Otakon 201: How To Survive A Convention Alone
Any of you who have read my past con reports know that until very recently, Anime Boston was the only convention I had ever attended. This changed two weeks ago, when I finally went to Otakon for the first time.
Something you should know about me: The term YOLO is not really in my vocabulary. I dont go to unfamiliar places alone and I dont like to spend money. I can stare for 30 minutes at the anime display in a Best Buy with drool running down my lip and still not make a purchase. I once missed out on seeing Paul McCartney at Fenway even though I would have gone free because I only knew one person who was going in that group. Ninety-nine percent of the time, if Im not comfortable with where the event or budget is going, I will pass it up. So I started making calls: Would any of my con-crew be going? Did anyone have an opening in their hotel room? Could I avoid taking a plane to get there?
The answer: No, no, and definitely no.
Was I going anyway? Yes!
Here are 5 little bits of wisdom on how to survive a convention alone.
1) Remember that you are only beholden to yourself:
2) Always calculate for the line:
3) Ask yourself Is it worth it?:
No, I said.
Incorporating Plot And Dialogue
Take Care Of Guests To Get The Most Out Of Your Con
There is often a long list of guests at anime cons. These guests could be voice actors from your favorite animes, authors or companies, or even creators.
You may have to wait in line based on how many people are there to get an autograph.
Make sure to check out the online Guests List before you go to any con.
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Enjoy To Your Hearts Content
And more than anything else, enjoy. It will be tiring and overwhelming but always keep in mind that your happiness is something that cant 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 youve spent is from your own hard work of saving or working, then do as you please. Dont let anyone tell you otherwise.
How To Stay Safe
For the most part, Anime conventions arevery safe environments and everyone is out there to have fun. That being said,you should take some precautions when youre attending a convention alone:
- As always, Cosplay Is Not Consent. If youre ever in a situation where someone is making you feel uncomfortable, definitely speak up and let that person know. No one has the right to make you feel uncomfortable. Just because youre attending an Anime convention doesnt mean you have to deal with problems on your own. Remember that you can always talk to convention security and staff to get any issue resolved. Dont let anyone ruin your convention experience.
- Drink responsibility. You dont have your friends to carry you back to the hotel if you get plastered. So dont go overboard when youre at a con on your own.
- You need to be extra careful with your stuff. Unlike when you have friends watching your stuff, youre on your own when it comes to this. So when you buy merchandise from the dealers room, dont leave it on a bench or anywhere unattended. Either carry it with you at all times or drop it in the hotel room ASAP. Personally, I always bring my wallet and phone with me at all times when Im attending alone. Other stuff Ill just leave in the hotel room. And if youre inviting people over to your hotel room, I would suggest stashing your valuables away in a closet so theyre safe and protected.
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Attend An Anime Convention
You’ve watched hours of your favorite anime. You’ve subscribed to manga magazines and invested in buying the volumes. You’ve ordered posters online of your favorite characters. And now you’re ready to attend an anime convention. You should start by registering for the convention and preparing for the convention before you get there. Once you arrive, you should try to enjoy yourself as much as possible.
Bring A Folding Chair
We just mentioned the long waiting lines. Lets be real here. There is no event or convention without waiting lines. Waiting in line to play your favourite game, waiting in line to see your favourite actor, waiting in line just to make a picture and so on. Weve all been there. Even though a possitive attitude and happy friends may give you energy, you dont want to spend that energy on the wrong things. So if you dont want to sit on the ground or stay on your feet all day, then you better bring a folding chair!
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Stay Safe & Take Care Of Yourself
Other than being hydrated, this is the most important thing you should remember about your con experience.
Cons are simply a group of people who share a common cause.
Everyone has different motives and not all are good.
Safety should always be your number one priority when you are at or near the convention.
There are several things you can do if you get invited to a party or meetup.
Get Consent From Others
Although it shouldnt be mentioned, this has been a problem for a long time.
Anybody playing or simply having fun would love to have selfies.
However, its up to the other person. They decide whether they want a photo or a video taken.
Many cosplayers consider this their art and its forbidden to take pictures without their permission.
Always remember, respecting one another is key to having a great time.
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How You Can Support The Anime Industry
Here’s how fans can support both the industry and anime creators they love in many different ways.
The anime piracy debate has heated up once again due to the shutdown of the biggest anime piracy website, KissAnime. KissAnime received millions of visitors, and its shutdown has left anime fans looking for other options. The because.moe search engine for legal anime streaming availability temporarily doubled its usual traffic after KissAnime’s closure, suggesting many pirates are open to streaming legally.
Fans who continue to pirate have many excuses for it, but one reason is a misconception that the anime industry does not care about international interests. This is far from the truth: industry revenue from overseas has cracked the one-trillion yen mark, and from the AJA 2019 report, 46 percent of revenue came from outside Japan, making the international market almost on-par with the domestic Japanese market. Now more than ever before, Japanese companies are interacting with foreign investors and communicating more with international fans.
