It’s hard to know where to start. I’m almost tempted to say “what happens at AnimeNext, stays at AnimeNext,” or “the first rule of anime conventions: don’t talk about anime conventions.” But I won’t cop out, especially since I took so many pics of my adventures. Though even with a full con recap, there are still some things that can’t truly be explained, and you just had to see for yourself. For example, watching Link and Hello Kitty have a krump-off while two young vocaloids squeeled with glee from the sidelines is the kind of stuff dreams are made of. And cosplay burlesque–I definitely didn’t expect to see Richter Belmont whipping the clothes off of sexy vampires, or April O’ Neil gyrating in turtle pasties…
Atmosphere, Events, and Antics
I take it for granted that people reading this already know what an anime con is, but if not, it’s basically a convention for all things relating to Japanese animation, manga (Japanese comics), gaming, and even branching out to include Japanese music, fashion, and some Korean pop culture. I’ve been to regular comic conventions in the past, but this is not the same, with the glaring difference being the amount of cosplay. If you don’t show up in costume, you’re in the minority.
The environment is insanely welcoming–both casual fans and uber nerds will feel at home. It’s basically a giant playground with strangers running up to “battle” you, take a picture, or fawn over the fact that you’re dressed as their favorite character.
And while antics and theatrics abound, the real beauty is just taking in the full picture. The con spans over three buildings surrounded by open grassy fields and beautiful scenery. Naruto characters were having picnics while Mario and Luigi rode around in their little homemade cars and elegant lolitas layered in ruffles and lace took strolls along the lake.
And in most cases, no one was taking themselves too seriously, as you can see by the gaming room signs below…
There’s a wide array of panels and programming–comedy shows, burlesque lessons, cosplay how-tos, movie viewing rooms–with a Jrock concert kicking things off on the first night. Here’s a look at the stylish and silky-haired members of Moonstream.
The Cosplay and Clothes
The cosplay and fashion were obviously the stars of the show. I endlessly played dressup–I rocked a skeletal gothic lolita outfit, some visual kei gear, and dressed as Sakura Kasugano from Street Fighter. Below are some of the other wonderful cosplayers (or simply people with badass style) that I ran into.
The second day of the con there was a poolside Capcom and fighting game cosplay meetup. Although not in the pictures, I had run-ins with some Tekken and King of Fighters characters as well.
My excited fangirl moment came during the fashion show. I’ve gone on many times about how in love I am with h. Naoto, so I was thrilled to see one of the brand’s designers, Mint Neko, presenting his bold new collection. Mint Neko’s designs are cute and playful, with a street fashion focus. All of the designer’s creations are inspired by cute cat illustrations he draws, though he also cites punk and visual kei performers as additional inspiration.
The second fashion show I attended was Alice and the Pirates/Baby the Stars Shine Bright. Elegant and whimsical, these pieces excelled in their unflinching femininity and attention to detail
It comes as no surprise that I practically camped out at the h. Naoto booth, and not to mention, spent heaps of money. The staff perfectly represented the brand’s dark edge, and while shopping I also ran into some stylish fellow customers such as Shola, a member of the jrock-influenced band, Sol Ardour (third pic).
That was AnimeNext, as simply as I could put it. I’ve only been away for two days and I’m already thinking about next year. And as for all of the h. Naoto and Baby the Stars Shine Bright pieces I picked up, expect to see them in outfit posts in the near future.
If you have any questions, comments, or feedback, feel free to leave a comment below or chime in on the Facebook page!