WHAT IS COSPLAY? Cosplay, using the combination of the words “costume” and “play”, is the performance art in which people (or cosplayers) wear costumes and fashion items modeled after a specific character from movies, anime, manga, TV series, books, comics, Western animation, and etc.
The term “cosplay” was coined by movie producer Nobuyuki Takahashi after he attended the 1984 World Science Fiction Convention (or Worldcon) in Los Angeles.
The following is an excerpt from Brian Ashcraft’s and Luke’s Plunekett book’s Cosplay World on how Takashi came up with the word “cosplay”:
“In the 1970s, Japanese college students began dressing up as manga and anime characters. These young people had grown up on a steady diet of comics and cartoons, and when they attended manga and anime conventions (as well as school and university festivals), going in character was, as in the West, a way to express fandom.
Sci-fi conventions had existed in Japan since the 1960s, but in 1975 Comic Market (aka Comiket) launched, creating a venue for self-published comics. It was a fan convention and, in this environment, what would become cosplay in Japan started to flourish. There was already a Japanese term to express the concept of dressing up: kasou (仮想).
However, the word carried a nuance of disguise and didn’t quite capture the spirit of what cosplay had become. In the West the word ‘masquerade’ could be used to refer to costuming, but when Takahashi and some university friends tried to translate ‘masquerade’ into Japanese for a magazine article they were writing, it sounded ‘too noble and old fashioned’. According to Takahashi, ‘We needed to find another way to express the concept.’
Various terms were floating around. ‘We had heard the English word “costume” and seen events with names like “Costume Show”, “Kasou Show”, “Hero Play” and whanot,’ says Takahashi. In Japanese, English and other foreign words are often combined and/or shortened, for brevity’s sake. For example, the Japanese for ‘remote control’ – rimooto kontorooru – is shortened to rimokon. ‘So we started to think of different combinations,’ Takahashi says. ‘Finally, we came up with “cosplay”.’ The term was a portmanteau of ‘costume’ and ‘play’. It was perfect.”
WORD ORIGIN OF COSTUME:
Early 18th century: From French and Italian costume ‘custom, fashion, habit”. From Latin consuetudo, which means custom or useage
WORLD ORIGIN OF PLAY:
Old English pleg(i)an ‘to exercise’, plega ‘brisk movement’, related to Middle Dutch pleien ‘leap for joy, dance’.
HOW DID I DISCOVER COSPLAY?
G4 Tech TV’s G-Phoria 2003 award show:
One day in 2004, I came home from summer high school to discover that my dad brought new channels on the cable box – G4 being one of them. The first show on G4 was G-Phoria 2003 award show (in preparation for the 2004 live show). Never seen an award show for video games, so I sat down and watched. After a few gaming presentations, there was for Kingdom Hearts – featuring cosplayers doing a skit based on a scene from the game (One of them in black face. Dunno how they let that one slide on TV).
After that, they brought out around 15-20 cosplayers on the stage, each posing and showcasing their costumes and props. I never seen this kinda shit before. I never knew people made costumes based off fictional characters for fun. Went online and saw that people cosplay at conventions and how there were anime cons all over America were people do the shits. I was blow away to say the least. It made me wanted to go to conventions.
…and then I played a romhack of Final Fantasy 6 (FF3 in the USA) called “Awful Fantasy 3” where the romhackers made fun of cosplayers, the art of cosplay, and how cosplayers are highly immature and love causing drama at conventions.
Thanks Something Awful for that reality check. I never went to a convention since.
WHO COSPLAYS? People of all races, backgrounds, nationality, and ages cosplays. From Teenagers wearing their first store-brought cosplay online to 20 and 30 something professional cosplayers who craft their own cosplays from hands and brought shame and embarrassment to their family, to even old ladies in wheelchairs rockin’ schoolgirl uniforms, everyone cosplays. No matter how old or young, people cosplay. And they cosplay whoever they want to.
Now, you do have those in the cosplay community who think certain people shouldn’t cosplay (i.e.; racist white elitists cosplayers who think dark skin and Black people shouldn’t cosplay as Asian people even though these white boys and girls are cosplaying as Asian characters), but that’s a topic for another day where I make low-self-esteem having racist cosplayers by attacking their insecurities rooted from childhood until they commit suicide by blowing their brains out in their Sailor Moon or Goku cosplays.
WHERE CAN YOU COSPLAY? Well, you can cosplay anywhere, but keep in mind that cosplaying outside of convention events will mark you as a weird ass socially awkward idiot unaware of social cues. With that said, the world is your backdrop for your cosplays. Go dress as Marisa Kirisame from Touhou high off shrooms in the woods. On casual Fridays at the gig do homage to Urien’s pin stripped suit from Street Fighter V by matching his grey pin stripped suit, purple oxford shirt, cognac colored belt and shoes. Dress as Junko Kanno from ZombieLand Saga while completely coked out like any other 80s pop music star at your college’s music hall.
Cosplay anywhere you want.
For the rest us who have common sense and understand the rules/norms of society, save the cosplay for conventions or do them subtly in public or in the workforce. If you live in a society where public cosplay in frown upon or even forbidden outside of events (i.e. Japan), don’t wear your cosplay to the event. Pack it in a small carry-on bag and don’t put it on until you get to the event.
Sources on the Japan’s negative views on public cosplay:
How Do You Cosplay in Japan by the Cosplay.com Community?
WHERE AND HOW CAN YOU BUY AND GET COSPLAYS CREATED
There are options.
If you’re cosplaying as a character who wear everyday clothing (examples includes Shirou Emiya from the fate series with his grey and white baseball v-neck shirt and blue jeans or Reigen from Mob Pyscho 100 with his suit and tie) then it’s just as simple as going your local clothing store (such as Goodwill, JC Penny, Nordstorm, Jos. A Bank, Tom Ford, etc.) and buying the clothes there. You may have to do some alternations, but they’re minor.
For cosplaying characters with unique clothing that you can’t find in stores (certain school outfits, armor, body suits such as Solid Snake’s sneaking suit), then you going to get them custom made. Amazon and eBay have stores where vendors sell pre-made cosplays or you can go online for website that specialize in creating cosplays. Please keep in mind that online cosplay shops tend to be a little on the cheap and mass produced side of the game, so the quality may not be of that of a professional made cosplay.
If you do not want to go on the cheap side of the cosplay game and you want high quality, then you will have to pay a decent amount of cash to get your cosplay created. Don’t know anyone who creates cosplays? Then check your local convention city scene for cosplay creators (such as anime con Facebook groups).
And if you really want to do it yourself, you can learn how to.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF COSPLAYS
With so many people of different backgrounds, races, ethnic groups, and creativity it’s nearly impossible to list all the different type of cosplay within the realm of cosplay. With that said, here are the most common type of cosplays you will find at conventions.
The classic anime schoolgirl. Easily ID’d by her (or his) sera-fuku, pleated skirt, penny loafers, white blouse and ribbon. On the the preppy side of the school uniform game , the schoolgirl cosplayer wears a blazer, button-down shirt, v-neck sweater, tie, etc. Commonly seen at anime cons.
Armored cosplay. A cosplay that revolves around armored characters (fantasy characters, giant robots, mech suits, etcs.) Can be found at sci-fi, comic, and anime cons
Superhero cosplays. Leaping out the colorful pages of American comics into the real world, these cosplayers focus on the larger-than-life heroes from Marvel Comics, Darkhorse, DC, and more. Can be recognized by their long capes, one piece zentai suits, and hero emblem. Often seen at comic book conventions but have been making their way into anime cons.
Closet Cosplay. Cosplays that uses everyday clothing (as mentioned earlier) that can be found at stores or in your own closet. Very simple and easy to pull off – but, in order to stand out from other closet cosplayers – you need to put in the effort (mixing high and low cost items, using a high quality wig, etc.)
Genderswap cosplay. As the name states, it’s cosplays in which the cosplayer switches the canon gender of the character. Example: a grown ass man with a full beard gender swapping Shouko Komi (form Komi-San Can’t Commicate). Instead of wearing her red skirt, he swaps them out for red chino slacks. For the vice versa: a woman cosplaying as Goku (Dragon Ball series).
It’s crossdressing, but in cosplay.
WHY COSPLAY? Because you have no personality whatsoever and nobody loves you unless you put on an outfit based off a fictional character.
Plus, ever dressed up as Oishi from Higurashi no Naku Koro ni doing Hennessy shots with a dude cosplaying as Keiichi while his homegirl cosplaying as Rena Ryuguu gotten into a drunken fist fight with an Ai Enma cosplayer over some internet weeaboo con drama while a Terra Brandford is grinding her ass on a Celes Chere cosplayer at a hotel party on an average day?
Didn’t think so.
Until next time! -Yuki The Snowman
Note: I am about to burn some bridges with people in the St. Louis anime convention and cosplay scene with this post, ain’t I? Bet.
Second Note: This is a freewrite. There’s no order of my paragraphs in terms of flow.
“You should all pay attention to me! I want people to take pictures of my cosplay! I work hard on it!”
