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.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a (cleaner) copy and paste free write of my thoughts of the evolution and history of the Western anime fandom taken from my Facebook page Yuki The Snowman. As such, I was shooting from the hip; so it is unstructured and lacks research and sources to a few statements.
While out-of-state at a friends’ house catching up on old times, we were disusing plans on attending an up and coming anime convention in their area next year named Dokidokon. During the discussion, they mentioned how cool it would be for us to report on the convention, it’s growth, and recording the events as they unfold at the con. With glee, they stated that it would be exciting to take record of what we witness there. Further into the talk, it was mentioned that we’re living in perhaps the best time period for otaku history in the West and how it is important for us bloggers, vloggers, and content creators to record such events in history.
I started to ponder.
While my friends and I enjoy attacking the otaku culture with venomous scorn, taking cheap shots against anime fans whenever the chance presents itself, and mock the culture for its many faults, we still hold onto our great appreciation for how far the anime medium and fandom has come. This is especially true given how Western otaku culture and conventions came up from (to my knowledge, mind you) the underground college anime clubs and conventions of the 70s and 80s to the massive juggernaut in which we are a part of today where the modern anime community is an indescribable melting pot of distinctive demographic coming together to celebrate our love for anime.
For those who might be too young to remember, it wasn’t that long ago when Western anime culture and fans where pushed into the darkest corners of the pop culture world. We were treated as unwelcomed outcasts by – and please note – most (meaning not all for those who are from the remedial side of the education game) nerds and geeks from different sets of the pop culture world (film, comic books, gamers, sci-fi, etcs.).
In the past, Anime (in the West) didn’t have that unbreakable grip that it has on the Western pop culture world today. Thus, us fans were mocked and alienated by outsides (both normies and, ironically, non-otaku nerds who too where shunned for their love for comics, games, etc.) for enjoying something that most people didn’t get. Maybe it was due to xenophobia, lack of understanding, or the pure pride of the ignorant who didn’t want to study why people like and watch anime, but anime fans were treated like some weird nerds who were too much in love with some whacky Japanese cartoons.
Sure, you had timeless hits such as AKIRA, Ninja Scroll, and Ghost in the Shell making noise in America; planting seeds and paving the path for what we are witnessing today when it comes to the Western Otaku culture, but they didn’t have the weight to help put anime in that sweet postion that we call mainstream appeal (Dragon Ball Z would take that honor and run with it in the mid-90s despite what the anti-entry-level anime elitists may want to argue to deal with the fact their favorite obscure anime didn’t get the job done but that’s another topic for another day).
Time went on. The influence of anime in the West grew stronger. Its popularity increased with shows such as Dragon Ball Z, Sailor Moon, and Pokémon. Television networks such as Time Warner, The Sci-Fi Network, Tech TV and Freeform created program blocks dedicated to anime (Toonami, Anime Unleashed, and Made in Japan) in order to carter to the blooming Western anime fanbase. Online bulletin board systems (BBS) and websites revolving around anime culture sprung up on the dial-up internet side of the game. Magazines dedicated to anime such as Anierica were sent out to the mailbox of the American anime fan. Video stores started carrying anime that never aired on TV in America.
It was inevitable that anime in the West would become a huge deal.
Today, you can go on your favorite streaming website (legal and illegal) and pull up almost any anime from the past or present. Popular or obscure. Modern or classic. If you can think of an anime, there’s a good chance that you will find it online. No more wasting time and gas money traveling miles to a nearby video store in hopes you can get your anime fix. No longer do we need to call up a certain BBS to communicate with fellow fans of a peculiar anime and wait two-to-eight hours for a response.
With the advent of modern day technology and social media, we can instantly chat it up with fellow anime fans moments after an episode finished airing. Best of all, fans can communicate and interact with voice actors, creators, production studios, and distributors through websites such as Facebook and twitter – something that was once only possible at annual major conventions and snail mail.
History is being made.
As content creators, we must take advantage of this era of Western anime history. We must take part and note of the trends and the happenings of the fandom – despite the fact if we love or loathe such trends and happenings. Remember: future generations of anime fans will be curious on how their favorite shows and beloved parts of the culture became to be. They will research the roots of their favorites and find connects to the past (that is currently our present). There needs to be a record of what is going on today in the world of anime: both in the East and here in the West.
Keeping record will perverse what is happening currently. It will prevent experiences from being lost to time and history. Just imagine if nobody recorded the famous viral video of the Filipino female prisoners performing the Hare Hare Yukai dance from The Melacholy of Haruhi Suzumiya or most recent, the ever popular live-action versions Chikatto Chika Chika dance from episode 3 of Kaguya-Sama: Love is War!! by energetic otakus cosplay as Chika herself.
It would be utterly depressing.
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From spending 40-45 hours a week cosplaying as a stable adult at my job for drug and alcohol money (for both anime con partying and to deal with life), to working with my homeboy The TV Guru on our new podcast The Swarthy Nerds Podcast, to reading books on how strengthen my troll game against people with the laws of human nature, and to downloading a ludicrous amount of best Monogatari girl Hanekawa ero pics and doujins as research material for an analytical video essay on her tits for the 10th anniversary of the anime series, finding time to watch (and talk about) anime can be difficult for hard working grown ass man reaching his 30s like myself.
With so many anime coming out each season (roughly 60 shows a season) and the ever growing desire to watch hard hitting classic shows such as Evangelion, GunBusters!, and His and Her Circumstances (Anno’s a beast director I wanna learn more about him beyond FLCL) which fills my everlasting backlog, it can be a struggle to discus and view anime with the limited amount of time I have.
