Word association. I say convention, you will probably say or think one of the following: comics, superheroes, weird, costumes, nerd. Or maybe you will assume that all conventions are like Comic Con or a knock off of it, but when I tell you that the majority of the conventions are anime based, you may write me off as a cosplay freak, or you might be genuinely confused.
Let’s not deny it: dressing up and attending conventions is seen, by the majority of the public, as being strange. To attendees, however, conventions are their hobby, and maybe even their life.
I have only just started cosplaying (a term meaning costume play – essentially, dressing up), but I have attended half a dozen conventions in the past year alone. Ohayocon is the most recent one I’ve been to.
Ohayocon is an annual convention held in Columbus, Ohio. Strangely enough, the convention is not titled Ohayocon because it is housed in Ohio, but is a play on the Japanese phrase “ohayo,” which is the informal form of “ohayo gozaimasu,”or “good morning.”
Ohayocon is held near the end of January every year. The slogan of the event is “Your Cure for the Wintertime Blues,” and a convention in the winter does cure cosplayer boredom for those who live in a seasonal state. Still, it sometimes isn’t always the best decision when it comes to cosplaying certain characters or outfits. For example, last weekend I chose to dress up as Daenerys Targaryen from HBO and George R.R. Martin’s “Game of Thrones.” This particular outfit had an open back…in negative 22 degree weather.
A few other costumes I wore were Haruhi Suzumiya from the anime “The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya” and Zelda from the video game “The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.”
You may be asking, “What do you even do at conventions?” Well, conventions are partly for cosplaying and meeting other cosplayers, but there are also panels to attend, the Dealer’s Room, Artists Alley, the formal ball and raves.
Panels are sort of like discussions or presentations of a slew of topics that cover nearly every fandom represented at conventions. At Ohayocon, the panels included ones such as “We’re Titans –
Attack on Titan,” “Pokemon Conspiracy Theories” and “Everything Ghibli.” Some of the more popular panels included the Doctor Who panel and popular anime discussions.
The Dealer’s Room is just a fancy name for “a huge room where you literally spend your entire week’s earnings on awesome but unnecessary items,” and Artists Alley is where acclaimed artists can sell their items, whether they’re drawings, paintings, crafts or even their very own manga. The formal ball is exactly what it sounds like: a ball where you put on fancy gowns.
Most, if not all, conventions will have a cosplay contest, where cosplayers can show their outfits (many are handmade) to an audience, and be judged on which are the best represented.
Photo shoots are done for intense cosplayers with incredible costumes, pictures are snapped in the halls and food courts, friends are made, nerdy items are purchased and sleep is unnecessary.
Conventions are a great way to meet people with similar interests and just let loose and have fun.