An annoying, feminine voice behind me rang out in the halls of Gateway Convention Center during the morning hours of Archon St. Louis The owner of the voice is a bit of a…what the word I can use that won’t (easily) offend people of the LBGT community? A fairy. A very narcissistic, attention whore, drama starting fairy. But I’m used to him and his attitude. This guy, whom I shall call “Narcian”, is a well-known, highly egotistical, arrogant, eccentric (shit-tier) cosplayer (in our area) who believes he has magical, spiritual powers (trust me; that’s just 1% percent of his issues).
(And I thought my ego and narcissism problems were terrible)
His parents never gave him any attention or love; so he grew up seeking and demanding attention from others. I spent a good year and a half avoiding this man thanks to traveling to other conventions outside my hometown; helping me forget that he existed. As he tried (and failed) to get people to notice his cosplay (even photo-bombing a Marvel Comics cosplay gathering), I realized something:
“Wow! I haven’t missed shit while I was away from this con scene!”
Between Anime St. Louis 2018 and Archon 2018, I skipped out on other St. Louis conventions to work on myself, traveling(to Los Angeles and Atlanta), and to have a little extra money in my pockets. When I came back to the St. Louis convention scene, I was reminded – thanks to Narcian – that I truly wasn’t missing out on anything that St. Louis had to offer for their nerd culture cons. It was a reminder on why I decided to say fuck this con scene and explore other scenes across America.
The weeaboos here who never left the St. Louis area (or at the very least, aren’t bettering themselves) were doing the same shit: Bitching about how much they hate their current low paying 9-to-5 jobs, being stuck in the rat race, looking forward to going to the bars and clubs and conventions on the weekends, causing/starting childish drama and beef with people, and refusing to level up.
They love to complain about how their lives aren’t going anywhere, but won’t put forth the effort to make a change.
And don’t try to convince them to leave St. Louis for a larger weeaboo festival with superior guest lists (featuring Japanese voice actors and creators) and more to do that they love to fantasize about attending. They’ll hit you with excuses such as “I don’t want to travel by myself”, “traveling cost too much money” (but wasting money at the club/bar isn’t for some odd reason), and – my personal favorite – “You’re just going to do the same shit out of town you do at home!”.
Please. I’m doing the same shit at conventions outside my hometown (like exploring and spending more time in Downtown L.A. as opposed to Anime Expo itself) and yet you guys are okay with repeating the same things in your lives.
To them, being in a state of everlasting comfortable mediocrity is an amazing and great thing. Why apply yourself with self-improvement when you can have the same things you’re used to every day. Every week. Every month. Every year. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it – hell, don’t even upgrade it because there’s no reason or logic behind it! That’s how St. Louis runs; may it be politics, entertainment, or weeaboo shit.
Let’s take Anime St. Louis for example.
Anime St. Louis has been around for thirteen years (if we’re counting Kunicon: their first convention). Naka-Kon, another Midwestern Convention held in Kansas City Missouri/Kansas area, started around the same time as Anime St. Louis Naka-Kon brought in guests straight from Japan (such as the J-Rock band ALSDEAD, Nobuo Uematsu, Junko Takeuchi a.k.a the voice of Hinata’s husband, and Takashi Kisaki.
Anime St. Louis? I mean, they gotten voice acting legends and icons such as Richard Epcar, Keith Silverstien, and Troy Baker. But you can see them at any convention across America. Naka-Kon. In bumfuck Kansas. Can land guests. Straight from Japan.
And yet Anime St. Louis can’t do the same?
My grips with the St. Louis con scene don’t end with the convention either. The community itself is filled with toxic, drama causing, pathetic otakus who have nothing going on with their lives outside of playing dress-up as their favorite anime Chinese Cartoon Characters. As a result, they attack Black cosplayers for cosplaying outside their race, playing favorites during cosplay contests (and by playing favorites, the cosplayers and judges are probably fucking and sucking/eating each other out the night before the cosplay contest), and even spread their drama to other Missouri conventions: harassing anyone who aren’t in their clique and make them feel unsafe.
Don’t get me wrong: There’s drama in every convention scene around the world. You do need to learn how to deal with it and not get involved (and never create it). But there’s a feeling of joy when you go to a new con scene outside the hometown one and have a fresh start. Nobody knows who you are – making you automatic neutral to any conflicts. You dealt with drama and know how to read people so you can sense any drama-makers in a new con scene. Sure, once you’re cliqued in with a group drama might arise, but you can leave said clique.
This isn’t to say that all St. Louis cosplayers and con-goers have this loser, drama mentality. One of the first people to leave this scene grew popular outside St. Louis with her cosplays despite her haters here. I saw her recently at Archon and she looked incredibly happy with her life after St. Louis. Another major cosplayer from the St. Louis area (who’s a master of using duct tape and 24 hour cosplays) left town and blew up. He networked with some major players of the YouTube scene and is doing great with his life.
Hell, recently an associate of mines made a status about how they were felt discouraged on cosplaying at Anime St. Louis because the judge allows past winners (a.k.a their friends) to use the same cosplays that won them cosplay contests years previously. This inspired the associate to leave the St. Louis area to explore other conventions with their cosplays. Others have agreed with them and want to explore other conventions with the associate. Folks are giving up on the St. Louis and starting to understand that there’s more to the cosplay world than this small ass shithole city’s scene.
And to be honest, I am happy for them. I am glad to see people bettering themselves.
To conclude this rant of a freewrite, the St. Louis convention scene sucks outside of Archon (thanks to their old-school style of not playing the bullshit game). If you’re a seasoned con-goer who travel across America (or the world) for conventions, don’t come to St. Louis (unless its’ for Archon or work).
There is no progress here and you’re better off skipping over STL. If you’re a rookie con-goer, I do recommend coming to Anime St. Louis to get your feet wet and dip off once you earn enough experience. To the con-goers who keep doing the same old bullshit: Stop it. You niggas are Level 5 Terra and Locke off Final Fantasy 6 playing around in Narshe while we got people about to raid Kefka’s Tower at levels 60-100.
I’m about to get blacklisted from Anime St. Louis because of this I bet.
Oh well, I’ll show up to the con without a badge drunk as fuck next year and throw a giant room party (doubling as my Birthday party) as a final farewell to the St. Louis anime con scene on May 4th, 2019.
An Slow Idiot and Why Should Have Been Hard on Myself
Planning for Anime Weekend Atlanta went smoothly; despite it being a last minute con for me. As smoothly as somebody falling down a rugged mountain with jagged rocks and tearing their flesh apart. Originally, I wasn’t even planning on going to AWA. I was focused on putting my resources towards attending Anime Expo (which was a highly successful trip for me), and then Michigan for my friend’s wedding (which was canceled due to his girlfriend’s father having to do military-duty shit). With my friend’s wedding being canceled, I took any funds that I saved up for the wedding trip towards AWA. And weed. And liquor. And clothes.
So I’m kinda bad on saving and spending my money on stupid shit.
In any case, I had to remind myself that I had to be strict with my money management skills as I was the only one on my team who was going to AWA – initially. For once, I was going to a con solo without any outside help (I had gone to Collosalcon 2015 by myself but I roomed with strangers, so that doesn’t count). I had the funds saved to book myself a flight, buy a badge, and provide other needs for myself. My sights were focused on being an independent weeaboo who didn’t need anyone to help him on his weeaboo festival trips. It was going to be uncomfortable but in order to grow and improve you need that uncomforted.
Then – against all my best judgment and my gut feeling – I got back into my comfort zone.
My friend, “Sub-Zero” (A Sub-Zero cosplayer) hit me up and asked if I had a room for AWA. I was going to shoot him down, but I figured having extra funds with two people splitting the room would help me. Plus, extra funds meant I could stay in Atlanta for one more day and explore the Downtown area. I let him join me. Plus, he too wanted to stay in ATL a day extra so it worked out (or it would…).
A few days later, my friend “Noctis” (A Notctis cosplayer) hit me up asking if I had room for him. I wanted to say no, but he was having a bad time mentality and wanted to go to the con. Plus, he wanted to help me build our brand and get us noticed in the Southeast. So, of course, I had to let my boy join in on the fun. He has skills that I lacked in terms of brand building and a natural leader of sorts. Plus, more money in my pocket for that Sunday ATL adventure.
An adventure that never came to be among other things thanks to a bummy ass nigga.
A week later, my “friend” “Bummy Ass Nigga Who Thinks He’s The MC of a Harem Anime” asked if we had room in our hotel. I immediately lied and said “no”; being all-so-aware of the drama he caused my crew at AWA 2017 (I was chilling with another friend for the weekend, so I avoided 99.9% of their drama). Sadly, the bum ass nigga revealed that Nactus had told him Sub-Zero and I was seeking people to help room with us. The lie didn’t work. Fuck. I (reluctantly) let him join us – causing things to go downhill quick in planning.
Here’s where I should have been hard on myself.
Despite if “Bummy Ass Nigga Who Thinks He’s The MC of a Harem Anime” would have gotten in his feelings (as he often does when things don’t go his way), I should have fuckin’ lied to him and told him we weren’t looking for anyone. I would rather look like a liar in his eyes and never speak to him again based on that lie than to deal with con drama (that drained everyone mentality). We had more than enough funds set aside to cover the hotel. My greed, and being a cheap ass, got the better of me. What’s worse is that a day before he asked to room with us, my co-worker got fired; therefore, I picked up all his hours (which gave me more than enough extra funds for the trip). But nah. I wanted to be a “good friend” – against all judgment and logic.
