Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Tokyo In Tulsa Wrap Up (Anime Con in OK)



Tokyo In Tulsa is a HUGE anime convention in Tulsa, OK. What's a convention? It is a fan gathering, really. Vendors selling everything from clothing, toys, candy, comics, movies (you name it) occupy a huge space. Panel rooms are filled with lectures and guest speakers on the subjects being celebrated at the convention. Artists and authors fill the hallways with tables. And attendees flood the aisles in their favorite t-shirts or costumes. (Comic book and sci fi fans call it "costuming". Anime fans call it "cosplay") In fact, the costume contests are usually the biggest draw of these fan conventions. You've probably seen the coverage of Comic Con in San Diego each summer--it's the largest of its kind.

So I'm a little late on the whole anime thing. I totally loved Japanese animation back in the 80's and 90's, stuff like G-Force, Ghost in the Shell.


But I really don't like anime. I've tried it, but I don't really "get" it. More on that later. That said, I had nothing going on this past weekend when T in T was in town, so I figured I'd make the drive and check it out. I'm glad I did.


Fans are fans. In the past, I'd held a bit of resentment against the fast rise that anime enjoyed in the US...there are anime-kids at every con whether it is comics, movie or sci-fi related. But with a little bit of interaction, I found that most folks are cool and just wanted to celebrate their shared fandom. While there are outliers in every genre that ruin it for everyone (yaoi and hentai in anime, the comic book guys that criticize the nerd-girls as "fake", drunk jocks) we all have more in common than otherwise.
So while I didn't recognize 99% of the costumes at the anime con, I did recognize their passion.

Sadly, there are other connections. No matter what con you visit, you'll always have a few moments where you'll think to yourself, "What is that awful smell?" and then understand that it is body odor. Horrible, terrible body odor. It's probably just a human condition, but it seems very prevalant at fan conventions.
Not quite so bad, but still annoying, is the fake British accent. Thanks for nothing, Game of Thrones.
I met a lot of great artists and makers that had incredible pieces of original art that I want to share with you. I'll post their works and links up later this week.

Since there are no convention rules about who can show up and who can't, there were members of the 501st, JediOKC, Mando Mercs, Tulsa Fan Force and Star Trek worlds at the anime con. Despite their spotted pasts, no fights broke out and everyone had a good time. And if they could get along, then I should at least try to understand anime.
For me, that understanding came on a trip to Epcot Center. In the "Japan" part of the park, there was a great display about the history of anime and it gave me some context as to why I didn't "get" most of the content I'd seen. Alot of the genre is based on Japanese mythology and history, stuff like the shape-changers and animals. If one understands that, then the cartoons make more sense. I had no real experience with the cultural significance of these symbols and characters, and a very small exhibit shed light on my ignorance. See? With just a little effort, confusing sub-cultures can become much less so!

Stay tuned for links and art from some of the vendors I met!

Creative Spark

Describe the weirdest costume you've ever seen a character in a movie or at a conventioin wear.

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