I just want to make some notes before my scrambled thoughts leak out of one ear as OFA and LLSIF cram down my other. First of all, this past week I did something that would be unthinkable if you talked to me 8 years ago: back-to-back anime conventions. Why? Because there are guests I wanted to see, who came from Japan.
It’s a sort of vindictive kind of a feeling. It’s like when your favorite anime gets licensed and you buy it. Except this is like the “Better than Aniplex” version where the cost is less and the product is even better than the Japanese version. This is why Hanamaru Cluster mobilized; you simply get opportunities that you can’t get with the guests anywhere else, that these Japanese fans would “reverse-import” the experience by going abroad. Anyway, you see it and you buy it. You buy it hard. You image macro Fry throwing money on the screen. You pre-order as soon as you can. You get excited about it. That’s what happens.
Of course, what’s also amazing is the meeting-of-fandom aspect. I’m not huge on fandom but I recognize the effect it has on me, my habits, and what I do. I helped do a WUG dinner with Japanese WUGners, and you can read about the two dinners we had at Anime North over at Exciel’s. I should drop a big shoutout to him for organizing and putting all those Anime North things together. It’s thankless, kind of like how ACEN and Anime North themselves are huge labors of love that’s largely thankless but are powerful enablers.
Dang, the WUG-chans are sure cute.
There aren’t really any conventions like American/Canadian cons in Japan. This is possibly why when I read Kelt’s Japanamerica book it resonated a lot; this is sort of cultural appropriation and mutation that go back and forth. What that means, at least in a practical way, is that we can improve on what other countries do and everyone can share in every which new form that this culture gets reorganized or rearranged. It’s like I can fly to Japan to watch a badass concert, or Babymetal can tour with the best of metal in the UK and Canada. Or Japan Expo can branch into other European destinations and the US. I don’t know, it’s all weird.
Just like how a bunch of North American Ps can talk to Mari Nakamura (the gothloli clothing designer quoted in Exciel’s blog post) who then talk to us about producer culture, and this is not just Canadian or oversea producer culture, but all producer culture.
One thing the guys behind the Anime North nonsense (HPT) worry about is that as ocean-hopping wotas we probably skew their perceptions of US/CAN fans. And no doubt I played a role in that too. I am pretty sure I needlessly impressed one particular WUGner because I said I recognized that Tomo Sakurai has a sister that is also a seiyuu; this is super vague recollection I’m working on. It already is a weird year for cons for me. I will attend my fifth anime con next week with Anime Next; I think I aim to attend 5 cons at most last year, and barely broke into 6. For 2014, after AnimeNext I am scheduled for at least AX, Otakon and AWA. And I went to Japan earlier this year too. That’s nuts. If I drop an AUSA or NYCC in there, that would blow my mind again. And that feels too close, too much like punishment. It’s great punishment but nonetheless.
Maybe I should go work for a company that sends people to anime cons…