Have you ever had the chance to get to an Aki Con event? This past weekend was a first time for me, and I had no idea what to expect walking into an anime convention. Turns out, it was a great time! Aki Con 2015, was held at the Double Tree Hotel in Sea-Tac Washington this year, and the lobby was swarming with cartoons brought to life from a lot of shows I’d never heard of, and a few I had.
I had the opportunity to meet Bonnie Chow, the woman who organized the convention, and even she was in a costume of Sonoda Umi from “Love Live.” There were those who made their entire costumes from scratch, while others bought parts premade and pieced them together. I saw everything from Batman’s Poison Ivy to a dog dressed up as Luigi. The place was also full of people like me, just there to bear witness to all the hard work and creativity.
As I walked in the door of the hotel, vendors in the ballroom were setting up themed stands. I made my way to the castle-shaped counter to get my ticket. I followed the signs upstairs to the art gallery, which was full of paintings, costume pieces, and sketches ready for color. All around me, people were laughing, singing, and having a good time. A few carried sketchbooks and drew new scenes from popular shows. It was amazing what they came up with. There were even people dressed as the character they were drawing, which was almost too meta. People sold pins, jewelry, and clothes for other cosplayers. It was inspiring to see the passion and support that everyone had for each other.
While we wondered the halls of the building, the colors got brighter, the people got louder, and the crowd grew larger. I found it fascinating that people of all ages would take the time to create and really become these fictional characters. Some had clearly made a life out of cosplay, as they were handing out business cards for their character. The attention to detail was impressive on every level. I enjoyed interviewing some of the characters and getting to know the motivation behind their creativity. It’s amazing that a television show can have such a huge impact on people’s lives. These people go all out for events like this and are very creatively (and technically) talented. I was particularly impressed by a women dressed as “GLaDOS” – a maniacal, rogue AI figure from the puzzle game Portal. She had her face painted white and her hair streaked all black and grey. Her dress was even hand stitched with her name so that everyone would know who she was (or, like me, could Google who she was) before they spoke to her. When she turned around, she had actual computer cords hanging out of her hair.
All in all, this was a great way to spend my weekend. I got to meet new people passionate about a culture previously foreign to me. I learned what all the hype was about; when people would talk about Aki Con, their enthusiasm was contagious. People from all walks of life would be able to find some element of the convention to enjoy. If you’re ever in the area and you want to see some serious creativity, this is the place to be. The Aki Con coordinators post event dates to their Facebook page; for more information check it out.