Whether it’s your first time or your nth time attending an anime convention or you’re going alone or with a bunch of friends, we all know it can be overwhelming. You’ll lose track of time, of money, and even your purpose of attending the said event. To avoid that, it’s always better to read through some tips ahead of time just to remind yourself. Or if this is your first time, be guided of the do’s and don’ts, what to bring, and what should be done.
Here are 9 tips to live by when you’re attending an anime convention.
1. Always Plan Ahead
It is always better to plan ahead, it doesn’t matter if it’s a year or a few months early but never leave the planning to the last minute. This includes preparing the budget, saving up some allowance or setting it aside, scouting the area for possible rest houses, hotels, inns and restaurants and if the convention is a plane away, book your tickets in advance.
Since big anime conventions are always sought-after events that happen once in a year, always expect the worse. If you cram making all the arrangements in the last few days before the convention, better expect hotels, lodges, and inns nearby to be full and plane tickets to be quite costly because of the demand.
If you have set aside the budget for your travel and lodging early on, and are 100% that you will attend the convention, better to make reservations early to make sure that you won’t be running like a headless chicken when the convention draws near.
2. Pack the essentials
The day of the event has come! And you think you are more than ready. But are you really? Rather than thinking you won’t be needing much inside the venue, it is better to come prepared. Instead of a small handy bag, bring a trusty backpack inside and make sure to pack everything you’d think will help you survive throughout the day. It might be anything but for starters, prepare and bring the following:
- if the venue is in an area that you are not familiar with, bring a map with you or make sure you have access to maps from your phone
- Chargers for all your gadgets or charge up your power banks. Better to do both.
- At least a bottle or two of water
- A bunch of snacks
- Handkerchief and/or a towel
- This might or might not come in handy but, a sunscreen
- Identification ID’s and better if it comes with an emergency contact
3. Document everything
If this is your first anime convention, then this moment would have to be written in history and you’ll want to remember every bit of it. But, even if it’s not your first, it will still be something you’d want to look back and reminisce every once in a while. You know, memories.
So don’t be shy and take pictures, take selfies, and vlog. You might be on the bashful side but remember, no one will ever judge you while you’re there. They will be too busy doing their own thing and minding their own business to throw you a judging glance or talk to their friends about you so don’t be embarrassed and do your things. As you go through the crowd, you’ll also find a huge portion of the attendees will also be vlogging and taking pictures of everything and everyone.
An anime convention is not an anime convention without the presence of the cosplayers and some might take their cosplay to a whole another level. If you can, ask for permission to have your photo taken or take a selfie with the glammed-up cosplayers. Remember to give them space and ask for permission first before touching their costumes and props. They spent a huge amount of time designing, sewing, and creating it and would not appreciate it if you accidentally break one crucial part of their costume.
4. Stick to the budget
The first day of the convention will be overwhelming and you will be fascinated with the room full of anime merchandise. It might be very tempting to splurge it all on the first day but, I highly suggest you don’t. Remember, it’s just the first day, there will be another day or two of the convention, so spend wisely and think twice before buying.
Divide your spending allowance to how many days the convention will be held and stick to that budget. The most important thing is to set aside and if possible, put in a safer and separate compartment, your transportation and food allowance. Do not ever empty your wallet and always have emergency money with you.
5. Your feet will hurt
If you are cosplaying, make sure that your shoes are comfortable so add in extra gel insoles in there for added comfort. Even though it will not be totally painless, especially if the character you are cosplaying requires inconvenient footwear, at the very least, take extra measures to lessen the pain.
If you are attending as a normal bystander, wear the most comfortable shoes you have. Big anime conventions will be held in an equally big venue so you have to expect more walking to get from one part of the venue to another. Remember to rest every once in a while, munch on some snacks, and always keep yourself hydrated.
6. Be Civilized
It does not matter if you are a local or a tourist or a first-timer or a veteran at attending anime conventions, you should always be polite and civilized. This means, do not be rude to your fellow goers or to vendors and don’t do anything stupid that will result in you being asked to leave or worse, call the attention of the police. Always respect people’s privacy, and if you are trying to make friends, be as nice as you can. Do not badmouth cosplayers, bystanders, vendors, and their products.
Of course, everybody can’t please you so if a cosplayer’s costume or a vendor’s product is not your cup of tea, keep your rude comments to yourself. You know what they say, if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
The bottom line to this is to be respectful and to be courteous. It cost nothing to be kind.
7. Dress it all up
In the normal community, people will probably look at you weirdly if you decided to wear your cat ears and tails to the mall but not in anime conventions. In fact, you are encouraged to dress to your favorite characters or at least embody them in your own way. Be it varsity jackets, donning their outfits, styling your hair to theirs, or even wear a wig to show which character you are.
This is that one time and one place in a year where you can go all out and release your hidden inner otaku and the best thing is that no one will ever judge you. You might even be making life-long friends, which shares your interest and likes. You might part ways after the convention and promise to stay in touch online but despite that, it always feels a hundred times better knowing that you are not alone in having certain hobbies and interests.
8. Health and Hygiene is Wealth
After a long tiring day at the convention, it might be very tempting to just lay in bed and sleep all the fatigue away. But, don’t. Just don’t do that. Always remember to eat proper meals at the appropriate time, change out of your sweaty clothes, and shower all the dirt away.
It will be very easy to skip out all of this because of the exhaustion but do yourself a favor and even if you’re away from home, do not disregard your nighttime routine.
Another important thing to take note is if you have any underlying health conditions like allergies or asthma, do not ever forget your medicine or your inhaler. Always bring them with you inside your trusty backpack, making sure they are easily accessible. If you are with a friend, inform them of the things or the first aid they need to do if things come to a worse. And if at any time of the day, you are not feeling well, your health should always come first so it is better to leave the venue and rest in your hotel room.
9. Enjoy to your heart’s content
And more than anything else, enjoy. It will be tiring and overwhelming but always keep in mind that your happiness is something that can’t be replaced and exchange for anything else in the world. If attending anime conventions, cosplaying, and spending money on anime merchandise is what makes you happy, go ahead and do it. If it what makes you happy, as long as you are not dragging anyone down and the money you’ve spent is from your own hard work of saving or working, then do as you please. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.