The first of our problems came about when “Bummy Ass Nigga Who Thinks He’s The MC of a Harem Anime”, Noctus, and I had all meet up for them to pay me their share of the room. “Bummy Ass Nigga Who Thinks He’s The MC of a Harem Anime” suggested earlier that we should rent a car to drive down to ATL because his car couldn’t make the trip (and he was fearful that his car would get damaged by a deer like last year during their trip). Despite my gut. telling me to say no and book a flight instead, I went ahead and agreed with the rental idea. He needed about $70 from each person for the car. I told him that it would make logical sense for him to keep $70 of the money he owed me for his share of the hotel. He protested against the idea; telling me to keep his part of the money.
Should have pressed the issue.
Fuck me and my stupidity.
The next day, he went to the car rental place (he claimed). Apparently, he needed a $200 deposit to rent the car…despite him showing us a screenshot online of the rental details (unless he purposely hid that info in the screenshot which I heavily suspect). Fucking idiot. He suggested that we should meet up at our friend’s house again to resolve the issue. An issue he should had researched weeks beforehand by asking me for the money he told me to keep. Even though I told him multiple times that it would have been beneficially for the crew if he would have kept it from the get-go. I’m pissed. I just did a 10-hour shift at the gig running on only 5 hours of sleep. I just wanted to go home, smoke weed, and sleep. But those things never happened. Like an actual harem MC (Makoto from School Days) he truly lacked common sense and reasoning.
We had to suffer for it.
The day before the con brought a surprise that everyone was expecting: He didn’t get the rental. He gave us this long-winded, sob story how he was a shitty friend and that he was going to make it all up for us and get things right. He was on that abuser type shit trying to make amends for his shitty behavior to his battered victims (who he would blame/gaslight us for their abuse). Oh. He made things up alright. By using our money that was supposed to be for the rental and put it towards repairs on his car – that would benefit him in the long-run – not us. The repairs cost “$270” for a tune-up and oil change. Which, to be honest, doesn’t seem like it would run anyone $270. But what do I nor Noctus know who suspected he was trying to scam us for money?
The next day, We arrived at our hotel after a surprisingly smooth seven-hour ride from St. Louis to Atlanta. We got to the hotel and I decide to take a few “we made it” shots and got myself drunk. Sub-Zero went to get his badge leaving me and “Bummy Ass Nigga Who Thinks He’s The MC of a Harem Anime” alone in the room. He revealed something that would have made me murder him if I had absolutely nothing to lose.
The repair costs that he claimed were $270?
It was actually $450+. And he was actually “broke”.
So “broke” that he could only afford a badge and food.
Oh and he owed Sub-Zero $100+. Money that was supposed to cover the room and allowed me to keep an extra $100 in my own pockets.
Anime Weekend Atlanta (AWA) left me starving. Starving for more. More networking opportunity. More ways to get my name out there. More ways to improve myself. On the final day of the convention, my crew and I went to smoke a blunt on our hotel’s garage parking rooftop before leaving our city for an eight-hour trip back home to St. Louis. As we smoked, we spoke about our successes and “failures”. Wins and losses. Triumphs and disappointments. Out of my team, I had the most wins; since I set my sights to hit the majority of my goals (such as making money bartending at a friend’s room party, networking with people within the industry, etc.).
They congratulated me for success and were happy for me.
But I wasn’t.
Sure, I hit a few goals. I went out and did what I was supposed to do build my brand. You’re not supposed to be praised for doing your job like everyone else. I wasn’t happy that I didn’t do more. I was disappointed at myself for allowing myself to get sidetracked and play myself. However, these disappointments, combined with my success started to fire me up. Disappointment turned into desire. Desire turned into drive. Drive turned into action and planning.
For once in my life, I was excited to go back home after a vacation. I needed to go back so I could plan out the next year con season, write about my adventures. And of course, work my ass off for the next con season and come back completely dominating it.
Anime Weekend Atlanta left me starving.
On Friday, I went to a panel that caught my attention weeks prior: “Whatever Happened to Visual Novel Anime?”. I have a slight interest in the genre and was wondering why visual novels and anime based on the niche have been on the decline for the past 3-7 years. I went; seeking knowledge from somebody who was much wiser than myself.
The panel started. The host introduced himself, spoke about his passion for visual novels ,and revealed an amazing fact about himself: The panelist – Chris Adamson – is a writer for Anime News Network.
I had to network with him; no matter what.
I was in awe by the deep knowledge Chris dropped on us about the history of visual novels anime and why they were not as popular as they were back in the 2000s. The answers were “simple”, yet layered with complex facts. The facts included the following: the lack of effort and innovation from VN creators. Long-time fans losing interest. Animators struggling to add every minor detail form the visual novels into the anime version. There were also the lack of sales of products relating to the anime and visual novels.
Chris broke down every little detail with graphs, pictures, videos, audio, cited sources, sales figures, you name it. He was armed and prepared to attack us with knowledge and education. Clearly, he studied this genre with depth. Clearly, he was passionate about visual novels and wants it to see it recover from its slump.
At the end of the panel, he left the floor open for questions. I shoot my hand up high in the air before anyone else (if you’re ain’t first your last) and asked him this question:
Do you think there will a renaissance of visual novels and anime based on anime, and if they the VN industry does crash, do you see it rising from its ashes?
I’ve since forgotten most of Chris’s reply (thanks to smoking weed all weekend and being an idiot for not recording the panel), but he brought up an interesting point: He does believe that visual novels could come back, thanks to the success of the American visual novel Doki Doki Literature Club (DDLC) with its innovating meta-narrative (he even suggests that a DDLC anime could work through streaming services with Monika going through your watch history, fucking with the audio/video, etc.). Chris also mentioned that with more Americans entering the VN fray that could lead to the niche revival from a Western’s standpoint.
After the panel, I was completely floored and astonished by his wisdom. I had to network with him. Deep down in me, there was a fire building up. The fire of craving more knowledge. There were other guys with me who also had that fire in them. Out of the 20-30 people in attendance, only five of us stay after the panel (to speak with Chris). Two were working on their own visual novels, two were fans of the genre and also hungry for more knowledge, and of course, me; who was moved by this.
As we were finishing talking, a Yuri and Natsuki (DDLC) cosplayers walked past us. We all smiled as we were just talking about DDLC earlier. I smiled even harder; as it got me excited to rock my Monika genderswap cosplay the next morning on Day 3.
And by the next morning, I mean I decided to have shots of rum for breakfast and plotted to wear my “No Coonin’!” shirt to The People of Color (I fucking hate how black people us that term as a black man) Photoshoot in hopes of offending any self-hating Uncle Toms/Coons/Nergo Bed Wench nigga nerds with it at the shoot instead of cosplaying as Monika at the shoot.
Which, said plot was used against me.
I arrived at the shoot. Since it was a multi-media shoot, the host had people take group photos by genre (movies, anime, comics, etc.). Of course, you had cosplayers from comics, video games, and anime. Mainstream shit. However, nobody was cosplaying from any visual novels series (a testament of the decline of interest towards visual novels). I was sad and angry. Sad because there aren’t many Black nerds who are into visual novels. Angry at myself for deciding to (unsuccessfully) troll people with my shirt and not going to the shoot with wearing my Monika cosplay.
This is me being utterly arrogant, but I don’t give a shit: If I would have gone with that Monika cosplay, I would have been the only Black cosplayer in that group doing a visual novel character cosplay. Is Doki Doki Literature Club a normie tier meme visual novel? Yes. But it’s still a visual novel. And I would have earned that honor and respect of doing something out of the norm. A black man. Doing a gendswap cosplay. Of a visual novel character. A piece of media which black people don’t really fuck with.
I could have spoken good game about the visual novel niche and get my fellow Black nerds hip on it. I could have introduced people who never played a VN before into a new world; which in turn could have gotten people into playing them.
But I’m a fucking idiot.
(By the way, there’s going to be more of my arrogance later. Please leave if you’re offended by people having pride in themselves and their passion).
From The POC Cosplayer Shoot
From The POC Cosplayer Shoot
From The POC Cosplayer Shoot
From The POC Cosplayer Shoot
From The POC Cosplayer Shoot
From The POC Cosplayer Shoot
From The POC Cosplayer Shoot
I left the POC shoot and decided to take a few pics inside the convention center. As I’m wandering around I spot a black woman wearing a shrine maiden outfit. Red pants, disconnected sleeves, white top, and purple hair. For a split second, I thought she was cosplaying as the PC98 era Reimu from Touhou (Highly Responsive to Prayers, Lotus Land Story, etc.) and I was smiling from ear-to-ear at the “fact” that there was a black woman cosplaying as the old-school version of Red Sanae.
Upon further inspection, she wasn’t wearing Reimu’s trademark red bow, but rather black horns with cracks in them.
Wait, is she cosplaying as Hanyuu from Higurashi I asked myself.
I poked her on her shoulder and asked. She smiled and I started to geeked out. Somebody still has love for Higurashi and is cosplaying at the con; (to my knowledge) she was the only Higurashi cosplayer at the con. Either way, I was just fucking happy to see somebody cosplay as a character from one of my favorite visual novel anime series.
