You know, it’s amazing to watch the growth of otaku culture and anime as a medium. I remember nearly twenty-plus years ago when anime was treated as, as my friend “H.H.E” puts it, an exotic art wonder from this mysterious faraway land called Japan. If you were a kid during the 1990s, you knew that the only way to view anime was on Kids WB, Fox Kids, Fox Family, Toonami (Cartoon Network), or – if you parents or older sibling had the money – buying an $30+ VHS tape of an anime series at a geek or video store at your local mall. Commutations between otakus, as well as sources for anime news and anime conventions were limited. If you wanted to talk with fellow anime fans online, you best knew how to use a BBS (Bulletin Board System) or know about websites such as Geocities/Angelfire or Anime Turnpike.
The New Millennium brought innovation and advancement in internet technology. With broadband internet slowly killing the inferior and soon-to-be obsolete 56k dial-up internet, it was easier for anime fans to upload fanart and fan animation based off their favorite series. One would be pressed not to find a Dragon Ball Z fan Flash animation on a NewGrounds page. Infamous otaku images boards 2channel and 4chan provided a space for anonymous otakus globally to talk about anime. Although still going strong in the early 2000s, Geocitites and Angelfire would give way to anime related message boards, indie websites, anime internet databases, and blogs. In the real world, Sci-Fi, Tech TV, and Cartoon Network would air anime geared towards older demographics; exposing a generation of anime fans to more “adult” anime series.
Still, despite the growth of anime in America, anime was still treated as a weird exotic trendy commodity for children, degenerates, and perverts.
Fast-forward to the mid-2000s. Further achievements of internet technology gave birth to YouTube and Nico Nico Douga: two websites that allowed users to upload video content. With this, otaku had near superior space to share their interests and creativity relating to Japanese pop culture. It was common to find teenagers and young adults from both America and Japan to dress as SOS-Brigade performing the Hare Hare Yukai dance from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya at schools, a friend’s house, or at an anime convention. You didn’t have to look hard to find otaku performing and covering songs from otaku driven media. Social media platforms such as MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter helped created spaces for anime fans to find and connect with one another. As a much needed bonus, anime slowly became popular with the mainstream; causing the medium to lose its unfairly earned stigma.
The 2010s is what I like to call the “Golden Age of Anime”. Anime massively boomed. No longer did you have to go online to talk and meet up with anime fans: finding an anime fan in your city was a easy as finding a sports fan. Internet video streaming media companies CrunchyRoll , Hulu, and Netflix made it easier than ever to access anime with their on-demand video services of anime. Two unlikely companies, Arby’s and Wendy’s, marketed their products to consumers of anime with anime-related ads and social media posts. Dominos ran a collab ad campaign Vocaloid with Hatsune Miku as the face of the company. Speaking of the cyan hair virtual idol, she infamously appeared on the David Letterman Show (it was awkward for everyone). Established anime conventions saw an unexpected rise of attendees while newer ones spout up nearly every week in major cities.
Anime characters and characters from iconic otaku driven media would appear in mainstream news. An image of Suika, the alcoholic oni girl of Touhou Project fame appeared as a drunken camerawoman in an ESPN reporton the infamous Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao fight. An printed photoshop image of Zombieland Saga Lily holding a gun threatening feminists was shown to the U.K Parliament in May of 2019.
Memes relating to anime were a driving force during the 2016 elections and could have inspired Donald Trump’s presidential win. At the end of 2019, Taiwanese politician Lai Pin-yu started cosplaying as Asuka Langley Soryu hit classic anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion.
It’s safe to say that anime has found its place in the mainstream and lost its unearned stigma.
We are now in the 2020s. It’s a bit early to say what changes, trends, and shifts we will see with anime and otaku culture. Of course, I could comment on how anime fans are using anime characters as memes to cope with the possible start of World War III between America and Iran after American air bombed Baghdad: killing top Iranian general Hossein Salami. Of course, that is to be expected in this era of anime pop culture and memes.
Outside of politics, we’ll see anime shining strong in the mainstream limelight through collaboration with major companies in various fields of entertainment. Example: Hatsune Miku, the virtual idol of Vocaloid fame will be performing at Coachella this Summer 2020. Something like this could open the door for Japanese virtual idol music producers to collab with Western artists. Perhaps one day in this decade we will see Miss Hatsune actually performing alongside Big Boi, Killer Mike, and Jeezy at a concert this decade (hip-hop artists sampling from otaku related media is nothing new of course).
The mainstream entertainment industry won’t be able to deny the presence and power of otaku culture and fans – especially given the children of the 90s and 2000s anime fandom are entering the entertainment industry itself. Soon, it’ll be consider normal to see anime characters and otaku culture used and seen in mainstream culture. Yes, there will be bitter soy milk drinking otaku cornballs who believe that Shinji Ikari and Tatsuhiro Satou are personality types that will be upset that anime has become popular.
I say this: fuck them – let them be bitter while you capitalize on anime’s everlasting growth this decade.
New decades bring forth new trends, ideas, and themes that will define them. Anime and the culture surrounding it are no different. What will never be different are the fans of anime willing to see and help this culture grow. What will always be the same are the fans whom seek to find other fellow anime fans, may it be online or in real life. Regardless if this is the 2010s, 2020s, 2030s or 3030s, people will always love anime. People will always be otaku. People will always be willing to bring forth change to this medium.
25 Days of Blogging. It’s like ABC Family’s 25 Days of Christmas, but you won’t shoot your eye out reading my content.
“Rising of the Shield Hero came out this past Winter! It’s old! Nobody cares about it anymore. You’re too late!” I laughed as this ashy cornball nerd with a Stevie Wonder styled hairline, draped in clothes he brought from the local Goodwill tried to nerd check/gatekeep one of our administrators of a Black anime nerd group I help run for not watching Shield Hero during its original run this past Winter 2019. I asked the cornball why our admin had to watch it while it was airing, not on his own time, and as well as stating that he’s still a fan regardless of when he watched it.
He didn’t say anything.
So I muted him for a week.
Admin power abuse to the side, I never got this train of “logic” that you need to watch anime while it’s currently airing. According to many anime nerds out there, you’re not a true a fan of an anime if you didn’t catch it while it was airing, or only watch it because of hype. For most shows, I like to wait until at least a few arcs are completed, or wait until the entire season/show has finished to watch a few episodes a day.
But some nerds don’t like waiting. You have these people who love bragging about being a part of the anime fandom conversation; because they want to be like everyone else due to their lack of testicular or ovarian fortitude of separating from the weeb pack mentality. They log into social media to boast about how much they love the last episode of a show to others. It’s so they can generate likes in the virtual world because nobody likes them in the real world. They want to be in the know for the sense of community and camaraderie
Inherently, there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s natural to seek out fans of products that you enjoy to build a community around it; it’s why we go to anime conventions, interact with anime fans online, and wear graphic tees featuring our waifus out in public. It does, however, become wrong when you decide to gatekeep and check somebody for getting into an anime series months or years after the show ended.
I hope I hurt some feelings by saying this: If you only watch a show, regardless if enjoyed it or not, just so you can brag about how many shows you’ve watched a season, you’re not a fan. You’re just a nerd who’ll never produce anything of high value and quality: so you only exist to consume media for consumption sake. You’re just mad that you can’t just wait until something is over to watch it, or don’t have the courage to be your own person in the anime fandom; because you’ll never be shit without it.
Why does it matter that somebody waited until then to become a fan of the show? Why do people need to watch the show while it’s airing? I’ll never understand that.
-Until next time,
Yuki The Snowman
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The Swarthy Nerd Podcast
A Black nerd empowerment podcast where Black nerds (well, all nerds, but Black first and foremost) can get together and talk freely about nerd culture while also acknowledging systematic white supremacy and racism in the nerd and Eastern otaku fandoms. Every Tuesday join @superlostfan108 and @weebtrashyuki the founders of http://www.swarthynerd.com for there very informative podcast talking about all things nerdy. No desperate boot licking self hating negus who were never accepted by Black norimes for being too weird for their love of anime and comic books by the Black community allowed. Go drink bleach.
As I was reading through the comments of my post inquiring information on the Ontario, California based anime convention Anime Los’ Angeles (ALA) and how it compare to Anime Expo (AX), there were a few comments that caught my attention. These comments focused on the fact that ALA was a fan run convention that will never succumb to corporate greed and draw in the normies (unlike Anime Expo and San Diego Comic Con according to these commentators).
Personally, I’m a fan of corporate and industry ran conventions (or at the very least, conventions who have some sponsorship from corporations and members of the industry). Anime conventions with corporate/industry backing have the means to bring in the big name heavy hitters of the anime industry. In addition, they also allow the major players of the anime industry to have world premiere of new and upcoming anime projects that you (almost) never get the chance to see at your local small-to-medium size anime convention.
