What is A-Kon? It is a 3-day event of mad fun! Where you will find loads of anime-related information. You can meet people in the gaming industry. Artists. There are educational panels on a variety of anime topics. One can play games. Many people cosplay favorite characters. If you like, you can be in a cosplay skit. Also, you’ll find loads of anime-based merch. There are rave dances, an abundance of glow! And the concerts… my favorite! This year two Japanese bands! That alone is worth the cost of registration. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
One might say our family had been preparing for the convention for nearly a year. Costumes were planned. We pre-registered months in advance. It’s much cheaper that way. And we reserved our hotel room well in advance. Rooms go fast!
And so, off we went early Friday, the first day. Truck packed with food, frocks and full of excitement.
When we arrived, parking was close to impossible. And a touch pricey. It was to be expected. A-Kon is a huge event. And well, it is Dallas.
After finding a place, far, far away….. We managed to get the hotel room and make the trek to the infamous pre-reg line. A very long maze-like line that encircled the entire room. And that room is very large. Though, because we brought our young children with us, A-Kon staff took pity on us and placed us near the very front of the line. Nice! This occurred more than once throughout the convention, I might add. Benefits. Haha! Also, it is worth noting, small children are very much welcome at the event. There are very few exceptions regarding this.
We received our pre-reg badges and moved on to the madness.
Yes, I dressed up as something. Though the only photo I have of the ensemble is blurry! This, because everyone was in a tremendous hurry to hit the convention floors. I snapped the photo with kids under foot, their way out the door. Did I mention it was hot?! Whew!
My costume, in the beginning, was to resemble Riese, from the steampunk series of that name. It wound up being a mish-mash of pieces, though still very much steampunk. I even made my own aged-look brassy-like goggles. I do have the exact ammo belt Riese has. I’m very proud of that. Actually, in our household, we have two! Husband sported one of them, complete with snacks, cellphone and cash. Mine contained a brass nautical compass. Handy, no doubt.
The eldest daughter and her friend dressed as popular anime characters and had many photos taken of them. My little man chose to be a ninja. Little daughter, opted for Sailor Moon. Her ensemble was a last minute decision and put together rather quickly out of what was on hand. She received many compliments and relished it every bit.
And so, we went with the flow. The huge crowd, like a river winding through large rooms and small corridors.
The big event on Friday, the concert. Two Japanese bands. Blood Stain Child and D for the first time in the U.S. What a privilege it was to see them!
And now, I have learned what visual kei is. Men dressed in feminine clothing with a full face of makeup can be very appealing and oddly quite masculine.
The interesting thing is they are indeed beautiful to look at, though their music is very metal and hard. A fascinating contradiction. I was transfixed and instantly a fan of both groups. Though D is particularly seductive.
The voices of Blood Stain Child clash, but in a vibrant harmonious way. The harshness of Ryo’s voice is the edge. The beautiful Sophia’s sweet melodious voice is like light winding through the rubble.
Then there is D. The visually stunning D. Their performance took my breath away. They instantly commanded the stage and my attention was fixed. And though the songs are sung in Japanese language I do not know, the beautiful voice of Asagi is so full of emotion, I was pulled into understanding. I could go on and on. But, I’ll spare you the gush and keep the sweet memory to myself. Let’s just say, the audience was very much a part of the journey. And it was lovely.
My only regret, the one thing I’m very sad about missing was the autograph sessions with both bands. We may never see the groups again, I realize. Every opportunity to savor the experience must be taken. And I missed it! Never again, I vow. Next year will be different.
As for the rest of the convention…
The rave, my second favorite thing to attend. I’ve always loved dance music. And glow sticks! The two combined, well, it is almost a heaven.
There were so many events. To be sure, I missed many of them. And, as the year before, I have learned what I overlooked and pledge to not miss so much!
In a nutshell, that is my experience. I suppose one can never get too old for such random fun. \(^.^)/
Here is just a glimpse of us and some of what we saw.
Story & Pictures contributed by Shauna Chan, Dallas.