“Competition” is a dirty word in the world of cosplay. It scares and angers some; as they dread the idea of “elitists” approaching cosplay with such a mindset. Recently, I came across a tweet by @0Becki expressing concern towards those with this mentality. They felt that cosplay is a hobby and not a competition, that they should share tips with others, and they should hang out with cosplayers (who are cosplaying as the same character).
I’ve mixed feelings about this. I agree; cosplay is a hobby. People should share tips, be friendly, and help others. But they aren’t entitled to do such things. People have the right to be competitive with their passion. Competition is natural in any field. Competitive cosplayers enjoy it as it pushes them to work hard on their skills and talent to become the best. As long as it’s not toxic, competition isn’t bad.
We need competitive cosplayers.
Competitive cosplayers have the driving need to win and outperform everyone else in the niche. To them, every little detail matters to ensure victory. The perfect wig. Professional grade makeup. The exact color contact lens. Superior craftsmanship. They have no tolerance for error. It’s the difference between being just a cosplayer and becoming the cosplayer. First place or second place in a cosplay contest. And trust me: nobody remembers the second place winner. For the hobbyist cosplayer, this might be hard to understand. That’s okay: you lack the competitor’s spirit. Unless they attack you, don’t hate on these people.
It’s who they are – they can’t help it.
It’s funny how hobbyist cosplayers get angry at the “elitists” for their competitiveness. Yet, they love these high-performing manga artists, ruthless anime directors, passionate game designers, what have you. Why it’s okay to praise those people for their high levels of desire and drive but it’s wrong for cosplayers to act the same?
You’re a hypocrite if you praise one group but shame another for the same thing.
Competition is great. It drives others to better themselves. It forces you to become innovating. It encourages change. If a cosplayer above your skill level trashes your cosplay, instead of being mad and pissed, use that as inspiration to prove them wrong and better your cosplay.
They talk shit about your wig (or lack of)? Buy a high-quality wig. A snobby cosplayer thinks your skirt for your cosplay is trash? Hire the best seamstress in your community to make you one better to prove that asshole wrong. Better yet, study the best cosplayers in your community and learn how they won rewards, got their fame, and so forth. Use that anger, the power of the dark side as you will, to better your cosplay game so that one day, nobody will ever talk shit about your cosplay again.
Yes, be competitive but only compete with those at or above your skill level. Simply acting arrogant and prideful towards those below your skill level will only stir up hatred and anxiety against you. Nobody will want to work or be around you if your attitude is nasty.
If you know a group of cosplayers are having fun, don’t ruin it for them. Suggest ways to help them improve their cosplay skills in a friendly, loving tone. Don’t mock a cosplayer for something they can’t control (such as race, color tone, gender, disabilities, etc.). Remember: you too were once a hobbyist cosplayer who didn’t know any better. So spread the knowledge (but not too much of it)
Sometimes, it’s better to feared than loved. Sometimes, it’s better to be loved than hated.
NOTE:This is the text version of the audio discussion between my friend DJ Killzown and myself on the same topic. The link to the YouTube will be provide below.
Conventions are a wonderful place to have fun and let loose with fellow nerds. However, conventions can also be overwhelming for newcomers, lacking knowledge on what to do. So, out of the kindness of my heart (and because I need to clean my public image), here are a few things to do at conventions!
Wanna learn interesting tidbits and facts about your favorite series, gain knowledge that’ll set you apart from your peers, or learn more about your favorite voice actor or creator? Go to a panel! Usually, conventions will have four types of panels: Fan, Interactive Industry, and Guest.
Fan panels are run by passionate and all-knowing fans of a series, sharing their expert knowledge to others fans and newcomers alike.
Interactive panels are panels in which you can partake in the action and/or have an hands on experience in relation to the subject. Examples include sake tasting, sewing tutorials, murder-mystery solving, cooking anime inspired foods, and hypnotism panels.
Industry panels are run by industry guests such as Funimation or Viz Media. Industry panels will host series reveals, news on upcoming projects, and the industry hosts will answer your questions about what’s currently going on in the industry. Sometimes, industry guests will reveal get exclusive news andcontent about a project first at their panels before the rest of the world get the information.
Finally, guest panels. Guest panels are of course hosted by the guests of honor. It’s worth your time going to one as you can learn about your favorite voice actor on a more personal, learn how they got their start, and even learn how they feel about their co-workers that they normally wouldn’t say in front of their face (did you know that a lot of America voice actors hate Vic Mignogna?).