Sure, I can watch old anime and ignore the new shows. With older anime, there’s no need to dread on the fact that the next episode of an anime won’t come out for a week. Plus, older shows already have an established fanbase, which makes it easier to talk to fans of it (sans the asshole die hards with no personality who think they’re better than everyone because they watch the show on its original run 10-25 years ago).
But, there’s a drawback to using my time to watch and talk about older, classic anime.
First, (most) older anime suffer from a lack of discussion (around the show). Unless it’s a timeless show such as Sailor Moon or Dragon Ball, the chances of me finding people to talk about an older anime is rather low (and if it’s an obscure OVA from the 80s, then the chances of me finding anyone to talk about it are neigh impossible).
Second, watching older anime will alienated me from the current discussion; where – thanks to social media – an anime that came out last season is consider old news. Example: Talk revolving hit Fall 2018 shows such as MAPPA’s Zombieland Saga, Studio TRIGGER’s SSSS.Gridman, and CloverWorks’s Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai has decreased since their finales.
The focus shifted to Winter 2019 shows such as Mob Pyscho 100 2 and Kaguya-Sama: Love Is War. However, with the Winter 2019 season finished, the community are going to talk about the Spring 2019 season with shows such as One Punch Man 2, Carol and Tuesday,Fruit Baskets 2019¸ and Aftertouch (Shoumetsu Toshi). I have to be willing to talk about the new shit if I want an active audience, so I can’t waste too much time on the past.
You have to be in the know, you know?
If you’re like me, a content creator with a “real” job, then you know how much of a chore it is to try to watch and talk about anime. It’s bad enough that we have to dedicate 40+ hours a week to earn worthless pieces of paper we call money (unless you’re using the money to help you buy and consume drugs at an anime con after party, then it’s not useless). But what’s worse is not having enough free time to focus on our purpose; just limited time.
All time is limited, of course. We could die today or next week, thus robbing us of all the time we could have had to work on our shit. Even if we do live into old age, some of us will spend all our time working until retirement. Retirement does nets us all the “freetime” in the world. But now you’re too tired and old to do what we want (bear in mind that you can’t compete against the younger generation at this point of life unless you’re a very late blooming outlier – which is rare).
With this in mind, we have to spend our limited time wisely to ensure that our messages of great weeaboo cartoons reach the masses. We have to manage time. For me, I work on my content before work and do light studying on the topic of my content after work. I may skip breakfast (which I don’t recommend) to have more time to work on a post.
However, if not eating breakfast for a while means having so much extra time to present more content to the world because I was able to turn this hobby into a career (that’s making me 3x the amount of money then working a 9-to-5 on a consent level), then it’d be worth it.
Even on my off days at work, there’s complete focus on my personal work.
I also tend to put forth a lot of work towards my projects on my days off, or if I plan on being a shut-in weeb and not kick it with friends at the bar. Time and sacrifices have to be made on my end in order for me to talk about anime through blogging, podcasts, etc.
Until I have made double, if not, triple the amount talking about anime in comparison to the gig; therefore enabling me to have access to as much time as I want to create content or just dick around and watch shows all day while still netting automatic (passive) income (thus not being hurt money wise), I must make do with the time I have and watch a few shows.
Does it suck?
But, in order to do what I wanna do (if you haven’t guess by now, talking about wacky Japanese cartoons for a living and eventually creating a media company from it), I gotta spend my time wisely.
So, readers, how do you make the time to watch anime? For my fellow content creators: do you find it hard to balance content creation and having a gig (if you work a normal job while building your brand)? Let me know in the comments!
CHECK OUT MY NEW PODCAST The Swarthy Nerds if you’re tired of autistic, annoying white nerds with nasty, unkempt beards who dress like they’re still in middle school telling you about nerd culture and you desire something more on the real side of the nerd game:
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)
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.
“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.
“You still watching Dragon Ball Z, nigga? Grow up!” “Stop acting white! You’re too old to watch cartoons!” “Go get some pussy and stop playing video games!”
Growing up as a (black) nerd in a backward ass Midwestern city was rough (in the early 2000s). Throughout middle and high school if you had nerdy interests, you were deemed a loser amongst your peers. Nobody (outside your fellow outcasted nerds) wanted to fuck with you. You were bullied, teased, and taunted for your nerdy passion. I too dealt with my fair share of bullshit from normies who didn’t have the balls to step out of their comfort zone; unlike us nerds who didn’t fuck with that fitting in shit.
I still remember how my normie peers would tell me how being a nerd was uncool and that I need to grow up. They claimed that video games and anime would never get me pussy, popularity, or money. Of course, they were wrong. Hell, even with my near grandiose levels of ego, I knew they were wrong. Mainly because I spent my free-time shit posting and trolling gaming and anime forums communicating with older nerds who went through the same shit I was going through back then. Many of them had wives, families, money, and status at their jobs. Some even talked about how they hooked up with an equally nerdy chick or a dude at comic and anime conventions.
I mean shit, I looked up to Bill Gates when I in middle and high school. Here was a nigga that was a total nerd in his school days. Was bullied for being a nerd, spent his weekends working on computers for 40 hours while everyone else was partying and doing stupid, unproductive shit. He played the long game with his brand and within a few decades, he became the richest men in the world.
So much for nerds being losers.
