Tales of an Anime Expo Gaijin

Otokus Galore!

So I did something this weekend I have never done, no not go on a date, I am talking about something else entirely different. I went to an anime and manga convention (called AM2). I applied for a press pass on a whim and when I got approval I figured why the heck not? And so it was the better part of Saturday afternoon found me roaming the increasingly odd subcultures of the anime and manga world.

Now it is obvious that I am a total nerd but to be honest anime and manga is not really a genre I am into. I appreciate the genre though and like a lot of the art work. Growing up I loved Robotech, Star Blazers and Voltron.  I played some of the Final Fantasy games and I liked some of the more mainstream stuff like Cowboy Bebop and Ghost in the Shell. Outside of that I really don’t know much about it, and as it turns out there are things out there I had no idea existed. So the next couple of posts will involve AM2.

I don’t really even know where to begin with some of this so I will start with the convention programming. They had the usual panels of artist, writers etc. They also had a couple of film rooms showing different anime’s as we well. There was a gaming room and while I think I caught site of one group playing Magic the Gathering for the most part it was all uh, anime games? Even Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokemon were present and that was where all my points of reference ended.

First they had the Masquerade Ball. You had to either be in costume or in formal dress. You also had to have a mask on as well. Lastly, this year the theme was horror, so you could work in your favorite horror characters as well, though I am not sure how that I supposed to work with a mask and formal attire. Oh they also had a masquerade costume contest as well.

If the Pink Panther had a girlfriend this is her.

Then they had the Twilight Tea Time which fortunately had nothing to do with the Twilight movies.  Taking place at 9 P.M a room was partitioned off into several 6×6 foot areas. You and your friends were free to create a tea party scene complete with themes, costumes and decorations.  I have never heard of anything like it and while I didn’t go to it, I really wanted to check it out. It was a contest for best tea party and afterwards I guess you had tea?

There was something called the Rum Pirate Party. I have to admit, I have no clue what this even was unless it was a pirate costume party. I couldn’t find much info on it. Then there was the Ani-Maid Café and Host club (I will expand on this more later.) Basically you could pay 15 dollars to go sit a table while you played games and flirted with cute girls in maid costumes. Once again I had never heard of them but apparently they are common in Japan. The Host club was the mail equivalent of the maids, so girls could hang out with handsome guys all dressed to the nines.

There was the anime music video contest where you can create your own anime music video and compete for prizes. Of course there was karaoke and a performance dance contest.  There is something called the Blue Rose Academy and while I can’t exactly figure out what this is, they were offering various classes on different subject matters ranging from how build a bridge, drawing, dance and something ominously called detention.

I would have liked to have stayed to the evening events like the dances, masquerade and pirate party but I didn’t because the press access had already filled up before I got there. I only stayed for three or for three hours or so but it was pretty fun. I generally love conventions: the artist, the creativity, the costumes, all the odd venders and this one definitely had it all (more pictures below.)

Oh and for those of you who don’t know gaijin is Japanese for “outsider” and otaku is sort of their version of fanboy or nerd.


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