One of the best experiences of a convention is meeting your idol and having them autograph their materials for you! To start, learn when and where the guest(s) that you want to see are hosting panels and autograph sessions and attend them. Did they make your favorite manga? Get that shit sign. Are they a voice actor you really love? Get your DVD signed by them! Do you want to know how your favorite voice actor got their start? Go to their panel! Be aware that popular gusests tend to have a long waiting period for autographs sessions. Be sure to have fully charged cell phone or a book to read on standby while you wait!
Higurashi and Umineko cosplay meet
Met new friends within you fandom and show off your cool (or trash) cosplay!! You can find information on meet ups in the program booklet or on the convention social media and website. Showcase your cosplay or just chill and kick with fellow fans and make new connections.
The dealers room is a hall or room full of offical merchandise, fanmade items, wigs, cosplay materials, etc. They’re open all weekend but it’s best to wait until Sunday for the best deals and discounts on products, as merchants want to reduce the amount of items they have to take back home Sunday or Monday.
Play video games here with other cons goers (or be that one asshole who hog ups the console all day because you couldn’t even make friends at an convention) Setups can range from the old school, current games, arcades, or a mixture of all three. Tournaments (such as Street Fighter, Project Diva, Mario Kart. etc.) are often held here, so you should try to join in a tournament if you’re confident in your skills.
Relax! You’re with like-minded people! Cons are a great place to make new friends and networks that can last for life (or a few years until some petty drama comes up and ruin your friendship)! You are all here for a common passion and love. By networking and befriending fellow comic book nerds, weeaboos and otaku alike, you will build a network that can help you find and learn about more conventions in the area and other cool nerd shit outside of cons. Who know what new connections can lead you in the world of convetions.
For you bloggers, vloggers, etc – make sure that you have a business card if you’re networking with others in your field (thanks for that DJ Kill Zone)
Dress up as your favorite character and join the cosplay gatherings and meet. Take pics taken of you in your cosplay, never to find them online! Cosplay is a wonderful hobby that will bring joy and new people into your life! At least do one cosplay in your life if your curious about it!
That wraps up my “What do do at cons” post! I’ll hope our tips will help you enjoy the con!
Audio collab between my boy DJ Killzown Jones and myself. With the convention season well into the summer season, DJkillzown and I figure we will be nice and give nice audio guide on NOT to do at cons.
Cosplay is NOT Consent
Respecting Personal Boundaries
Creeping on Women
Ahh Anime Central. Chicago’s ultimate otaku convention for partying and debauchery. It’s a great convention to find hard drugs like coke and acid. There’s alcoholic beverages flowing about. Take a few shots for liquor courage to dick down that Cecilia cosplayer! Hey, Gotta celebrate Fire Emblem Gaiden’s 3DS remake somehow. There are also Persona orgies hosted by a kinky Shadow Rise cosplayer hunting down guys to run a train on her. ACEN has the great shit for ya if you want it.
Oh yea, they have cosplaying nerds who ain’t fuckin each other in orgies and industry panels. That shit is boring. As an (somewhat) honest person, I’m gonna tell you what really goes down outside the panels and normal convention shit. Autograph and photo sessions? Pfft. I rather waste time on my grind, writing passion, and networks. Why? So the anime and video game industry can notice my hardwork. I want to become lifelong friends with the niggas you stand in line for hours just to talk to them for twenty seconds out of your life.
Look, fuck all that lame boring shit that the average con attendees will tell. I’m here to too you the the real grimy shit. You can trust me on keeping it real. I’m a real nigga.
My friend “Adrian” (name changed because I’m the star and he’s not) and myself arrived in Chicago at 2:00pm Thursday afternoon after a long 10 hour trip from St. Louis via Amtrak. You see, Amtrak was running a special deal. Riders will have to suffer through delays and constant route changes with no explanations!
Something about a fatal train derailment was thrown in, but we didn’t get that option. Oh well. Public transit is better than Amtrak. You don’t get that fine Chicago-style piss smell on the Amtrak unlike Chicago’s CTA public transit. CTA ride was nice, sans some homeless diabetic begging money for heroine. Or was it insulin? I dunno I don’t do (hard) drugs, and I’m not hip on the new and upcoming drug trends.
Following that 45 minute ride, we arrived at Rosemont, Il! Home of Anime Central. Yes! Finally I can make my grand announcement to my haters that the guy they secretly want to fuck but can’t has arrive! The guy who they want to fight, but are too pussy to step up because they can’t carry their keyboards around.
It’s me: Benjamin Snow. I am the greatest otaku to have ever lived (one day I’ll snatch the Otaking title away from Toshio Okada) . I am the promised child of otaku culture niche, whom the prophets once warned the basement dwelling beta white cuck virgins weeaboos. I am the main character of my haters’ lives. I am the anti-hero protagonist of this tale.