Content creators such as myself love attending conventions that feature big name guests as it gives us superior coverage and content for our brand. It’s not to say that fan-run conventions don’t make for great content, but let’s be real: You’ll get more flies drawn towards your honey pot if your honey pot just happen to have somebody like Mamoru Miyano in it because you reported on him talking about his latest roles during Anime Expo.
(And no, I did not attend any of his panels at Anime Expo because my Black ass KNEW any and all Mamoru Miyano related panels would be jam packed with fans and I am not willing to stand in line for 10 hours for a seiyuu I’m barely a fan of just for internet traffic).
As nerd culture steadily enter the mainstream limelight, there is this looming shadow of fear that has been overcast on the world of nerd culture. This fear is of both smaller and larger fan ran conventions yielding to the all-mighty dollar offered to them by major corporations – forswearing their humble grassroots beginnings.
Can’t blame them on this one, really. We see this happen often with conventions grew massive in size and income. They get accused of “selling out” (note: knowing your worth and the worth of your brand isn’t “selling out”; that’s broke jealous dusty nigga/hipster talk). Once they “sell-out”, the content of the convention becomes water down and lose focus on the fan-driven material in favor of industry related items presented on the programming. Therefore, the loyal fans of the con since day one up and leave the con.
Now, if you’re a critical thinker, you can see where this is going and know the solution to this problem. If people are dreading that some big conventions are “selling out” for big businesses, then that means that you are going to have people who are still in favor of fan-run conventions that won’t “sell-out”.
Think about it: you have a market of fans who don’t want anything to do with major conventions that have corporate backing and they’re going searching for cons that are operating on the grassroots level. They would rather spend their money towards conventions that favor fan-related content and programming over what some Japanese industry jackass who snorts cocaine off a teenage schoolgirl’s ass while she’s cosplaying Ichigo from DARLING in the FRANXX in his office at nighttime thinks what makes good programming at an anime con (okay, probably isn’t that extreme, but you get my point).
It’s that “for us by us” mentality that most nerds crave when it comes to anime conventions. Fan run content that shows the true passion and appreciation of fans of this medium in an event that provides the means for such fans to talk about their love for anime – in person with other fellow fans.
Fan-ran events means you have the freedom to express your fandom and love for anime through any means without worrying about an overhead busting your balls telling you what you can and cannot have in your programming (it’s not to say that fan run conventions have overheads busting balls as well, but they’re more lax than say somebody who works for a big anime business).
There’s a certain magic of fan-ran conventions that allow programming such as a room party block with free drinks, a massive cosplay parade downtown, ribbon collecting, and cosplay stripping shows that most of your major big business ran convention wouldn’t dare allow. This magic you can’t find at most industry ran conventions. Is it true that these industry cats understand what fans want in terms of content for their cons? Sure, but it doesn’t mean that they’re gonna provide the means to fulfill said needs.
So, will fan-run conventions go away anytime soon? No. Why?
Because there will always be a need for them – no matter what.
I arrived at my hotel. I went over to my table where my crew’s bottles of liquor and mixer were. I took two shots of my friend’s E&J (sorry Rath!). After that, I grabbed a glass and specific bottles and mixers: Vodka, Captain Morgan Apple Smash, Midori, Pineapple Juice, and Sprite. One-by-one, I pour the liquids in the glass. Thanks to the efforts of the Apple Smash and Midori, the drink gave off a lovely green color. Perfect.
Just Monika I said to myself.
Just Monika is a cocktail I created for a party that I was going to throw at another hotel I had reversed (which was canceled due to unforeseen events). Initially, I was going to debut it at the party to celebrate DDLC’s first anniversary, but shit happened and I decided to do it for a friend’s party I was bartending for. I started sipping on it, letting the alcohol enhance my dark side and get me further in my zone (more on the dark side and “the zone” at the end of the chapter)
I hopped in the cold shower (cold showers help me stay awake when I’m tired) and kept Saiyan Pride on repeat. All my focus was on being the best genderswap Monika I could be (and in the world). I want people to recognize me. I want racist DDLC cosplayers to be mad at me for being a black man cosplayer a white/Asian character. I wanted to install fear in any other males doing a genderswap DDLC cosplay at the con. My aim isn’t to compete with other Monika cosplayers: Most are either women or dudes wearing skirts. I want(ed) to stand out (which I will explain in about five paragraphs below)
(Also, not gonna lie: There was a Monika cosplayer – who knew she had an ass and wasn’t shy about showing it off in a very short skirt who walked past me as I was returning to my hotel. I lowkey was thinking of shooting my shot with her in my cosplay if I saw her again.
Thank God for Atlanta.
Thank God for thick women.)
I got out of the shower, put on my Monika cosplay, and hit the con floor. And of fucking course, my legendary bad luck in cosplay had to hit me hard. I was the only Monika on the con floor. Awesome! But there weren’t any other DDLC cosplayers about. This always happen to me: Whenever I decide to put on a cosplay from a fandom, nobody is around. But when I am in not in cosplay it’s like everyone wants to wear their shit (hell, back in 2016 at Anime St. Louis, there was about 3-5 Umineko: When They Cry cosplayers in a group; a year where I decided to not wear my Goat Butler cosplayer, but I digress).
Maybe I should do my cosplays in the morning instead of in the late afternoon/night.
Not only that, nobody knew who I was cosplaying as or from. I had this problem at Anime Expo when I first did my Monika cosplay and I was doing it solo. I figured that the reason why I wasn’t being noticed was that I didn’t have her ribbon. To fix that mistake I went ahead and ordered one on Amazon for AWA…expect it was small as hell and wasn’t the size of Monika’s gigantic bow. Now that I think about it, I think I might just forego the hair ribbon and get a white headband without a bow and wrap it around the ponytail of my wig (imagine Ryu’s white headband from the Street Fighter Alpha/Zero series). Plus, I refused to wear a skirt for reasons.
The thing about these types of cosplay as a male is that every male fucking wears a skirt. If I was to wear one, I would be no different. Sure, I have my race as an advantage, but that is something I was born with that I can’t control: easy mode. I rather work smarter and harder to be different. I much rather have a blazer tailored made to fit my body type than to get a generic DDLC school blazer off some cosplay site.
I also am not a fan of competition. There are more female Monika cosplayers than male. I can’t compete against them: they’ll win. The average male Monika cosplayer wears a skirt as previously mentioned. Again, won’t compete against that. I rather dominate by taking a different route; making you Monika cosplayers study my style once I master that cosplay and get in known on a global scale.
You male Monika cosplayers can wear a skirt and be like every other males.
You guys can get your Monika cosplay outfits off ebay and Amazon.
I’m going to stand out – like Monika herself.
(My version of Monika is inspired by the Business Casual fashion look, so that’s why I wear jeans instead of a skirt. The example pictured below):
After being disappointed that nobody knew who I was cosplaying as, I headed back to my room out of discouragement (plus, a friend of mines told me he could smell the alcohol on my breath [I had taken more shots with a friend in his room prior] and advise me to get rid of it, rest up, and sober up. Thank you, John, for being real), a Froppy-Chan (My Hero Academia) cosplayer along with two of her male friends spotted me. “Are you Monika?” she said with a smile. I took off my sunglasses to make eye contact with her, replied with a smile, and said “yes”. We started talking about the game, the themes of it, and our favorite characters – although short because I was drunk as hell.
Man, she was cute. Maybe if I wasn’t drunk I could have more of a deeper conversation with her about the game’s themes. Maybe shoot my shot with her and make her male friends jealous at and hate on me.
Is it horrible for me to be inspired to sober up in order to either take somebody’s else woman or make her male friends mad at me cuz we were vibing a little bit? Yes. But it did awaken something deep inside me: What if I just not use a strong substance like liquor and have fun cosplaying as Monika and talk to women naturally who know the character? Even if I don’t get “physical activities” at the end, I still had done these things:
1. I made somebody happy that I was cosplaying as their favorite character and that would have brightened their day.
2. I could have made a female friend that was based on mutual, platonic interests and learn what makes women click and get advice on women by women.
3. It’ll be on some self-improvement shit. One Percent Better.
Maintaining my smile, I held my head up high and marched back to my room to recover and freshen up for the night. Even if one stranger knew who I was cosplaying as; that was it for me. Well, not really. I wanted more people to know me for my cosplay. It was motivation for me to keep doing it. Keep improving. Find flaws and errors in my cosplay and work on them. Always seeking to better myself.
This time around, I was going to do and act better. Don’t you fucking dare drink any liquor tonight, Benjamin. You don’t need that shit to talk to women or anyone else. Be you even if you’re cosplaying tonight.
