Fandom lovers all around the world have always enjoyed gathering together to revel in their interests and connect with likeminded fans. Anime fans are no different. Many anime fans long for cons to come, and they get ready for them throughout the year. Whether it’s a big one like Anime Boston, or a smaller local one like Anime Oasis, fans eagerly anticipate when the time for the convention rolls around.
So, why is it that we love anime conventions so much? And what do they mean to anime fans?
There are many answers to this, and each one may look a little different to each person. To hear the thoughts from some anime fans, I asked a couple users online and thought of my own experiences. @Wumbo_Woman on IG said the following:
I think they are good and a fun thing to go to especially if you live in a small place or don’t go out very often and you get to meet a lot of people. And buy things haha
Momo Pig of PiggyPoof, who we recently interviewed, shared her thoughts as well:
“Anime conventions have always been a creative outlet for me. Whether it’s making a cosplay or selling my art, it’s always a blast to be in the spotlight for a moment and feel like I belong to something bigger than myself. I think a lot of people feel this way about anime conversations. They are a safe place to come together in person, be yourself, make friends, learn new things and no one there will judge you for it.”
Personally, I have always loved anime conventions, and all fandom cons I’ve been to. However, there is something special about anime cons that always make them my favorites. They hold a special place in my heart. Maybe it’s that it was the first time in my life that I met so many people with the same love of anime as me when I was a teen. Maybe it’s all the fun panels, awesome meet-and-greets, and rooms full of plushies. Maybe it’s all of the above! I just love it all.
One convention I particularly enjoy going to is the aforementioned Anime Oasis in Boise, Idaho (now referred to as “Neo Anime Oasis“, as a symbol of life after the pandemic). It’s always put on so well, it’s a good size (not big, but not super small, either), there are always great guests, and there is always so much to do and see. Arcade games, concerts, and hours of activities. I’m definitely looking forward to going again once the pandemic finally comes to an end.
Conventions and cosplay have always been a way for fans to live out their fantasies and fully immerse themselves in what they love. I think that we, as humans, need to have as many safe places as possible where we can be ourselves. Whether that’s in a person or a place, or both. While anime cons aren’t really a flaw-free utopia, they’re still little slices of heaven for many congoers. Memories of staying up late in hotel rooms, eating Pocky and swapping stories, or of meeting that one voice actor you’ve waited your whole life to meet, are the types of memories people cherish for a lifetime.
It’s nice for many attendees to look forward to an event around something they are passionate about. The feelings of joy, comradery, and being able to fully be yourself are all things that people feel at these conventions, which is why they’re so important. Especially in these turbulent times, and even afterward–all of our lives are full of hardship. It’s nice to retreat into something fantastical for a while. That’s why anime conventions mean so much to so many people, and it’s why they won’t disappear any time soon.
Why do you think anime cons are so important? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter!