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Thread: Anime and Cons - are they really for "everyone"?

  1. #1
    San Antonio's Male Stripper ThePlayboyBunny's Avatar
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    Anime and Cons - are they really for "everyone"?

    [RANT INCOMING! There is a TL;DR option for those who really need it >:|]

    I not only belong to the anime sub-culture of life, I also belong to the FGC: the fighting game community. I recently read an article about whether or not "stream monsters" (people who watch live tournaments, but only to troll the chat and annoy the other chat users who are trying to discuss the tournament) were actually...well, important. Like, should we really care about them? Should we even...allow them and their behavior?

    I mention this backstory because it brought up a discussion amongst some friends of mine and I about anime cons.

    See, I'm of the small minority of people who don't actually go to anime cons for the anime or the panels; I go, primarily, to meet (presumably) like-minded people. People who ascribe to any of the following stereotypical traits: anime-lover, Japanophile, nerd, gamer, random, lonely, bullied, fun-when-you-get-to-know, etc etc etc. Those are all some of the many phrases that, I feel, have come to define most everybody that goes to cons. It was my theory, therefore, that people who go to cons, even if they are super shy, reserved, or antisocial, would be more than happy to also do what I do: hope to meet new friends at anime cons.

    Now...my opinions are totally observation-based, just to get that out there, but, really, I've been going to cons since 2006, and, honestly, it really does seem that the "types" of people going to cons are...changing...not in a good way...

    I realize that, honestly, most people that go to cons are rather shy, and even at cons they aren't really used to people just sparking-up conversation. I get that. But like...what I've noticed a lot of in the past 3 years or so are people who either A. come to cons with their "cliques" and have no intention of making any new friends or even really talking to people not involved in their immediate circle of friends, or B. people who are shy, get talked to, and even when people are being totally nice to them and just trying to strike-up a conversation, they just clam-up and either walk away or just try to ignore them.

    I don't expect everybody to be social butterflies, but it just...it honestly hurts me. In the gaming community, socialization is how you get better at your game. It's how you meet people to share tricks with, play online with, etc. At cons, it just...it almost comes off as selfish, or "I want to have my cake and eat it too", like you want to be surrounded by the sub-culture (anime) and its people (con-goers, cosplayers), but you don't really want to...ENGROSS yourself in it. It comes off sorta like those people who go to parties not to actually party but to make a Facebook status about how they went to a rad party.

    Now, okay, this has all just been ranting. What about solutions?

    Well, I mean, there's really nothing you can do truly; people are going to be who they are, and, sadly, cons aren't always the social catalysts they should be.

    Personally, I really think we need more age-restricted events. I don't even mean making cons more exclusive for older people; I mean legitimately making panels have like...a "you must be between this age and this age" sort of thing, as well as the traditional age+ events. I say this because I would really want to see if they could go about making more social-based panels. While anime cons aren't just random meet-n-greets, they are such a great way to function like that. The problem with events like this, of course, is that you don't want to have people of two radically different ages meeting for obvious reasons, which is where the from blank to blank age-restriction comes in.

    That, and I mean, anime does have its rated G stuff, its PG, PG-13, etc, but it also is totally full of all of the higher ratings, as well as its own sub-niche of people who are into said higher ratings. To me, I feel this mixture...honestly distorts the image of anime. While I realize, at the end of the day, it's all anime, but like...I'd really be willing to gamble that an overwhelming majority of con-goers would say their primary interest lies in anime that is for like...ages 16+ or so (don't yell at me if you aren't one of them lol). I would never force my view of anime on a con if I were in charge, but, again, I feel there has to be a certain sense of realism here.

    Given that Japan is a totally foreign culture to ours and is one that tends to be extremely relaxed about graphic depictions of violence, sex, substance abuse, so on, I really feel that places a heavier burden given not only its content but its prevalence in anime.

    So, let's just conclude, or TL;DR this

    TL;DR version: I honestly am of the opinion that anime cons are just...not being populated by the right kinds of people anymore. I feel that socialization is rarily helped or addressed given that most panels are look-and-listen based instead of interactive or social in nature. I feel that the two main reasons to go to anime cons: to be surrounded by your interest (1) and to meet people of like-minded interests (2) need to cross, and that a lot of people these days either go for neither of these reasons, or they only go for the first one.

    Looking forward to hearing you guys' thoughts if ya has any. Hopefully I didn't ramble too much; definitely in need of sleep at this wonderful hour @_@;;
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  2. #2
    Soulful Soul altair's Avatar
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    Wow. Long rant is long. Anyways…

    Well, I don't have much experience going to cons (I started my con-going days in 2009) but I can vouch on the "little socialization" problem going on. Honestly, I can't start up a conversation with a complete stranger. I'm not shy; I just don't know what the hell to start talking about. But when people start talking to me, I'm all about being social. I think that's why I primarily go to cons. Not because I love the culture (I used in Japan and yet I only have a few mangas under my belt) but because I love interacting with people (especially when wearing a costume). So I find myself wandering around the hallways looking for cool costumes or interesting people instead of really going to any of the panels. Because, face it, many of the panels are the "sit-down and shut-up" types. There's little interaction between the audience members. I'm not saying that there aren't interactive panels out there, because there are, but I think there should be more. But, that's my opinion :]
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  3. #3
    I'll play the devil's advocate and agree, but it's because it's the sign of the times. Allow me to explain how kids rolled conventions before the rise of the internet.

