Sunday, April 6, 2008

Reflections on Anime Boston (Pt 1)

There are many things I want to write about in this blog, many things that have struck me in the last week to two weeks. I've mentioned I went to Anime Boston. I really enjoyed the experience too. Though I don't think I'm likely to ever go back just for the sake of the con. This has nothing to do with the organization of the con, or the people I met. In fact I fell in love with the concept of commissioning art, so if anything Anime Boston will always be a milestone in my relationship to art.

But the thing was, I've watched Naruto, with the fan subtitles (cause that's the best way for me - I enjoy hearing the original Japanese voice actors) and I adore Bleach (OMG I can squee and fan girl) and yet I'm not particularly FANNISH about any of them.

Now I feel like I need to go into some big discussion on the definition of fannish and where I come from and it comes from and my formulation as a self aware fan through media fandom and the internet and the primarily female centric/created space I've been in for the past seven or so years. But that, truthfully, would be a digression. I'm going to assume that when I say fannish that it can at least be understood as. things. that. rocked. my. world.

I may squee for BLEACH, but CLAYMORE, FATE / STAY NIGHT, JUUNI KOKKI aka THE TWELVE KINGDOMS, these are the shows (and manga) that reach out to me and make me want to share them with everyone. These are the things that make me go 'O. M. G! Saga! Epic! Pathos! Liberte!' Strong storytelling, compelling characters and art and costume/world construction that hits me right in the gut.

AB did not have the shows I am fannish about. Yes, I found Antique Bakery and discovered I would like to read it. And yes I bought myself Toyko Pop's PANTHEON HIGH, which I adore because it's about the gods of mythology, their children, the end days and epic heroic adventures. But PH was also not represented beyond the books at AB.

It was very strange to be surrounded by so much, of which I didn't give a damn. I found myself constructing costumes from my favourites in my head, imagining what it'd be like to see someone cosplay them. It was my attempt to feel more a part of things.

But even then, a conversation with the person I was there with had me looking at cosplay in a whole new light. I'd always seen it as professional dress-up. It never occurred to me, until she stated her views, that the main object was to look as closely like your chosen character as possible. Now she expressed her views in a kind of frustration as she's South Asian, an enormous Yugi Oh and Gundam Wing fan, with golden sienna skin tone. There aren't a whole lot of characters who look anything like her in terms of skin tone.

There popped my bubble of what I'd look like in Saber's armour from FATE / STAY NIGHT. And I'm not the right skin tone for Yoko from TWELVE KINGDOMS either.

So there was that slightly sinking, new perspective. And that combined with panels I didn't have much interest in, bands I'd never heard of (though that could change as I'm getting better at connecting music I like to the people who actually sing it), voice actors I don't much care about - since I prefer the original Japanese. It was a lovely spectacle, but one from which I felt removed.

Not to mention the guilt of having picked up my badge the day before the con started and knowing that in the line that went around the building (some people waited in line 5 hours) and then some, were people who'd be enjoying things perhaps far more than I currently was.

Is it possible that there's some other anime/manga con somewhere that I'd enjoy more because it won't be Gaia panels and videos I don't particularly want / need to see? Yeah, I guess so. And the truth was I had a lot of fun with my friend, so I didn't much miss a few of the panels that had interested me that I couldn't make. It just put things in perspective for me about my likes and dislikes and what made it all worthwhile.

And that was the artist gallery. (More on that later)

1 comment:

  1. I find most cons are like that, with people who are WAY more excited and happy to be there then you.

    I was at the San Diego con and it happened to me and I had to sit myself down and say "I'm here for me."

    That helped because I felt more reasonable taking my time and soaking it in.

    Then again I am a giant fanboy and San Diego con was my Mecca.

    So I was excited none the less.