I took her picture of course and told her that her cosplay was lovely. My only regret is that I didn’t tell her I appreciate her for cosplay as a Higurashi character and that it made me want to do a When They Cry cosplay again (I used to cosplay as Goat Butler from Umineko for a while). I should had left my friends behind and let them go back to the hotel while I chopped up some game with the woman.
It’s funny because days prior to AWA, I had two When They Cry related dreams. The first dream was of me at Anime Weekend Atlanta. I was cosplaying as a genderswap Bernkastel, but I got kicked out from the con for being too drunk (Bernkastel drinks wine and gets drunk so I had to play the role you know even in my dreams), not wearing my badge, and telling con staff that I don’t give a fuck about having a badge.
The second one was of me at Anime Expo. I was wearing a way better version of my Goat Bulter cosplay. As I was walking out and about there was a group of Umineko cosplayers. A Bernkastel cosplayer spotted me and asked if I wanted to join them for a few photos, which I agreed to.
And then I woked up.
Back to reality. I marched back to my hotel. I started listening to an interview with Tim Grover (author of Relentless, the trainer of Basketball icons such as Kobe Byrant, Dwayne Wade, and Micheal Jordan). I was trying to think of a plan as I prep for my Monika cosplay. I was overanalyzing and overthinking. I remember in the first chapter of Relentless Grover stated the best don’t think,
They act. On instinct. And let their instincts do the work.
From that thought, I turned off the interview and started to listen to Saiyan Pride from Dragon Ball Super on repeat. The echoing piano notes. The percussion building up to the arrival the horns, strings, and bells. I was entering my Zone. I was inviting my Dark Side to do the work. Tunnel vision and laser focus.
I wasn’t going to allow myself to fuck up further.
In my eight years of traveling to conventions and browsing through convention social media pages/groups, there is one ailment that tends to impact many an otaku: Post-Con Blues. Post-Con Blues is the feeling of depression and sadness at the end of a convention. Many will have to wait a year or so to see their cosplaying friends and weird ass costumed brethren, dealing with the “normies” of the real world. I’m going to be real: I do not get this post-con blues thing. It sounds goofy to me. Ever since my first convention (Anime St. Louis 2010) I never felt this feeling of sadness. Did it suck that I had to return to the real world after my first convention? Kinda.
I say kinda only because I figured years ago if I go back to work, spend and save my money wisely, I could continue and traveling to conventions and write about my experience on them (althrough seven years later after my first convention but whatever, I’m lazy). Going to conventions weekend after weekend would burn me out and destroy my bank account. Seeing the same people and cosplays would bore me quick.
Another counter messaurement I have for post-con blues is my hobbies outside of anime. I love reading books (business, self-help/education, money, etc.) – so I focus my attention on those things. I kick it with my friends when we’re free. Watching anime helps as well…when I have the time (being an adult working 60 hours a week is brutal).
Something to help keep my mind off cons for a bit.
If I do get upset after a convention, it’s more so I’m leaving a more cultured city and returning to the hellhole that is Saint Louis, lmfao. I remember being treated with so much love at Atlanta when my crew went to Anime Weekend Atlanta back in 2014. People were friendly, polite, helpful, and not on some bullshit back in St. Louis. I love St. Louis, but we are fucking backwards. We are too slow to catch trends and by the time we do get trends, it’s too late. I’m not saying Atlanta is perfect, but when you know your city barely has any culture and you go to a city full of it, it changes your mind about your hometown.
Now, my next statement will be harsh. Cruel even. But you guys know me – I don’t care for the feelings of others (for the most part). I personally (again, I) think if you have post-con blues, that simply means you have no life outside of your anime hobbies. Sorry, but that’s how I feel. If your life revolves around whacky ass Japanese cartoons (and you’re not making money or major moves off it), you live a sad life. If you use conventions to escape your problems rather than reward yourself for solving them (that you can control mind you), you’re an idiot.
To conclude this short little essay or freewrite or whatever, I don’t’ get post con blues. Never have and never will. I feel that I have means to avoid that shit and do better myself, but that’s just me. If you have post con blues, then do something about it rather than whine about it.
Congratulations! After pimping you out of your hard earn money for a year, the government has given you back $2000 on your tax return! As a hardworking former NEET (Not Employed, in Education, or in Training), you deserve to treat yourself with that pathetic amount of money. So, what are you going to do with that $2000? You gonna blow it on a big tiddy Hotaru Shidare mouse pad? You really gonna drop $500 on a catgirl Yumeko Jabami figurine that will only collect dust over time? You thinking that wasting $50 on a fake Supreme shirt with a half-naked Sailor Venus sippin’ on lean and a lit blunt in her hand while Sailor Mars snorts cocaine off Venus’s ass gonna make you look like your rich? Boy, are you stupid? Don’t use your income tax money to stunt like you’re Jo’on off Touhou 15.5 for a week. Especially if your bank account says you’re living like Shion for the rest of the 51 weeks of the year.
Use that income tax money to invest in yourself. Income tax money should be viewed as an opportunity to expand your otaku empire. You want to be a content creator on social media? Good. Then use the money to buy a high quality camera. Spend it on audio tools such as pre-amps, condenser microphones, pre-amps, and studio headphones (especially if you’re going the podcast route). Your income tax money should fund and fuel your passion (may it be becoming an anime vlogger, having your own show, etc.) Putting income tax money towards on a Megumin wall scroll isn’t an investment. It’s stupid (unless you’re doing it for you YouTube channel then go ahead).
Are you tired of going to same, small to mid-size conventions in your hometown each year? You never been to Los Angeles before and want to go to Anime Expo? Perhaps you’re interested Otakon in Washigton, D.C. and wanna hit it up. Perfect. Use the money to travel to those cites and hit up those conventions. Leave your hometown for once. If you’re a vlogger, then you can vlog about your first experiences at those conventions. Plus, this is a great way to meet new people and expand your network. In addition, if you go to these larger conventions, there’s a great chance you might meet Japanese voice actors and creators that your small, local conventions will never have.
Trust me: You want that experience.
Income tax season come and goes. You will only get that money once a year. Once it’s gone, it is gone. Knowing that, you should be wise with it and spend it on things that will help you grow as an otaku. Putting that money towards traveling or your anime YouTube channel is smart. Blowing it on anime figurines that won’t bring you overall value is stupid.
Note: This is merely my prediction of the convention scene based on my seven or so odd years of experience a member of the anime and sci-fi convention scene. As such, these predictions may not hold weight. Please do not hold it against me if my theories or predictions aren’t right in 2022.
Browsing through the East Coast convention group “Casual Uncensored Congoers Kindred Society”, I encountered an interesting question asked by the administrator of the group. He asked how do we see the convention scene changing within the next five years. He then followed up with if we think American voice actors will still remain as the dominate guests, if cosplay remain a money generating commodity, and if there will be new content featured at conventions based on upcoming new ideas and trends.
Replying with my thoughts, I stated that I don’t care if people make money off cosplaying/cosfame (while realizing that bubble will burst). I also predicted that the type of guests that we will see a shift from voice actors to social media personalities, cosplay guests, etc. As I typed, I started to deeply think about the future. Things will change in five years; I have no doubt about it. Personally, I believe we are starting to see this new change of the future today. With social media growing each day, it’s easier than ever before to communicate with fellow fans – as well as the ability for content creators to showcase their talents and gain attention.
Cosplaying and attending conventions are both niche hobbies. As niches, it’s natural for the two to evolve and change overtime. What changes do I personally think hold for the future of these hobbies? Well, let’s talk about it!
PART 1: The Current Scene
We cannot discuss the future without addressing the present, and how it’ll shape the upcoming years. From what I’ve noticed, the current state of the convention scene is run by four major elements: Social media (the umbrella for both cosplay and personality fame), money (such as businesses and corporations), the mainstream (such as the “nerdy is cool” trend” and the general convention public and corporate influences. As stated earlier, I could care less if people attempt to make money through social media and cosplay. You should take advantage of both cosplay and social media – as it’s a useful tool to fill your bank account (if you’re smart and work smart – not hard)
If you have to do a lewd cosplay version of Reimu from the Touhou series to get a stack, go for it. If you have to perform goofy acts as Deadpool at a convention for your social media platforms, go for it. Money and fame attract people. Attention follows the money. The Money pays attention. I’m sure you heard the story of the Japanese cosplayer who claimed that she made over $100,000 in a course of two days during the Japanese anime convention Comiket a few years back. I bet you that many are attempting to emulate her success once that report came out.
The fastest route for some (mainly female cosplayers, blessed with great generics) to make big bucks is through lewd cosplayers: a rather controversial career path within the cosplay community. If done right, a lewd cosplayer could easily make $10,000~$13,000 a month through Pateron, sales, etc. Sex sells and people are buying. There are some (mostly jealous, insecure women and beta male virgins) who believe that lewd cosplayers are ruining the community. They think that the focus should be on cosplayers who have craftsmanship skills – not tits and ass. Non-lewd cosplayers are vocal about their hatred for sexy cosplayers. It doesn’t help that most of these sexy cosplayers are involved with some form of controversy – which will slowly ruin the image of this trend if not taken care of.
