Monday, October 24, 2011

Anime Conventions

Most people know what a convention is: a gathering of people with a common interest. That common interest can be anything from politics, to computers, to animals, and even food. Also, there are different technical names for a convention: political convention, fan convention, or a trade convention.

A political convention can literally explain itself, but, it's the meeting of a political party to select party candidates for a future voting; a fan convention is a gathering of fans of movies, television series, comics, or a whole genre of science fiction, anime, and/or manga; a trade convention is an organized show which companies attend to display and test their new products.

So, to continue with where I was going in the title, "anime conventions" fall in the fan convention group and are events that gather people to meet voice actors, artists, musicians, people with interest in the Japanese culture, and with the same interests that focus on anime and manga. Some anime conventions are small and some are quite big.

In West Virginia, we have our very own convention: Tsubasacon. Started by Jeffery Mace; tsubasa means wings in Japanese, and, of course, con meaning convention. It started in 2004 at the Charleston Civic Center, was there for two years (2004-2005), then moved to the Big Sandy Superstore Arena in Huntington, West Virginia. In 2010, Tsubasacon had 1,104 paid attendees. Tsubasacon has happened in the months of November, October, and September. This past year, a "mini-con" or midyear celebration happened in Huntington's Ritter Park in June, with activities such as a picnic, games, a charity raffle, and cosplay photography.

Cosplay, or costume play, features people dressed as their favorite character from video games, anime, or even manga. A cosplay contest at Tsubascon features creators of every skill level, gives awards for best costume to best skit, and is the most popular event of the convention. Other activities at the convention are as entertaining as they are creative!

Viewing rooms show anime and live action films non-stop; workshops of information for studying abroad, cosplay creation, and martial art demonstrations; a vending area where shops can sell anime related clothing and merchandise, also Japanese items, and manga books, during the convention; artists' alley, so artists can sell and display their fan art (art made by fans, for fans); game shows to test attendees knowledge of anime and chances for prizes; a video game room where people play games on a variety of consoles; a mystery dinner event where customers at a local restaurant are given tasks to complete in order to solve/prevent a convention-related crisis; musical performances and a rave; and one of the most important events: panels, where voice actors talk about their voicing work, industry work, future work, and lives.

Voice Actors are people who do the dubbing of Japanese anime, video games, and live action Japanese movies in to American English for non-subtitle show, game, and movie sales. The shows, games, and even movies can be purchased on dvd/bluray, watched on sites like hulu, funimation, youtube, and lots of other sites. The American voice acting is done in studios, like where you would record a song, in Texas at Funimation or at NYAV Post in New York. To record a dubing actor/actress, there are auditions and callbacks like any other acting job, but this is proven to be harder; voice acting requires the matching of words to "mouth flaps" of the animated character. Three beeps, and then you record your voice to match the mouth flaps.

This job opens up a lot of opportunities: recording music, books on Cd's or for download, live theater or even movie and TV acting. Voice actors appear at anime conventions to support the business of anime and manga production. Conventions are fun for all ages, toddlers up to adults. Tsubasacon has it's own website, for updates and social networks for attendees. Even if you don't like anime, and just like video games or manga, then I suggest you check out the convention!







Find a convention near you!:

Check out my youtube playlists for anime, voice actors, and Japanese/Korean culture:

Yoroshiku onegaishimasu!

(please take care of me)



strugglingathlete said...

Wow that sounds like an amazing time! How many have you been too, and does that many people really show up to the Charleston Convention Center? Who is your favorite character to dress up as?

KittieKathleen said...

I have only been to one convention, and that was Tsubasacon in 2003. The convention was moved from the Charlseston area to Huntington, where people from Ohio, Kentucky, and Virginia would have a chance to come as well. To cosplay you need a lot of imagination, time, material, and money. You can be anyone, girl or boy, heck people also dress as the opposite sex of themselves; I've never cosplayed as a character but I would love to one day!

musicchairscomealive said...

I wish you wrote this three years ago when I met some of my friends that love anime.They just came back from the last con and went to the picnic this summer.Maybe you one day publish an outsider's guide to cons like the hipster handbook.Very tongue and cheek.