Reading about Bill Gates’s success (as well as the success of older nerds online) made me realize this at a young age: If I’m going to dedicate my life to being a nerd and building something for myself off it, then I better play the long game. I just knew deep down that nerd culture was going to be popular. I just had this gut feeling that nerds and geeks in America will stop being bullied. That we were going to be trendsetters. Game changers. The dominant culture in entertainment (The Big Bang Theory doesn’t fuckin’ count).
At the turn of this decade (the 2010s), my vision was coming true (for the nerd community). Blockbuster superhero movies were the norm. Video games were treated as a respectful, valued form of entertainment. Anime (and otaku culture) was accepted. Anime and video game clubs were poppin’ up in high schools across America. While nerds were still being bullied, it was happening far less often then decades past. Kids were free to wear their favorite anime or superhero shirt without fear of being teased or mock. Conventions were getting mainstream attention. Being a nerd was now consider cool.
Playing my first long game paid off.
Playing the long game with your passion isn’t easy. Do not think you won’t face difficulties as a player of the long game. You are fuckin’ stupid and clueless if you think there no errors or hardships with the long game. You will have people talk to out of your passion (as they do not see nor understand your vision). You will get called weird, mad, goofy, insane, whatever your hopeless, average, bottom feeders peers will throw up in your face. As a player of the long game, you need to block those people out. Cut them out of your lives even. Link up with other people who share your passion and understand that success takes years to achieve instead.
How do you play the long game as a nerd? Simple: Pick something you’re passionate about. You love vlogging about the latest episodes of mainstream anime? Good. Stick with it for a few years. Do you find joy in making others happy when you play video game music on your violin? Perfect. Keep it up for years and years on end. Don’t expect success to come overnight. If you do, quit right now. You ain’t cut out for the long game.
To those still bitter about the past and how nerd culture is now popular: Good. Stay mad. I need bitter ass suckers like you so I don’t have to worry about fighting other nerds to get that number one spot and dominate and intimidate everyone in the culture one day. Keep being miserable.
For the normies who made fun of nerds and are only on the nerd train cuz it’s popular: Thanks for being suckers! I look forward to making money and build my brand off yall niggas.
For the rest of us nerds who are taking advantage of this trend: Play hard. Work hard. Success is ours for the taking.
You gotta love bitter nerds. Ever since the emergence of nerd culture in mainstream culture, pathetic, dusty nerds have come out with their sob stories on women rejecting them (for being nerdy). You may have come across such stores like “Anime was the reason why women never like me” or “Now that comic books are popular ya wanna join the hype train but ya weren’t down with me back in high school!” If these sob stories describe your experience with women, then you need to hear the truth. You weren’t rejected because you like anime or video games. You got rejected because of you and you alone. Blaming your nerd hobbies only mean that you don’t have the courage to admit that you suck.
Let me explain why – because you losers need a wakeup call.
I know it’s hard to admit fault (for your rejection), but hear me out. The rejections happened because of your flaws. You’re a boring ass person lacking charisma. The girl you wanted like men who can wow her with their confidence and social skills – which you clearly lacked. Who wants a relationship with a man whose personality is that of the mundane Yuki Nagato off The Melancholy Haruhi Suzumiya combined with the unbearable stoic Obi-Wan from Star Wars Episode 1.
Next, your horrid appearance landed you that denial. You fucking stink. You smell like pure unwashed swamp ass. The last time you took a bath or put on deodorant was when Half-Life 3 came out. Your crusty dry lips are begging you to apply Carmex on them. You’re out here sporting disastrous, greasy unkempt hair. That doesn’t make you look cute. It makes you look like the three-way fusion of Post Malone, Digibro, and Mick Foley/Mankind. And that’s pretty nasty my man (no disrespect to the greats Digibro and Mick Foley). And your fashion sense boy! Did you really think rockin’ a fedora, a button down Dragon Ball Z shirt, and New Balance shoes was gonna get you some women?
How dense are you?
Enough your shit tier looks. Let’s talk your blame game. That shit’s weak. Yes, people are shallow and won’t date you over hobbies. That’s okay. I doubt you would date a normie girl with normie interests. With that said, wasting your life playing video games, jackin’ off to ero anime, and reading slice-of-life manga all day long as hobbies are turn-offs to some. Honestly, that’s boring. Nobody wants to hang around with a boring person like you. Find other things to enjoy, like watching live-action television, going out to the movies, reading things that aren’t manga.
Liking nerdy interests alone doesn’t make you special: It makes you uninteresting.
Gotta love bitter nerds. I mean, really. You can’t help but laugh at them for blaming their hobbies and others for their shortcomings. Are you amazed at how they can’t see their own faults and improve on them? Because I am. Look, if you are a nerd who does these things, you need to work on yourself and stop playing the blame game. Take a shower. Have confidence in yourself. Go update your fashion game. Indulge in cool shit other than nerdy shit.
2017 marked the 5th anniversary of the Western visual novel “Katawa Shoujo”, produced by 4 Leaf Studios (4LS). The game (set in a boarding school for disabled students) touched countless lives and inspired many to better themselves. Except me; I’m still on some asshole shit even after finishing the game years back, but whatever. In the summer of 2012, 4LS ran a Kickstarter for their official Katawa Shoujo artbook titled Tomorrow Today: A Katawa Shoujo Illustration Book for the Anime Convention “Anime Expo”. 4LS requested backers for the book with rewards such as receiving a copy of the artbook and button set from the game.
