My 3rd year attending the Naka-Konanime convention in Kansas City was a great time. Two years ago I went with my daughter, and we left in stunned silence. It was like we had walked through a dimensional barrier to find an entirely different culture of people. Last year we were more prepared, but my friend Allie and her daughter had the same response we did. What the heck was that?! This year the four of us seasoned professionals went with a friend of my daughter’s, who handled it pretty well but was still surprised at what we saw.
People-watching is one of my all-time favorite things to do. It is more than a little voyeuristic to monitor the unbeknownst while they shuffle to and fro with hardly a bit of acknowledgement or care that you are capturing their moment for your own viewing pleasure. It’s also a constant education in sociology, psychology, and the general craziness that makes us people. From a writer’s perspective I try to find interesting individuals and figure out how I would describe them. I look for features that stand out, or gestures that a reader may identify with. On those days when I’m feeling less analytical, I enjoy a great amount of entertainment.
I think an anime convention is one of my favorite people watching venues. The attending cosplayers want to be watched, they revel in attention and opportunity to flaunt their individuality. The best compliment you can give them is to ask for a picture. Some spend months sewing, sculpting, duct-taping, and painting their visage (others don’t). Cloaks, helmets, weapons, uniforms…all works of passion and art. Even without being familiar, at all, with many of the characters these costumes were based on, it is still easy to appreciate the effort that went into their creation.
So, while I don’t always ‘get it’ and will never know the amount of effort made, I really appreciate the drive and inspiration behind what the attendees are trying to do. I (usually) love the youthful in-your-face freedom they revel in. I’m always inspired by the passion to express themselves creatively and how they want to share that with others. It makes for one heck of a muse.