So, I’ve been to a couple of conventions in my life.
And by a couple, I mean two. Well, technically one. Which I’ve gone to twice.
Anyways. I’ve only ever been to the Animaritime convention, held in Moncton (except the one in 2013, that’s going to be in Fredericton), and I must say, conventions are pretty awesome.
First of all, I would like to point out how insanely lucky we are that there is even a convention around here. There was also one at Harbour Station this past summer (which I completely forgot about going to), and that is just crazy. In the good way. I only started going to the convention in Moncton last year (2011), and man, have I been missing out.
The first year we went was an amazing experience. We all wandered around with wide eyes at the things we’d only ever seen in Youtube videos. We went to panels on things like voice acting, music in games and anime, even oragami where we made paper cranes (I still have the one I made. His name is Larry). We spent all of our money on food and vendors and it was worth every penny. And finally, there were the cosplayers.
Now, we didn’t cosplay in that first year: I could give you a bunch of different reasons as to why we didn’t, but when you get down to it, we were just too scared. But after the convention, we all agreed that the next year, we would definitely have to. While not everybody who goes cosplays, it’s completely normal–even expected–for people to come dressed as their favourite character. They often get stopped in the hall for pictures. Personally, I found that, by the second day of the convention, I was struck with the feeling of being left out of the real heart of the con since I didn’t cosplay. Though not everyone dresses up as characters from the same shows, games, or otherwise, there is a sense of community among those who are in costume–those who have taken the time and energy to publicly display their love of the character. It was also completely normal to go to the Tim Horton’s across the street or the nearby Subway and see these cosplayers wearing their costumes outside of the convention. At the end of the day, it’s a sense of pride which cosplayers share, especially if the costume was made by hand, from scratch.
Something odd, though, is the idea of crossplaying–that is, of dressing up as a character of the opposite gender. For some reason, it’s so much more accepted for girls to dress as male characters, and for guys to dress as female characters is seen as incredibly odd–even among fans! This could be for a number of reasons, I suppose: one being that females just generally look better crossdressing than guys do. There is also the issue of most female characters anime: the majority of them have costumes that are…revealing. Since our society is so screwed up that it tells most females that their body is ugly, or fat, or just generally unappealing, girls are even less willing to dress in these revealing costumes. Throw in the fact that anime girls have impossible to attain bodies (giant breasts, tiny waists) and girls may have a hard time finding a character to dress as. When I cosplayed last year, I dressed as a male character (somewhat for these reasons).
Also, for guys dressing as girls, most of them do it in jest–they do it for attention, rather than to actually appreciate the character. There is also the fact that female bodies are curvy, and male bodies are much more straight. This allows girls to dress as guys much more easily (the costume generally will not hug their figure, allowing them to hide their curves) and gives guys a bit more of a challenge.
At the end of the day, cosplaying is fun, making the costume is fun, and crossdressing (even for guys) is pretty much accepted. Though it is somewhat weirder for guys to do it, it is not an unusual sight at conventions. I would definitely encourage anyone interested in anime, managa, sci-fi, or anything else, to go to a convention whenever you can. Someday, I will go to Anime North, and it will be amazing.
Next stop: COMIC-CON.