As both fan and future hustler, I saw the chance to support the project. I love the work 4LS put into Katawa Shoujo. Plus, I never owned a video game artbook before. I went ahead and donated a dub for an ero video game artbook where you have sexual relations with physically and mentally fucked up girls (Hanako, Rin, and Emi got some fucking issues). 23 year-old me was like “Bruh, this gonna be worth some money one day. Buy that shit and save it.” So I did. Back the Kickstarter and a few weeks later, the artbook arrived. I was impressed by the quality of the production (and the beautiful art) – and I was seeking the money.
After consuming the art in the book a few times, I put it aside in my closet in a box and let it sit for five years. 2017 came along. I decided that I should start to work on my dreams of increasing my income and use the extra income towards my goal of producing infinite cash flow. Around this time, Doki Doki Literature Club (DDLC) came out on Steam. Weeaboos were once again celebrating a feels-like Western visual novel masterpiece. Some bold stated that DDLC was the second coming of Katawa Shoujo and many agreed. WIth Wester Visual novels making a come back an idea popped in my head.
“I should take advantage of the success of another popular Western visual novel like DDLC and flip that Katawa Shoujo artbook.”
‘While we out here, say the Hustler’s Prayer If the game shakes me or breaks me
I hope it makes me a better man, take a better stand.’
-Sky’s the Limit by Biggie Small
With Doki Doki Literature Club’s release and people comparing it to Katawa Shoujo, I saw my chance. I made a listing for the book and put in on the market. Within seconds, my friend hit me up asking if she could buy it off me. Within seconds, we made a deal for the book: $40 – twice as much as I back the Kickstarter (yeah there’s that five years’ worth of price inflation and all that fun shit but whatever I don’t feel like doing inflation math). That was about a week ago. Today, as I’m waiting for my friend to come through and pick up the book, I started to reflect on Katawa Shoujo, the art book, and how bittersweet this sale is.
From my own estimation, there are only maybe 1,000 of Tomorrow Today in existence. I am doubtful that the other owners of this book are willing to part with it (that or they’re smarter than me and waiting for the value to increase as the years pass by). The chances of me encountering the book on eBay are rare (a copy was on auction on eBay last weekend and I almost won it…but I was signed out of my ebay account five seconds before I was going to snipe it for $48) 4LS stated that they will never touch Katawa Shoujo again, nor will they expand on the game. The story of KS began and ended in 2012 – never to be retold again.
Katawa Shoujo changed me. No, fictional crippled animu girls didn’t make me a better person. I cracked jokes at Hanako’s pain (because she’s not a real person). I made fun of people who cried over this game. I sneered at anyone who got overly emotional about Rin. I told fans who called Emi a slut for having a boyfriend and sex drive that “They’re just mad because no woman will ever fuck them in their lifetime.” I got myself banned from the Katawa Shoujo forums for trolling, shitposting and overall keeping it real. Yea, Katawa Shoujo didn’t make me a better person within the fanbase, online, or in real life.
What Katawa Shoujo changed within me however was my creativity. From playing Katawa Shoujo, it hit me: If these random dudes online can get together and make their own shit for the world to see, then so can I. In fact, I can do it better than them because there’s nobody better than me. Like I’m on some Vegeta from Dragon Ball or Lute from Fire Emblem 8 type shit. Egocenteric pride aside, KS fuel some sort of creative fire in me and got me focusing on my craft. I want to create something that has the same emotional appeal as it. I long to create a visual novel that was consider a milestone of Wetern visual novels. That or just write about otaku culture in a crude, spiteful matter.
Have my name in Western otaku history, you know? No, global Otaku history.
Katawa Shoujo touched many people. Katawa Shoujo inspired those who played it. I was inspired to sell my Tommorrow Today book for $40 to fund my hustle. But, it’s bitter-sweet. One part of me wishes that there was a follow up to Katawa Shoujo, but I understand why there will never be one. And that’s okay. Parting with the artbook feels like I’ve finally parted away from Katawa Shoujo for good. It’s been five years, it’s time for me to move on. I best use the $40 to wipe the tears away.
Oh Kakegurui! You were an amazing and fun series! In fact, you were maybe like, one of four shows of the past Summer season that didn’t disappoint me (unlike say Hajimete no Gal). In four months, you created a cult following of dedicated fans with superior quality episodes and entertainment. Expect for that atrocious episode 9 with that pointless Idol show (I give that trash a 2.5/10). Anyways, fans from all over the globe illegally streamed tuned in to watch 24 minutes of deranged, spoiled rich kids gamble their money and lives away. All in the sake for power and…money I guess.
The support and love towards Kakegurui was felt online. The flashy fans showcased their cosplays – dressing up as their favorite character. The artsy ones use their visual talents to produced fanart of their favorite girl. The musically included fans gifted the fandom with the sound of music – remixes and piano covers of the OP were poppin’ up on YouTube. There was even an ero doujin staring Yumeko having sex with some guy whom she poked holes in his condom (because Yumeko loves her thrills and risks)! Hell, some fans were even inspired to gamble or challenge others to gambling matches because of this show.
Yea, you heard me right. There are some fans out there whom believes that they should gamble because of this show.
Earlier today while I was doing my usual shit posting on Facebook, I shared a post from the Kakegurui fanpage to my own page for this blog. The post was simply news about the new Kakegurui cell phone game coming out in Japan soon. Within a few minutes of me posting it, someone commented.
“Care to gamble?” This fan said. I started to laugh. Maybe its’ an idiot fanboy who thinks they know how to gamble because they watched a few episodes of Kakegurui. At first I ignored this nerd, but then I figured I should entertain this just for more laughs.
