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Written by Byungsuk Kim
What an exciting world to be apart of! The whole event brimming with excitement filled the air from top to bottom. Creativity poured into every fabric that was worn and the feeling of joy sprouted with every crease. The expressions on each persons face had an illuminating glow that was so infectious that no one could walk away without smiling. It was that contagious and AnimeIowa 2014 was an experience that I’ll never forget.
I have never been to anything like an anime convention before. Many of my friends have brought it to my attention throughout the years but for whatever reason, never felt compelled enough to take any of them on their offer. This year was my first anime convention and I honestly don’t know why I decided to go. It was one of those last minute decisions that I abruptly made within the last few weeks after a friend shared information about it with me.
I always felt quite confident about the anime convention world though my experience was mostly sourced from others and never my own. I’ve read of stories from several articles about them and always thought that I was familiar with the world of Japanese animation and it’s hidden gems. I was certain that I was going to be comfortable and that there would be no surprises waiting when I arrived.
How wrong I was! I didn’t even recognize even 1/5 of the cosplay that walked right in front of me. It was overwhelming!
The moment the convention started, I was in awe by the participants. I felt like a small child, completely dumbfounded by its splendedness. It was off-putting at first but I slowly became more familiar with its atmosphere, it’s people and slowly my curiosity and questions peaked and I knew I it was time to explore this new world.
I slowly moved from person to person with a traditional greeting and was amazed how kind and welcoming everyone was. Everyone was more than willing to let me take photos and answer any questions about their anime attire. I was fortunate enough to get invited to a private Resident Evil photo shoot and take photos of my very own.
The room was sizable, roughly the size of a traditional master bedroom and was filled from top to bottom with books and reeked with a deep ink smell. There were fancy leather chairs, bookcase ladder for those brave enough to brave enough to reach those books that were beyond traditional reach and a chess board that was placed between two chairs for whoever was compelled to seeking a more strategic experience. Never in my wildest imagination did I ever think I’d be invited to one of those, specifically since this was my first convention. I was nervous.
I enjoyed myself and was able to meet truly dedicated people who shared a strong fondness of anime and the Japanese heritage. This experience was unexpected and otherworldly but awe and inspiring. A whole new world has opened before my very eyes and I can’t wait to experience it again.
What was your first convention like? Would you like to be part of AnimeIowa? They have a wonderful Facebook group called Anime Iowa Con-goers. Please share in the comments below.
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