However, investing in the anime industry isn’t the same as investing in anime creators. This guide goes through both how to support both the industry and anime creators in many different ways.
Pro Tip : Make A Rough Plan
If youre planning on attending an anime convention alone, there is one thing you absolutely must do before anything else: make a plan. I know it sounds simple enough, but I cannot stress how important it is to have a plan in place before you attend your local anime convention, whether youre going with a group or solo. Having a rough idea of the panels and events you want to see is essential for a stress-free con experience. Most cons even post their schedules online in advance, so you can get a pretty good idea of times and dates for the events you want to check out. Some cons even use the Guidebook app, where you can add specific events and panels to a personalized schedule. It even sends out reminders a few minutes before each event starts so you have time to go from between panels.
*Also try hitting up the con early to map out where some of your big ticket panels and events are taking place Trust me, you dont want to miss out on a panel because you got lost.
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Ten Convention Survival Tips
The convention season will be upon you before you know it. We wanted to share some helpful tips for getting through any convention visits you may have planned with minimal harm to your mind, body, and wallet.
10) Follow the 5-2-1 RuleThe 5-2-1 Rule is a time-tested rule that you should follow at every convention. It means: A minimum of 5 hours of sleep per night… At least 2 good meals per day… And 1 mandatory shower each day.
9) Convince Your Friends to Join YouConventions, by their nature, are social events. You will enjoy the convention more if you have someone to enjoy it with. Also, hotels, gas, and parking can get expensive, so it helps to have a few friends who can split the cost with you. …but in order to make sure you don’t get stuck with the bill, make sure they know you won’t give them a hotel key until they pay their share of the bill up front.
8) Set a Budget for the ConventionAfter you know how many friends can join you and how much you’ll be paying for the hotel, you should have a fairly good idea of how much it will cost you to attend the convention. Set a budget for things like registration, food, travel, and how much you can spend on any sweet deals in the dealers’ room. You may even want to make a list of specific volumes of manga you are looking to get. Plan ahead and you won’t find yourself stranded.
If you follow these tips, you’ll be better prepared to have a great convention experience! As a bonus, here’s one more tip for you…
Getting To The Convention On Your Own
Your friend who normally drives you tothe convention wont be around this time, so youll have to figure out a waythere.
- If you live in North America, the Greyhound and Megabus serve multiple cities and have an extensive bus network to get you there, while the Via Rail and Amtrak are more limited. Im not sure about Europe and other countries, but your rail network is probably much better than ours here in North America!
- Taking the plane makes sense if the convention is very far away. Its the fastest way to get there and back but also the most expensive. If time is something you cannot spare, then take the plane. For me, I work a full-time job so I dont have a bunch of vacation days to spare. So taking the plane makes sense for me in a lot of situations. However, if you have lots of time on your hands and youre willing to sit for multiple hours, then you can save a lot of money by taking the long way there using the bus or train.
- A car will probably not be worth it if youre going alone most of the time. Youll have no one to split the gas bill and no one to help you with the drive. So youre better off sitting on a bus/train/plane and letting someone else do the driving for you. The only time it makes sense driving if the convention is in an obscure location thats difficult to reach by public transportation .
Now that you got the transportation andlodging down, heres
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Enjoying Yourself At The Convention
Attend A Convention Alone: Is It For Everyone
I wrote this post because I genuinely feel you wanting to attend a convention alone can be a great experience. That being said, there are exceptions where I would not recommend going alone, including:
- If youre not self-reliant. Unless youre going to a small con thats in the same city, visiting a big con in a different city takes some planning and responsibility on your part. If you cant handle stuff like booking your own hotel or travel tickets, that then you probably should just stick with your friends. But if you actually want to learn how, then keep reading!
- If you have major social anxiety. In my opinion, one of the most important aspects of having fun when youre traveling to a convention alone is socializing with others. If you have social anxiety, theres no need to put more pressure on yourself to do so.
- If loneliness is very difficult for you to deal with . While most congoers are friendly and social, there will be moments where it can be difficult to socialize. So at times, it can feel lonely at a convention. Loneliness is part of traveling alone but it can be very difficult for someone whos not used to it. If thats the case, then attending alone may not be for you.
With that out of the way, lets talk about why its great to attend a convention alone!
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List Of Anime Conventions
This is a list of noteworthyanime conventions from around the world, as distinct from comic book conventions, furry conventions, gaming conventions, horror conventions, multigenre conventions, and science fiction conventions. This list is sectioned by location, and included with the list is the year the convention was established, as well as the months or dates which the convention are typically held within. Multi-genre, comic book, furry, gaming, and science fiction conventions are not listed here.
- Note: Almost all of the conventions listed were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and may have skipped events in one or more years during 2020-2021.