“1v1 me in blackjack at Anime Weekend Atlanta (AWA) if you’re going! Back that internet talk up IRL.” I replied, calling his ass out. I went through his profile and discovered that he was going to Anime Weekend Atlanta (which I too am also attending). I assumed that he was just some weeaboo nerd talking mad shit online. He is probably a giant pussy outside the internet. He even had an anime profile picture; people with anime profile picture tend to talk the most shit on the internet. Based on my findings, I concluded that he wasn’t about neither about gambling life, nor was he going to meet me up at the convention.
Or so I thought.
“Bet.” He responded back, posting a photo comment of him flashing several hundred dollar bills.
‘Well shit…He IS about that life.’ I said to myself. I was dumb struck. Not only did this dude back that internet talk up, he was also totally one of those rich (or well off) weeaboos who could buy the special edition of every Summer 2017 shows on Blu-Ray and not even be hurt about it. Me? I can barely buy a $10 bootleg waifu figurine after paying the bills and investing into my brand (this blog, the FB page, etc.). I mean shit, I was just trolling; trying to get a reaction out of the dude. Well, I got my wish.
Boy I got my wish.
That aside, this made me wonder: will Kakegurui inspire fans to gamble against one another? Perhaps this guy flashing his cash and challenging me to a gambling match at a nerd convention is simply an outlier (and an idiot for posting his money on the Book). But still, it doesn’t hurt to be a little concern. It’s possible that ignorant fans will make a trend of gambling within the fandom. It’s not uncommon for fans to create trends and tributes to their favorite series.
Back in the mid-2000s, Haruhi fans were doing that Hare Hare Yukai dance at anime conventions and for YouTube videos. Recently, fans of the Dragon Ball series have gather at public landmarks, parks, and colleges to scream like Goku for the hell of it. It wouldn’t be a shock to see Kakegurui fans gamble against one another at anime conventions. Shit, people already gamble at room parties when they play card games or money match in Street Fighter or Smash Bros.. With a popular gambling series like Kakegurui, it won’t be too long until weebs think they can gamble for cash.
And they will get utterly destroyed and lose all of their money.
In my personal opinion, Kakegurui glories gambling. To start, Yumeko makes gambling seems like a fun time (which I confess it is). The consequences of losing a match aren’t too extreme (sans having your life mapped out through the Life Schedule Plan). We do not see the harsh realities of having a gambling addiction either. Yumeko, who calls herself a gambling addict, thinks nothing of it. She seems well off mentally. Gambling addicts in real life have ruined their relationship with love ones and annihilated their bank accounts.
Gambling isn’t really that great when you break down the horrors of it.
If this show inspires you to gamble and you never gambled before, well, good luck to you and everything. Just know that you’re an idiot and it’s your fault if you lose. Go watch/read Kaiji or something so you can learn that gambling ain’t really all that amazing.
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!
Lyrical analysis of the theme song of the 1991 anime OVA Otaku no Video, “Tatake Otaking!” (Fight Otaking!) by Gainax. Tatake Otaking describes the main character’s journey to become the king of all otakus, becoming whatever he desires, despite others telling him he’s wrong to pursue his otaking dreams.
‘Over the endless wasteland I run alone for all I am worth embracing the hope of an unseen world far away.’
When you start the dream journey you’ll be alone on the path. The faraway world of your dreams unseen, but you must keep on pressing on.
It’s your dreams. Chase it, even if you can not yet see the end results of it.
‘The only thing I believe in is glowing passion.
I will be a raging inferno!
No one will be able to stop
my heart’s beat!’
Believe in your passion, it’s your main focus and at times, it’s the only thing that you can believe in. Envision yourself as an unstoppable inferno, and do not allow anyone to attempt to put out your flames. There will be people who’ll want to stop your shine.
Do not let them. No matter what.
‘One of these days, I will find out the truth of
love. Everything in this world will be mine.’
Love created from the passion of the grind and hustle from chasing your dreams and you doing you.
This world can be yours if you put your mind to what you seek, and imply effort through actions.
Also, does the line “everything in this world will be mine” reminds you of a certain quote from an early 80s gangsta movie?
‘We’re bound together by friendship.
It’s a thick bond.’
The otaku community, for the most part, is a close-knit one. Our community is forged from many outcasts, shun by society for the common passion, which we all come together and support one another. Naturally, (everlasting) friendships are created from this.
‘I won’t let anyone block me!
(I won’t let anyone block me!)
I will go my own way!
(I will go my own way!)’
You can never allow anyone to stop you from achieving your dreams, no matter what. On this hustle and dream path, there will be people who want you to steer off it. They will attempt to block your progress, or tell you shit like “Oh, you can’t do this.” Or “You’ll never make it.”
Fuck them. Do you. If they ain’t paying your bills, fucking you, or feeding you, don’t let their opinions get to you. Do you. Do your own shit.
Besides, people like a man or a woman with her own path and goals, and can stay focus on them.
Fight! Otaking! ‘
A possible reference to the original otaking himself, former Gainax president (and company co-founder) Toshio Odka.
‘I abandon the one I love and keep on running
believing in a shining future
and staking my dreams on it.’
On the hustlers and dreamer path, you may have to abandon friends and family members who won’t support you and your dreams. If you have people like that in your life, cut them out now. They’re holding you back. Keep running towards the shinning future you want in life.
Ken Kubo (main character) had to abandon his girlfriend off, who was on his case for being otaku and chasing his dreams.
‘The sweat that soaks my T-shirt
is the medal of a man.
‘My tears won’t stop!
I won’t forget the beating
of my heart’s refrain!’
(It’s not that deep)
‘I will rise above the drifting time and be reborn.