Let me tell you guys something: This worked in my favor. More on that in a later chapter.
Way later in the night, I was walking around in my Monika cosplay, scanning the scene after the late night parties ended and the “secret panel” proved to be a bit boring for me without my friends around (who had retired to the hotel after a few conflicts and bullshit among us). I am about to leave when I hear a girl with a few male friends say “Hey Monika, come over here!” I walked over to her direction and she was all smiles and giddily about seeing a Monika cosplayer.
We started talking about DDLC and about our favorite characters. I remember her saying like how she likes Monika because of how it looks like she sticks her ass out when she talks to you (in her sprite) and how she wanted to select Monika but she didn’t have a route. I wanted to chop up some game with and spit but I didn’t proceed for a few reasons:
1. She looked underage. Which, now that I think about it at the time of this writing, she probably wasn’t; Given her and her crew were sitting outside the 18+ secret panel room (and the area the blocked off for anyone under 18) and they had beers. I blame myself for being an idiot who didn’t take a power nap to regain my mental focus after being up for 17+ hours with only 5-6 hours of sleep the night prior.
She had about three guys with her. It’s not that I’m scared of any dudes around their female friend(s), but given my mental fatigue, there was no way I could have an advantage for myself to spit game with her and beat out the competition (this is going to sound pretty fucked up but trust me; usually if a woman has a few dudes around her, they’re trying to get in her pants. This isn’t always true, however).
Oh well. A lesson that I had to learn to apply in the future (but at least I’ve gotten over my fears of talking to women and I accepted the fact I don’t need liquor to talk to them and be the best version of myself when I’m interacting with them)
Going back to the visual novel panel, I remember Chris saying how the Fate series completely dominated the visual novel anime genre (as it is the most popular VN anime of all time with how strong it’s going). Which is funny, because last year, I was attending a panel ran by Kana Ueda – the voice actress for Rin Tohsaka from the fate series. She talked about how for her, attending Anime Weekend Atlanta with her fellow voice actors and reuniting with a veteran Japanese voice who was once her mentor was “fate” (for them meeting there). Hearing Chris words on the VN scene, seeing people who still have a passion for it, and cosplaying as Monika, I couldn’t help but reflect on Ueda’s statement on fate.
Perhaps it was fate for me to go to that visual novel panel, network with him (being unaware that of his work Anime News Network), talking to people about how visual novels made them happy and being upset that the genre is on the decline. Was it fate that I saw that Hanyuu cosplayer after having two When They Cry related dreams? I guess. Did fate lead me to that Floppy-chan and that girl who was happy that I was cosplaying as Monika and made me want to do better with it and inspired me to not throw in the towel? Who knows?
As I am finishing this chapter out, I am reminded of a Facebook post I made about how I remember when the fate series was a bit of an obscure VN series that was popular in Japan, but didn’t get much traction in the Western otaku market beyond your hardcore VN fans. This wasn’t on some hipster, “I knew about the series before it was popular” shit: It was me being in awe that a game made by people of humble background reached heights that nobody could imagine for the genre or in anime fandom in general.
Some dumbass accused me of being a hipster and stated that “nobody gives a fuck about shitty visual novels”. I laughed. A week later, I was in Los Angeles for Anime Expo. I was walking around the Downtown area where my eyes met this massive Fate/Grand Order poster hanging over a bank. I was with my friend (whom I told him about the dumbass saying that bullshit) and we laughed. I wanted to post a picture I took of the poster and replied to his comment saying If nobody gave a fuck about shitty visual novels why they got this poster out here? on some petty shit.
To the dumbass who said that here’s something for you:
My unforgiving pettiness aside, I really do hope the visual novel genre does make a comeback. I’ll do more cosplays from it. Hell, even if it doesn’t, I’ll keep doing it – no matter what.
Continued in Chapter 3.
In the book Relentless by Tim Grover, Tim speaks on two accepts of the human’s psyche: “The Zone” and “The Dark Side”. The Zone is the dark, quiet lonely place within your mind. You shut everything in the world out to be in your own. It’s a calm, relaxing, and focused place.
The Dark Side is that: The darkness part of your mind where only you know your deepest, true desires – your true self (Persona lol). Rather than let your dark side control and ultimately – destroy you – you control it. You use the darkest parts of your personality to push yourself towards you end goal(s).
JUST MONIKA COCKTAIL:
1oz Light Rum
1oz Captain Morgan Apple Smash
4oz pineapple juice
Top with Sprite
Combine Ingredients sans Sprite in a shaker. Shake vigorously. Pour mixture in a Collins glass. Top with sprite. You can also rock the ingredinets with sprite and then pour the mixture into a Collins glass.
(The only reason why I used vodka in this story because my dumbass left my light rum in a homeboy’s hotel room the night before)
“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.
Recently, I bought my first plane tickets; booking a flight from St. Louis (my hometown) to Los Angeles, California (for the convention Anime Expo). The purchase marks major progress for not only the Yuki The Snowman brand, but for my personal growth too. In my years of traveling, I’ve met strangers who turned into friends, visited unexplored places which became my favorite spots to hit up, and unknown cities which became my home away from home. Of course, I visited anime conventions in these different cities (that I grew to love). All of these experiences I earned thanks to traveling.
Trust me, you want these experiences. Let me explain why you should travel as an anime fan.
You’re away from your hometown. You don’t have to deal with the same ol’ people from it. You know; the mindless normies who make fun of you for liking anime. Traveling gives you the chance to explore a major, prosperous city; filled with innumerable cultured people who just get you and your passion. This is especially true if you’re into the arts – like anime, film, theater, music, etc. Your pathetic hometown isn’t filled with cultured people who appreciate the arts. You need to go where your interests are appreciated and respected.
I know there’s a small voice in your head telling you to leave. Don’t deny that voice.
Traveling provides you with new experiences – experiences you’ll never have in your small town. In 2016, I traveled to Atlanta, GA. for the world-renowned Dragon Con. Dragon Con is an American multimedia convention where over 80,000 from across the globe invade the entire downtown Atlanta: celebrating nerd culture for five days.
On Saturday of Dragon Con, there’s a massive parade for the convention that wraps around the downtown ATL area. This parade is full of cosplayers showcasing their talents and sci-fi themed floats. Did I mention that throughout the event, Dragon Con has over thousands of non-stop programming that doesn’t end until the afternoon of Labor Day?
Oh, and it’s an open container party convention for you alcoholics and party nerds (like myself).
My backward ass hometown doesn’t have cool shit like that. We got conventions, but their main programming end between 7pm-1am (depending on the convention). We have no parades celebrating nerd culture (because the local rednecks and ignorant Republicans here think the arts shouldn’t be celebrated). The thought of a convention being hosted in downtown St. Louis with over 80,000 nerds is viewed as a joke out here. There’s only one convention that allows open container and partying (Archon, ya know I love ya). If you try to throw a party at our other conventions, security and the police will shut your ass down.
I bet your small town has those issues as well. Even if it does have anime and sci-fi conventions, there are only about 500-1000 people who attend it. Maybe 1500 – and the numbers are made from the same nerds you see in your community. Your con’s guest list is made up of the same 10 voice acting and industry guests each and every year. If you go out of town to a major city that hosts a massive convention, chances are, you’ll see over 30 industry guests. For conventions like Anime Weekend Atlanta and Anime Central, you may even get to see a voice actor from Japan.
Do you get why you should travel as an anime fan?
Traveling allows you to meet new people and gain new networks. Let’s say you’re an aspiring vlogger, blogger, social media starlet, whatever. Your hometown will never support you because they see you every day. They don’t wanna support a person who they believe they will never get anywhere (despite how hard you grind to produce content), or if that person is making more moves (then the average person in their town).
Here’s where traveling to new cities come to play (for your craft). As stated above, new faces in new cities mean new networks for you and your brand. Let’s pretend you’re at Anime Expo, and this is your first time vlogging at such an event. You’re interviewing a marvelous Beatrice (Umineko no Naku Koro ni) cosplayer who spent all of 2017 professionally designing and building her frilly dress and pipe (which is fully functioning). You guys plan to kick it after you two get done with your business because you’re both huge Umineko fans and wanna talk more about the series and she finds you as a cool person (and also wants to smoke you out using her pipe).
Not only did you got a cool cosplay interview for your vlog, you now made a new friend off a love for an obscure visual novel. I’m doubtful the ignorant bums of your small town have no clue what’s a visual novel is. Hell, they’re probably too stupid to read a normal novel.
Additionally, it’s smart to meet new friend globally for growth. Furthermore, you need to drop your (loser) friends. Friends who don’t appreciate and understand why you’re so passionate about the things you love aren’t worth having around. What is worth it is having around are people who get you. You like people who like you; who vibes are just like yours. That’s why you must travel.