Assuming if these controversial lewd cosplayers and cosfame people continue to generate controversy (and if people stay in their jealous, hating feelings), then I can see this trend’s bubble bursting. Too many people will enter this bubble in hopes to make it big. While sex sells and attention pays out, you still need a great (and marketable) personality and brand. Jessica Nigir, whom some consider to be one of the founders of the lewd cosplay trend in the West, still makes money – despite she doesn’t do lewd cosplays as often as she used to; Thanks to her brand.
With the “nerdy is cool” trend, there’s an increase of attendance from those who may not be true nerds. With nerd culture and hobbies becoming more acceptable each day, people are hopping on the bandwagon to take advantage of it. More people (may they be real nerd or not can be ignored here) means more money for conventions – especially for conventions who’re profit. Corporations are taking notice; therefore, they want in through sponsorships. This leads to conventions becoming corporate. This isn’t necessary evil, but one must understand that few may not accept the idea of larger conventions going corporate.
From my personal research and experiences, the general convention and cosplay public community is divided on the upcoming changes. There are some who view the corporate changes, the (lewd) cosplayers who cosplay for money, and conventions going corporate as great things for the scene. Opposite, the old-school nerds are fighting against these changes in hopes that it won’t ruin and “corrupt” the traditional, imitate homely feel of conventions they’re used to (and thus, will be driven out). They refuse to accept the fact that things change. Will the corporatization of conventions become a problem within the next five years? We must wait and see then.
Discussing the future is impossible without addressing the present. Lewd cosplays and social media personalities are cosplaiyng for the money. Nerd culture is slowly becoming accepted in the mainstream. Fans fear that the convention spirit will be lost overtime, while some see this as a great idea. Or there may not be any changes. Only time will tell us in the future.
Part 2: The Future of the Scene.
The trends of today will influence the trends of tomorrow.. We’re seeing the seeds of the future planted today. With the advent of easier access to information on anime series , fans can research creators and artists of their favorite series effortlessly (thanks to the Sakuga community providing comprehensive information on these creators). Because of this, I predict that these creators will become the main guests for conventions. Now note that larger conventions such as Anime Central and Anime Expo were ahead with this, but mid-size conventions will follow suite once they increase their budget to emulate this.
Social media has impacted this new era. Like it or not, social media personalities/”celebs” are becoming more known – so much that they’re too are becoming guest of honor. Digibro – the prolific (and infamous) anime vlogger was a guest at Anime Expo 2017. Veteran Dragon Ball historian YouTuber Geekdom 101 is hosting his own convention (KamehaCon). Social Media is the superior choice for content creators in this community to become known. The more you’re known (because of your content), the more likely one could become a guest at conventions.
Social media has also created the lewd and non-lewd cosplay money boom. As with any major boom, this bubble will burst Once that happens, I imagine the following scenarios:
1. The majority will be out of work and money. They’ll be too scared to make a move and give up.
The minority will take advantage of the bubble burst (as well as a few others). They will work harder and smarter to stay relevant and make money during this time. Think Amazon during the Dot Com bubble burst and how they survived it through smarter tactics.
It will be a hard time for the cosfame people to recover and find work during this burst. But the smart ones will rise. Besides, sex sells. People love seeing their waifus being lewd up by a sexy woman. The bubble will recover and the trend will start anew.
Larger conventions will become corporate. They will increase prices on badges and will become stricter to appeal to a boarder consumer. The possibility of these conventions losing their homely, fan feel is high. But do not dread! If there’s a positive to this then it’s the fact that these corporate conventions will have more money to bring in bigger names from the industry. Not every convention will go with the corporate flow. Smaller cons will still have their welcoming, personal home-like vibe and will refuse to do this.
Finally, we will see the end of the norimes who are bandwagon “nerds”. I see them out once either nerd culture becomes a part of everyday culture. They will stop caring after this. You already know that this will make the gatekeeping elitist nerds happy: seeing the normies whom once bullied them for liking anime out of their nerd club. Do I think this will bring us back to the old, golden days of the conventions? Possibly not.
Trends come and they go. The cosfame trend bubble will burst. We’re seeing upcoming social media personalities as big guests. Trust me: Do not sleep on them – social media is the new television. Conventions will become cooperate, and some will lose their classic fan feel. And the norimes who were on that fake nerd shit? They will go away.
Part 3: What Will Remain?
Tupac famously said that “some things will never change”.
We can say this about the convention community. Despite this community changing every day, (for better or for worse), there are some accepts that will never change. Humans are social creatures who thrive to connect with others. Conventions will always be a place for fellow nerds to come together. With that said, this also brings in drama. Drama will never end. People will always start shit and bring their beef to the conventions. Smaller and mid-size conventions will refuse to grow big and corporate. Those conventions will remind fan run. There will always be those who want to cosplay because they love to: not because they want money or fame. Opposite to that, cosfame and lewd cosplay will be hot; given that sex sells and people love money and will seek to gain it by any means in this capitalistic society.
Finally, what will remain are the various guests of the industry ranging from voice actors, online personalities, artists, creators, and so forth. We appreciate the people who gave life to our favorite characters through their vocal talents. We give much respect to the personalities who sit in front of a camera and passionately analyze their favorite series. We will continue to celebrate our favorite creators whom dedicated their lives and time to create such marvelous creations. Our love for these creators will never change.
Our love for this hobby is forever.
It’s interesting to speak about the future of the convention scene as we’re seeing the changes of the present impacting the unseen future. Currently, the cosfame appears to be a dominating force with the prize of money behind it. Larger conventions becoming corporate seem unavoidable, but some already saw this coming and accepted this. The unseen future reveals that social media stars of nerd culture could become major guests; as they’re growing ever popular. Change can be either scary or great – some will embrace it and work with it., Others will attempt to fight against the change and either become successful, or lose.
YouTuber’s illacertus’s states this about change in his animation summary of Robert Green’s book The 48 Laws of Power, and this is my closing statement:
Don’t fight change. When you catch yourself in the futile attempt to resists a new order, remind yourself that did you not only missed the opportunity to predict it, but to adapt to it in time.
The 2018 convention season draws near. You’re always broke from spending $500 on half-naked anime girl figurines. You love to spend $300 on anime Blu-rays, but somehow, you don’t have enough money for a convention. Do you think your mommy and daddy are going help you pay for your weeaboo dress-up festival? Of course, they’re not! You’re a grown man (or woman) now. Just like your friend whom you borrow money from for cons, they’re tired of funding your hobbies. Maybe you’re not broke, but you suck at money management. You’re the type of person to not have their priority together and splurge your cash on useless crap.
Because I’m a nice person, I’ll teach you how to get your money right. I’ll promise you that with my guide, you’ll have more than enough money saved up for you next convention adventures. It’s my duty and ethical obligation to help my fellow nerds stack money for their passion.
My guide is not for you begging ass, broke ass nerds (who always mooch off their friends). This is not for people who refuse to make money on their own. This guide is not for skeptics who believe saving money is impossible. Go away. You’re wasting my time and yours – but mostly my time. Do you tend to blow a check, or dip into savings for wants, rather than needs and raining days? Good. Get the hell off this guide – people like you will never learn. My advice is only for those who are serious about saving and getting their money right. I only help people who are willing to better themselves.
If you’re still here then that means you’re serious about wanting to save for conventions. Let us begin.
Obtaining a hotel room should be your utmost priority (next to buying a badge/pass). There are two categories for convention hotels: The main hotel(s); where most of the action takes place, and the secondary Hotel(s); for those who want a cheaper option and/or avoid crowds. The main hotel’s full price can range from $230-$1500 depending on the convention, location, hotel brand, days etc. Secondary hotels range from $180-$1000.
Most conventions hotels will accept room bookings about eight (8) months in advance (before con starts). Normally, the convention’s social media team will provide an update on when this will happen. Once they give the dates for room bookings, you want to start stacking up immediately.
Let’s say that you want to book with the Waverly Hotel (the host hotel of Anime Weekend Atlanta [AWA]). The hotel will allow room registration on October 3, 2017,* (the time of this writing) and the convention starts on September 20, 2018. The total cost of staying at the Waverly for four days is $700. This gives you about 50 weeks (or about almost 12 months) to stack. Ignoring assets and other forms of income, let’s say you get paid bi-weekly. You’re given 24 paychecks prior to saving if you’re working a regular 9-to-5.
Let’s do some math.
$700/24= $29.16. $29.16/2 bi-weekly paychecks = $14.58 $14.58 is how much you need to take out of your check a pay period. Put the $14.58 in a savings account (or any other accounts you do not have normal access to). If need be, consider opening a new bank account separate from your main one. If you bank at Bank of America, open an account with Commerce Bank, and then deposit the hotel money in that bank. Destroy any and all credit/debit cards linked to the bank – you do not want to spend any money on that account. Repeat until you reach your target goal.
(Please note that many banks are different with their savings account. Some may require you to have a minimum amount of savings to keep the account open.)
What if you’re splitting a room with four people (you included in this four)? Well, that’s simple! $700/4 people = $175 per person. Take your $175 and divide it by 24 checks. That’ll equal to $7.29 a check that you need to put aside.