The time will come someday when I
will be known as Otaku.’
(It’s not that deep)
‘I won’t let anyone block me!
(I won’t let anyone block me!)
I will go my own way!
(I will go my own way!)
(Already given my analysis on the hook)
‘I’ve thrown away
everything in my life.’
For some otaku, in order to become the ultimate otaku, they’ve thrown everything out from their lives. Friends. Family. Work. Everything just so they can invest in their passion and dreams. (Although I personally wouldn’t recommend tossing love ones and a job aside just to watch anime all day)
In some cases, you may have to throw many things out of your life, so you can pursue a better life.
You have to be willing to give up something to get the real shit.
My goal is the world!
(My goal is the world!)
I’ll be the greatest man!
(I’ll be the greatest man!)
Going back to the “The world is yours!” mindset mentioned earlier. People with drive and purpose want the world. They want to be noticed by the world, and want everything within it.
Who’s world is this?
The world is yours Otaking. The world is yours Otaqueen.
Ahh Anime Central. Chicago’s ultimate otaku convention for partying and debauchery. It’s a great convention to find hard drugs like coke and acid. There’s alcoholic beverages flowing about. Take a few shots for liquor courage to dick down that Cecilia cosplayer! Hey, Gotta celebrate Fire Emblem Gaiden’s 3DS remake somehow. There are also Persona orgies hosted by a kinky Shadow Rise cosplayer hunting down guys to run a train on her. ACEN has the great shit for ya if you want it.
Oh yea, they have cosplaying nerds who ain’t fuckin each other in orgies and industry panels. That shit is boring. As an (somewhat) honest person, I’m gonna tell you what really goes down outside the panels and normal convention shit. Autograph and photo sessions? Pfft. I rather waste time on my grind, writing passion, and networks. Why? So the anime and video game industry can notice my hardwork. I want to become lifelong friends with the niggas you stand in line for hours just to talk to them for twenty seconds out of your life.
Look, fuck all that lame boring shit that the average con attendees will tell. I’m here to too you the the real grimy shit. You can trust me on keeping it real. I’m a real nigga.
My friend “Adrian” (name changed because I’m the star and he’s not) and myself arrived in Chicago at 2:00pm Thursday afternoon after a long 10 hour trip from St. Louis via Amtrak. You see, Amtrak was running a special deal. Riders will have to suffer through delays and constant route changes with no explanations!
Something about a fatal train derailment was thrown in, but we didn’t get that option. Oh well. Public transit is better than Amtrak. You don’t get that fine Chicago-style piss smell on the Amtrak unlike Chicago’s CTA public transit. CTA ride was nice, sans some homeless diabetic begging money for heroine. Or was it insulin? I dunno I don’t do (hard) drugs, and I’m not hip on the new and upcoming drug trends.
Following that 45 minute ride, we arrived at Rosemont, Il! Home of Anime Central. Yes! Finally I can make my grand announcement to my haters that the guy they secretly want to fuck but can’t has arrive! The guy who they want to fight, but are too pussy to step up because they can’t carry their keyboards around.
It’s me: Benjamin Snow. I am the greatest otaku to have ever lived (one day I’ll snatch the Otaking title away from Toshio Okada) . I am the promised child of otaku culture niche, whom the prophets once warned the basement dwelling beta white cuck virgins weeaboos. I am the main character of my haters’ lives. I am the anti-hero protagonist of this tale.
I’m honored that you, the reader and haters, are focused on me. All eyes on me.
Adrian (I almost forgot about him) and I checked into our hotel, the Hilton, which is right across from the Hyatt, the main Anime Central hotel. Hilton’s a nice hotel chain for lodging space. Not a nice company to work for however unless you’re a masochist who hates their life. Oh wait I forgot you ain’t supposed to talk shit about shitty companies you used to work for. Actually, I take that back. Hilton’s 3rd party contractors can be hit or miss. Not the company itself.
Fuck you, Lodging Hospitality Management.
Grudges and come up revenge aside, my boy and I got a top floor room. We’re top tier men so we gotta be at the top. After showering (not with Adrian, that’s pretty gay), I decided to head to the Hyatt to scan the place for anyone I know. Encounter another homeboy, “Joe”. Joe’s a cool guy who I really wish I could hang out with more often despite we live in the same city. Big black guy fighting game fan such as myself. After some small chat we decided to roll out to Rosemont Liquor, a super nice liquor store in Rosemont that you already know is gonna love the money they racked in from us alcoholic weeaboos.
Went in and brought a bottle of pineapple New Amsterdam, a pack of 312 Goose Island Wheat, and big boy beer: My first 12% beer in my life. Trust me, drinking 12% beer is like smoking some fire ass kush after smoking that weak ass reggie for years on end. Forgot the name of the beer but they’re not sponsoring me nor this blog, so it doesn’t matter.
Following, Joe and I drove back to my hotel. During the drive, we spoke about fighting games, with Casual Player Neglect Fighter V being the main topic (Street Fighter 5) and how garbage it lowkey is. I brought up how for some reason despite not playing in months, I was able to beat my friendes who play nearly everyday with Karin.
Oh Capcom. I hope one day, you guys figured out why nobody enjoy this game.
Joe dropped me off at my hotel, as he had prior plans with a friend. Cool with me, given I had plans to kick it with another friend, “Vance”, and his Touhou cosplay crew at Hofbrauhaus. I “met” Vance back at my first ACEN in 2013 as he was cosplaying as Momiji (from Mountain of Faith or whatever idunno I don’t play Touhou like that). His outfit and the craftsmanship of it was amazing, and (at the time) Momiji cosplays were rather uncommon, so your boy had to take his pic. I would not realized I met him at ACEN until later.