    More likely than not you spent your first day just wandering around watching people, seeing what they were interested in. If you were lucky someone is watching you and spots you, the congregation starts immediately separating people into fandoms, hobbies, and reasons they're interested in being at the convention. Sometimes, if you were lucky, the convention would put up bulletin boards so people can make messages out to others to do things. The first day was always about congregating, planning, etc.

    By the second day the groups have formed, but the people who are late to the party are still welcome of course. Sometimes the "party" splits to go do their own things, but they've already agreed where to meet back. All day Saturday is about being with that "party" you were able to find yourself in. Then Sunday rolls, everyone's sad to see others go, contact information shared people hug and everyone is on their way, good times... good times. But sadly, the use of the internet has changed it all! That and social media.

    Nowadays you don't even need to go to conventions to "find people", you've already found them whether it's on Facebook, some other website that shares your interest, and even here. And why go and find people in public face to face to "know them" when you it's easier to talk to them with some slight anonymity over the span of several months and then decide, "Yes, I will find this person at the convention and hang with them." or "I don't like this person, I will make effort to avoid him." Even while I'm typing this people are deciding whether they are going to avoid me come convention time and that is freaking sad. The "new" convention is no longer a place to meet people, it's an excuse to get out and see your friends. It's sad!

    Granted, there is people out there to meet, I meet them all the time, but you gotta look hard and you gotta look everywhere. And sure if you're gutsy enough to approach whole group, with their inside jokes and their obvious unity, and be one of them you're in. But considering the standard social-anxiety ridden convention-goer, no, that is not gonna happen.

    And even if you try, the internet has also given us the great fear of what we don't know immediately putting everything in a "Us against Them" dynamic. Once again, very sad.
    ---------------------------------------------

    So now I get to the part where I may get a little combative, if you have objections with the way panels operate, if you would like to see these facets be "more interactive", then do something about it. San Japan may have a sponsorship, but we are still a convention made by fans, for fans and any person who roams our convention has just as much capability to make the convention a better event. The only difference is they don't WANT to, because it's easier to sit and criticize and hope someone else does it or because they don't want to do it for free.

    Would you like to think of a better panel that has more interaction, gets people out of there seats, and makes them meet others? Then make one! Send it to Jay in Events, he asks for this stuff all the time. You want a particular age group in it? Put it in the panel description, not everyone is going to adhere but it's better than nothing!

    So I'll close with something San Japan adheres to quite a bit, "If you're not a part of the solution, then you're a part of the problem." Sadly we can't change what the internet has done to conventions, but there are several other things we can change together!
    Michael Hicks
    San Japan Support Director-"Being everywhere and nowhere since '09"

  4. #4
    San Antonio's Male Stripper ThePlayboyBunny's Avatar
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    Altair - Well, I think cons actually have lots of rather obvious ways to start up conversations. Obviously you're not always going to meet people receptive to your attempt, but that's really the worst that could happen. I know I've met several friends just from being stuck in long lines to get into panels or into the con. I've also met people from just discussing our cosplay. Those may sound simple and obvious, but that's because that's like, one of the easiest ways to go about it. Doesn't always work, but, again, the worst thing that could ever happen at a con is somebody just...doesn't want to talk. Oh well.

    Mister Hicks - Hmm, lots of great points to address.

    I find it sad that you bring up the internet if only because there are just...so many rather unfortunate things the internet has done to socialization. I mean, just look up any sociological article about how the internet has, really, separated people, and it just paints a rather bad picture.

    The thing I will say, not to disagree with you but just to put it out there, is that, believe it or not, a lot of con-goers aren't on the internet 24-7. I mean, yes, for many of the con-goers who don't waste their lives on this forum they do waste it on other things like Facebook, MMORPGs, or other online venues, but most of the friends I've met through cons hardly use the internet at all, at least not for social reasons. So, thankfully not everybody is victim to what you describe, but you still are accurate.

    I guess I kinda view the "I'm comfy behind the internet but not face-to-face" people like an OCD counselor would: face your fears to overcome them. I mean, it becomes even more difficult when shy people are not only shy in real life, but are a bit apprehensive online. I wish I had enough time to get to know all of them on a deep, personal level to help try to liberate them from their shyness, but that just isn't realistic, so I can only really hope that con would act as that catalyst.

    As far as getting involved, I totally see your point and don't find it combative at all. The thing is, currently, I'm not taking this up as like, a big political cause. These are my views, but I'm not going to make this a movement, not yet, at least. Even if I got a lot of people who agreed with me behind me, I wouldn't want to suggest any changes unless they were sound, and even then, I tend to be a rather revolutionary, let's-start-over-and-rebuild-intelligently sort of person, and big change can be frowned upon understandably.