‘If you’re not feeling it, find new friends.’ -Gary Vee (from his videoSURROUND YOURSELF WITH THE RIGHT PEOPLE)
Traveling allows you to grow. It’s an outlet for a person to see new places and obtain experiences that their small town will never provide. Exploring the world brings you to new faces that will support you and even befriend you. You need to get out of your hometown and grow.
This is an enormous world. Don’t be content with being in your pathetic tiny town forever.
As a person who brutally reviews and talk about anime with joyful smite, you come across people who get mad at you because you don’t like an anime they enjoy. Shoot, you don’t have to be an anime reviewer to run across these folks. You know, the people who go “Turn your brain off and enjoy the show!” or “You’re not allowed to talk about a show you like” and my personal favorite, “Fuck you, you darkie for trashing my waifu this is why you blacks get shot by cops and lynched!”
Anime fans are goofy.
I don’t see the idea of getting all in your feelings over the negative opinions on an anime. I get it: you invested endless hours on a show. I know what it fell to fall in love with a character that you have a personal connection with. That’s cool. What’s not cool is being all mad because somebody said something like “I don’t think this show wasn’t that good.” or “This show was trash.” They just didn’t feel the show the way you did; that’s okay. You cannot expect everyone to think your favorite anime is awesome as much as you. You cannot hold everyone to your standards when it comes to appreciating every show this medium has to offer.
You will be disappointed.
If you come across somebody who says “This show suck” or something, just ignore them and move on. You are confident (I hope) with the show’s enjoyment level. You love the show. Why does it really matter if others don’t like your favorite show? Why do you get in your feelings because somebody negatively review a series you enjoy? If you get all angry over the opinions of others over a cartoon that you did not even create, you need mental help. Like forreal. Does Wit Studio send you a Chise Hatori cosplayer to give you head for every 20 time you defend The Ancient Magus’s Bride? Let me know because I would totally defend Touhou Project to get head from a Junko or Yukari cosplayer. Space MILFs and older gap women are two of my things. But really, what is the point of defending your favorite show against somebody who will never change their opinion about it?
Let’s be honest: Everyone is critical about something. You included. It’s human nature to judge something and either have a positive or negative reaction to it. Anime is not excluded in this. I bet you there are many shows that you’ve watched and did not enjoy. Don’t bullshit me. People who say they’re not judgmental on any anime are full of shit. We all have anime series that we don’t’ like enjoy. We all have shows that we love to bash. I bet you there’s a show that came out this Fall 2017 season that you straight up hated and spent your precious time talking shit about.
To conclude this little rant, people won’t like your favorite show. Deal with it. If you love a show and somebody else doesn’t, that’s on them. The simple fact that you like that show should be more than enough for you to not be bothered by somebody else’s negative opinions. You need forreal help if you get angry about it.
On August 11th, 2017, YouTube anime vlogger Digibro uploaded Where Should We Watch Anime?, a video where he explores four seperate anime streaming services: Crunchyroll, Amazon Strike, Netflix, and the infamous illegal site “KissAnime”. Digibro states that while he does use Crunchhyroll to view anime and support the industry, he also uses KissAnime, but only as a last resort (if there’s no legal alternate to view an anime, if the legal services offers a worse product than the illegal websites, etc.)
Despite his statement (and because anime fans lack comprehension skills), the anime community misinterpreted his words; believing he was promoting the illegal sites. This resulted in his his follow up video Utter Morons ForneverWorld & Half of Anitwitter Totally Miss the Point Of My Streaming Video where he states once again, that he only uses the illegal streaming services if the legal ones are offering a worse product than the legal websites or if he can not find a legal alternate to view an anime.
Both backlash and support for Digibro’s views followed. Many were furious at him for “suggesting” the usage of illegal websites. Others praised and understood Digibro’s stance. Those who supported his views brought up that the anime industry doesn’t make enough money off Blu-Ray and DVDs sales, that the industry’s main profits come from secondary sources of income (which he also states in the follow up video) as well as bringing brought up how major studios take most of the profits from the different income sources and not paying their artists a fair, livable wage. The anime fans opposing piracy rebuttal; to them, every dollar counts in supporting the the industry.
These videos breathed new life into an age old controversial topic within the community: Does pirating anime hurt the industry?
As someone who keeps it real, it’s my duty to tell you how I feel about this subject it is without holding back. From researching the topic, reading articles, and watching anime vloggers of both sides of the argument, I don’t think pirating hurts the industry. I do get where opposing fans are coming from with their anti-piracy stance, but again, I don’t feel that piracy does harm to the industry.
From my research, I discovered how the anime industry create captial in the modern era outside of Blu-Ray and DVD sales. Aninews’ video The Data Behind Digibro’s Stance on Anime Streaming: Legal vs. Illegal, breaks down how legal streaming services fund the industry through bidding for the rights to stream an anime on their services (the link to the video is listed in the cited source section).
When a streaming company wins the rights to a show, they’ll have to pay the licensing company (such as Aniplex) the cost of each episode, royalties, and licensing fees. Once paid, the licensing company takes their cut of the the money and split the rest up with everyone involved in the production of the anime. This meansthat regardless if you use an illegal streaming services or not, the animation companies have already received their money for the shows the provided to the streaming services.
At worst, the streaming companies will operate on a lost from ad revenue due to not breaking even or beyond from piracy. Therefore, the company will have to operate at a loss – forcing them to reduce the number of series to buy off the licensing company for the upcoming season.
Another way anime studios make money is through product placement. Some industries in Japan (such as the automotive and food industries) will reach out to animation studios and offer to pay thousands or millions of dollars for the show to promote their product or brand. For example: Sunrise 2006’s anime Code Geass, famously promoted the pizza brand Pizza Hut in many episodes due to a deal between both companies. This provided Sunrise extra capital for their pockets. Misty Chroenexia’s video Piracy is NOT Killing The Anime Industry explains this further in depth (the URL to the video is listed below in the source section).
Finally, companies make extra capital from merchandising such as toys, video games, figurines, body pillows, drama CDs, and music soundtracks. Bigger companies such, as A-1 Pictures, are linked to major companies: giving them access to extra funds. Miki Sim’s article How The Anime Industry Earns Money further explains this:
‘A few larger anime studios, such as A-1 Picture, actually sits within a larger entertainment ecosystem. They are linked to record companies, such as Sony Music Entertainment Japan. With the popularity of anime OPs drive the sales of anisong singles and albums. That is another reason why the anisong industry is becoming larger than J-Pop too.’
In short: Some studios are large enough to use high amounts of capital thanks to a connection with a thanks in part of another major company or brand.
What does all of this means for me? Well, if companies are making profits through other sources of income, have already received money from streaming websites such as Netflix and Amazon , and have connections to larger companies such as Sony (who have diverse income thanks to their products and investments) for extra cash, then me pirating their shows does not hurt them at all.
Admittedly, I do have an active Crunchy Roll subscription to support the industry. Crunchy Roll is wonderful and they provided me with good services. If Crunchy Roll has a show I want to watch then I will view it on there as oppose to say KissAnime. Now, if they do not have a show I want to see and there is no legal alternate available (that I like), then I’ll use an illegal streaming site.
This brings me to my next point.
I’m going to keep this all the way real: It’s the fault of the Japanese animation studios for not releasing their new shows outside of Japan (where there is a market for those show, niche or otherwise) to a legal service in North America (or any other international regions). Consequently, this forces fans to pirate shows that they cannot access legally because the Japanese businesses do not want to adapt to the current trend of anime viewership globally. In my opinion, this is bad business. Anime is a global market. You have to carter to fans around the world.
You have fans who’re willing to watch new shows legally. They want to show their support with the money, but these companies aren’t listening. If they do release a show, it’s usually a season or two later.
Example: Netflix recently acquired the rights to Kakegurui, one of the most popular anime series of the Summer 2017 season. Netflix will air Kakegurui in Winter 2018 – two seasons after its original Japanese broadcast run. This means if you want to watch it legally, you will have to wait five months (at the time of this writing) to support it legall. The only way to watch Kakegurui and stay current with it is through an illegal streaming service.
Now, if you can’t afford to pay Netflix that $10/month plus tax because you have other paid streaming services you’re subscribed, to and you want to support it legally, well, you’re out of luck. This is another case of bad business practice. You have three streaming services fighting each other to win the rights for a show. And if the winning company is Netflix, you may have to wait a few months to view the show.
Now that I think about it, this is goofy.
