I remember my first-ever convention. It was Anime Central. At the time, I was a bullied high school student. Despite getting in big trouble with my chaperone for accidentally separating from the group (oops), I had an awesome con. It was really my first experience with other geeks. Every cosplayer was beautiful. Every piece of merchandise was desirable. Every conversation was affirming.
I did not expect Anime Midwest 2014 to be similar. I'm much older now, and had spent the week before the con worrying about its questionable press. Last year, it was a debunked accusation of assault. This year, it was bad blood between anime cons. I had begun to wonder if taking CTA out to the Hyatt Regency O'Hare was even worth the stress. Turns out... yea. This new generation of anime kids has a lot in common with mine.
The cosplay in the halls was far from professional, but participants complimented each other constantly. Huge lines formed for autographs. The Dealer's Hall was small-ish, but vendors happily connected with their customers. While Kill la Kill and Attack on Titan were the most celebrated programs in the building, I also found merch from Trigun, Dragon Ball, Tenchi Muyo, and Magic Knight Rayearth. It was a very nostalgic place.
With the Fourth of July holiday, the show floor was empty early on Friday. Saturday, however, was BUSY. People lined up for Johnny Yong Bosch hours in advance. The Steam Powered Giraffe table was always hopping. Many girls drooled over designer Lolita fashion by Baby, the Stars Shine Bright. I also discovered that Comic Artist Trevor Mueller lives in my neighborhood. Hopefully, a double date is in our future!
My only critique- and I'm sorry I have to even say it- was the convention's scent. Large swaths of space began to smell like sweaty human by mid-Saturday. I DO sympathize with some of those responsible. Many attendees were teens, their bodies surely changing and their hygiene not yet caught up. I feel that. I cannot, however, support the still-alive notion that it's OK to simmer in the same costume for 3 days. Blech!! I'm fascinated that we STILL need to talk about this. Convention-goers: Please, please, PLEASE be a courteous neighbor to your fellow otaku and bathe.
...Whew. Now that that's out, a few more wins. At Anime Midwest 2014, I finally met NaShanta Fletcher. She's a fellow ChicagoNow blogger- the voice behind Alter Ego Maniac. She also runs a store called Charms By Nash. From her, I purchased an ADORABLE grasshopper pie charm for my camera. Check her stuff out!
Finally, this convention has gotten me back into anime. I'm 12 episodes into Attack on Titan. I'm sorry I doubted the community's judgment. This show is GOOD. Please recommend more anime to me! Keep in mind I'm from the Sailor Moon/Cowboy Bebop/Gundam Wing generation. Stuff like Sword Art Online is new to me.
Aaaanyway, it's time to enjoy the weekend's cosplay photos. I had Jess's help, so we got an amazing sampling of Anime Midwest's cosplay. If you see yourself, comment below!
TL;DR: Anime Midwest happened. I'm watching anime again. Please make sure you exercise personal hygiene. Geek Girl Chicago loves you.
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