    So, as far as getting involved is concerned, I view myself as I am: one person with a large set of opinions. I can only really do what one person can do. I mean, yes, I could always send Jay suggestions, and I may take up that offer, but I don't honestly expect to make much headway.

    Nevertheless, I don't view cons as -flawed-, rather, I'm viewing them as -unfortunate-. I feel as though the effort put into them has to be matched by people who appreciate it that much, and who adhere to the unwritten, suggested social norms. I honestly do find it a bit ungrateful to do otherwise. I know that some of the absolute most important characters to my life's story have been met at cons, and that has its roots in a very simple concept: we met at a place because of the theoretical likelihood that we would have not only things in common, but similar lifestyles given our interest. To me, that's huge. I love that potential and the fact that it's happened enough times to call it consistent.

    I don't think that cons are on the decline, rather, I fear that they are being increasingly populated by people who aren't out to add to the socialization of cons, which is just such an integral part.
    I'm an advice-giver, listener, and psychiatrist by day
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    I exist to explain dreams
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    I am here to keep it classy
    And then I am here to party

  5. #5
    Regularly Showing Up SonicRenegade84's Avatar
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    I can't very well speak for the people who go out and try to meet people because I admit, i'm one of those people who go to meet my friends but I also try to meet other people as well. Each con i've been to, i've meet somebody and I still talk to them today. Sure some friends i've made from other cons have come and gone, but most have stayed. So really, there may be some people who go with their "cliques" or whatever you want to call them but if you look hard enough you'll see that there ARE some people who are looking for friends just as much as you are.

    Now if you want a rant about anime cons today, this is my rant. I'm noticing alot of cons are starting to split away from anime and are starting to cater to the steampunk, raving and other communities. I'm going to take this year's A-Kon for example. At this year's A-Kon, there were more ravers than there were cosplayers. There were barely any anime panels that were about anime and weren't about "how to do this 101". I know Hentaifest being canceled had to do with the massive line to get into the rave both nights but that is ridiculous I can tell who came to go to the rave or (holy crap) who came to show off their MLP cosplay and who actually came for the anime. Don't get me wrong though - there are still cons that cater to only anime fans. San Japan does this incredibily well and that's why I keep coming back every year. I do agree with some people when they say that the rave needs to be taken out, because honestly, if all you're coming for IS the rave, then there are way better raves in San Antonio or Dallas that you can go to than con raves (unless you love vocaloid remixes or dubstep).

    /sort of rant

  6. #6
    Past 10 Posts Ushiko's Avatar
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    Please don't take this the wrong way, but you kind of answered your own question:
    Quote Originally Posted by ThePlayboyBunny View Post
    See, I'm of the small minority of people who don't actually go to anime cons for the anime or the panels
    ...
    I feel that the two main reasons to go to anime cons: to be surrounded by your interest (1) and to meet people of like-minded interests (2) need to cross, and that a lot of people these days either go for neither of these reasons, or they only go for the first one.
    Without meaning to "bash" you personally, you're basically saying "I don't go to ANIME cons for the core interest, but I want to be surrounded by people with MY interest or meet people with MY interest". The problem this creates is that you now have little islands of "MY interest". Where in the past, people attended a SciFi con to be surrounded by SciFi nerds or an anime con to be surrounded by anime geeks or a Comic con to hang out with comic geeks, you now have cons trying to be "all things to all people". The problem that creates is: if the con is ALL anime geeks, you have no fear (or at least, less fear) of turning to your fellow fan and talking about anime, because if they're there, they MUST share your interest. But in the current environment, it's clear that that isn't always the case, thus if you're an anime geek who knows if that other person will know what you're talking about, or care to listen, or even (worst case, but happens now) makes fun of you for what you like. Heck, like SonicRenegade said, how many people go to cons almost EXCLUSIVELY for the "rave" now? What do you think that does to the mindset of introverted geeks who avoid clubs because they're intimidated by that scene?

  7. #7
    San Antonio's Male Stripper ThePlayboyBunny's Avatar
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    *sigh* Dubstep has no place in San Japan. It's such a divisive genre that they really just need separate raves.

    Ksorry ^^;;

    I'm aware that there are others like me who like going because they like the people and are okay with socialization. I just feel that they are becoming fewer and fewer, and while I'm not one of those people who complain that "all the vets/OGs/regs are leaving because of all the new people", like I said, it just feels disproportionate.

    Ah yes, the splitting away from anime...

    I remember going to Ikkicon 2011 and looking at their program and seeing, like, 3 days worth of constant steampunk panels. Not that they didn't run anime panels; they ran them side-by-side. But...this goes back to that whole "distorting the image of anime" thing I'd mentioned earlier. I realize that anime conventions tend to just be "generic nerd consortium", but like, steampunk has gotten large enough now that they can have their own cons, and I gotta admit, anybody willing to pay the entrance fee to San Japan just for a not-terrible-but-only-slightly-mediocre rave is dedicated XD.