I officially met and hung out with Vance at Anime Crossroads 2013, at his Touhou Panel he was hosting. We spoke about the series, our love for alcohol, and the convention scene in general. We naturally clicked and overtime, he became a good con friend. On some real shit, I wouldn’t mind being friends outside of cons with the dude…if I didn’t live in St. Louis but there’s always non-con traveling plans. Enough of my longing for networking with folks, to Hofbrauhaus
Hofbrauhaus’s food is amazing. I could tell you the fantastic variety selection of dishes and drinks they have , but my black ass is too lazy to look up their menu online. Settle with a picture of one of their dishes I that cannot for the life of me pronounce. I’m an American. Not German. We speak American in America.
After showcasing my quietness to people I don’t know outside my established friends in the group (I’m lowkey shy around strangers) and appropriating German culture (because I’m slightly racist), I walked back to my hotel and holy fuck! It’s fucking cold and windy as fuck outside! You see, my dumbass thought it would had been a great idea to wear a light T-shirt and shorts earlier in the day, despite knowing the fact the tempts were dropping..
I’m pretty sure some folks saw me walking around shivering in shorts and a t-shirt and were like “This stupid ass nergo.” Okay, I hope not. Rosemont is mostly white people, and they don’t have the right to say Nergo. Kinda like how I don’t have the right to make racist jokes about the Germans in a German restaurant (inside my head of course). Das boot! Big titty thick Germans girls wearing those Dirndi dancing with giant beer mugs! I swear I’m not racist towards Germans!
…fuck I’m racist.
I arrived back to my hotel to change into some warm clothes. Perhaps the harsh winds were karma for my inner-racism, but oh well. To help prove to myself I’m not a complete racist, I took up an offer to kick it with my white friend, “Beared Chibi-Usa” at ACEN’s infamous smoker’s circle. Great source for debauchery. And drugs!
Bearded Chibi-Usa, as his name implies, is a guy who has a beard and cosplays as Chibi-Usa from the Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon series. Maybe he’s actually cosplaying an alternate timeline of Chibi-Usa, who is actually a female-to-male transgender, and they have a beard. Who fuckin’ knows. All I know is that this man is cool ass businessman and has his own online advertisement company. Make that new money young nigga.
During our chill and smoking (tobacco) session, we overheard a rather interesting conversation between two guys talking about a stillborn dead ass baby. So, this loud ass guy was broadcasting how he may or not had been cucked by his (ex?) girlfriend at the time, and how his girlfriend felt so bad about it that she let the guy have pity sex with him. Like, raw dog busting all types of nuts inside the girl’s pussy pity sex with a creampie ending.
As we all know, sex makes babies. Sometimes, stillborn babies. Hey, that’s life. Some win. Some lose.
Despite people giving this guy confused looks and laughing at him, he kept going with the damn story. Bearded Chibi-Usa and I exchanged “what the fuck” looks and walked away, trying to contain our laughs to no anvil. We needed to drink after that, man. That was too much for us and this was day zero. A fuckin’ Thursday night.
People; keep your personal business about being a cuck with a stillborn baby to yourselves. I will laugh at you.
To keep your mind off how much of a fucked up piece of shit person I am for laughing at that poor guy, let’s go back to a certain point of this story. Remember how I told ya Beared Chibi-Usa is a businessman? Well, some non-nerd businessman got on my boy case for being him; a nerd. I don’t remember much of the details due to the alcohol and drugs, but I recall him shutting their ass down, talking about how he’s a businessman himself and that his company has clients from the companies the non-nerds work for.
Needless to say, he shut their ass down. Ya non-nerds should really let go of the stereotype of the broke basement nerd still in their parents’ basement. But hey, they’re old fucks. They have about what? 20-30 years of life left, and us young folks are gonna take their jobs overtime. No big deal.
We settle back to my room and we spoke upon various topics, such as grime rap, weight lost, and business. Grime rap. My god, no wonder it has that name. Angry. Aggressive. Blunt. Take what you know about (real) hip-hop culture, give it steroids and make it British. No, not fucking high class sip tea and eat crumpets British. I’m talking the low income, brutal lifestyle of the the British. Rap battles taking place inside decaying buildings and under bridges. Harden street rappers going berserk with their personal attacks against rivals and enemies. You got your feelings hurt? Fuck you, you’re a grime rapper. Suck it up.
No wonder my boy got me hip to this genre. I can see myself bumping this type of music and applying the story behind the music in my writings. I get inspired easily ya know. Speaking of, his talk about business, and how his networks pretty much inspired me to work on my grind, hustle, and brand. Here’s a young dude around my age with his own company, out here making moves and great money. I’m sitting here listening about his work. I’m like “man, if he can do it, so can I.” Granted, it takes hard work, dealing with self-doubts, and overcoming both haters and personal failures to reach what you want in life. This shit doesn’t come overnight.
I’m dragging this story with nonsense filler and I pretty sure you guys want me to talk more about partying and less about my sappy self being inspired. A couple of more folks came over to pregame (who I won’t mention because my uncreative ass can’t come up with fake names). I think we played the godawful broken Sailor Moon Super S fighting game on my laptop, as well as a real fighting game like Super Street Fighter 2. I got bodied in both because alcohol. One of my friends noticed my Sailor Saturn sticker on my laptop and we had a nice chat about why we like and relate to her (socially awkward but love having few but very close friends). Come to think about it, I honestly forgot what happened from between me light partying and when I woke up the next morning.
