Chronological Record #4 ~ Musings on Anime Conventions

Nichijou convention

Apologies for not coming out with another post last week. The last days of college and preparations for my long-awaited (and needed!) summer vacation have been keeping me rather busy. Because I haven’t been able to watch or catch up with any anime at all the past week, I’ll instead share my musings on a staple event that every anime fan knows of: anime conventions.

Anime conventions are large gatherings of anime fans, hosted over a series of a few days at conventions. It is in these conventions where a great trove of treasure and knowledge lies for anime fans. Anime merchandise, guest speakers, idol events, video screenings, art galleries, game arcades. All together in one location for people to gather with one common love: anime. An experience not to be missed, any anime fan would surely have a big blast at these conventions, right? Well, that’s not quite so for me…

Amane Suzuha cosplaying

The first anime convention I attended was Fanime 2010 in San Jose, California during Memorial Day weekend. The anime club at my high school was preparing to go to this ani-con, and I decided to go with them. There was a feeling of tension and excitement in the vans as my fellow club members’ parents drove us to San Jose. We knew we were close when we began to see various groups of cosplayers walking on the sidewalks all in one general direction: toward to San Jose Convention Center.

I’ll spare you the full details of how my day went at the anime convention, but I ended up leaving way earlier than intended. No, it was not because that I didn’t have the physical endurance needed to stay there. Rather, it was the lack of accessibility that made me leave earlier than intended. As it turns out, there were various obstacles that popped up just from my deafness alone. The convention’s atmosphere was, of course, crowded and noisy, so this made it so very difficult for me to be able to hear and understand what was being spoken. There were no use in attending guest panels or workshops as the voices simply drifted through one ear and out the other with no coherence. Contests and ceremonies were held, but I could not, for the life of me, understand what the hosts were saying at all. At least the idol event was still very entertaining with Momoi Halko singing!

YuruYuri x Lucky Star crossover!

Utterly confused by the noisy atmosphere, I fled to the Art Gallery and Dealers’ Hall. There, I finally had the most freedom. I went through the booths unimpeded, admiring the various artists’ works until there were nothing else to view. Off to the Dealers’ Hall I go. Now it is here where my instinct as an anime fan rose up to an all-time level high. So much anime goods! With only $100 to spare for the Dealers’ Hall, I enjoyed myself browsing through the inventories for 2 full hours. In the end, I left the convention with 2 volumes of Mahou Sensei Negima, 1 volume of Chobits, a Haruhi Suzumiya artbook, a Kannagi artbook, and various other freebies & souvenirs. Not a bad haul, I suppose.

The same thing happened to me for another convention, Anime on Display, that I attended in San Francisco a year later as well, and once again, the most enjoyable aspect was the dealers’ hall. I really have to wonder if guest panels or contests are worth attending because they’re not so easily accessible for me. I could try requesting an interpreter, but somehow I think it would end up being more troublesome since there are so many events and it would be a big burden on the interpreter. The same applies for friends, since I really do not want to have to intrude on their own fun. So, the problem here is how can I fully enjoy the true experience of an anime convention when most of the events, panels, or workshops are nearly inaccessible to me?

Can't be helped, I suppose.

Nothing I can do about it, I guess.

My experiences attending anime conventions so far have been generally okay, but to be honest, I’m already starting to get tired of not being able to understand the hosts or guest speakers. This year I’ve been thinking about going to Fanime 2012, but I’m not even sure if I’d like to experience the same disappointment all over again despite the huge treasure trove of anime goods. I have no clear-cut solution for this inaccessibility problem, but I suppose it can’t be helped; I’ll manage somehow. Plus, I still have yet to meet any other deaf anime fans, so I can’t exactly compare or relate to anyone else.

For those of you who have attended conventions, I’m very curious to know: what has been the most enjoyable aspect for you attending an anime convention? And was it well worth it?

P.S. Anyone going to Fanime 2012? Now could be the best chance to convince me and you just might be able to meet with me there…

P.P.S. Don’t forget to check out my next opponent, Reverse Thieves, in my second round Aniblog Tourney match on May 3rd!