    And things like the MLP fad are really even worse for cons than gamers or steampunk or ravers. Putting aside my personal grudge against that whole "brony" subculture, anime very specifically relates to JAPANESE animation. The whole brony thing, and others like it, is just another internet meme gone horribly wrong. I know that most people who use memes liberally tend to be, unfortunately, anime fans as well, but the extent of their presence at anime cons should be relegated to cosplay photoshoots and maybe a booth that sells related materials.

    Again, I realize that San Japan having two raves, steam punk panels, and MLP panels might appear to be making its audience more diverse, and thus more attractive to more types of people, but I really think that being a bit too liberal and generous with your panels and whatnot ultimately fractions the whole point of the con, so much so that it's no longer an anime con; it's just an "insert your nerdy obsession here" gathering.
    I'm an advice-giver, listener, and psychiatrist by day
    and a wild, party-starting, life-of-the-party male entertainer by night
    I exist to explain dreams
    And then I aim to fulfill them
    I am here to keep it classy
    And then I am here to party

  8. #8
    My observations, as someone who has been attending conventions even though I have been absent from these forums for quite a long while, are as follows:

    You barely touch on this, TPB, but yes, the fanDOMS included tend to be other things than anime now. Homestuck, MLP, that supposedly god-awful Minecraft ball (was that here or at Ikkicon? i forget).. but the fans are the same. Ask an MLP fan if they like anime. Ask a Homestuck fan, a Steampunker. These all may be fan islands, but they're all within hopping distance. I'd say they're overlapping but for the purpose of the metaphor that's impossible because then it would be just one island. But that's how it is. I suppose what I'm trying to say is that the Homestuck and MLP splinters are natural given the psychographic of the average anime fan. With that said, I'd have to agree that it might certainly *appear* to be diversifying, the con really isn't.

  9. #9
    You wa shock! excaliborg's Avatar
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    I usually look for groups of people that share my interests at cons: The regulars on the DDR machine and people spinning glowsticks/poi at the mini raves. Some of the people that I go with are pretty good at finding cool people so I have not had these problems over the past few years since I started going to cons.

    There will most likely always be groups as stated above that might make others feel annoyed/uncomfortable, but for the most part, as some of you also pointed out, if you attempt to start a conversation with a stranger that appears to be around the same age/seems to have a similar interest, the result is usually positive. This happened to me at SJ last year and Mizuumi this year with K-Pop fans. I was waiting for the elevator when I noticed a girl had a 2NE1 bracelet on which lead to a conversation to pass some time during that long elevator wait, then at M Con I spent a good half hour or so talking to people that were hanging around waiting for the k pop panel which was a ton of fun.

    This is quite an interesting topic, I know that I plan on trying to meet more people outside of my usual hang out spots this year, and I hope that others reading this thread will try to do the same to some degree.

  10. #10
    The Sweet Apple Acre Princess Puritysan's Avatar
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    Point and fact, all these fans part of the "subcultures" are apart of the same parent culture. Anime.
    So, expanding to include things along the lines of steampunk panels, or mlp panels, etc etc, isn't really reaching out at all.

    You'll be hardpressed to find a mlp fan who isn't into anime, really. I surely haven't. -shrug-
    The only 'subculture' I think we've reached out to, is the Rennies, really. Because, well, some of them are just full rennie, and some of them realized that hey, I've got costume making skill, there's a market in this, so they started researching anime. And then they became part of the anime culture.

    ...in the end, it's all the same people.

    Now if you want someone that's on the other end of the spectrum, try a comic book fan.
    Like, just comic books, not these half and halfers.

    Full on comic bookie.

    Yeah. There's something WAAAY out there.

    But I was going to originally come here to say is, while a con can stop the panels and stuff, you cannot stop the cosplayer. xD


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  11. #11
    I would like to add more of my perspective to another aspect of this topic, both in the sense of the social environment and in the fandoms.

    I've chosen not to cosplay any of my interests at San Japan. (apparently i'm also not attending this year but that's another matter) Here's why: fangirls.

    First, a quick backstory, but a quite relevant one. Many, MANY years ago, I used to go to A-Kon with my brothers and my dad. My older bros were into it first so me and my younger brother 'inherited' the interest. Anyway, we were young and amazed by the sheer size of the crowds, but one aspect that was the most fun to me was cosplay. It was so fun when me and my older brother dressed up as Mario and Luigi. We got stopped for pics everywhere, it was such a blast. We go to this con for a few years, and soon after Kingdom Hearts II comes out I decide I want to cosplay as Sora. It seemed fun enough, not quite as fun as Mario and Luigi, but fun.

