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January 24, 2013

The 2013 Convention Season is Underway
Elizabeth O'Malley

Last weekend I went to Arisia, held at the Westin Waterfront in Boston. It was my sixth time attending, and I love that my convention season starts with this con. It's a sci-fi/fantasy convention, but it has lots of other influences as well. I like to consider it one of those "all things geeky" cons, which are my favorites.

Once again, the AnimeCons.com crew and I got a suite and hosted a couple of parties, which is always fun. Because the masquerade was moved to Sunday night, we held our closed party on Saturday. Unfortunately that meant we had to compete with all the other big name parties, but we had a solid group. We keep learning new things to have more awesome parties. We're going to apply to have parties again next year, so hopefully we'll see you there!

I had a blast entering the masquerade again. Even though our original idea didn't happen, my friend and I used costumes we made last fall and ended up with an honorable mention for craftsmanship. There were some absolutely amazing entries and I love masquerades that are focused on the costumes, and not a talent show. It was also nice to have something that caused me to miss that horrible, horrible AFC Championship game. Thank goodness hockey is back now.

Costuming wise, I made two new costumes - Belle from Once Upon a Time and Catelyn Stark from Game of Thrones. I also re-wore Zatanna from DC Comics, Hawkeye from The Avengers evening gown, and Starbuck from Battlestar Galactica. I also packed Rita Skeeter from Harry Potter and Queen Emeraldas, but ended up not wearing them. That's one thing I like about driving to conventions - you can pack as much as your car holds and you don't have to worry about weight limits.

The biggest thing that's happening to anime conventions is the influence and insurgence of non-Japanese fandoms: Doctor Who, My Little Pony, and Homestuck being the biggest ones. There's also Star Trek, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Battlestar Galactica, X-Files, and dozens more. Some attendees have been fans of these things for a long time, some are just getting into them now, but you definitely see them everywhere at anime conventions. Anime conventions are at a head with these other fandoms. There's nothing wrong with these interests and people are welcome wear or celebrate whatever they like. The question is, should anime conventions continue to focus solely on Japanese art, culture, and media?

That's really a question for another blog, but if you're interested in other fandoms besides anime and Japanese video games, check out your local sci-fi/fantasy convention. Many have been around for a long time, such a Boskone, held in Boston, which will be holding its 50th convention next month. You may feel young there, as many of their attendees are getting older, but they really do love to see new people getting into fandom, attending the conventions they love, and keeping everything going.

Those are the reasons why I love Arisia. I have some fantastic friends who I only see at that convention. They've been around the convention scene for years and years (some for decades) and have tons of awesome stories, and they're a blast to hang out with. So if you want to expand your nerd horizons, or if you maybe are feeling like an AARP member at anime cons, check out other types of cons. FanCons.com can definitely help you out there!

2013 is off to a good start. Will I get past my ridiculous 13 cons from last year? Probably not, but it will be up there, especially as I find out more and more about local sci-fi/fantasy and comic book conventions in the New England area. If you see me at a con this year, please say hello!



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