Friday, August 19, 2005


This weekend, my teenage sister is off to Otakon, the annual anime otaku convention held in beautiful Baltimore MD. This year she's gone bigger and badder, sporting a handful of different costumes, one of which is coordinated with a group of friends all dressing from the same manga series.

First off, I should admit that this is likely all my fault. We're eleven years apart, my sister and I, and I think I permanently damaged her by growing up geek.

Second off, let me say that while impersonating animated characters in hotel lobbies is not generally my thing, I did agree to attend a convention with her once that coincided with one of my trips home.

Sis: (eyes twinkling) "Are you going to dress up?"
Me: "...Uh..."
Sis: "Everyone does. If you don't, it's like, look at that person without a costume."
Me: "Well, do people my age dress up?"
Sis: "Oh, yeah. My friend who I met last year is like 30 and she dressed as *string of anime characters' names*. She's really cool. You'll like her."
Me: "..."

So for a Saturday, I was Spike Spiegel, a nice choice for the simplicity of his costume. And, my sister told all of her friends I look like him. This, I soon gathered, is a nice compliment in her circle.

I can say now first hand, after having attended this minor convention, that not everyone dresses up. Not everyone indeed. No problem, I'm only mildly embarrassed when we roll into Taco Bell. I'm in some get-up with two 15 year old girls - also in costume - in tow.

My favorite moment occured, however, in the vendor's room, the sequestered area where you buy your pocky and Sailor Moon keychains, when a young man in blue spray-painted cardboard armor and a helmet made of - I'm guessing - a combination of socks and papier-mache approached me and mumbled: "Koichi Yamadera". I know this is what he said now, because I just looked it up. At the time, however, I had no idea he was even speaking to me until he removed his helmet and continued by offering some more words (later learned to be anime characters' names) as if waiting for me to recognize what he was doing. Oh shit, I thought, he's reciting dialog from the show the character I'm dressed as is from or something, and godblesshim, I think he might be mildly autistic. He saved me, though, just as I started shaking my head, and clearly said, "Koichi Yamadera is the actor who did all of those characters' voices". Including my guy, Spike Spiegel. "That's an impressive memory," I said. He asked me if I knew who his character was, and I apologized because I didn't. That was okay with him; he flashed me a big smile, bowed low and left.

Then someone glomped me.

The cardboard knight seemed like such a sweet person. I wish I could have guessed his character for him, because I'm sure it was a great costume.


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