    But then something happens. I am walking with my family through the crowds when I get a tap on the shoulder from someone who then literally dragged me to a photoshoot. My father was okay with it, and I was excited.. but only because neither of us knew better. I get to this big (and surprisingly empty) stretch of what was essentially a giant room, where all these cosplayers had gathered. Mostly Organization, which I scoffed at, but eh. Also randomly a Cloud. And there aren't even any photographers in the beginning. Naturally, I'm confused. But they tell me that it's normal to start off with some floor games. Okay, whatever, I go with the flow. The games are tame. Then we get to the photoshoot. Instantly the others begin a bizarre sexual pantomime. I was shocked and disgusted. I was only, I think, 11. I suppose I looked a bit older because of my stature or something, but still. It was awful. I stood there, jaw agape and probably looked like a deer in headlights in the photos I never bothered to research upon arriving home.

    I guess my resolve was stronger than that though, because I didn't stop cosplaying there. My next and last cosplay, one which I got SRS BIZNESS about, was Shipwreck of G.I. Joe fame. I loved G.I. Joe, so I put my heart and soul into making it perfect, even going so far as to borrow my grandfather's naval rank patch because it happened to be the same rank as Shipwreck. It only helped that I debuted it at Ikkicon, where I figured it'd be more welcome as, back then, I figured the steampunk theme somehow meant I'd be more welcome. The opposite happened. I either got made fun of because of a certain Village Person, or ignored. It was awful, and over the past few years, and after seeing the horrors of fangirls and their penchant for gay pairings online, I decided mere months ago that I'd never cosplay my interests again.

    Okay, so that was a story rather than a perspective, but I hope it made my point anyway.

  12. #12
    The Bald Voice From Above Proz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tampopo View Post
    And I'll just add my own little rant: I don't get why a lot of anime cons also call themselves "Japanese culture" conventions when the con itself features no panels or events pertaining to actual Japanese culture. There is a difference between Japanese pop culture and actual Japanese culture. I know San Japan and Mizuumicon have things like tea ceremony and Ikebana and calligraphy, so in that sense they can use that title convention, but if the con doesn't have any of that why call it a Japanese culture convention? Just saying...
    When SJ was being started, our intent was to incorporate a lot of Japanese culture. We talked to JASSA and universities, they came on out but then they gave a reaction that the hyper energy and loud noise was too much so they weren't interested to help us out again for future conventions. I've slowly been dropping the Japanese culture from the advertising and letting people know that it is an anime-focused convention. We're open to many things. Seeing what people have submitted to SJ5, I'm actually anticipating a bit of a backlash. Lets just say that the other fandom genres are taking notice.

    (Sometimes I feel like we've become the 800lb Gorilla of S.A. Fandom but still in the shadows of the 2ton Gorilla in Dallas when it comes to TX conventions.)

    Quote Originally Posted by ThePlayboyBunny View Post
    I remember going to Ikkicon 2011 and looking at their program and seeing, like, 3 days worth of constant steampunk panels. Not that they didn't run anime panels; they ran them side-by-side. But...this goes back to that whole "distorting the image of anime" thing I'd mentioned earlier. I realize that anime conventions tend to just be "generic nerd consortium", but like, steampunk has gotten large enough now that they can have their own cons, and I gotta admit, anybody willing to pay the entrance fee to San Japan just for a not-terrible-but-only-slightly-mediocre rave is dedicated XD.

    And things like the MLP fad are really even worse for cons than gamers or steampunk or ravers. Putting aside my personal grudge against that whole "brony" subculture, anime very specifically relates to JAPANESE animation. The whole brony thing, and others like it, is just another internet meme gone horribly wrong. I know that most people who use memes liberally tend to be, unfortunately, anime fans as well, but the extent of their presence at anime cons should be relegated to cosplay photoshoots and maybe a booth that sells related materials.

    Again, I realize that San Japan having two raves, steam punk panels, and MLP panels might appear to be making its audience more diverse, and thus more attractive to more types of people, but I really think that being a bit too liberal and generous with your panels and whatnot ultimately fractions the whole point of the con, so much so that it's no longer an anime con; it's just an "insert your nerdy obsession here" gathering.
    On Ikkicon, one of the former co-heads was much more into other genres other than Anime which was brought out. It did create a fracture to their rep but they pulled back on making it an overload for the last Ikkicon. This person has since been removed from Ikkicon so it'll be interesting to see what they do.

    After this year for SJ there will be a refocus. I can already tell you that we've gotten over over a dozen Steampunk submissions with plenty of MLP and Homestuck panel submissions too. Even with an established Steampunk convention in S.A., we've gotten hundreds of people saying they will only come to SJ for the Steampunk programming. I already know AnimeFest has put the hammer down this year saying they will only have Anime or Japanese-related programming. We have the function space this year that we can be diverse but when does it become too much? This is the tough questions that we're going to have to ask after SJ5.

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Sebastian View Post
    You barely touch on this, TPB, but yes, the fanDOMS included tend to be other things than anime now. Homestuck, MLP, that supposedly god-awful Minecraft ball (was that here or at Ikkicon? i forget)..
    That was SJ but there was many other logistical probs that went wrong when MEK selected that theme. I've already been told what the theme is for this year and I think it'll be much more acceptable for the anime crowd. Having 2.5x the space will help out a lot too.
    In Charge Of The Chaos

  13. #13
    I am sort of saddened to hear that while this year's convention theme is about old school throwbacks that we will have panel programming that will be "splintered" and catering to a wider basis.

