Arts & Culture Blog
AnimeiCon Gives Monterey its First Japanese Anime Convention
July 25, 2011
Monterey's first-ever Japanese anime convention, AnimeiCon, which concluded its three-day run on Sunday at the Fairgrounds, offered a fresh and intriguing pocket of alternative culture amidst the twin gravitational forces of MotoGP and the Rodeo.
Here are some of the more striking moments of the youthful, mirthful fandom scene, including, as promised, the best, imho, cosplay (costume play) folks.
Simone, dressed as Yorichi from the anime TV series Bleach, describes the qualities that attracts her to the character as "tall, strong, serious yet amusing." The character is a "soul reaper" who escorts souls to the otherworld. When Simone first heard someone at Game Stop say the phrase "anime convention," she responded, "Holy crap. Where?"
(From left) Mika blanked on the name of her character (it's Hit-Girl, from the movie Kick-Ass), though she wears her adoration of the 11-year-old crime-fighting character on her sleeve; Forest Wells is Kikashi from super popular anime TV series Naruto; Bedrehn Ventura is Setsuna from Gundam 00 (pronounced "double-o") and his brother, Henryk Ventara, is a fairly easily achievable Light Yagami from Death Note. Note the black book in Henryk's hand: "You write people's names in it and they die the way you write they'll die," he says. Inside the book, he got the autographs of all three of the anime voice actors—they knew what they were signing. This quartet are all from Seaside.
Joey, from Marina, enjoys a "volcano," chilled and animated with dry ice. He describes his outfit as a "made character," one he made up instead of replicating an already existing anime/manga character. Much like the way in today's video games, the player can dress up and sculpt their character. "Everybody is friendly, courteous," he says of the attendees. Then he went to an anime study group in the Monterey Room.
In the daytime Sam Raynor is a soldier stationed at the DLI, but at night…or at least on certain days…he's Sora from Kingdom Hearts 2, a character in a video game that moves between different Disney worlds, like that of Beauty and the Beast or The Nightmare Before Christmas. His seemingly morose companion is dressed as Alma from F.E.A.R. (First Encounter Assault Reconnaisance). Don't underestimate that teddy bear.
Garret (left), from Garappata, is dressed as Koishi Komeiji from Touhou, which he says originated from unauthorized "fanmade" video games and video, viewable on Nico Nico Dogua, which he says is the "Japanese YouTube." Alejando, from Carmel, is Reimu Hakura from the same game, and says the character is a "PC top-down character of a bullet storm game." The costumes (this was their first foray into cosplay) were made by the two lads, with some pieces obtained through the internet. As they were walking away, some fans who recognized their characters hollered, "Don't leave, we need your picture!"
(From left) Mireya, from Prundale, is, this day at least, Sasori from Naruto; Ariana, also from Prunedale, is Rin Kagamine a "vocaloid 3D hologram performer." More on that after we cover Yesenia, of Watsonville, as Okita Sougo from Gintman, a TV series about rogue samurais doing battle with alien animals. Now about that hologram thingy: Ariana says Toyota sponsored a "performance" of a girl-group, of which Rin Kagamine is one, at Nokia Theater in L.A. in which there were human musicians playing, but the stars were holographic computer animated projections that "sang" and danced to the music. One line: "Everything is changing so fast." No kidding, Rin.
Christel of Monterey says her outfit is of a raccoon character, referred by anime/manga fans as a "furry," denoted by the animal ears. (Teen girls apparently love wearing animal ears right now.) The outfit she describes as an "O.C." (original character), and she admits she's only a half-furry here because she's lacking the full animal body suit.
Cosplay characters kick back inside the Turf Club, awaiting the coming cosplay performance, parade and judging portion of the show.
The two cuties on the outside are part of the Wilkerson family, while the two on the inside are Rubios, all of whom saw the fliers for Monterey's AnimeiCon at an Obon Festival in San Jose. The kids are (in no particular order because I got confused, especially by the twins) Taiga Aisaka from Tora Dora (no relation to Dora the Explorer, I presume), Saki Morimi from the film Eden of the East, Sakura from Naruto, and Azusa Nakano from K-On!
Young reps from young local branch of Kuya Longboards (they started shipping in March) show off their highly maneuverable custom skateboards made for cruising. "Commuter boards," they called them.
Richard and Sonja Smith, owners of The Game Habitat in Monterey, said that attendance could have been better, but that they already plan on returning next year. Their lone vendor table was set up in the gaming room in the Salinas Room.
I just liked this t-shirt. The young man wearing it had red contact lenses and a ready smile.
The youngsters from instrumental band Waking Wander rocked. They rocked hard, doing originals and epic covers, like Arcade Fire's "Wake Up." People who were attracted by the beautiful noise of this crew stayed, so the sparse audience in the beginning only grew. Rightly so. That's either smoke from a fog machine, or they've just burned out their amps.
Cosplayers line up outside the Turf Club as the performances and judging commences on the patio.
Everyone loves a parade. Especially one that consists of colorfully garbed cosplay characters lead by a futuristic SWAT team dude. They didn't know the route and so walked together in a loop around the grounds a bit before splintering in two and wandering off. Waking Wander provided a dramatic, guitar-driven soundtrack to the proud display of creativity and dedication to the imagination.
You all come back now, ya hear?