby or bar seating. That's where I usually end up. I am a bit older than most attendees and end up talking with the parents of the attendees, who are there as support for their kid. Lines are another good place. You have at least one person in front of you and another behind you. Sometimes the panels are a good place, if you are allowed to enter the room before the panelists arrive, you can then converse with other people that arrived early. Since you are attending the same panel, you must have the same interests, so that is a good starting point for conversation. Sometimes you can strike up a conversation in the dealer/artist gallery. People are generally not in a hurry while they are there so are amenable to conversation. Some events have video or board game competitions where you might spend a few hours with a small group of people. If you are into role playing games, that seems like it might be an excellent place to make some game buddys. Most conventions have a dance of some kind. If the convention caters to teenagers, they will probably be too young for you. If it caters to twenty somethings, you could get lucky.

I should point out that if you want to make friends, you need to be a little bold, maybe even a little rude. In my opinion, Anime attendees are not outgoing. Saying they are introverted or shy is too strong, but I don't think anyone would accuse them of being outgoing. So if you expect people to walk up to you and pronounce you their BFF, not going to happen. You need to take some initiative. This might go against your nature, but you will be disappointed if you don't. If someone asks to take your picture, say yes then ask to take their picture. Ask them about their costume, how long it took to make and how they made it. Ask where they bought the stuff for their costume. Ask their opinion on what panels or events are the most worthy. Ask where they drove or flew in from. Talk about their favorite animes or video games. You are at an Anime convention, you automatically have a lot in common. If you see someone with a costume you admire, walk over to them and ask for their picture. If they don't seem to be in a hurry, again, ask about their costume. If you recognize the character, make sure to point that out. It will make their day. If you are also wearing a costume, you already have that much in common so staring a conversation should be easier.
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Posted 6/11/18 , edited 6/12/18

huwoji wrote:
Hi hi!

Thank you for your cosplay advices. I do have a question, though, as to what day will it be a good day to wear your cosplay costume for a 3-day convention. First? 2nd? Last day? All 3 days?


Also, I'm a guy that will cosplay a girl's character wearing a skirt. Will there be a unisex bathroom to go to? haha

Flashmith has provided very solid and nuanced advice. I'd like to share some as well. In a number of cons, especially the major ones, there's usually cosplay gatherings for certain series. If the series of your cosplay has a cosplay gathering day, I would aim to wear it then. In those gatherings, you could meet a ton of cosplayers from the same series and take awesome group photos. Otherwise (assuming you're bringing one cosplay), I would wear it in the first day. That way you could wash it after the first day and let it fully dry on the second. Afterwards, you can wear it again on the third. If I put some hours in a cosplay, I'd be ecstatic to wear it multiple times.

On a side note, panels are a ton of fun, but the queuing portion can be pretty draining (especially at big cons). On a previous day at Anime Expo, I attended 3 wonderful panels on the same day... I spent approximately four plus hours just standing in line that day. While I enjoyed the panels, I vowed to not do that again. There were things I missed out on because of lining up for so long. I just limited my number of panels to one per day; rarely two if there are multiple events that I really, really want to go to.

In terms of making friends, the queues for panels are golden opportunities. For an hour or more, you're going to be around strangers with the same specific interests. Knowing that our interests align so closely, striking a conversation isn't too daunting a task. It's a lot of fun really and it can make an hour feel like 5 minutes. Lastly, this tip mostly applies to summer conventions where the queues are outside, I would bring an umbrella. It's not a common practice in America, but in Asia we tend to use umbrellas on a sunny day. Whilst everyone else gets scorched by the sweltering sun, the umbrella keeps me fairly cool.
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Posted 6/13/18 , edited 6/13/18

flashsmith wrote:

Depends. At some cons, the social space consists of the carpet. No seating, other than in the panel rooms. The better events have tables in the concession area, preferably round tables with 8 chairs. That's too big for people to claim exclusive use of the table so the table gets shared. and since it is round, you can converse easily with 7 other people. Some cons use the hotel lobby or bar seating. That's where I usually end up. I am a bit older than most attendees and end up talking with the parents of the attendees, who are there as support for their kid. Lines are another good place. You have at least one person in front of you and another behind you. Sometimes the panels are a good place, if you are allowed to enter the room before the panelists arrive, you can then converse with other people that arrived early. Since you are attending the same panel, you must have the same interests, so that is a good starting point for conversation. Sometimes you can strike up a conversation in the dealer/artist gallery. People are generally not in a hurry while they are there so are amenable to conversation. Some events have video or board game competitions where you might spend a few hours with a small group of people. If you are into role playing games, that seems like it might be an excellent place to make some game buddys. Most conventions have a dance of some kind. If the convention caters to teenagers, they will probably be too young for you. If it caters to twenty somethings, you could get lucky.

I should point out that if you want to make friends, you need to be a little bold, maybe even a little rude. In my opinion, Anime attendees are not outgoing. Saying they are introverted or shy is too strong, but I don't think anyone would accuse them of being outgoing. So if you expect people to walk up to you and pronounce you their BFF, not going to happen. You need to take some initiative. This might go against your nature, but you will be disappointed if you don't. If someone asks to take your picture, say yes then ask to take their picture. Ask them about their costume, how long it took to make and how they made it. Ask where they bought the stuff for their costume. Ask their opinion on what panels or events are the most worthy. Ask where they drove or flew in from. Talk about their favorite animes or video games. You are at an Anime convention, you automatically have a lot in common. If you see someone with a costume you admire, walk over to them and ask for their picture. If they don't seem to be in a hurry, again, ask about their costume. If you recognize the character, make sure to point that out. It will make their day. If you are also wearing a costume, you already have that much in common so staring a conversation should be easier.


Senpai Flashsmith, thank you so much for your wisdom. I really appreciate it.
huwoji 
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Posted 6/13/18 , edited 6/13/18

Austershalin wrote:

Flashmith has provided very solid and nuanced advice. I'd like to share some as well. In a number of cons, especially the major ones, there's usually cosplay gatherings for certain series. If the series of your cosplay has a cosplay gathering day, I would aim to wear it then. In those gatherings, you could meet a ton of cosplayers from the same series and take awesome group photos. Otherwise (assuming you're bringing one cosplay), I would wear it in the first day. That way you could wash it after the first day and let it fully dry on the second. Afterwards, you can wear it again on the third. If I put some hours in a cosplay, I'd be ecstatic to wear it multiple times.

On a side note, panels are a ton of fun, but the queuing portion can be pretty draining (especially at big cons). On a previous day at Anime Expo, I attended 3 wonderful panels on the same day... I spent approximately four plus hours just standing in line that day. While I enjoyed the panels, I vowed to not do that again. There were things I missed out on because of lining up for so long. I just limited my number of panels to one per day; rarely two if there are multiple events that I really, really want to go to.

In terms of making friends, the queues for panels are golden opportunities. For an hour or more, you're going to be around strangers with the same specific interests. Knowing that our interests align so closely, striking a conversation isn't too daunting a task. It's a lot of fun really and it can make an hour feel like 5 minutes. Lastly, this tip mostly applies to summer conventions where the queues are outside, I would bring an umbrella. It's not a common practice in America, but in Asia we tend to use umbrellas on a sunny day. Whilst everyone else gets scorched by the sweltering sun, the umbrella keeps me fairly cool.


Noted, Austershalin. I bring an umbrella wherever I go anyway. Thank you for your advices!
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Posted 10/8/18 , edited 10/9/18
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