Conventional Wisdom: Teens @ Anime Conventions

 I have a confession to make. I am a fangirl. I love everything about fandom but one of my favorite things is conventions. I have been to science fiction, fantasy, anime, comic book and cult tv conventions. Conventions are great places to find the latest in anime and manga, not to mention t-shirts, plushies, action figures, and anything else you can imagine. Interested? In Houston, you  have two chances to get your fan on either this Halloween at Oni-Con or this Easter at Anime Matsuri. Here are some tips, and books, to make your con going experience fun and stress-free.

 Convention Basics

  1. If at all possible, pre-register. You will save money and avoid waiting in extremely long lines. And when I say extremely long lines, I mean it! Last year's Oni-Con line wrapped around the George R. Brown Convention Center and it took about 4 hours to make it to the box office. It took us about 15 minutes to pick up our tickets in the pre-registration line.
  2. Bring cash. A lot of the vendors and most of the Artist Alley people do not take credit cards or checks.
  3. Also bring along a tote bag (or better yet, buy a sweet anime-related messenger bag) to hold all your loot. Most vendors don't have shopping bags.
  4. Wear comfortable shoes. If your cosplay requires 4 inch heels or painful boots, you can either rethink your costuming choice or buy some gel inserts. There aren't many places to sit down so plan accordingly.
  5. Read the FAQ! Check out the convention's website to make sure you know all their rules and regulations. You don't want to get turned away at the door. At Oni-Con, anyone under the age of 12 must have a parent or guardian with them.
  6. Plan your day. At registration, you should get a schedule of events. Check it out and make a game plan so you don't miss something you really want to see.
  7. Make sure you eat and drink something on a regular basis (and I don't mean just Pocky and Ramune!). You don't want to ruin your convention experience by getting sick on the first day. Pace yourself!
  8. Play it safe. All conventions have a security staff on site. If you feel threatened or concerned, approach them, or any available convention staff member, and ask for assistance.
  9. Bring a camera. That way you can take pictures of all the amazing cosplayers that you see. Cosplayers love to have their pictures taken so don't be shy. Just remember to ask them politely. Don't just scream out, "Yo, Sasuke! Over here!"
  10. Have fun! That's the whole purpose of conventions.
One of the fun things about cons is that you can dress up as your favorite character without the risk of being mocked by non-fans. In fact, you might even be asked to pose for a photo or invited to a photo shoot. To learn more about cosplay, check out How to Cosplay Vol. 1 by Kaori Okumura.
Can't make it to the convention? Check out the manga Dramacon by Svetlana Chmakova. It has plenty of behind-the-scenes drama, comedy and romance plus cosplay and catgirls!