Regardless if you’re alone or with a group, keep taking the money out of your check and stack it up until it adds up to the total amount of what you need. Remember not to touch it until it’s time to transfer your funds into your checking account, or when you need to give the money to whomever the name is on the hotel’s bill.
With the hotel taken care of, it’s time to tackle your badge situation. Now, should you save up for a badge, or go all in and buy one ASAP? That is dependent on you and your situation.
(*NOTE: AWA has yet to accept room bookings at the time of this writing)
Is it better to just go all in on a badge and pay for it now? Should you stack up for badge overtime and buy one in the future? Let’s go over each option and decide which is best for you.
Let’s say the badge is $45 at its cheapest (usually the first tier of pricing). If you can spend $45 and not be hurt by it, then go for it. Yes, you’ll lose money, but you won’t lose time waiting for your badge in line at at-door registration. Trust me: Losing time is worse than losing money. Money, we can gain back – time, we will never recover. You’re investing $45 in extra time – extra time you can spend on panels, autograph lines, chilling with friends, etc. To be quite honest, that’s a win-win.
Losing both time and more money is lose-lose.
So you can’t afford to invest in a badge quite so soon. That’s okay; you can stack up to the desire tier pricing. Maybe you want to save up for the second tier that’s coming up in two months. Or perhaps you want to wait and save for the final tier before online registration ends in six months. That’s cool. I can work with you on either or.
The second tier badge price starts at $55, the price increase will start on December 3rd, 2017. This gives you four paychecks until December 3rd. 4 paychecks divided by $55 equals $13.75 ($55/4=$13.75)
For the six months option (October 3rd to March 3rd): 12 paychecks/$75 = $6.25 a check. Again, just like your hotel money, place this money in your savings and do not touch it until you hit your target goal.
How you will get to the convention is up to you, and it will be different from person-to-person. Sadly, humans cannot teleport, so you must figure out a mode of transportation. This section will be broken down into four sections: Air, Road, Rail, and Public Transportation/Ride Share
Admittedly, I have never traveled to a convention by air. From what others told me, it’s best to book your flights as soon as your hotel and/or badge. I would personally put aside around $100-$200 a check for about 8-10 months if you have 100% confidence that you’re traveling by air. You might go a little over your target goal for the tickets, but it’s better to have more cash than what you think you need. Do not delay as airline tickets will increase their price as your departure date draw nears.
It’s not wise to wait.
In general, you want to book your rail tickets (such as Amtrak) months in advance. I say that you want to buy your train tickets around the same time you booked your hotel rooms and/or badge. The sooner, the better. Why? Because you don’t want to waste more money as time passes. Use the same method for booking and saving money for an airline flight as you would use for plane tickets as mentioned above.
CAR: This will depend on how far you’re traveling, your car’s MPG, and how many people you have riding with you. A trip to STL to CHI will cost you around $60-90 in gas. From STL to ATL will cost you $90-120. Again, this is dependant on your car and the people riding/driving with you. I would start saving up for gas money about three months before the convention.
Let’s take St. Louis to Atlanta as an example. When traveling with my friend to ATL, he charges me around $40 for the trip. I put aside about $20 a paycheck a month prior to us heading to Atlanta.
I really hope I don’t have to break down this simple math for you guys.
PUBLIC TRANSIT/SHARE RIDE: If you need to use public transit, taxi services, or a shared ride to get to a con, please research what bus, train, etc. you need to take for the convention. Bus and train fare will be dependent on the city you’re in, as well as share riding to a convention. In general, I say put aside at the $10-$30 for your choice of public transit and share ride a month before the convention (if need be).
If I know I’m doing a $20 Uber to get to my convention hotel, I put aside $5 from each paycheck about two months prior. So $20/4 bi-weekly checks = $5 I need to put aside.
Don’t forget to tip your driver. Don’t be a cheap ass.
You gotta eat and stay fueled up. Ever danced at a rave on an empty stomach? It’s not fun. Fast, cheap food or dine-in at a high-quality restaurant? Cook your own food if you have a kitchen suite? Again, this section depends on your budget and needs. If you’re planning on eating out in fast food places, your budget should be around $40-100. Are you planning on eating out at non-fast food places? You want to save around $130-200. If you’re cooking your own food, I say around $60-200 depending on how many people you’re feeding. Before I forget, you should have about $20-40 aside for a snacks budget just in case you’re walking around the convention center all day and you need lite fuel (such as cereal bars, fruits, etc.)
If I’m planning on eating out at fast food places, I place my budget at about $60 for the convention weekend. Knowing this, I give myself a month before the convention to put aside $30 a paycheck until I hit $60.
When I’m in Chicago for Anime Central, my friend, his crew, and I go to Hofbräuhaus for one night and dine in. Knowing that he preps for this dinner, I put aside around $40 two months prior. Two months gives me four bi-weekly paychecks. With this, I put aside $10 a check until I hit $40 and keep that $40 in my savings until it’s time to transfer my funds into my checking account.
This section is optional and you don’t need to party to have fun at cons (but it’s better that way). If you’re like me, then you’re about convention partying life. Therefore, this section is for you. In all honesty, this varies from person-to-person and their needs. If you’re just going to one party, you may need just one or two bottles, a few mixers, and a case of beer, which will run you about $35-$75. If you’re hosting a room party, then you may need to spend about $150-$1200. Feel free to check out my “So You Wanna Host a Room Party” article for more information.
I usually wait until after I check into my hotel and have everything ready before I buy my liquor. You do have those people who love to drop out of the hotel room at the last minute. That extra money could help in a situation. It does suck though.
Boy does it suck.
But you can make it not suck by stacking up six months prior to the convention if you’re 100% sure you’re hosting a room party. I’m projecting that my room party for Anime St. Louis* 2018 will run me $600 in alcohol, mixers, and other goods. Given my room party will be on that Saturday (May 5th, 2018), I must plan on saving my money aside for the party on December 5th. For two weeks up to May 5th, I will put aside $50 until I hit my target goal.
$600/6 months = $100 must be saved each month.
$100/2 bi-weekly paychecks = $50 taken from each check.
Of course, your room party budget will be different from mines. This is just an example of breaking down the math and planning.
*Disclaimer: I am not hosting a room party for Anime St. Louis 2018. Do not come up to me asking if I’m running a room party. This was just an example.
Adding it all Up
We have the numbers; now let’s add them all up. The total will be your target goal for savings. Below is an example based off my personal funds for major conventions, so your numbers will vary. Some will save more money than I. Others will save less. This is all dependent on the conventions you’re going to as well as funds and time.
TRAVEL (Road): $40 for my share of gas money
PUBLIC TRANSIT: $6
PARTY GOODS: ~$120
I’m going to take that $971 and divided by 11 months (until Anime Weekend Atlanta).
$971/11 months = $88.27 I need to put aside each month until the week before AWA for 11 months. By going bi-weekly paychecks I can put aside $44.13 per paycheck. This does exclude any forms of secondary sources of income. Applying my other sources of income to build up will make me reach my goal faster and earlier. This is giving or taking some items away (such as badge and alcohol)
Tips on Making (More) Money
Conventions aren’t cheap; that’s not a secret. I know people are struggling to make ends meet as well as putting towards their hobbies. It’s a cash drain, believe me. I understand. However, you can always make extra money to add to your funds. I’ll break down a few simple and easy ways to make extra money for you to use for the con.
WORK EXTRA HOURS/USE PTO
This is the simplest way to gain extra money. If you see that there are extra hours or shifts to be picked up at your job, jump on that chance. Does it suck that you have to give up free time to make more money at the job? Yes. Is it awesome to have a little bit of extra cash in your pockets for the convention? Yes. Go through some hardships now so you can have a better time later. If those hardship means working more hours at a job you don’t like, so you can go to a convention and escape from the workforce for a few days (or even work on your business AT the con), then do it.
If your job allows it, you can use your Paid Time Off (PTO) hours that you’ve stacked and use those hours on your off day. Then, when you get paid, put the PTO money into savings.
SELL/FLIP PRODUCTS ONLINE
Do you have old video games, comics, mangas, etc. laying around at your house that isn’t of use to you? Sell them on eBay to make extra dough! After you research and study the value of the items you want to sell, just create a listing for them on eBay, Amazon, Craig’s List, etc. You can either sell your own product if you have your own business or flip other people products. I personally flipped items from Loot Crates to gain extra cash for funds.
SELL DRUGS/INVEST IN A DRUG DEALER
Don’t do it. You’re not a dope boy/dope boy investor in college anymore. If you are a dope boy then all I have to say is be careful and watch out for the haters and fake friends.
…Althrough you could sell drugs to the partiers at conventions to make extra cash. Just a thought.
INVEST IN A LEGIT BUSINESS Your homeboy is a real estate investor or owner and has a great track record of returns on investments? Invest with him.
If you need more ideas to increase your income or have a new source of income to fund your weeaboo hobbies, I recommend the following, as they have helped me with increasing my income and manage my money:
Saving money for conventions shouldn’t be so hard. Yet, so many weeaboos struggle to do so. Sometimes, people attend conventions without a budget or money at all! Having a budget and money saved aside will help you out in the long run, as it’s nice to have extra money. Not having money at a con isn’t fun. Nobody will help you out – it’s up to you to have cash. With this how-to guide, I hope you learn how to save and manage your money for future convention events. I believe everyone should have money save up to maximize their fun at cons. Start saving now! Do not wait until it’s less than a month before the convention to save. Apply what you’ve learned from this guide for the future!
