Fact #1: An “otaku” is a Japanese nerd.
Fact #2: Nerds have more fun.
Proof. The attendees of Otakuthon put hours into creating gorgeous cosplay costumes of their favourite anime characters. These run from the old favorites like Naruto to whatever is hot on Crunchy Roll (that’s the Japanese anime channel). Most otaku pursuits require little more than enthusiasm to get started but give plenty of space for the exercise of creative muscle, whether that is building plastic robots or collecting dolls or acting out scenes from anime shows, drawing, or writing fan fic. Otaku geek out with one another and can party longer and later than most. Yuri and yaoi (lesbians and gay otaku) have events dedicated to promote these communities at the convention. No matter who you are or what you love, there is no judgment, just people offering hugs.
Some of the highlights of Otakuthon this year include the annual parade and dances (including the Masquerade). Guests of honor are quite different from what come to Comicon. Top cosplayers, WindoftheStars from the US and Shema Arroyo and Juan Carlos Tolento from Mexico will be showing off their costuming and embodiment skills. Musically, there are j-pop singers Ayako Kawasumi and virtual Japanese musician, IA. Voice actors Kevin Connolly, Amanda Miller, Cherami Leigh, and Kara Eberle are in attendance. The youtube revolution is here, with Arkada (Tristan Gallant) and MistyChronexia who review Japanese animation in attendance. Other writers, bloggers, comic artists, lecturers and thinkers in attendance are Erica Friedman, Etienne Desilets-Trempe, Lucid, Mel Gosselin, Nunumi, and Valérie Lévesque present.
Attendees tend to head towards what they are most passionate about, whether that is Gunpla (Gundam plastic models), dolls, tabletop gaming, video games, Japanese cultural offerings, watching anime, or attending the many panels and workshops. One of the most popular things is taking pictures or, alternatively, being photographed.
Of course, there is shopping — lots and lots of shopping. Some things on offer include costume supplies, manga, anime, Japanese products, original art, dolls, and all manner of goodies.
So, Otakuthon, the annual convention dedicated to the Otaku and their passions — anime specifically — is both liberating and enjoyable. Even as a non-cosplayer, I’ve found nothing but passion and infectious enthusiasm. While I still don’t have a wig to call my own, every time I attend, I find myself thinking I need to find my alter ego in the anime world.
Pictures speak a thousand words. Each one of them is “fun”.
Otakuthon runs from Friday August 4 to Sunday August 6 at Palais de Congrès (201 Viger W). Tickets are $60 for the weekend, and $40-50 depending on the day. You can get your registration package today (Thursday). For further information, check the website HERE.