Knoxville Anime Day 2015: The More The Merrier

It’s time for yet another installment in my ongoing travels to nerdy events around the area! This one was actually held in my own backyard, or pretty close to it, in the Cedar Bluff area of Knoxville. This tiny one-day convention was actually not on my initial “con schedule” for the 2015 season, and it just goes to show that some of the most fun adventures aren’t always the ones that you plan far in advance! Continue reading

Yama-Con 2014: The Best of Times, The Busiest of Times

Well, readers, it’s that time of year again – and no, I’m not talking about Christmas! Last weekend, December 5-7, was Yama-Con, Northeast Tennessee’s own anime and comic convention, and definitely one of my favorite conventions that I attend regularly. I’ve been going to Yama-Con for all three years it’s been happening, and have always had a wonderful and memorable time there. This year, however, was a little different: I wouldn’t just be going as a normal attendee, I would actually be working for the convention as a volunteer!

I had no idea what I was doing, but I knew it was going to be awesome. Continue reading

They Call Her The Winter Soldier…

Halloween is almost upon us, and we all know what that means: COSTUMES! Costumes everywhere! I’m so hyped to see everyone’s creative ideas come to life on the 31st. I’ve always dressed up for Halloween, and a lot of times throughout the rest of the year as well; it’s something I find fun, and it only became more enjoyable when I discovered cosplaying in my early teenage years. Since then, most of my costumes for Halloween have been re-wearings of costumes from an anime convention earlier in the year. This year’s costume, however, is a bit different: it’s a cosplay that I plan on wearing again, certainly, but this Halloween will be its debut! I’ve been working on it for a decent amount of time, and it still has some tweaking to go through before it’s ready for the convention floor, but for the occasion at hand, it’s perfect. Continue reading

Insert Bad Autumn Pun Here

The minute I stepped outside my dorm a few weeks ago and felt cool breeze on my skin instead of the normal mid-morning heat, I had only one thought: Oh, YES.

It’s now October, readers, otherwise known as the absolute greatest month of the year — Autumn is upon us! Although all of the seasons are beautiful in their own way and completely necessary, of course, I’ve always loved this particular point on the wheel, and why not? Returning to school, perfect weather, beautiful changes in nature and fun holidays all add up to make a pretty amazing atmosphere.

Don’t pay ANY attention to this noise.

Well…an amazing atmosphere everywhere except on the non-Tumblr internet. Apparently your favorite season being Autumn has become something of a negative stereotype applied to teenage girls, as per graphics that say things like “if you say ‘pumpkin spice latte’ in front of a mirror three times, a white girl in yoga pants will appear and tell you her favorite things about Fall.” Needless to say, readers…this irked me. So guess what? This white girl is about to tell you her favorite things about Fall! Continue reading

Colossalcon 2014: The VIP Treatment

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GPOY! A selfie with my badge before the first day of the con began.

It was about six months ago: advance registration for the main event of my 2014-2015 anime convention season, Colossalcon, was finally open! My going to Colossalcon, one of Ohio’s largest pop culture conventions, in 2013 was something of a last-minute decision; thus, pre-registration had already ended by the time I decided to go and I was restricted to one ticket option. For this year’s convention, however, I planned ahead far enough that I was able to pre-reg, thank goodness! One registration option I had was a standard pass for all four days of the convention; another, however, I found much more intriguing. I decided to register with a VIP pass, which would give me access to the entire convention plus some very tempting benefits.

Of course, it cost a bit more than double that of a normal ticket, but I anticipated that it would be totally worth it.

The first day of the con, Thursday, started out slowly, but more people ended up turning up than I had expected, and certainly more than had arrived on the first day last year! I remembered a bit of the layout of the venue from last year, but still spent much of the first day reacquainting myself with the convention space, shopping around in the Thursday-only craft fair (one of my favorite parts of cons is buying cool stuff from all the amazing artists!), finding areas I would be headed to the next day, going to a couple of panels that piqued my interest, and simply enjoying the atmosphere and goofing off with my friends. Continue reading

ETSUCon 2014: Getting Into Character

The more I delve into the “convention scene” of my area, the more I realize just how much I live from con to con.  After the aptly-named large convention ColossalCon I attend in the summer, I spend the next six months prepping for Yama-Con in December, which I wrote about previously.  After that con comes another favorite local convention of mine, ETSUCon!  This particular Japanese animation and pop culture convention is unique in that it is run and organized by various student organizations of East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, just a few hours from LMU.  I attended this small con last year and was incredibly impressed by not only the many wonderful attractions and guests of the event, but also the organization and smoothness with which it ran.  This convention is organized almost completely by college students – if that doesn’t show that we’re capable of amazing things, I don’t know what does!  Needless to say, the second year of the con was just as amazing, and perhaps even more so, than the first.

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Me on the left as Petra with another cosplayer as Levi, a member of the main cast of Attack on Titan. Hugs all around! (Is that an Assassin I see in the right background?)

One of the main things that made this con stand out to me was the character I chose to dress as for the day:  Petra Ral, a soldier from the ultra-popular and fairly new anime series Attack on Titan.  The show is one of the few animated series that I have followed from its beginning; this makes it a series that I hold very close to my heart and am extremely invested.  Because the anime and its characters were so dear to me, I wanted to be sure that I did the character of Petra justice.  One way I did this was by pouring a good bit of time and resources into the costume’s construction – the cosplaying hobby can get quite expensive and time-consuming, believe it or not!  I made sure everything was as perfect as I could get it within my time frame and budget, from investing in the sturdiest parts I could find to ensuring that my wig was styled perfectly.  I attempted to emulate my character in abstract ways as well: getting inside her head, so to speak.  I tend to cosplay characters who have personalities similar to my own, so this part wasn’t too difficult!  Petra is very kind, caring, and respectful, all traits easy for me to emphasize in my interactions with other at the con.  I remember as I was posing for one picture with three more cosplayers, one said “Petra! Don’t worry, we’ll protect you!”  (I’d tell you why this offhand comment was actually very touching, but I wouldn’t want to spoil anything if you decide to check out the show…)  “Getting into character” and interacting with the many other cosplayers from my series was one of the most fun parts of the convention!

Continue reading

Yama-Con 2013: Nerds Have More Fun

As a member of the collective community of fandoms and interests most often known as “nerds”, I’ve begun to associate the concept of home with not only where I live and study, but also with the constantly changing places that I’m able to gather with other members of the nerd community, which are most often in the form of conventions.  One of the most amazing things about this group of people is that we’re all so varied in our interests, and yet see ourselves as a huge family.  Whether we like Japanese animation and manga, American animation and comic books, science fiction, fantasy, or some combination of all of the above, we’re able to interact with each other coming from a place of understanding and comradery.  I was fortunate to be able to experience this comradery once again when I attended Yama-Con in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, only about two hours away from LMU.

This particular adventure began when a friend of mine asked me if I would help him run an educational panel he would be presenting at Yama-Con.  Realizing that this would be an amazing chance for me to obtain practice with both public speaking and teaching, I told him I would think it over.  When my best friend Hayley’s mother asked if I would help her chaperone the students who were a part of the Anime Club she ran at a local high school on a trip to the convention, the deal was sealed for me.  I began planning the trip immediately! Continue reading