30 November 2009

Welcome to Story Month

I've decided, after going over a lot of truly amazing convention stories, that December will be Con Story Month here at Animology. Since the beginning of my research, I've managed to gather over 30 con stories from a variety of attendees and guests, and I want to share them. Some are hilarious, some are shocking, and all are true (for the most part) experiences from years of con attendance. So let me begin this trek through storyland with a list.

These tips were given to me by an anonymous congoer who referred to himself only as "Superkenny." I met him in the artist alley at AMA in June 2009. Since then, I've shared this list maybe a dozen times, and each time it's been met with head nodding and a good bit of chuckling. Why? Because it's true. As much as some people would like to ignore some of the factoids on this list, they are each based in experience.

Make as many friends as you can so you can go to panels with them, because its creepy if you go alone.

I've never experienced anything negative from attending a panel alone, but when I think back on it, I've made friends at plenty of the panels I've attended, often during the actual panel. Friends do enhance the panel experience, since you can feed off their emotions, and share your own musings with them during speeches.

It's nice to hook up, but don't go to cons just for that.

This mixes in with another lovely blurb about cons: Its all about sex and anime. While I have never had a con hookup personally, I know plenty of people who have, and plenty that attend simply to score.

Never drag your real life into the con. Leave your issues at home.

Nobody likes drama. People who attend cons to cause grief are one of the most complained about aspects in my research. Cons are about escaping from real life, so don't drag real life drama into them.

If you start feeling depressed, get Pocky.

While I rarely indulge in Pocky anymore, I do know that it is one of the most enjoyable parts of a con. For those who do not know, Pocky is a sort of cracker stick covered in chocolate or other flavors, and congoers devour them crazily. I have several of my own stories relating to Pocky consumption, but just on what I've seen, yes depressed congoers often become visibly happier after ingesting some good old Pocky.

Not everyone's cosplay is perfect. Don't let anyone's opinion drag you down.

Unless you are competing in a competition, cosplay is about having fun. This sentiment is widely echoed. So do not allow the opinions of elitists to drag you down. Simply by attempting to cosplay, you are doing more than any critic. Enjoy yourself, and learn from the experience.

Not everybody likes hugs. Make sure your victim actually wants to be hugged before you throw yourself at them.

All I wish to add to this is: glomping someone down a flight of stairs is incredibly painful. I know this from experience.

Female cosplayers travel in packs. Do not think you can hit on one and get away with it.

Another thing I've never tried, but I have seen the aftermath. It was NOT pretty.

Beware the Yaoi paddle.

I could do an entire entry on yaoi paddles, and I plan to. Let's just say, picture a frat paddle with the word YAOI on it in big letters. Now picture getting smacked by it the moment you least expect it. I'm actually glad some cons have started banning them.

Divide your money evenly, so you don't spend it all on the first day.

This one seems like a no-brainer, but it's true. I have seen (and fallen prey to) plenty of instances of excitement leading to the expungement of large amounts of cash on unnecessary things, often within a few steps of entering the Dealer's Room. My advice here is to scout the room once, make a list of what you want, and stick to it. Nothing hurts more than blowing your spending cash, food money and sometimes gas money, all at one table, all within the first few hours of the con.

If you pursue a girl, make sure it is an actual girl.

Crossplay frequently happens at cons. Sometimes it can be a challenge to tell genders apart. You have been warned.

You are at an anime convention. You are never alone.

First interpretation: you will never have to worry about being lonely. Being surrounded by people who share your interests and loves can lead to some truly epic friendships.
Second interpretation: If anything leaks at the con, you're s--- out of luck.

Post-con depression passes after two days. If this is your first con, give it a week.

This is another topic that I will go into depth on in a few weeks. But yes, post-con depression is always a factor of con attendance, especially if your next con is a long ways off. The best advice truly is to push past it, because unless you make your living by cons, they are essentially vacations. You still have your photos, your memories, your swag and your friends. You can always look forward to the next one as well.

The hottest cosplayers have the meanest attitudes.

From experience, I know this to be true, for the most part. I have met plenty of very attractive cosplayers who were wonderful people as well. But, as with anything, there will almost always be those that ruin it for everyone else. Don't let them get you down or spoil your weekend.

So there you have it, advice from a serial congoer on how to survive at anime cons. I have another list as well, but I'll save that for another day.

PS: MONSTER is an amazing series. Thrilling, well animated, and full of suspense. I've watched the first 7 episodes and am hungry for more. It is definitely a series worth looking into.

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