The Anime Expo may have taken place a few weekends ago, but news pieces discussing the weekend’s events continue to be published on a daily basis.
The San Fernando Sun, a local paper covering the San Fernando Valley in Southern California, recently posted this lengthy and well-written recap of the weekend, with a special focus on cosplay. Throughout the article, the author includes quotes from participating cosplayers who attended the event. 2011 was the Anime Expo’s most successful year yet, and it’s easy to see why: There’s a huge crowd for anime/manga/cosplay, and they seem to really love the chance to celebrate together.
One such cosplayer was Ashley Montgomery, who is a six-year veteran of the LA Anime Expo. When discussing how some people outside the anime/manga/cosplay circuit view cosplaying as “weird”, she fired off this witty remark:
“So is bowling,” Montgomery said. “You sit around with a bunch of sweaty people, wearing ugly shoes and throwing a ball at sticks. Everything is weird to some else who’s not into it. It’s as simple as that. One thing that makes somebody passionate, that makes them happy, doesn’t make the other person happy.”
That’s a good point, and it speaks to the community-based appeal of cosplay and fan conventions such as the Expo. For a few days, fans come together to embrace their shared interests and, if they so choose, dress up in usually elaborately-designed getups paying tribute to their favorite fictitious character.
Whereas some recap articles of fan conventions such as the Anime Expo tend to write from an outsider’s perspective, looking in on a different culture with wonder (and sometimes a tendency to poke fun), the San Fernando Sun piece is much more well-rounded. There are a slew of quotes from passionate, energetic fans of all things anime/manga/cosplay, and it’s refreshing to read.
Check out the article if you want a more rounded account of the kind of fanaticism that goes into totally embracing fan conventions such as the Anime Expo.