Once a company wins the rights for a show, they have that show exclusively. No other streaming company can have it, just that one company. Let’s say Amazon Strike wins the rights to the show The Misadventures of an Alcoholic Magical Girl (this is not a real show). Since Amazon is the only North American company to stream that show, you cannot get it off your Crunchy Roll and/or Netflix account(s). You really want to watch and support the show, but can you afford an Amazon Prime account along with the cost of $4.99/month with Strike and $6.95/month with your CR account?
So, what you’re going to do? Spend that extra cash? Cancel your CR account to save some money? You can do that, but now you have to wait a week to watch the newest episodes of a currently airring show. If you really want to watch it, then you have to pirate it. Which is not that bad if you bare in mind the animation studio has already earn the money from Amazon.
Let’s take this a step further.
Netflix and Amazon are notorious for not understanding their anime fanbase demographic. Netflix has been under fire for uploading anime shows with false “HD” and horrible subs quality. Amazon Strike requires you to have an Amazon Prime account along with paying $4.99/month for Strike. Doing the math $8.99+$4.99 = $13.98/month. Then you have your Crunchy Roll account, which is $6.95/month. So $13.98+$6.95=$20.93/month. THEN, if you want to watch an anime that’s only on Netflix, you’ll going to wind up dropping $10/month plus tax. So $20.93+$10.00=$30.93/month plus tax. Finally, if there is a show that you desperately want to see that is not available legally on all three legal platforms, you’re out of luck.
Unless you pirate of course.
Pirate sites host anime with true 1080p or 720 HD (both native and upscale). They have fansubs in excellent quality. They offer a massive selection of anime that you can stream and download for free without worrying about hundreds of dollars on. There are shows on these websites that may never get a re-release. Viewing them on these sites is the only way to experience those shows. If you want to explore the history of anime at its fullest, you may have to use KissAnime or 9anime.
This begs the question: Why pay and support a service to companies that doesn’t care about their anime demographic, rip them off by offering them “HD” quality that is not HD at all, and provide low quality subtitles? At least CrunchyRoll understands their given that company is fun by anime fans. They need our money and support. But Netflix and Amazon? Screw them. Screw them and their bad business practices If Amazon Strike and Netflix’s anime streaming services belly-up due to piracy, oh well. They’re large companies with other sources of income to keep them afloat. I doubt Amazon and Netflix would suffer that much.
The whole business model is stupid. Japan not expanding further and adapting to the current trend for their anime demographic is ass backwards. I honestly don’t feel bad for pirating their stuff. They’re providing poor-to-bad services because of it. If you’re giving the customer a bad experience due to your shitty practices and you can’t help with their needs, you don’t desire to make money.
At this point, you may be asking “Ben! So what about the little guys? Yeah, cooperate assholes may make a lot of money, but the artists and creative team only make little to no money a month! They need your support!” Well, that brings me to my next point – a good point Digibro brought up in his video that I like: A donation button.
Artists put in countless hours of hard work into their craft; providing us with amazing shows that we all love and enjoy. Because they work hard and passionately, they deserve our money. However, while there is a lot of capital flowing in the industry, the top people will get the largest payout while the smaller ranking dudes will get less. Way less. The average animator in japan makes about $300-$500 a month. The “lucky” ones make $1000 month. Still, that’s criminally wrong. Even if I do view anime legally through Crunchyroll, the animators are being screwed by their employees regardless.
This is why I like the idea of studios of exploring alternate ways to make money through donation service websites such as Pateron or Go Fund Me. Let’s say at the end of an episode or season, you can click on the donation button and give whatever amount you feel that episode or series was worth. If you feel a series was excellent, then you can drop $80-$100 on it. If the series was horrible, then you give it little-to-no money. This allows fans and the studios to cut out the middle man and have a direct connection with one another payment wise. Most anime fans stream anime nowdays and Blu-Rays and DVDs are pricy (although not as pricy as they were ten years ago), and enjoy the convenience of watching a show on-demand, so this could work out in the future.
Studio TRIGGER is rumored to have experiment with the idea of using Pateron to crowd fund future projects, but efforts have been slow to pick up due to Japan’s conservative, old-school ways of performing business. Animator Jun Sugawara has opened an animator dormitory in Japan funded by Generosity. This dormitory is open for animators across Japan who don’t want deal with the bullshit of the current industry standard, as well as work in a fair, almost stress-free environment I think these are great ideas and I hope it catches on within the industry.
I would rather pay the creative staff behind my favorite shows my money to support them, rather to give them to Crunchy Roll. As much as I respect Crunchy Roll and support them, the money I give to them supports shows and studios I don’t like – not just the ones I enjoy.
This means that shows I hate such as In Another World With My Smartphone and Sword Art Online are being funded. I don’t want those horrible shows being supported off my hard earn money. A1 Studios is also getting a cut of my money. I can’t support that company after the fact their strict, brutal practices caused an animator to commit suicide in 2014 due to being overworked. I can not support that company ethically. I don’t feel right about that.
Let’s hope that more teams and studios get on board with this new donation and crowd funding model. Japan really needs to adapt to the new era and stop being stuck in traditional about their old-school way of handling business within the anime industry.
It’s clearly taking a toll.
While I am not bothered by piracy, I do understand why people are against it. Pirating shows take away extra profits off Blu-ray and DVDs sales. Mother’s Basement’s video How Much Money do the Biggest Anime Pirates Make states that the pirates of KissAnime earn an estimated $18,000,000 USD a year from ad revenue – much more money than the animators in the industry. KissAnime also has a history of stealing subs from official streaming services and fansub groups and reuploading the files to their website.
According to GoBoiano’s article How Much Money You Cost the Anime Industry When You Illegally Stream illegal streaming services and torrents has cost the anime industry an estimated $33,009,636 to $132,038,554 in 2016. In 2015, animation studio Manglobe (famous for Gangsta and Samurai Champloo) filed for bankruptcy due to an estimated debt of $4.43 million USD. Fans have theorized that the lost profits from piracy resulted in the company’s demise, but this is just a theory without any solid proof backing these claims.
In July 2014, the Japanese government founded the “Manga-Anime Guardians Project” to combat against online piracy of anime and manga, monitoring illegal websites for uploads, and as well as help fans find legal alternates to stream and watch anime.
With pirates making multi-million dollar profits from stealing official subs, the industry losing millions from it, the Japanese government having to step in and protect the work of artists, and a company bankrupted due to possible piracy, I can see why opponents of piracy want to end it. Animators are losing jobs and money from illegal activities. You can easily assume the reason why animators are underpaid is because of piracy and the companies have to operate at a loss. A loss of money means less pay and fewer jobs on the market.
To conclude, I do not see the big issue about pirating, but I still want to support the industry. With companies making money through other sources of capital such as promotion, legal streaming, and maketing, I don’t feel that pirating doesn’t hurt the industry at all. Even if stream anime legally, the major players of a company will take the majority of the profits, leaving the creative forces with less than livable wages. The industry and businesses need a new model to operate on. People aren’t buying blurays or DVDs anymore. Fans would rather stream their shows.
The idea of studios and animators using crowd funding for anime is a fantastic idea which we as a community need to get behind. Animators deserve a living wage for the hard work they put into their craft. While this won’t completely stop piracy overall, it does give fans a chance to support their favorite companies without a middle man.
I am just one person who believes piracy isn’t harmful but there are many who believe it is and they have good reasons to think as such. Illegal streaming services cost the industry millions is lost capital. That’s not right. The animators earned that money – not the pirates.
And finally, if you believe that these legal streaming services are giving you a worse product and service, stop using them! Don’t give them your money because it’s the moral and right thing to do. You know what’s not moral and right? Ripping off people with a shit product.
You know what’s awesome? Having a Hilton Hhonors membership. A Gold tier membership at that. I don’t have to pay for breakfast as a perk. And goddammit, I need the early morning fuel. Can’t make fun of weeaboos on an empty stomach ya know. I mean, I could, but I’d pass out. I’d wind up in the hospital or something . That’ll be an unfavorable position; giving the weeaboos and the ACEN community the power to make fun of my dumbass mistake.
Can’t have that. No I cannot.
I’ll spare you useless details about my breakfast and jump to me meeting up with my boy “Alan” at the Hyatt.
Alan is one of my closest and bestest friend in the whole wide big ass fucked up world we call planet Earth. We’ve been buddies since high school (or about 13 years). Honestly, he’s somebody I can call a brother. Not a lover (I doubt his girlfriend would like that) but a brother. Check out his blog and give him a follow.
Alright, fuck this sappy heartwarming bullshit.
Alan needed to use my room to prep for his cosplay. There was time left before I had to check out from my Hilton room. However, he wanted to get stoned first before working on it. I like his idea. Smoke some trees and get right before we start the day. Funny enough, my new homeboy “Bill” wanted to smoke as well! Kill five birds with one stone. I, and I alone, can perform such a feat because I am Benjamin Snow the Greatest.