Besides, nobody will feel sorry for your broke ass. Get this money and save it.
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.
A convention is a wonderful place to meet and befriend new people who share your passive for nerd pop culture. You can be yourself without being ridiculed for who you are. However, just like in the real world, you still have to obey the laws of the land, use common sense and logic at conventions. Just because somebody is cosplaying as a sexy Slave Leah outfit doesn’t give you the right to touch her. Somebody has a cool prop you’re admiring? That’s great! Just ask permission to hold and touch it first. You don’t wanna ruin the con experience for yourself or somebody because you’re on some childish crap. Don’t know what not to do at conventions or need a refresher? Well, we’re here to help! Not Taking Care of Your Personal Hygiene
Look, there’s no excuse for not taking care of your hygiene; both in the real world, and at conventions. You need to shower and take care of other hygiene issues before you hit the con floor. Take a damn hot soapy shower. Use deodorant. Brush your teeth. Comb or brush your hair.. Freshener your breath. People are sensitive to body odor. You are being selfish when you do not bathe. Again, there’s no excuse.
Disrespect Personal Boundaries.
People attend conventions to have a good time. They don’t want it ruined by some creep or somebody breaking their props. It should go without saying, but think before you act. Keep your hands to yourself; cosplay is not consent. People have worked hard for months on their costume and props. They don’t want it destroyed by some touchy grabby idiot. Please ask for a picture before you snap one. Don’t become that one creepy photographer that gets talked about within the community.
Ghost the convention Please, support the convention. If you want the convention to flourish, you must buy a badge. Ghosting hurts the convention as they lose money to stay afloat. Every penny counts. If you want better and bigger guests, convention to expand, and an overall better home con, supports the convention. Buy a badge.
Consume drugs/alcohol beyond your limit
Partying is not a secret at the convention scene, so I’m going to say this: please know your limit when consuming drugs or alcohol. Don’t consume drugs or alcohol on the convention grounds. Leave that shit in your room If you smoke trees in an illegal state, spray yourself down or cover the smell with tobacco smoke. Be aware if law enforcement catch your ass with that shit, you’re getting locked up, no tolerance. Do not drink if you’re underage. Do not serve underage people alcohol. . It’s not worth it.
I hope our tips will help you improve the quality of your experience at conventions. We wish you a great and happy convention season!
Please! Check out our audio discussion on the topic on YouTube!
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
Okay, so I lied about taking a break from drinking. I took another shot of Viniq because I’m an alcoholic and it’s delicious. But mostly because of the fact that I’m an alcoholic. Okay, now I gotta prep and get somewhat sober for the Umineko/Higurashi meet. I checked my phone for the time. 5:20PM. Good. Just forty minutes until I have to meet up with the cosplayers. That’s more than enough time to get ready which is great, given an old friend just messaged me on Facebook.
“Hey Ben! We drinking at the Red Bar! Wanna join us?”
Tyler is an old online and ACEN friend of mine. I’ve known him since maybe around 2010 on the old Anime Central’s forums and /cgl/ (the cosplay and gothic lolita board of 4chan), way before the ACEN’s Facebook groups grew and became the shitholes that they are today. He invited me to the Red Bar, one of the Hyatt’s overpriced bar and grill restaurant (great food though).
“They’ve food down there? My dumbass started drinking on an empty stomach. I need some food badly.” I replied.
“Yea, they got a great menu. We’ll still be here by the time you get here.”
“Alright bet!” Food sounds great along with old friends and I already know I need the food for extra drinking. Well, time to make my way to the Red Bar.
I hit the Red Bar up. I spot Tyler and his crew sitting around a tall, smooth white glass table. They had already finished eating and drinking, but stuck around for my food to arrive and eat. The server gives me a menu and I look over it, trying to search for any foods with meat.
“Ben, you like pineapples and hamburgers?” Tyler asked.
“Yep, separate. Never had the two combined. What’s up?” I questioned him. What weird food entrée you’re trying to convince me to eat? Ya white people be eating some weird shit.
“Try the Tsunami Burger. It sounds weird, but trust me, it’s great. It’s a little sloppy though.”
“Hmm, it does sounds good. I’ll take it!”
I placed my order. As we waited, we reminisced on our wild days of /cgl/ and the ACEN message boards. One topic that was brought up was whiny old ass, entitled ass nerdy crybabies who blamed the rave for the parties and bad things happening. They would spend hours from the precious day to bitch about how ACEN focused more on the raves and parties, than the actual anime related content. Each rant ended with the following:
“I’M NEVER COMING BACK TO ANOTHER ACEN AGAIN!”
“IF ACEN KEEP THEIR FOCUS ON THE PARTIES THEN I WILL GO TO ANIME MIDWEST INSTEAD!”
“Can I get a 420 hook up for next ACEN?”
“Who was that cute guy I blew at the rave you had such a huge dick I need it inside me again”
I tend to reply with a smartass remark such as “So we’re seeing ya next ACEN?” or “Nobody cares. You’re coming back next time.” I tend to get blocked bythe butthurt nerds as an result.
As we finished the story, my Tsunami Burger arrived. As a proud, card carrying member of the FatAss Hamburger Eaters Society of America (FAMESOA for short), this burger gets my personal rank of “Top Tier Burger”. Visually, the burger has a vivid aesthetic as supported by the chopped bright yellow Pineapples, flashy green from the green peppers, teriyaki paints the buns coast-to-coast, which overlaps the veggies and fruits toppings.
The sweetness from the pineapples and the light spice from the peppers work in synergy to provide a salty and sweet flavor from each bit- fuck this burger the buns are falling apart too much sauce and water based veggies and fruits. 0/10 this burger is banned from FAMESOA. I do not recommend it to any other members.
Seriously, it was a great burger but again, tomatoes, pineapples, and teriyaki sauce weakens beard, thus creating a finger food mess.
Fuck, its 6:00. Gotta head out! I paid for my food and bid farewell to Tyler and his crew, and head to the smoker’s area, which the Higurashi/Umineko photoshot was taking place.
Wow. Fuck, there’s only six When They Cry (WTC) cosplayers this year (Beatrice, Battler, Willard, Tohya, [Umineko], Rena, and Mion [Higurashi] cosplayers) compared to years past (I think there was about 15-20 WTC cosplayers in 2015 when Ryukishi07 was a guest). The fandom is dying in the ACEN community. It’s disheartening to see a cosplay group I’ve supported for about 5 years fading away. Maybe I should had brought my Goat-Kun cosplay with me this year despite years of damage on it. Oh Well.
Sniff, sniff, sniff. No. That’s not me crying at the eventually death of the Higurashi/Umineko cosplay community. I’m sniffing some good kush. Normally, I’ll be okay with people smoking tress, but around an area where there are photoshoots going on? You know ,there are young kids and non weed smokers around my dude? Come on now! At least wait until after sunset when all the straight edge baby nerds are gone. If you gotta smoke, at least get a vape so you won’t have that loud smell carrying over or go to the woods by the Hyatt.
Goddammit you fucking stupid idiots are ruining this shit for everyone else.
After the photoshoot (which was literally 10 minutes), we spent the reminding 50 minutes talking about the When They Cry series, Touhou, and general otaku shit that I forgotten over the course of a week due to alcoholism. Tohya, the leader of the WTC cosplay group, brought up the Umineko fighting game “Golden Fantasia”, and my face lit up. I have the game on my laptop, and I haven’t play against a human opponent in years. Chance time!
(If you do not know about Golden Fantasia, imagine Marvel Vs. Capcom 1 meets Guilty Gear, but with Umineko no Naku Koro ni characters throw into the mix. It’s a fun but obscured anime fighting game, but with a very small community. It is getting an official English release soon, and I hope it’ll revive the community.)
Seriously, I want more people cosplaying from Umineko at ACEN next year. If you’re an Umineko or Higurashi cosplayer reading, please cosplay as a character from the series next year. I won’t though ha ha ha!
Tohya and I headed back to my room. Upon arrival, he was impressed by the alcohol I had laying around the room.
“Are you planning to make a bunch of screwdrivers tonight?” I had some vodkas and a giant bottle of orange juice on the table of my room.
“Nah, just have them around for a friend’s party tomorrow. Although having some Screwdrivers don’t sound too bad right now!” I laugh while setting up my laptop and the game. God I got a problem with alcohol.
Alright! Game is booted and we’re ready to roll! I gave him a fair warning that I wasn’t going to go easy on me, in which he replied he won’t do the same for me. I like that! The respect between two fighting game players that understand you must play at your full best. We chose our characters, me with the sibling team Battler and Ange, and him with the “Oh you piece of fucking shit you’re making me hate you” team of Dlanor and Ronove.
So, Dlnaor and Ronove. Fuck them. In Golden Fantasia’s meta, the combination of these two gives the player a pure defense heavy team, as they’re consider to have the best defense in the game, and it doesn’t help that their already large health stack up with one another. Yay.