I’m honored that you, the reader and haters, are focused on me. All eyes on me.
Adrian (I almost forgot about him) and I checked into our hotel, the Hilton, which is right across from the Hyatt, the main Anime Central hotel. Hilton’s a nice hotel chain for lodging space. Not a nice company to work for however unless you’re a masochist who hates their life. Oh wait I forgot you ain’t supposed to talk shit about shitty companies you used to work for. Actually, I take that back. Hilton’s 3rd party contractors can be hit or miss. Not the company itself.
Fuck you, Lodging Hospitality Management.
Grudges and come up revenge aside, my boy and I got a top floor room. We’re top tier men so we gotta be at the top. After showering (not with Adrian, that’s pretty gay), I decided to head to the Hyatt to scan the place for anyone I know. Encounter another homeboy, “Joe”. Joe’s a cool guy who I really wish I could hang out with more often despite we live in the same city. Big black guy fighting game fan such as myself. After some small chat we decided to roll out to Rosemont Liquor, a super nice liquor store in Rosemont that you already know is gonna love the money they racked in from us alcoholic weeaboos.
Went in and brought a bottle of pineapple New Amsterdam, a pack of 312 Goose Island Wheat, and big boy beer: My first 12% beer in my life. Trust me, drinking 12% beer is like smoking some fire ass kush after smoking that weak ass reggie for years on end. Forgot the name of the beer but they’re not sponsoring me nor this blog, so it doesn’t matter.
Following, Joe and I drove back to my hotel. During the drive, we spoke about fighting games, with Casual Player Neglect Fighter V being the main topic (Street Fighter 5) and how garbage it lowkey is. I brought up how for some reason despite not playing in months, I was able to beat my friendes who play nearly everyday with Karin.
Oh Capcom. I hope one day, you guys figured out why nobody enjoy this game.
Joe dropped me off at my hotel, as he had prior plans with a friend. Cool with me, given I had plans to kick it with another friend, “Vance”, and his Touhou cosplay crew at Hofbrauhaus. I “met” Vance back at my first ACEN in 2013 as he was cosplaying as Momiji (from Mountain of Faith or whatever idunno I don’t play Touhou like that). His outfit and the craftsmanship of it was amazing, and (at the time) Momiji cosplays were rather uncommon, so your boy had to take his pic. I would not realized I met him at ACEN until later.
I officially met and hung out with Vance at Anime Crossroads 2013, at his Touhou Panel he was hosting. We spoke about the series, our love for alcohol, and the convention scene in general. We naturally clicked and overtime, he became a good con friend. On some real shit, I wouldn’t mind being friends outside of cons with the dude…if I didn’t live in St. Louis but there’s always non-con traveling plans. Enough of my longing for networking with folks, to Hofbrauhaus
Hofbrauhaus’s food is amazing. I could tell you the fantastic variety selection of dishes and drinks they have , but my black ass is too lazy to look up their menu online. Settle with a picture of one of their dishes I that cannot for the life of me pronounce. I’m an American. Not German. We speak American in America.
After showcasing my quietness to people I don’t know outside my established friends in the group (I’m lowkey shy around strangers) and appropriating German culture (because I’m slightly racist), I walked back to my hotel and holy fuck! It’s fucking cold and windy as fuck outside! You see, my dumbass thought it would had been a great idea to wear a light T-shirt and shorts earlier in the day, despite knowing the fact the tempts were dropping..
I’m pretty sure some folks saw me walking around shivering in shorts and a t-shirt and were like “This stupid ass nergo.” Okay, I hope not. Rosemont is mostly white people, and they don’t have the right to say Nergo. Kinda like how I don’t have the right to make racist jokes about the Germans in a German restaurant (inside my head of course). Das boot! Big titty thick Germans girls wearing those Dirndi dancing with giant beer mugs! I swear I’m not racist towards Germans!
…fuck I’m racist.
I arrived back to my hotel to change into some warm clothes. Perhaps the harsh winds were karma for my inner-racism, but oh well. To help prove to myself I’m not a complete racist, I took up an offer to kick it with my white friend, “Beared Chibi-Usa” at ACEN’s infamous smoker’s circle. Great source for debauchery. And drugs!
Bearded Chibi-Usa, as his name implies, is a guy who has a beard and cosplays as Chibi-Usa from the Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon series. Maybe he’s actually cosplaying an alternate timeline of Chibi-Usa, who is actually a female-to-male transgender, and they have a beard. Who fuckin’ knows. All I know is that this man is cool ass businessman and has his own online advertisement company. Make that new money young nigga.