(I’m so full of it it’s not even funny)
As we waited for Bill’s arrival, an Incident Response Team (ACEN’s volunteer security team, or IRT) member approached me. Goddammit. It’s only a quarter to nine, and already, I’m in trouble. And fuck, I must be in deep trouble. Like I’ve done something illegal (not yet) trouble.
“Are you Benjamin Snow? I’m here to beat your ass for runnin’ your mouth online.”
I never imagined that somebody forreal would take my offer to confront and fight me in real life. Honestly, I was shock. I didn’t know how to respond. As my mind process what I should do, he followed up with
“Nah, I’m just playing. I’m Orion’s Belt, a Facebook friend of yours.”
Whew! Okay, I don’t have to assault an IRT member today. Not that I would actually do it any other time. Perhaps I will in a few years down the road when I have mental breakdown phase due to my B-list celebrity status.
We spoke briefly about my online persona, refering to me as the (in)famous Benjamin Snow to his teammate. (I kinda sorta hate it when people say I’m famous in the convention scene because I’m really not). He praised my legendary trolling skills are (they’re nowhere near legendary).
Look, I get that that you, the fans, admire me and everything, but please; stop calling me famous and legendary.
After exchanging farewells with Orion, Alan brought up that I have at least one IRT member in my network. That’s something huh? Being somewhat known in the community, I have a personal IRT acknowledgement. May it be one guy, but still my network is slowly becoming diversify.
Still waiting for Bill and wanting to pass time, Alan and I decided to create a cosplaying drinking for the convention. I think it’s a very easy game, take a shot for X cosplay Y series you spot at the convention.
The rules were as followed (taken from my original Facebook post):
‘ACEN COSPLAY DRINKING GAME. Take a shot for:
*Sailor Moon. Triple for Galaxia or Saturn or any evil Scouts. Take a Molly for a Molly (Naru) cosplayer. *Dragon Ball. Triple for Merged Zamasu or outside of Z/GT *Virgin Killer. Wendy’s. 4x if they work at that place. *Dragon Maid. Triple for male characters. Attack on Titan. Triple for Titans. *Touhou. Triple for actual female cosplayers *My Hero Acamedia *Overwatch *Final Fantasy 15 *Star Wars. *Street Fighter *Undertale *Pokemon *Rick and Morty. Nigga you may as well cosplay as Rick. *Soul Eater *Fate/Zero 5x for Saber cuz she’s the worse girl unlike Rin *Disney’
I, Benjamin Andrew Snow, do not claim responsibility for any idiots who may had die from this during ACEN. I’m just simply cleaning out the gene pool. Following the creation of the game, Bill finally arrived! About time nigga! To the smokers’ circle we go!
Anime Cental’s infamous smokers’ circle. A grey and stone grey circular structure, divided into 4-6 separate “pocket” spaces . It winds itself around Hyatt tower, supported by featureless pillars. Early morning, it’s pretty mellow. People tend to just chill, smoke, and drink coffee while reading the news, may it be old media (newspapers) or new (cellphones).
Nothing exciting happens around this time. I like it like that. I like the peaceful mellowness of a morning smoke.
We encountered Alan’s friends in the circle, inside one of the smaller pockets, cut into the support pillar. They were pregaming since Wednesday night, and claim they had broke into the convention center late that night. Jesus, maybe I should do that next year. Day -1 drinking and partying. However, breaking into the convention center for fun and exploration? Nah. They’ll shoot my black ass.
Real shit tho, Day -1 sounds like a great idea for exploring Downtown Chicago.
Once Alan and I got our minds right off the demon grass and devil’s wax, we marched back inside to the Hyatt, meeting up with two of our other friends. These friends, I’ve known very well through a secret Facebook group chat.
Our friends “Miku” and “Scotch”.
Miku is rather well known throughout the ACEN community due to her shitposting efforts (her level of shitposting isn’t as superior as mine) and unfortunately, drawing in the (creepy) thirsty fucks towards her. Thirsty fucks, she often has to reject on the daily. People lack personal boundaries. She’s an all-around cool girl.
Scotch, as his name implies, is a huge fan of scotch liquor, and has an expansive knowledge of top shelf liquors (thanks to getting me hip on that $40 whiskey fam). He does a commission work for cosplays. He’s pretty short, and looks about 20 despite being 30. That’s dem Asian genes for ya.
Since Alan and I had most of our crew together, we decided to check into our respected Hyatt rooms. However, our rooms weren’t ready yet. More sitting and looking awkward stupid! Go us!
Speaking of looking stupid, get this; I’m looking around my surroundings when I spot this dude with a red hat, white lettings, and a certain front and format. You get where I’m going with this right? No? Its okay readers, I didn’t expect you to get it.
I’m straight giving this white boy this vicious look. Like, I can’t fuckin’ believe this alt-right edgelords are forreal wearing these hates at the cons. Great. Trump supporters at muh SJW left wing ACEN. As I’m giving the guy my infamous death stare of doom, Alan was like “Dude chill, it says ‘Make Konami Great Again!’.
I want a hat like that now. I mean, Konami will never be great again, but I want it! Granted, I would probably receive some strange looks, and black people coming up to me and asking me if I’m on some coon shit. Ah well. Thanks Trump. Thanks Obama. Seriously thanks a lot guys.
Since neither Alan nor my rooms were ready, Scotch requested if Miku and I could help in carry some drinks form his car into his room in exchange for beers and shots. I’m down for free alcohol! Plus I was getting bored.
Look, if you want me to help you out, you gotta give me great shit. Alcohol. Weed. Food. Money. Sexual favors (18+ only). Or all five! I do not care! Just pay me in alcohol and I’ll help ya out things for ya.
Well, off we go! A black man, an Asian man, and a white chick together in harmony. Racial unity at ACEN (sans my racist comments and jokes)!
A wistful tone sat in as we walked thorugh the skybridge (it connets to multiple hotels and the convention center itself). Years ago, the skybridge was decorated with creepy, disturbing surrealism paintings. The hallway hosted eerie paintings; humans starring you down and unsettling landscapes. You felt at unease walking through the humid corridors, questioning if the painitngs are watching you. It wasn’t a great place to walk about intoxicated.
Today, the Hyatt’s skybridge is bland, just like your sex life.
As we trek through skybridge, we caught a glance of the enewly located, enormous, and dully illuminated game room. We didn’t see much of it, since Miku didn’t have her badge yet.
“I do not have my badge. I wish I could get inside, but I can only look.” Miku lamented.
“I wonder how many guys have said the same line about you.” Scotch replied in jest.
We all laughed at his diss towards Miku’s creepy fanboys. Poor Miku though. Can’t imagine how she has to deal with the creepy dudes on the ACEN groups. Seriously, ya niggas need to learn personal boundaries.
(By the way I’m totally stealing Scotch’s joke. I’m getting rich off that one when I start my comedy tour in 2020.)
Eventually, we reached Scotch’s car, which surprising wasn’t a rice burner as I was expecting it to be(goddamit Ben). We grabbed the goods (cases of Monster, Root Beer, and Pepsi), and headed to his room. Miku was struggling to carry the cases, due to her props and cosplay. Some nice young, dude came along to help her out. An extra party member to help us! What a nice fellow! He did depart after we got to his room. Kinda like in Final Fantasy 2 where the fourth party member is just a temp.
(In her words : “He probably saw a cute girl struggling, and wanted to help her out, in hopes he’ll hook up.” Something like that I don’t fucking remember.)
For my peerless efforts of the Great Soda Case March of 2017, Scotch rewards me with beers and a Bloody Mary! Thank you, Scotch! I needed the 1:00PM pregame, and an excuse to support my undying alcoholism. Alright! Got my mind right for the day. Alan hits up my line, telling me that his room is ready. I end my mission with one last beer (for the time being), and proceed towards Alan’s room for a nice, warm shower. Besides, I’d be a giant hypocrite for mocking unwashed weebs, yet I am unwashed myself.
As I head back to the Hyatt lobby , my eyes caught an offensive sight. Such a sight that will even enraged even more the most chill person.
“Ya crackas are really this bold this year, huh? Blackface? Really whiteboy?!” I’m infuriated. It’s 2017, and we still have people think it’s okay to wear blackface.
“This white boy is out in public, forreal in blackface. This cracker’s really fuckin’ using blackface for his cosp- wait it’s actually a black guy with an obvious skin condition. My lord I’m a piece of shit I need to stop doing this!”
Whew boy. Ben, what is wrong with you today? You know what, just go take your shower, because you need to wash away some shame, boy. Just go!