    Not like I ever get to go to panels anyway since I'm so busy running around. But still I am a bit disappointed.
    Last edited by Mister Hicks; 06-16-2012 at 05:02 PM.
    Michael Hicks
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  14. #14
    Needs More Minions gothlibrarian's Avatar
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    I, for one, hope you keep the steampunk (at least cosplay) at San Japan primarily because I am an anime freak and my husband is a steampunk freak. Plus we both LOVE costumes. SJ 1 was my first ever con and I can say it changed my life. I had no idea there was this whole subculture. I have noticed more older people going to San Japan than at first. It's no longer just pre teens and teens but lots of college kids and a few old farts like me. I also appreciate the freedom to cosplay whatever you like. The first year or maybe the second I saw Santa, Star Trek costumes and Doctor Who among the anime related cosplay and it was totally cool. But regardless I will likely keep going to SJ whatever happens.


    To the original poster I don't understand what you mean exactly by "everyone." You can't control who goes to a con and/or who will talk to you.
    Cosplays for SJ 8
    Don't know yet. :/
    I really want to do the Folktales panel again because it was well attended and I plan on making it even better!
    I'm a 14 year old girl trapped in the body of a forty-something year old librarian.

  15. #15
    The Sweet Apple Acre Princess Puritysan's Avatar
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    I don't think proz is gonna stop cosplayers from cosplaying what they want.
    Or throw a hammer down on steampunk tables in the dealers/artist alley.

    I believe we're just talking programming in general. Usersubmitted Panels and such. NEED MOAR ANIME CONTENT.
    Do it by priorities. Anime Programming gets top of the list, and then work down from there.


    Eyyyyyyy Sexy Cosplay~
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  16. #16
    San Antonio's Male Stripper ThePlayboyBunny's Avatar
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    Okay, lots of awesome posts here, so I’ll get to each of you. Thanks for the contributions, by the way.

    Darth Sebastian 1 – The thing is, how much further are we going to splinter-off? I mean, already there are photoshoots for things not really related to anime or Japan at all, such as Resident Evil, Phoenix Wright, etc. The thing is, they are video games, and have either manga or movies or both. Furthermore, most people who are diehard enough fans of the games to cosplay wind up being anime fans. So, really, I don’t think we can say “well, MLP/Homestuck people all generally like anime, hence why they have panels at anime cons.” To me, all that’s really saying is that when one sub-group gets large enough, their presence has to be met for anime cons JUST BECAUSE their members all happen to like anime. That isn’t justifiable. I don’t mind scheduling meet-ups places, but to occupy actual panel space that could be used for something else…just isn’t right.

    Puritysan 1 – My response to you is likely similar to the one I gave to Darth Sebastian above. Let’s be clear on something here: anime is not the “parent culture” of steampunk or My Little Pony. Steampunk and MLP have absolutely nothing to do with anime, at least not directly. Steampunk has been a genre long before things like “Steam Boy” and Final Fantasy touched on it. My Little Pony isn’t Japanese; it is, as is the case with pretty much every Hasbro cartoon, based around the toy line. We really do need to keep our nerds separated. We’ve already seen how comic book people and gamers have their own cons and don’t flood anime cons with requests for panels. While you could argue that comics and video games are not as related to Japan and anime as steampunk and MLP, I’d heavily disagree. Comics really were where anime got their inspiration from, and pretty much every gaming franchise is Japanese in origin and well known (and well cosplayed) throughout the anime culture. Like I said, I don’t care that steampunk and MLP have managed to plant their tendrils into our culture, they are now largely big enough to be marginalized appropriately. That said, I’m not trying to stop any cosplayers; I’m trying to suggest that the image and intention of anime conventions need to be understood and respected by the patrons.

    Darth Sebastian 2 – Honestly, whatever point you were hoping got made I totally didn’t get. Like…if you were saying your perspective on cosplayers, that they, in your opinion, are like…perverted or immature or something, I wouldn’t really know what to tell you. I mean, I was a band nerd in middle school, a theatre kid in high school, and am currently a gamer and anime con-goer now, and all I can tell you is that any general subculture that gets pigeonholed as “nerdy” really does tend to be filled with a vast amount of both salient sexuality as well as immaturity. Not that I’m degrading my fellow nerds; immaturity and overt sexuality is just everywhere in all cultures. However, I mean, there’s a whole psychological thing behind certain nerdy subculture that I don’t really want to get into for the sake of going off topic, but I mean…all I can say is, I’m sorry you’ve had bad experiences for your cosplay. You had said you were 11, and, again, this brings me back to the question: are cons for everyone? When I was 11, I know I wouldn’t have cared for what you experienced, but we’re all different people. I guess just…try to ignore the stupidity of others, even if it is all around you.