During our chill and smoking (tobacco) session, we overheard a rather interesting conversation between two guys talking about a stillborn dead ass baby. So, this loud ass guy was broadcasting how he may or not had been cucked by his (ex?) girlfriend at the time, and how his girlfriend felt so bad about it that she let the guy have pity sex with him. Like, raw dog busting all types of nuts inside the girl’s pussy pity sex with a creampie ending.
As we all know, sex makes babies. Sometimes, stillborn babies. Hey, that’s life. Some win. Some lose.
Despite people giving this guy confused looks and laughing at him, he kept going with the damn story. Bearded Chibi-Usa and I exchanged “what the fuck” looks and walked away, trying to contain our laughs to no anvil. We needed to drink after that, man. That was too much for us and this was day zero. A fuckin’ Thursday night.
People; keep your personal business about being a cuck with a stillborn baby to yourselves. I will laugh at you.
To keep your mind off how much of a fucked up piece of shit person I am for laughing at that poor guy, let’s go back to a certain point of this story. Remember how I told ya Beared Chibi-Usa is a businessman? Well, some non-nerd businessman got on my boy case for being him; a nerd. I don’t remember much of the details due to the alcohol and drugs, but I recall him shutting their ass down, talking about how he’s a businessman himself and that his company has clients from the companies the non-nerds work for.
Needless to say, he shut their ass down. Ya non-nerds should really let go of the stereotype of the broke basement nerd still in their parents’ basement. But hey, they’re old fucks. They have about what? 20-30 years of life left, and us young folks are gonna take their jobs overtime. No big deal.
We settle back to my room and we spoke upon various topics, such as grime rap, weight lost, and business. Grime rap. My god, no wonder it has that name. Angry. Aggressive. Blunt. Take what you know about (real) hip-hop culture, give it steroids and make it British. No, not fucking high class sip tea and eat crumpets British. I’m talking the low income, brutal lifestyle of the the British. Rap battles taking place inside decaying buildings and under bridges. Harden street rappers going berserk with their personal attacks against rivals and enemies. You got your feelings hurt? Fuck you, you’re a grime rapper. Suck it up.
No wonder my boy got me hip to this genre. I can see myself bumping this type of music and applying the story behind the music in my writings. I get inspired easily ya know. Speaking of, his talk about business, and how his networks pretty much inspired me to work on my grind, hustle, and brand. Here’s a young dude around my age with his own company, out here making moves and great money. I’m sitting here listening about his work. I’m like “man, if he can do it, so can I.” Granted, it takes hard work, dealing with self-doubts, and overcoming both haters and personal failures to reach what you want in life. This shit doesn’t come overnight.
I’m dragging this story with nonsense filler and I pretty sure you guys want me to talk more about partying and less about my sappy self being inspired. A couple of more folks came over to pregame (who I won’t mention because my uncreative ass can’t come up with fake names). I think we played the godawful broken Sailor Moon Super S fighting game on my laptop, as well as a real fighting game like Super Street Fighter 2. I got bodied in both because alcohol. One of my friends noticed my Sailor Saturn sticker on my laptop and we had a nice chat about why we like and relate to her (socially awkward but love having few but very close friends). Come to think about it, I honestly forgot what happened from between me light partying and when I woke up the next morning.
Fuck it, onto Day 1. A day in which gave me more inspiration from dudes doing better than myself, an convention and hotel staff hating on my alcohol collection, and me having to control my temper to prevent killing somebody who I thought was a friend.
Gotta love room parties. Where else can you find a normally socially awkward Uthena cosplayer drunk off shots of Hennessy flirting with other women, a Future Trunks cosplayer high off coke that he snorted off a Hex Maniac cosplayer’s ass, and two stoned Persona fans talk about who’s best girl(s) in Persona 5? (the answer: Tae and Ohya)
Yea, you could visit multiple room parties. That’s cool and all. But, what is cooler is hosting your own room party. You can become the source of otaku debauchery! I’ll teach you how!
To host a room party, you obviously need a hotel room. Make you have booked a room. Location is key. You want to host your party at the primary convention hotel. Hosting at the secondary hotel isn’t bad either, just as long as it’s not too far from the main hotel(s). Ain’t nobody gonna drive 20 minutes to your lame ass hotel party. A suite, a large single king-size room, or two rooms that are linked are best choices for room partying (depending on how the size of the party you’re planning).
If the convention hotel has a dedicated floor/wing/etc. for parties, request a room on that floor. Some hotels will move your room to the party floor for free, while others require an additional fee (around an extra $100 a night).
Anime Nebraskon (Omaha), Anime Midwest (Chicago), Anime Weekend Atlanta (Atlanta), DragonCon (Altanta) , and Archon (St. Louis) are conventions that I’ve personally attended in which they have a select floor or wing for partying.
