Costumes abound at KotoriCon.
Photo: Talia Felix, publicdomainpictures.net

I was never into anime, but being a LARPer and a general geek leads to crossover fandoms. I have many friends who enjoy anime, but I just can’t seem to understand the appeal of it, especially hentai and cat-people stuff. However, I respect it as an art form and as an expressive genre, and it encourages cross-cultural interaction and engagement between American and Japanese cultures.

This past weekend I attended the a small convention: KotoriConĀ as a panelist with Seventh Kingdom IGE. Even though I was completely clueless about the anime stuff, I quickly noted that this con was a little convention with a great deal of community support. Almost everyone I met there had something positive to say to others.

I also learned that it was okay to say “hey, what’s your costume from?” People are okay with that–in fact, they’re more than happy to explain it.

While I haven’t been to Dragon*Con, I have been to conventions of varying sizes. At some conventions, vendors and guests adopt a competitive, snippy attitude towards each other. At once such convention, I found some people to be downright rude, while the celebrity guests were extremely polite. The tone of a convention varies depending on attendees and how things are handled.

KotoriCon, however, got it right:

  • Friendly staff, including volunteers that asked organizers what to do
  • Clearly marked maps and programs
  • Clear chain of command
  • Friendly subculture that encourages participation
  • A space on the back of programs for exchanging contact information with new friends

When I was about to lead a costuming panel at the end of the day on Saturday, I was getting a bit tired. A volunteer overheard me saying I wish I’d had time to get coffee, and he actually went ahead and retrieved coffee for me.

I learned a great deal about event organization from observing KotoriCon. Everything from pedestrian traffic flow and planned congregation areas to participant safety was extremely well thought out.

I’m still not into anime, and I don’t think I’ll ever really be a fan. However, the uplifting spirit of fans at KotoriCon is extremely refreshing, especially after a week of metrics and marketing.

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