Fuck it, onto Day 1. A day in which gave me more inspiration from dudes doing better than myself, an convention and hotel staff hating on my alcohol collection, and me having to control my temper to prevent killing somebody who I thought was a friend.
Gotta love room parties. Where else can you find a normally socially awkward Uthena cosplayer drunk off shots of Hennessy flirting with other women, a Future Trunks cosplayer high off coke that he snorted off a Hex Maniac cosplayer’s ass, and two stoned Persona fans talk about who’s best girl(s) in Persona 5? (the answer: Tae and Ohya)
Yea, you could visit multiple room parties. That’s cool and all. But, what is cooler is hosting your own room party. You can become the source of otaku debauchery! I’ll teach you how!
To host a room party, you obviously need a hotel room. Make you have booked a room. Location is key. You want to host your party at the primary convention hotel. Hosting at the secondary hotel isn’t bad either, just as long as it’s not too far from the main hotel(s). Ain’t nobody gonna drive 20 minutes to your lame ass hotel party. A suite, a large single king-size room, or two rooms that are linked are best choices for room partying (depending on how the size of the party you’re planning).
If the convention hotel has a dedicated floor/wing/etc. for parties, request a room on that floor. Some hotels will move your room to the party floor for free, while others require an additional fee (around an extra $100 a night).
Anime Nebraskon (Omaha), Anime Midwest (Chicago), Anime Weekend Atlanta (Atlanta), DragonCon (Altanta) , and Archon (St. Louis) are conventions that I’ve personally attended in which they have a select floor or wing for partying.
The job of a host is showing as much hospitality to your guests as possible. Greet everyone with a smile. Show them respect. Make them feel comfortable and welcomed. This means cleaning the room hours before the party and throughout it, having liquor, juices, soda, food, and water available (which I will cover later). Talk to as many of your guests as possible. Be friendly. Trust me, doing these things will net you repeat visitors for future parties.
Spills and party fouls happen. It’s unavoidable, but that doesn’t mean you can’t clean up (plus, you don’t want cleaning fees on your bill). Cleaning supplies will help you in the long run, and plus, cleaning goes hand-in-hand with hospitality.
Here what you’ll need:
Trashbags: Hotel trashbags are small, weak, and will overflow quick. You want something that’s heavy duty, like Hefty trashbags. 3-7 heavy duty trashbags should be more than enough for your party. Tie a trashbag on the door handle for easy access for trash and waifus alike.
Paper Towels: Paper towels are godsend for messes. Get something strong and absorbent like Brawny or Bounty.
Tip: Don’t use the hotel towels. You’ll need them to dry yourself off , after you’ve washed off the shame of sleeping with that Black Lady (Sailor Moon) cosplayer after the party ended. You know, the one who was way into character calling you “daddy” while you were raw dogging her from behind.
Dish Soap: For difficult stains. Plus the best dish soap smells good.
Disinfection Wipes: Great way to kill germs and reduce con pluage from unwashed, unhealthy virgin nerds.
Febreze: Because people don’t fucking shower at conventions.
Having these simple cleaning products will help you in the long run. You don’t need everything on the list, but it’s useful to have at least trash bags, dish soap, febreze, and paper towels on stand by.
Food and Drinks:
What’s a party without food or drinks? A rather boring one, run by a host who’s most likely a freeloader, expecting others to bring things but not providing anything in exchange. Nobody likes those type of people. You gotta have your own set of food and drinks at your party.
Here what you’ll need:
Alcohol (LEGAL DISCLAIMER: DO NOT SERVE ANYONE UNDER 21)
3 Bottles of plain Vodka
2 Bottles of plain White Rum
2 Bottles of Dark Rum
1 bottle of tequila
1 bottle of gin
1 bottle of Triple Sec
1 bottle of Schnapps
1-3 bottles of Liquer (Peach, Sour Apple, Midori, coffee, etc.)
1 bottle of Rumchata
1 bottle/box or red wine
1 bottle/box or white wine
Case of beer (24-36 pack work best)
1-6 bottles of fruit flavored vodka/rum (pineapple, mango, raspberry, etc.)
Sweet and Sour Mix
24-36 case of bottled water
On the food end, pizza and chicken wings work well. You can order 1-3 pounds of wings and 5 boxes of cheap pizza for an entire party. Convince party goers to put in on the food. Don’t let others mooch off your shit.
Nobody will come to your party if they’re unaware. You must promote it. Create a Facebook event. Speak to people at the convention. Networking is key. Now, if room partying is against hotel rules, keep it on the low. Only tell a very select few people that you can trust.
Besides, you don’t want your party shut down because you let the wrong people in.
As a host, you gotta have rules. Yeah, parties can be chaotic, that’s a given. But you need to lay down some rules and have order to ensure a safe and happy party for you and your guests.
My general rules:
Respect the host and host’s room
Don’t be a creep and make others uncomfortable
Don’t fuck/sleep on my/our bed
Don’t steal. You steal you’re getting your ass beat and booted.
Keep noise at a reasonable level to prevent noise complaints.
No smoking unless it’s a smoking floor, 420 friendly hotel, etc. Also match me. I’ll match you too.
No one under 21 (if serving alcohol)
Just simple universal rules that should work. You can add your own rules for your party depending on the nature.
Hope these tips help! Feel free to apply them to your own parties. Be safe and have fun this con season! If you have any suggestions and advice, please post them in the comments section below!