    Tampopo 1 – Lol, the only thing I can really comment on is that last bit. The problem with Japanese culture is that it is, in my opinion, rather difficult to have a successful Japanese, non-anime convention, because I honestly feel a lot of people, even Japanophiles, would wind up getting bored. Most people are into Japanese culture, but they don’t want to just observe others; they themselves wanted to be engrossed, which returns up to one of my original points: make conventions more interactive, less observation-based.

    Now, okay, so if my assumption is accurate, how does that relate to anime cons? Well, it relates because anime cons could totally find the space to run…almost a hybrid, half-anime half-Japanese convention, therefore the anime people and the Japanese people can pick according to what they fancy more, and that wouldn’t totally distort the image and intention of the anime con because Japanese culture IS actually related hand-in-hand to anime. The only problem is that trying to set up Japanese panels can be difficult. What are you trying to do? Who is professional enough to not only know enough about it, but to be able to talk about it for a long enough time? Is the panel going to be boring? What is going to be in the panel?

    These sorts of questions can make it extremely difficult to run something that isn’t “obvious”, like a lot of anime panels are. I think it’s doable, but I also think all the people in charge of the con have to think this is going to be a good idea. Is it worth all the time and effort securing all of these things just to get 10 people? Doubtful, so you’d have to have more confidence, both in your people and in your panel.

    All in all, I think it’d be a positive step for anime cons, but only if done properly.

    Tampopo 2 – Well, we could definitely go into how they are different, but what I was mostly getting at with that point is that, to me, I feel that the sheer amount of anime that has a heavy focus on graphic violence and gore, sexuality, and substance abuse winds up becoming an absolute trait of anime. I feel that, and this may be an extreme example, while it is totally possible to avoid R-rated films even if you’re an avid film buff, I find it so much harder to avoid anime with similar content. I mean, just look at the top 2 most famous, most heavily-regarded anime of all time: Neon Genesis Evangelion and Cowboy Bebop. Both are most definitely not for young people, and given their general themes, I wouldn’t even say they’re for anybody under 18 if only because they won’t be able to relate. Basically, I feel anime has a very “gateway” nature to it, if only because so many of the “classics” of anime also happen to be full of nudity, violence, and so on. I realize that most of us wind up becoming desensitized and ignoring all of that, but that point was only made to address the whole “for everyone bit”. I feel that because so many anime, especially the popular and landmark ones, are rooted into more mature themes, anime winds up finding a home in the primarily 16 and up crowd. While I realize anime is extremely popular with people ages 10-15, I don’t honestly feel that anime AS A CULTURE is really for them.

    Proz – I appreciate you taking the time to address my thread. Well, when it comes to addressing other things, such as steampunk and MLP, as has been said above in multiple ways, I feel as though what we’re seeing is a culture that is growing, but until it grows as large as anime, they basically use anime conventions as their outpost, under the excuse that “hey, we’re into anime too.” This example is a bit much so don’t take this as my insulting steampunk or MLP or other fandoms, but I kind of view anime conventions as I would parties. We’re all here for the same reason: anime, in the case of cons, and to get wasted and have a good time, in the case of parties. However, not all people enjoy parties the same. Some want to take their time and just drink casually on the side. Some want to play games, like beer pong or king’s cup. Some do shots, others chug. Either way, even though we’re doing different things, we’re all achieving the same general goal. The problem arises, of course, when somebody drinks too much and takes it too far. You aren’t being a bad friend or a bad host for telling your friend, “Hey, you’ve had enough, it’s time to cut you off. You can still hang with us, but you can’t drink.”

    So, we allow gaming tournaments for gamers, the dance for the ravers, and we have booths dedicated entirely to selling steampunk wares and MLP things. We also have rooms where sub-groups can meet up, chat, photoshoot, etc.

    But like my example, this is just people going about their con experience differently. We’ve addressed all of the subcultures, whetted their appetite, we’re all happy. But, when these sub groups start getting too big, I feel as though they are, truly, going to ruin the party if we let them get too big. As I’d referenced with my Ikkicon experience, one of the girls I went to Ikkicon with and I literally spent over half of Saturday walking around Austin. SATURDAY, as in, the best day of the con. All because the anime panels were whack, and the only other option (panel-wise) was steampunk.

    In the same way that I would have no problem with a friend of mine crashing at my place until he could save up money and leave, I’d also have to kick him out if he wasn’t doing his part and was just accruing money but then not leaving.

    If what some of the posters above said is true, that some people would only go to anime conventions for the rave, games, steampunk, MLP, whatever, isn’t that a clear sign that they need to be excluded from having panels so that they can go to their own events?

    Mister Hicks – Old school throwbacks? What am I missing?

    Gothlibrarian – I never said anything about controlling cosplay. Cosplay is the one thing I feel should have next to no regulations (besides obvious things like weaponry).

    I’m also not saying we should set restrictions on entry. Rather, I’m saying that cons are becoming too accessible for all the wrong reasons. I realize that the fewer restrictions you put on panel entry the more people you will, in theory, get to your convention because that’s accessibility. My point in this thread is that I don’t feel that the patrons are really understanding what they’re going to, and what sorts of behavior is within the intrinsic nature of an anime convention.

