Self-Indulgence 3: Absolute Destiny Otakalypse
My first anime convention was Otakon in 2001. I think the triceratops had just died out around that time, so it wasn’t that long ago, but long enough to call it ancient history in this silly little fandom.
I’d been wanting to go to a con for a few years, but money had been an issue. I didn’t have a real job for my first two years of college due to various convoluted reasons that’d bore you to death if I went into them. When I realized I wasn’t going to graduate “on time” (I graduated from high school in ’96 but didn’t get around to graduating college until ’02), I finally buckled down and started working part-time.
Blah blah blah here comes 2001 and I have a little bit of cash on hand. I also talked with some online buddies about it and they convince me to give Otakon a try. They were planning on going, so I’d be able to go to a con and hang out with some people I’d known for a couple of years. Sounds like a good deal, right? Yeah, I thought so at the time too.
I invited a real life friend to come with me to Otakon. I’d known the guy since middle school. He and I got into anime and manga around the same time and he occasionally wrote for the writing website where my online friends were from, so everything seemed hunky dory. A couple of weeks before the convention, said friend canceled. His then-girlfriend was graduating from college the very same weekend as Otakon and she wanted him to be at the graduation.
“That’s a completely understandable reason to cancel,” you’re probably thinking. Under most circumstances I’d agree with you, but due to some more boring and convoluted situations best left to daytime soap operas, his ditching me wasn’t as understandable as you’d like to believe. I managed to wrangle another friend into going with me, since I wanted back-up in case these online friends ended up being maniacal Satanic Cthulhu cultists intent on sacrificing me during the cosplay masquerade dance or something, but said friend wasn’t acquainted with these people.
Turns out that my friend ended up being a wee bit intimidated by one of my online friends. He didn’t dig the fact that said online friend was trying to play tour guide and wanted to schedule stuff for the group to do. I’ll admit that I wasn’t fond of the idea either. All I wanted to do was wander around the con, buy shit, and ogle that cosplayer dressed up as Maetel from Galaxy Express 999. After ten minutes of hanging out with my online friends on the first day, my friend and I quietly slipped away and didn’t hang out with them for the rest of the trip.
I’m still friends with that group of online peeps (and with the ditcher friend and with the friend I dragged along for that matter). They tease me to this day about ditching them at the con.
Anyway, the only reason why I ended up blogging about this is due to the fact that I came across the first piece of crap I ever bought at an anime convention:
An official Revolutionary Girl Utena duelist ring.
The damn thing didn’t fit then and, obviously, it still doesn’t fit now. I knew that would be the case when I bought it. It’s obviously a ring made for female Japanese consumers, so even with my fairly average American gaijin hands it wasn’t going to fit. The girl at the dealer’s booth told me that it came with a chain, so if I ever wore it I could wear it around my neck. Even then, I just wanted to have an duelist ring. I can go around saying I took people’s revolutions and cracked the world’s shell and slapped Anthy and have physical proof of such.
You can’t see it as well in this picture, since my camera isn’t all that, but the part of the ring where the rose insignia is supposed to be is a little messed up. Even when you shine the damn thing in the light it’s hard to see the rose.
Yeah, in my eagerness to revolutionize the world I bought a defective ring. I was bummed that I spent somewhere between $30 and $40 on something that looked like crap, but at the same time I didn’t even want to think about taking it back. The concept of merely having the ring outweighed the fact that I probably got screwed over by someone trying to offload defective merchandise.
I’m a hell of a lot more careful now when I go to cons. And by that I mean “don’t buy any more stupid crap at cons.” Except for those Haruhi Figmas you see in the background. And other stupid crap.
Ok. I haven’t learned my lesson.
Also, you can read numbers correctly. The t-shirt I posted is from the 2002 Otakon. Stupid me didn’t buy a t-shirt from the my first convention.