Guest Author - Lynn Newcomb Gaziano
What is a place where everyone dresses up in elaborate costumes, gathers together to celebrate their favorite characters, attend a masquerade parade, Carnevil, The Vermillion Ball, anime workshops, and more? It’s the Anime Convention at The Radisson Hotel in Nashua New Hampshire. This year’s theme is Gothic & Horror and since it’s held every year in October, two weeks before Halloween, it’s the perfect place to celebrate the season.
So what sets this convention apart from all of the other Halloween costume parties that you might attend at this time of year? It’s called “cosplay” and the people who attend this event are masters at it. Cosplay is a term made popular by fans of Japanese media. It is the tradition of not only dressing up as a favorite character, but also to role-play the character while at these events. I discovered how entertaining this form of a masquerade ball could be while attending my first convention here in Nashua New Hampshire. I spent an hour in the lobby of the Radisson where “pods” of young people were gathering together to show off their costumes, and their role-play abilities. I interrupted several conversations to say hello and ask for a photo and each time I was delighted to see the participants switch immediately over to “in-character” mode. From the bodily animations, to the vocal accents and use of their character’s unique dialogue, you suddenly feel yourself hurled into the middle of an anime skit that is being put on just to entertain and delight you.
I enjoyed this event immensely even though I’m far too old to “fit in”. I don’t have any children of my own, but if I did, I would not hesitate to let them attend an anime convention, also known as “cons”. It was obvious to me that these young people took great pride in their adoration of anime. They had employed a lot of innovation, imagination and passion to their choice of characters and their portrayal of that character.
I stayed the weekend and saw no evidence of anyone under the influence of anything but enthusiasm and knowledge of their topic, unless you count Red Bull as an influence. There seemed to be plenty of people clutching these popular energy drinks and I had to wonder why on earth people of this age group would need more energy. I got tired just watching them enjoy themselves …perhaps I should try one of those drinks next time !
The convention is put on by AAC, Another Anime Convention, and has been held at this location every year since 2006.
Some of the events available to participants are Masquerade Painted faces on parade, The Vermillion Ball, Electronic Music Dance with 4 different Djs to choose from.
Voting on Anime Music Videos, Video & Tabletop Gaming - game room for tournaments,
Anime Screenings on a big screen TV, Anime Open Market Swap Meet and a large Manga Library. There are also workshops available to learn more about cosplay, how to plan for a convention, how to make an AMV etc...
Children 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult, but trust me on this one, the adult will have fun too, I sure did.
Stop by the New England Travel forum to see photos of my stay at the convention as well as links to useful information about the convention and anime in general.