    So, no, I’m not saying we need to “control” who goes, nor am I saying we need to “control” socialization. My whole bit on socialization is that I feel as though people who are not the best socializers come to a con that in next-to-no-way pushes the concept of socialization and wind up just…honestly wasting space and bringing down what I feel cons stand for. I realize we cannot actually control it, but we can adhere to a core principle called “conveyance” and try to use panels AS A MECHANISM to enhance the social experience. A lot of the reason people have a hard time being social is because they lack guidance and motivation. They also tend to have a lot of paranoia and apprehensions that hold them back. Utilizing panels to affect this will solve both problems by giving people the motivation to talk whereas easing apprehensiveness by having all people talk about similar things.

    I could go on, but I’m not here to promote my fantasy ideas for a con. Rather, I’m here to complain about people that aren’t social XD
    I'm an advice-giver, listener, and psychiatrist by day
    and a wild, party-starting, life-of-the-party male entertainer by night
    I exist to explain dreams
    And then I aim to fulfill them
    I am here to keep it classy
    And then I am here to party

  17. #17
    I should clarify, first and foremost, that I never meant to necessarily justify these "splinter" presences at anime conventions, merely provide a possible explanation for why they are happening. It would seem that you agree to as much. As for your first little bit there about manga/anime *based on* games there, you MAAAAY be treating that a little too black and white for how gray it really is. But I digress.

  18. #18
    Well Playboy the "theme" for San Japan is generally changing case in point the third was cutesy-ness since we called it ":3" or how last year was internet memes because it was "San Japan 4TW".

    This year San Japan's theme is "Mach 5" as in Speed Racer, but specifically a shout-out to the classics we know and love. Which leads me to say that is a little saddening to hear that is the theme but this year's paneling is more splintered than usual.

    But San Japan is a convention that learns, it will try it and hear people whine about it and improve, or it will work and it won't need fixing.
    Michael Hicks
    San Japan Support Director-"Being everywhere and nowhere since '09"

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by ThePlayboyBunny View Post
    Tampopo 2 – Well, we could definitely go into how they are different, but what I was mostly getting at with that point is that, to me, I feel that the sheer amount of anime that has a heavy focus on graphic violence and gore, sexuality, and substance abuse winds up becoming an absolute trait of anime. I feel that, and this may be an extreme example, while it is totally possible to avoid R-rated films even if you’re an avid film buff, I find it so much harder to avoid anime with similar content. I mean, just look at the top 2 most famous, most heavily-regarded anime of all time: Neon Genesis Evangelion and Cowboy Bebop. Both are most definitely not for young people, and given their general themes, I wouldn’t even say they’re for anybody under 18 if only because they won’t be able to relate.
    That is a VERY narrow (and misdirected) lens you're looking through. While Cowboy Bebop is well regarded, Evangelion is well known but debatably very "controversial". But even with that in mind, NEITHER of those are the "most famous". THE most famous anime are (in order):
    Pokemon, Dragonball Z & Sailor Moon ALL of which were originally aimed at children and NONE of which feature any of the points you mention above. Dragonball's violence is "cartoony" at worst (even in the original uncut version). And if you want, I can name you ten more popular (in many cases, even "classic") anime that don't feature any of the "R-rated" content you're saying is the hallmark of anime.

    Now, to be sure, "adult" content is one thing that helps differentiate anime from American cartoons, but it's simplistic and lazy to claim that since you love anime with adult content anime cons should reflect your narrow band. What about the girls that grew up on Sailor Moon or Fruits Basket? What about the guys that loved Slam Dunk or Initial D or Touch? What about the old school SciFi fans that paved the way with Robotech or bought early releases like Gall Force or traded with Japanese for Legend of Galactic heroes? Or what about Fushigi Yuugi or Project A-Ko or Gundam Wing or Trigun or a hundred other series from before the year 2000 (or even from before 2005) that people know and love? (heck, Bebop and Eva are from the mid-90s)

    You wanna go all Battle Royale High School in your head, that's fine, but there's a LOT more than just that out there. I don't want to wallow in graphic violence, sexuality OR substance abuse and I easily and happily find anime that fits that bill. If you want more adult programming, then get up and work on some or find people that can, the con is what you make it.

  20. #20
    TPB may have been a bit wrong but I see what he means. Even past the stories I shared where fans corrupted something that was supposed to be innocent, there are MANY popular animes out there that are less than moral. Death Note, PSG, Naruto, Bleach, FMA, Tengen Toppa Gurenn Lagann, Black Butler, Hellsing, Lucky Star, FLCL, Hetalia, and the list goes on and on, and at one point or another they've all been insanely popular at conventions. Whether subtle or not, the animes I just listed have darker sides. And, hell, there's an entire GENRE dedicated pretty much to sexual tension: harem anime. Even if we look at the ones which have made "classics" lists of people who don't watch anime, like Akira or Ghost in The Shell, what are those loaded with? Graphic violence.

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