Do you remember your first con? It’s like your first Doctor—it will always hold a special place in your heart. It is a communal and emotional experience.
This weekend, I’m at Triad Anime Con in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Anime is a fandom I’ve tried to introduce myself to before, but it just didn’t stick. One of my best friends’ daughters is a huge anime fan and has contributed some articles here on the subject. It has been my immense pleasure to be present at this, her first ever con, and what an honor and a thrill it is to relive it all over again through her eyes.
Triad Anime Con is fairly new and run by a local anime club. It’s not what I would call a very good con…. It is highly disorganized and there’s a dramatic lack of logistical information. The staff seems present but non-functional. (I sat through a struggling panel yesterday that simply needed their computer hooked up to a projector and no one from tech ever showed.) The panels are run mostly by fans and lack some polish and focus.
But for a fan like my friend’s daughter that has lived out her passion online with friends, reading books from the library, and watching features on Netflix… this is euphoria.
Even without cons, our fandom is primarily described as community. Almost all of us celebrate in obscurity and there’s a basic desire to be validated. Although the panels weren’t great, there’s nothing like seeing a room full of cosplayers.
Then you know that you aren’t alone.