The job of a host is showing as much hospitality to your guests as possible. Greet everyone with a smile. Show them respect. Make them feel comfortable and welcomed. This means cleaning the room hours before the party and throughout it, having liquor, juices, soda, food, and water available (which I will cover later). Talk to as many of your guests as possible. Be friendly. Trust me, doing these things will net you repeat visitors for future parties.
Spills and party fouls happen. It’s unavoidable, but that doesn’t mean you can’t clean up (plus, you don’t want cleaning fees on your bill). Cleaning supplies will help you in the long run, and plus, cleaning goes hand-in-hand with hospitality.
Here what you’ll need:
Trashbags: Hotel trashbags are small, weak, and will overflow quick. You want something that’s heavy duty, like Hefty trashbags. 3-7 heavy duty trashbags should be more than enough for your party. Tie a trashbag on the door handle for easy access for trash and waifus alike.
Paper Towels: Paper towels are godsend for messes. Get something strong and absorbent like Brawny or Bounty.
Tip: Don’t use the hotel towels. You’ll need them to dry yourself off , after you’ve washed off the shame of sleeping with that Black Lady (Sailor Moon) cosplayer after the party ended. You know, the one who was way into character calling you “daddy” while you were raw dogging her from behind.
Dish Soap: For difficult stains. Plus the best dish soap smells good.
Disinfection Wipes: Great way to kill germs and reduce con pluage from unwashed, unhealthy virgin nerds.
Febreze: Because people don’t fucking shower at conventions.
Having these simple cleaning products will help you in the long run. You don’t need everything on the list, but it’s useful to have at least trash bags, dish soap, febreze, and paper towels on stand by.
Food and Drinks:
What’s a party without food or drinks? A rather boring one, run by a host who’s most likely a freeloader, expecting others to bring things but not providing anything in exchange. Nobody likes those type of people. You gotta have your own set of food and drinks at your party.
Here what you’ll need:
Alcohol (LEGAL DISCLAIMER: DO NOT SERVE ANYONE UNDER 21)
3 Bottles of plain Vodka
2 Bottles of plain White Rum
2 Bottles of Dark Rum
1 bottle of tequila
1 bottle of gin
1 bottle of Triple Sec
1 bottle of Schnapps
1-3 bottles of Liquer (Peach, Sour Apple, Midori, coffee, etc.)
1 bottle of Rumchata
1 bottle/box or red wine
1 bottle/box or white wine
Case of beer (24-36 pack work best)
1-6 bottles of fruit flavored vodka/rum (pineapple, mango, raspberry, etc.)
Sweet and Sour Mix
24-36 case of bottled water
On the food end, pizza and chicken wings work well. You can order 1-3 pounds of wings and 5 boxes of cheap pizza for an entire party. Convince party goers to put in on the food. Don’t let others mooch off your shit.
Nobody will come to your party if they’re unaware. You must promote it. Create a Facebook event. Speak to people at the convention. Networking is key. Now, if room partying is against hotel rules, keep it on the low. Only tell a very select few people that you can trust.
Besides, you don’t want your party shut down because you let the wrong people in.
As a host, you gotta have rules. Yeah, parties can be chaotic, that’s a given. But you need to lay down some rules and have order to ensure a safe and happy party for you and your guests.
My general rules:
Respect the host and host’s room
Don’t be a creep and make others uncomfortable
Don’t fuck/sleep on my/our bed
Don’t steal. You steal you’re getting your ass beat and booted.
Keep noise at a reasonable level to prevent noise complaints.
No smoking unless it’s a smoking floor, 420 friendly hotel, etc. Also match me. I’ll match you too.
No one under 21 (if serving alcohol)
Just simple universal rules that should work. You can add your own rules for your party depending on the nature.
Hope these tips help! Feel free to apply them to your own parties. Be safe and have fun this con season! If you have any suggestions and advice, please post them in the comments section below!
For the convention season, please take a shower or bath before you head to an anime/comic/sci-fi con. Nobody is trying to smell your nasty, unwashed, unclean ass because you refuse to take care of basic personal hygiene. Body odor is not cute and nobody isn’t trying to get sick because your ass do not wanna hop in the shower for 15 minutes and put on some deodorant.
Trust me, I legit had asthma attacks from overpowering B.O. from unwashed nerds at cons. It ain’t fun.
It is 2017 and i should not tell people this but this is the state of the convention community as of this writing. Hell there’s even a debate on the Anime Boston Facebook group on if people should shower before heading to a convention. An convention group. Having a debate. On if you should shower or not.