Alright! I’ve arrived at Alan and his fiancé “Emerald” room at last! Finally, I can take a shower, and after that, belittle all the other weeaboos who refuse to! They can’t say shit, because they smell like shit, and I won’t. Besides, I gotta smell good for all the fine ass kohai who want Benpai to notices them. I can’t disappoint them at all. Okay, maybe in bed, but that’s another story.
I gather my body wash and soap, hop in the shower, and got the Drake and Big Sean bumpin’ off the Bluetooth speaker. Drake and Big Sean are my biggest motivators for the convention (besides making money), especially with their song “Blessings.” I’m at ACEN for a goodtime and not a longtime. Get my networks right, make money off bartending the homeboy’s engagement party, have a cute, shy, quiet kohai get super happy I noticed her.
Hopefully one that’s cosplaying as one of my waifus (Rin from fate/zero, Misato from Evangelion, Sailor Saturn from Sailor Moon, or Sabrina from Pokemon to name a many, many few) take her back to my room, and fuck brains out from behind while she is in said waifu cosplay, moaning out my name in a hentai-like voice.
…A nigga can dream. Sigh. My luck with women is low despite my confidence (I’m so oblivious to flirting my lord.)
‘K. Out of the shower Benji. I get that you wanna be fresh and all, but that Irish Spring soap and bodywash gotta last you the entire weekend. But hey! Do you smell fresh as fuck, Ben! I’m feeling good. Finally, I can make fun of smelly weebs, and not be a hypocrite. To the con floor!
Or not. My phone start’s buzzing, the T-Moblie jingle plays off the speaker, and I pick up the phone.
“Eto…Moshi moshi. Benyamin Yuki des.” I answered in my most faux Japanese accent.
“What?” The hotel clerk responded. “Mr. Snow, you’re room is now ready! Please come by to pick up your room keys!”
“Please stop sir. You’re not Japanese.” The clerk hung up.
Damn. I was hoping to impress her with my fake Japanese accent, and butchering of the language. She sounded cute. That what I get for trying to flirt with everyone, including hotel clerks. Well, my room’s ready. Adrian and I need to drop our shit off, so off I go.
I enter the check-in line. Thankfully, it’s short. Good. The quicker I go through the line, and get into my room, the quicker I can make fun of nerds, to build my massive ego and arrogance up. Alright, finally it’s my turn! . I step up to the clerk, a cute woman with a purple wig. Awesome! Purple’s my favorite color! And hell, she sounded just like the woman whom I was failing to impress over the phone. Maybe if she notice how handsome and fresh I am, she’ll be sworn by my fake Japanese.
“Hi! I’m here to pick up my keys to my room!” I don’t know how to say that in Japanese, so I went for the English route instead.
“Here’s your keys Mr. Snow! You’re in the Executive Wing rom 2432! Enjoy the con!”
She hands the key over to me and send me on my way.
Wait, did I hear her right? Executive Wing!? As in, the exclusive large rooms only reversed for the most balling of niggas? And I only paid low tier room pricing for it? Fuck yea, this is gonna be a great ACEN! Let’s make it greater by flexing on niggas on Facebook (even though I didn’t pay full price for the room, and I had to stack, invest, and save money for the convention with extreme discipline)
Hooray for lying like I got it!
I’ve arrive at my room. It’s slightly larger than the normal rooms. The room featured two queen size beds, a nice marble table, an Eazy-Boy type chair, and shelves. Hey, at least the area is quiet; it’s not too far off from Alan’s room. Plus, I don’t have to deal with the infamous congested elevators of the main wing. I take this unexpected upgrade and it’s benefits!
My phone goes off again. It’s Adrian. He informs me that Alan, Emerald, and he were off to some store I don’t care about, and that it’ll take them a while to get back. Oh. I was hoping they’ll come with me to the liquor store. Guess I go myself. Back to theworld of weebs and normies.
I leave the building, ready to walk for twenty-four minutes for booze. Hold up! That black Nissan mini SUV parked out front with the Punisher logo on the back. Don’t tell me that’s…nah. That can’t be my boy “Punisher” (I’m running out of fake names to protect my friends). Holy fuck, I can’t be that lucky!
“Hey Ben what’s up man!” Yes! It’s my boy Punisher indeed! Cool country white guy from my home area. Man, I really am lucking out this year. If I can just throw him some gas money, I can totally not have to walk in the rain like a sad, lonely alcoholic nerd, and have him take me to the liquor store!
“Hey bro, could you take me to the liquor store? I’ll throw in some gas money or something!”
“Sure man, I didn’t want you to walk in this rain in the first place!”
Thank god for great friends.
Back to Rosemont Liqour. Now, common sense would had your boy to get all, it not, most of my alcohol when Joe had took me up there the day before, but I was waiting for extra money that I was owed to me from various people. Plus, I didn’t wanna spend any cash I had in my bank from the other day (just in case ya know).
Time to go shopping!
I have a main quest, and two side quests. The main quest requires me finding the indigents for an fishbowl-type drink Alan and Emerald requested me to make: Mermaid Water, a cocktail created by popular YouTube bartender “Tipsy Bartender”.
Here’s the details of the drink from his website:
‘The Mermaid Water Cocktail is the type of drink that will have you asking if you ever feel like a pirate. If you want to feel the gentle breeze of the ocean punch you in the mouth, then this is a drink for you. It is basically a bunch of delicious alcohol mixed with delicious juice. The exact sort of thing that pirates need when crossing vast seas of water in search of various forms of plunder.
Main quest easily completed, sans Punisher and I having difficulties finding Blue Curacao (which was in front of us, just on a lower shelf). Alright! Now onward to my first side question: the indigents to my new cocktail creation: Sailor Saturn.
Prior to ACEN, I planned to create a cocktail based off the Sailor Scouts from the anime and manga series “Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon”. I already made one based off my second favorite scout; Sailor Mercury (UV Blue Vodka, Blueberry liqueur, Sprite. Might throw in Blue Cuacao next time I make it. BTW OC dough nut steel), so I figure why not make one based off my first fictional crush favorite Sailor Scout of all time?
With the Sailor Saturn cocktail, I was thinking of going with aesthetic look; I needed either a purple colored liquor or liqueur to match her visual design. Next, I wanted to play off her powers of death and destruction, so I need liquors that represented destruction perfectly: 100 Proof Vodka and Hennessy.
(I was originally going to go with Everclear, but I also didn’t want niggas to think they’re a Solider of Destruction. I get that Hennything is possible but I didn’t want people dying off my shit. Ya can’t rebirth like Saturn)
Unfortunately (or fortunately), the store didn’t have 100 Proof vodka on stocked. Goddammit. But they had Hennessy! Go me…or I would say that, if I didn’t saw Martell Cognac for under $27 (special deal), as opposed to the $40 of Henny. Hennything is possible, including a discount on a competitor’s product! GO ME INDEED! I love saving me money and acting like a cheap ass! Plus, I never tried Martell before.
You gotta try new things. It’ll get you far. Trust me.
Next, was finding a purple colored liqueur. I wanted Hpnotiq Harmoic, which is an uncommonly known version of the original Hpnotiq. If you never had Harmoic, it’s congac, vodka, mixed berries, and I think lavender extracts. The lavender (and possibly mixed berries) provides Harmoic it’s purple color, which would had been perfect for the Sailor Saturn cocktail. Sadly, they also did not carry that version. Fuck. Looks like Saturn won’t be destroying anyone soo- hey what’s that beautiful purple glowing bottle with the white swirls liquor over there in the vodka aisle?
“Viniq? Oh wow, you’re so pretty.”
Yeah no, I’m using this for the cocktail. If you do not know what Viniq is like, here are some details from the official website (please sponsor me Viniq I’ll be your spokesman for the alcoholic weeaboos niche): ‘Sweet refreshing, and glamorous, VINIQ’s purple shimmer cathes your eye before you hit your glass. Bursting with peach, berry, and citrus flavors, it’s the perfect complement to any occasion’
(Viniq has mosacto wine infused with it, but the website forgot to mention that. Thought I throw that lil tidbit in there)
Cool. I’ll take it. Throw it in the basket with the rest of my booze and onwards to the second and final side mission: Dirty Princess Peach, a drink I created at ACEN 2015.
Dirty Princess Peach, (as the name suggest), is named after Nintendo legendary princess, Peach. Ya know, the woman who has a thing for giant Koopa cocks, had both kidnapping and imprisonment fetishes, and enjoys wearing, and showing off her lacy thongs while playing Tennis. There’s a reason why I’m calling her dirty.
I’m just going to post a link to the cocktail repiece below because I’m wasting time and I wanna get to the next scene asap.
Alright, got everything I need for the weekend. To the checkout line! Let me tell ya something; If you have a cart full of booze at the liquor store, you’re gonna get some looks and question. No lie: I love this part.
“Are you guys planning for a wedding party?” One guy asked in the check out line.