And then we have their godddamn synergy of their fucking skills. Jesus. Dlanor’s skill is “Armor Boost”, which does what it says on the tin. It increases her and her ally’s defense by 50%. Ronove’s skill is Counter Boost, which increase damage from counter hits. Dlanor has great poking counter tools, and Ronove, who’s already a fucking walking brick wall can do stupid bullshit by having Dlanor’s Armor Boost on him. It’s annoying.
So if you ever play this game I hope you enjoy fucking fighting a loli tank with a sword and a butler tank with a sexy mustache. Because I did not for the first match.
We’re playing, getting into the fight. Tohya’s jamming to Jay Z’s “Dead Presidents 2”, which I “modded” into the game’s music soundtrack (I just simply replaced the audio track of Ange’s stage). During our first match of the game, I combo into Battler’s grope special from his bread-and-button combo. Tohya’s friend Battler (the Battler cosplayer who I also invited) made a funny in-fandom joke.
“Why is Battler trying to grope Dlanor? There’s nothing there! Also, I wonder what happens if he tried to grope Ange, his sister, with that move?”
I replied “Well, I’m pretty Ange would enjoy being groped by her own brother. She has a pretty heavy brother complex.” We all laughed because it’s the truth.
(One of her in-game endings has her stepping and grinding her shoe on Battler’s head, demanding that he calls her “Mistress Ange” each time she spanks him. See, that would be incredibly hot if it wasn’t her brother. Maybe if the sub was either her friend Lucifer or best friend Mammon, then it’d be totally hot).
We went on for a few more matches, and talked about how deep and fun the game is. He also shared my hopes that MangaGamer’s English release will bring back interest to the series to the West, as we are passionate about the Umineko series and want the community to strive once more.
Okay, enough of that heart felt sappy side of me and my weeaboo longing for my favorite fanbase to be revived. You guys are here to read about my tales of debauchery and I promise to deliver! As Tohya and I were finishing up some final matches, my boy “Bucket Wave” (fake named inspired by his love for vaporwave and bucket hats) came through with his giant Bluetooth speaker, lights, trees, and Whiskey!
Yea, it’s turn up party time! It’s Friday night of ACEN and we’re getting fucked up.
Fair warning: The following is straight up pure debauchery. Some debauchery I may have forgotten over the course of the aftermath of ACEN. To remember some things from the ACEN weekend, the following paragraphs were written with me under the influence of alcohol pre-editing. Took some shots of the reminder Martell I had and some UV Blue mixed with sprite while watching Otaku no Video (it’s a great OVA). Hopefully it’ll give me drunken recall.
You’ve been warned.
Alright, so drunken memory recall did not work. It only made me drunk. Fuck it, here’s what I can recall from Friday night up until I had passed out around 5 in the morning the following Saturday (which was more of an exciting day).
Bucket Wave and I took some shots of whiskey, waiting for my boys “Bowser”, “KW”, and “Yakuza” (he’s not an actual Yakuza, he’s a fan of the Sega video game series) to come up and pre-game with us. I owed Bowser some money for a blunt, Yakuza is an old internet friend of mines from the Persona group “Shin Megami Tensei Network” (who apparently members of said group were helping co-hosting the Persona orgy at ACEN) and I promised JW I’ll drink with him and do shots to help get us right for the night.
Following the whiskey and Hennessy shots (provided by Yakuza), Bucket Wave suggested we do some dabs off his wax pen. Usually, dabs get me incredibly fucked up. Like you ever seen the Truth Commercial with the girl “Sara” straight up melting into the couch, stoned the fuck outta her mind? Yeah, that’s me off dabs.
Oh well, it’s Friday night of ACEN, and we’re getting fucked up at 9:00PM. I plan to be fucked up throughout the night. You think I’m just gonna end with 3 shots of Hennessy, 3 shots of Whiskey, an alpha version of my Sailor Saturn cocktail, and hits of dabs? Nah fuck that! We’re about to head to the smoker’s circle and smoke some blunts too!
The Smoker Circle is already bumping. Nigga, there are half naked ravers and cosplayers walking about and shaking their asses and doing cool tricks with the raver sticks (I don’t know nor care about what they’re actually call), some young college-aged nerds doing keg stands (how the fuck did these white boys manager to sneak in a keg I dunno), s a d b o y s sippin’ lean and listening to vaporwave, crazy cosplayers snorting Special K, and us smart niggas smoking trees and drinking alcohol because we are good noodles.
Fuck that lame ass rave. The Smoker’s Circle is where it at.
My crew settled at the little cut inside the stone pillar (the cut that has the door that leads into the maintenance center of the Hyatt) and sparked up a blunt. Maybe two blunts? I can’t remember, I should have made notes as I went along. Just know the kush was making me feel good along with whatever else I had in my system. I get a message from my boy “Flash” asking if I was still pregaming and if I wanna kick it with “Bgod” (actual nickname) their crew. Of course I’m down.
So, here’s a funny story about Flash and I. Around pre ACEN 2015 (or 2014, can’t remember), me and Flash had an online beef. I was doing my usual shitposting and trolling on the groups when I had went after Flash. Flash got mad and wanted to meet up to fight in Chicago, so I could back up my “internet tough guy” talk in real life. I was like “Alright. I ain’t from Chicago, but meet up in ACEN wit that shit nigga”.
ACEN 2014 or 2015 came about. I’m at my boy’s party smoking a Black and Mild on the balconey. I spot a group of young cats breaking down trees, upset they forgot to grab a rillo (White Owls, Game, Zig-Zag, etc.) beforehand. Me being the utter asshole I am, I gave them my last Black and Mild so they didn’t have to walk 20 minutes to the Moblie station for a rillo.
As I gave a random guy form the group a rillo he asks “Are you Ben Snow?”
“Yes.” I replied back.
“I’m Flash. The guy who wants to fight you. I didn’t know you were actually nice and chill in real life! Sorry about that whole shit, it just that people love to run their mouths online around Chicago and not back it up in real life.”
This dude wasn’t an internet tough guy as I originally thought. The dude was well built as well as looking like he can legit fight physically. We talked about nerdy shit for about an hour and clicked well, and ended our online beef right there. Back to the present, I’m up in their place smoking one of my blunts with his crew, just chilling and talking about our own ACEN plans and trying to find more parties to kick it. As we are trying to figure out our next move, something told me to check my phone.
‘Room 10xx. Throwing a crazy party like last year.’
“Ayy, ‘Sid’ is throwing a party at his suite again this year. Let’s hit that up!” I suggested to everyone. So Sid and his legendary parties he hosts at ACEN. Oh man, holy hell! For the past five years I’ve known Sid and attending his parties, they always are so lit and wild. There’s a 90% chance that it’ll get shut down by the police, hotel staff, and convention security because of noise complaints. And I don’t mean his next door neighbors bitching. I mean, the entire floor in which he host his parties tend to rant and bitch about the noise levels. When you go to this man’s parties, it’s standing room only. Good luck trying to find space to sit down and chill, because you won’t.
Well, time to go to one of the ACEN’s masters of lit parties.
As always, Sid’s party is packed and wild. Even with him having a two story vast suite, the room is jammed with people. Music and voices are sounding thunderous, dominating all other noises. Do not try to speak over the music, you’ll lose. That’s how lit Sid’s party can be.
While chatting with people I know who’re already at the party, Sid comes up to me and we reunite for another night of alcoholic and drug fuled madness. He jokingly tells me that he was hosting one of the many ACEN origies on the top floor, and that I should join in. I laughed, and headed up there with Bucket.
There were people on the top floor, but no fucking. One very small (perverted) part of me was low-key hoping there was an orgy going down. However, I’m socially awkward and shy around people I do not know, so I wouldn’t get any action regardless.
Poor me I blame society and Christianity for making me like this. Especially Christianity
I’m on the top floor, talking to Bucket, drinking beers and what now when our friend came up to us. They’re clearly distressed, upset, and scared. Something happened. Something that pretty much made me want to fight. Somebody who I thought was a friend did something to another friend of ours ( I won’t go into details because I don’t wanna stir up drama).
I was furious. How could somebody who I called a “friend” for years could do this to another friend? Nah, nah, nah, fuck this nigga, I’m killing him in front of all these people for what he did. How could you do that to a friend man? Before I lost wheatver sense I had left, I decided to leave the party. Alcohol+my temper+that bullshit = me being arrested for murder. Somebody in our crew suggested to go to one last party. Good. Because I can’t be here any longer.
My boy heard word about a VIP suite party going on in the Hyatt. A VIP suite party must be banging as hell. I mean, it has the word “VIP” in it, so it must be a great party. Let’s head there! We get to the room, and it’s mostly dead. I can’t really be too upset, it’s almost 3:30 in the morning, and most, if not all parties were wrapping up. There were a few stragglers partying about but nothing major really. Eh, nothing is really going on here, the alcohol and weed is getting to me, and I’m tired as all hell. I’m gonna head back to my room and past out.
I get near my room, and outside of it I see my friend “Goro” either getting in or out of his cosplay (Goro from Persona 5), I dun care, I just wanna past out (and finish this part of the story). I get in our room and crash on the bed.
“4:00am? Fuck, I’ve been out that long huh? Fuck it, I’ll get up the morning and go to a few panels or something.”
Oh, Ben. You’re cute.
Stay tune for Night 2! Wait, night 2? You mean Day 2 right Ben?
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.