I’m going to drop my daughters off at the Anime Festival
downtown and then have the entire day to wander around with nothing to do. I’ll probably take my laptop and go write in
a coffee house somewhere. I actually
thought about just handing the keys to my elder girl but that would leave me
stranded all day.
No, I don’t want to go.
I’m not that into Anime. I did
consider putting on those cool cat ears and going “Neko” as they call
it, and wander around answering “Meow,” to anything anyone said to
me. But, no, I’d rather get some work
done on my current short story.
I do understand why my kids like it, though. It’s all about getting attention, and
Nowhere else have I seen more bare-chested Samurai wielding
paper-machete swords, or cardboard robot-suits, or willowy nymphs with kitten
ears and swinging furry tales. I’ve seen
old ladies dressed as pirates, and satyrs with seven foot legs. They pose and preen for dozens of cameras
like stars on a red carpet.
People call out to each other — total strangers — and rush
together to embrace like old friends. Like family. Which in a way they are.
For one thing, they share in a tightly knit little
subculture. Anime fans are, in a way,
soap-opera fans, because of the episodic nature of the art. The stories they are immersive and touch upon
serious issues. They’re also sci-fi and fantasy fans, which makes them one step
removed from the mundane world. They’re
also computer gaming fans, which marks them as preferring interactive — not
passive — entertainment. Finally
they’re artistic, because Anime is more than just a way of cartooning — it’s a
serious art form — and many fans are also creators. Add to this an underlying Eastern flavor,
with a strong Buddhist undercurrent, and you end up with a subculture with one
of the highest senses of identity since the “deadheads” of the
Grateful Dead era.
Within this subculture you have clans based upon favorite
shows and characters. These translate
into instant families, instant friends.
That I am convinced is the main attraction for these
events. This is also why I’m so
supportive of my kid’s interest in it.