Sunday, April 8, 2012

My weekend Part II - Anime Boston

Right now, the hubs is making dinner, so I thought I'd finish my weekend tale of geekery. Yes, you read that right. The hubs cooks most nights. And yes, he is a far better cook than I could ever hope to be. (He ought to be a chef!)

So yesterday was Anime Boston, which for those who don't know is a convention for fans of Japanese Anime (animation) and Manga (graphic novels). Its held at the Hynes Center in Boston, attached to the Prudential Center which is attached to Copley Place. The people that go to Anime Boston are pretty amazing. Most of them are very into Japanese culture in general. They're also kind, respectful, friendly, helpful and welcoming. And geeks. Oh my goodness (as a geek myself) I can say they are geeks. They cosplay - which means that they dress in carefully handmade costumes of their favorite anime/manga/game characters (often perfect down to the tiniest detail). If their character carries a sword 3x his body size, then they craft a sword 3x their size and lug it around with them. (And yes, this is allowed - guns, swords, whatever - there is no violence at Anime Boston, just fun and acceptance.) If their character has wings that are 4x his width, they create wings 4x their width. (Yes, there was a girl with wings that spanned 20 ft. & no one gave her a hard time at all!) Boys dress as girls, girls dress as boys - and nobody cares. There are gothic Lolitas, steampunkers, cyberpunkers, soldiers, gods, pokemon, digimon, domos, and more. 17,000-20,000 people fill three stories of the Hynes and spill out into the Pru, the Copley, and the streets outside. They travel the subway system in full costume. For this weekend and this weekend only, they gather en mass and enjoy the freedom of being who they are and expressing themselves without being bullied.

Strangers hug each other and compliment each other's cosplay outfits. They take pictures with each other. They laugh and sing and shout out to the crowd "Marco" and the entire crowd replies with "Polo". They gather around the manga/anime booths and have intense discussions about their favorite series.

There are panels and workshops and video showings and dating games and contests and shopping. Oh my God - the shopping! You can find pretty much anything you can imagine that geeks love. (I even saw amigurumi Star Trek characters.) I purchased a beautiful leather hand-made steampunk hat with a huge plume of peacock and chicken feathers; a t-shirt that bears a cartoon of a bunny chewing on a human skull with a background of bloody screaming faces that says num num num; and an amigurumi zombie cat. The kid bought a handcrafted fedora, anime poseable figures, shirts, a hat with cat ears, keychains, posters, and...geez, I can't remember it all. Yeah, it was a good day.

I LOVE Anime Boston. I love it because it's a place where a 49 year old mother can walk around with her 17 year old son, wear a steampunk hat & a gaming themed shirt, and join in with all the other geeks - and nobody thinks that's odd. And yes, there were more parents hanging with their kids there than you might think. These kids high fived me and complimented me on both the shirt and the hat (which did not go together). They even complimented my hair color. Strangers chatted with my son and didn't care that he struggles socially. In that crowd, he was connected.

Today was a day of recovery. We're both exhausted from two fantastic days where we gorged ourselves on a culture where we both fit. Thank you PAX East and Anime Boston for seeing the value in creating places where people - who often feel on the fringes of a society where they don't quite fit - can be with other people just like themselves, and be reminded that they are not alone. They are part of a huge group of equally unique people who accept them unconditionally.

That's all. Happy Easter. Happy Passover. Happy Spring.

No comments:

Post a Comment