“Nah. Planning a party at a comic book convention.” I replied.
”Wait what? Comic book convention? Ya drink and party at those things?” The dude was bewildered. I blew his mind, man! I love it when people are surprise that us nerds party and drink heavy. I can’t lie; When I first got into the cosplay and convention scene, I was shocked that nerds drink, smoke, and party. The revelation changed my entire point on view on the nerd community.
I legit enjoy explaining to non-nerds how there are after parties, and many crazy shit that goes down during the conventions. Things that people would not associate nerds with. It legit get people interested in what we do.
Hey, if I can change one person’s bias about our community, then I guess I’ve done some good.
After paying for our stuff, Punisher and I headed back to the Hyatt. He had to go do something, so I was left alone with a heavy box of mixers and booze. Fun. I get to carry around a box of booze throughout the convention hotel with thousands of eyes on me like I’m 2pac. All eyes on me. Me and my box-‘o-debauchery!
Yes, I want all your attention! Watch me be Mr. Stongman carrying this heavy box with no effo- okay ouch there goes my back. And my legs are cramping up. Fuck I’m old. Oh great! Service carts! This will be easy! Just place this heavy ass box down and…
“Sir. We are a full service hotel. We have to carry your things for you.” An older black gentleman looks over at me as I attempted to lay my booze box on the cart.
‘Fuck.’ I thought to myself. I don’t have cash to tip him, but this is super heavy. Oh well.
“I can help you carry your alcohol up to your room if need be.”
“Sure.” Sigh. He’s gonna expect a tip, ain’t he? Don’t get me wrong, I tip service workers. Just that I don’t have cash, and I’d feel like a piece of shit if I didn’t tip him. I let him carry the cart through the hotel to a secret exclusive elevator for ballin’ niggas like myself (stay jealous). We hit the elevator from the bottom floor to the main lobby.
“So, how much this all run ya?” ‘Make up a complete lie Ben.’
‘Benjamin, you’re fucking stupid. He’s gonna press you for a tip you know how this game works.’
“I see you got Martell . That must have run ya .” Yep. Here’s the begging ass nigga asking for a tip in a few. Sigh. Broke niggas I swear.
“Yep.” I just replied back. Here we go.
We reached the main lobby. He took me over to another attendant. Before he took me over to him, he finally pop the question. I’m the luckiest man in the world!
“So, you gonna tip me?” He begged.
‘Nigga. What kinda bullshit is this? If I was a white boy you wouldn’t be on this crabs-in-a-bucket shit.’
“Yea…where’s the ATM?” He just points behind me towards the ATM. I follow his finger to the ATM, and withdrew a $20. 10 for him and his coworker, an older white gentleman.
“Ya got change?” I asked. The white attendant had change alright. And by change I mean some bands. Like 1s, 20s, a few 50s. I take it he gets all the tips. I doubt he’s on some begging shit. He gives me two 10s, allowing me to tip them both the 10. The second attendant helps me to my room with the booze.
“Which room are you in?” He asked
“2432”. I replied back.
“Ahh, you must have a party room huh? No wonder you have so much alcohol.
“Heh heh yeah! I’m just having a smallish party with some friends, nothing major.” I replied with a sly smile. Boy, I’m helping my friends host a rager old man!
Back on the trek to my room! We head to another secret side elevator, pasting the mess of the overflowing elevators. An older white IRT lady caught a quick glance of my box-o’-debauchery, and gave me the most “I fucking parties like you” look I’ve ever received from a con staff. I dunno if it just she was jealous she had to work all weekend, or she thinks I’m gonna get caught slippin’ with my party, but holy that bitter white woman death glare man!
Bitch you’re getting mad! I’m having fun!
Finally, after that bullshit, we arrive at my room! I thank the guy and we went our separate ways. I pull out the Viniq first. I want to taste this alluring, enticing, sparkling violet liquid. I take a small shot. My lord, the taste of Viniq is astonishing. Delicate and sweet like Hotaru Tomoe. And yet, destructive and dangerous like Sailor Saturn.
…My weeaboo ass just fucking compared alcohol to a fucking Japanese anime character. Whew lord I need Jesus. Or another shot of this Viniq, this is good as fuck. Wait hold up, it’s almost 6:00PM. As much as I wanna get a little tipsy, I gotta meet up with some very old friends from my first Anime Central. My day ones from my first cosplay group: The Umineko and Higurashi cosplay group.
I’m gonna save that for the next post. Eleven pages and nearly 4700 plus words is more than enough for night. Day 1 will be split into two parts (with this being part one of course). Stay tune in the future in which I take a short delicious food detour before meeting up with the Higurashi and Umineko cosplay group! Following that, I will introduce ya to one of my favorite Chicago citizen and I’ll treat ya to my wild partying lifestyle! Oh and the part on how hard I really had to chill out before killing somebody who I thought was my friend.
All that, plus not that much more, next time! I’ll post a link the Part 2 once I am finish with it! Be good ya’ll!
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.
I never got the “There Episodes Rule” of the anime community. The “logic” behind this rule is that you should give a series three episodes to see if it gets good, or worthy enough to continue.
I personally believe that a show should be good and make a great impression on the first episode. The first episode should at least have a few things in it that should match your taste so you don’t have to wait for a show to get good.
If I don’t think a show is good on the first episode, I ain’t gonna waste my time on the series. I have way too many shows on my backlog to get through to worry about shows I’m gonna dropped of the first episode.
Pic related: Attack on Titan, a show I wasted nine episodes on waiting for it to get good lol.
“Holy shit! This is gonna be good! My lord, this is gonna start some shit within the community! Can’t wait to get home to watch this shit!”
‘Just shitalkin other anime youtubers for like half an hour, oh god what have I done’.
As soon as I saw the title of the ever controversial Digibro’s video, I knew I had to hurry up with my work, get home, and watch it. I could had play the video on my phone while at work, but something of this caliber needed to be experienced a larger screen to be great detail.
Plus I can’t drink at the job so there’s that.
“Oh fuck, who pissed off this nigga this time? Who is he gonna go in on this time?”
Digibro’s rant videos are like special events for me. There just this feeling that know there’s gonna be some backlash and butthurt off of his drunkenly brutal honestly. It’s a fun time for the anime community.
Right off the bat he’s going off on niggas with bravdo. My dude is straight up telling these cats that they suck and their videos are garbage. He ain’t being subtle with disdain either. He’s name droppin’ like crazy; Mother’s Basement. AnimeEverday RCAnime. The Canibal Effect. My dude Digi out here callin’ folks out on their “flaws”,
negative” points of their content, and overall “lack” of quailty This dude doesn’t’ care and I love it.
He’s like the weeaboo Tupac.
(It is dishearting to hear him talk shit about anime youtubers I do enjoy. I can’t even lie because the people he name dropped do have great content. )
“Oh shit! Oh shit! Oh shit! Is he trying to start beef with these guys? Does he want the rest of the community to hate him? I mean, he already got haters so why not more? More haters and drama make the world go round! Haters are motivation!”
As I predicted, the community was shaken up by this. For the past 72 hours since his rant, people on both sides have given their views and expressed their feelings. Some are understanding upset by his words while others are supportive of his rally call to improve the community. I’m in the middle but I’m learning towards supporting him.
Personally, I don’t think he should have called niggas out and their works like how he did. But sometimes, you just have to be that guy. The bad guy; like Scarface. I mean forreal the liquor was flowin’ in him and certain substance make you tell the truth without a filter.
I do feel Digibro on his stance on the community. Some people aren’t reaching out to one another and helping folks come up and improve. People are putting out the same old bullshit and there ain’t much diversity. It sucks.
Maybe I’m somebody who is way too optimistic for my own good but I love it when people help each other. We need more diverse content from all range. I want to see this community improve and grow. I may not be as harsh and brutal about it as Digibro was in his video, but I’ll be direct and blunt.
If I see a flaw in one’s works, I’m going to try to help that person out because I like seeing people improve. I feel that people should strive to do better in their craft. I don’t mind it myself when others tell me the areas I need that I need to improve on. I welcome it.
Also, tell me that I suck and that I’ll never get better. Not because you wanna feel better about your miserable life but because I’ll prove you wrong one day, work my ass off fixing my flaws, and come up. Thus so when I come up and fix my weaknesses I can make you angry that I stop sucking. ❤
But that’s just my good ol’ pride talking shit!
What I’m trying to gain from Digibro’s controversial video is the sense of the community helping one another. We all in this together ya know? We all want to be successful and we want others as well. I mean fuck, my homeboys and I are almost always on each other asses on our goals and passion, checkin’ one another and telling each other if they’re doing something wrong, how to correct it.
But that’s just me.
‘The question everybody wants to know is why they got this nigga started?’