Filed under Anime, Chronological Records, Other, Personal

18 responses to “Chronological Record #4 ~ Musings on Anime Conventions

  1. heh…I’m not a huge fan of waiting, so I often convince myself out of going to panels pretty easily. Although, I once jumped into a trivia panel that wasn’t particularly full and it was pretty entertaining. For the most part, it’s hanging out in the dealer’s area or the game rooms…I went to ACEN twice. I spent a lot of time in the Go and Mahjong areas too…that was fun. Checked a couple of screenings, but they weren’t all that entertaining. Nice to meet others in the community, but anime club at the university and anime blogging are just so much easier >.>

    • Attending an anime convention does seem to be very tiresome compared to leisurely going to anime club meetings or blogging about anime. I would think that anime conventions gives you a great chance to let out all of your pent-up anime “instincts” and to just have pure fun, much like in a party. ^^

  2. Sadly, I never had the chance to go to big conventions, since I live in Northern Canada and the trip is far too much. I’ve been looking into Canadian conventions, but there aren’t many. It does seem fun, from what everyone has been telling me.

    • Hopefully, you’ll get the chance to go to a convention one day! It was certainly fun for me at times when I was at the conventions, mostly in the dealer’s hall. There’s always something for everyone to look in and have fun, so you might find something enjoyable as well. 🙂

  3. I have never been to an anime convention, but have gone to a number of seminars and conferences geared towards other areas. The most helpful presentations I’ve seen were the ones who included not only detailed handouts, but also displayed visuals. And even though I’m not deaf, I found both to be extremely helpful in retaining my attentions as an audience member. I particularly enjoyed the handouts since I could then take notes in the margins, or on the really nice ones, in the provided notes section. Perhaps you could put in suggestions for presenters to take these kind of measures.

    • If I remember correctly, I think a very few panels did pass out some handouts, but most often not, they usually just have a powerpoint presentation or a video displayed on a screen. Thanks to those visual aids, I was able to follow along at times, but they’re still not quite enough for me. Even so, that’s still always a nice suggestion!

  4. My first anime convention was one day at Anime Expo 2005, and since then I’ve been attending all the Anime Expos I could (four more and an upcoming one this summer) and a few smaller conventions in the LA area where I live. If it’s any consolation, my favorite part of conventions tends to be the dealer’s hall too. I’m not big on waiting in long lines for guests, concerts, events, etc., I’m only semi-interested in. The only time I’ll wait on such lines is if it’s something I’m dying to see (like the Macross Frontier concert at AX 2010 for example). Other than that, I’m just content to buy goodies in the dealer’s hall, hang out with friends, look at cool cosplay, and attend some casual events.

    I can totally understand how being deaf could really hinder the convention experience for you…it’s a shame they don’t have interpreter services. I don’t know about Fanime but Anime Expo is supposed to be the largest anime convention in North America, so maybe they might be more helpful if you wanted to try and get such services.

    Speaking of which, if you were planning to go to AX 2012 instead of Fanime, I would totally recommend it ^_^ I haven’t been to Fanime before so I can’t say anything to convince you =P

    • I’m also not a big fan of waiting in lines as well. To add to my experience above, I actually had to wait 2 hours by myself just to buy a ticket and get in, while everyone else in my group got in using weekend passes purchased in advance. 😦

      You know what, I have heard that Fanime is one of the top ten largest anime conventions and that it was the second largest convention in California. But Anime Expo is a more familiar name, and I’ve heard about it more often. Maybe one of these days, I just might go to Anime Expo! 🙂

  5. If I were in town just two weeks earlier I would totally go with you… Unfortunately I won’t be. 😦 Anyway I’m looking forward to meeting up with you, Enzo and balloon_thief this summer. Do you live near Mountain View? (that’s where I’m going, I won’t have a car though, although it seems you can take the train to a lot of places)

  6. Oh it’s my dream to be in an anime convention… I think that your problem could be solved by either another person next to you taking notes, so you can read and the other person won’t lose any detail, or by talking to someone that’s in lead of the event. You have the same rights as everyone else to enjoy a convention. There should be infrastructure that allows people with special needs to participate without many problems. It shouldn’t be very difficult for them to connect a pc with a screen and let the screen display what the speaker says.

    • I hope one day you’ll be able to fulfill your dream of going to an anime convention! ^^

      That’s true, I could ask someone to take notes or something like that. Thinking back now, I think I was either just too shy to do so or just too mindful about having to inconvenience people around me to set something like that up. And about that system you mentioned, with a screen displaying what the speaker says, there is a technology for that, called Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART). Maybe I’ll try asking about that, since it’s quite easy to set it up.

  7. I mainly go to conventions to buy stuff, so I wouldn’t say you’re missing much. Panels are nice, but most of the time you have to question the credibility of the presenters, at least that’s how it is here.

  8. Pingback: Genshiken Diaries ~ From a Deaf Perspective | Ephemeral Dreams

  9. Pingback: I Have a Dream: Aniblog Tourney | Ephemeral Dreams

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