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Anime Weekend
30 September, 2010

As a birthday gift to my brother, I took him to an Anime convention in Atlanta. He really wanted to go and listen to the band Molice and I just wanted to gawk at all the costumes. And gawk I did.

 

There is something very interesting about being surrounded by people in costumes and not wearing one yourself. We did not dress up, because honestly we didn’t know what to expect, since neither of us has ever been to an Anime convention

before. We thought there would be performers, but we didn’t expect for most attendees to be part of the act. These people were not joking. Their costumes were so well made; they looked as if they had just walked off a television screen. As soon as we walked through the door of the convention, we were thrust into the belly of the beast. There was InuYasha and Pikachu from Pokemon, Kurosaki from Bleach talking to Light from Death Note. Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story was taking pictures with the warriors from Halo and their weapons. All of Sailor Moon ladies were in attendance joined by a young child dressed up as Hello Kitty. Edward Elric from Full Alchemist sauntered by while, my personal favorite, Spike from Cowboy Bebop, stood right behind me in line for coffee. The nicest character at the convention was Mario from Super Mario Brothers. He patiently waited for me to get my camera to work and did not walk away, even though it took me a full five minutes to get it to cooperate. At one point we were literally in the middle of what was obviously a choreographed fight between Spiderman and Cat Woman, but we escaped unarmed.

 


I have to admit, I haven’t thought of anime since college. There were a few nights I spent in my first year in California staying up till three or four in the morning to watch Adult Swim (an anime cartoon network), but I was not able to keep up with the schedule because of work. It was okay to sleep though class, but it was not okay to fall asleep while working. So gradually, I stopped paying attention to the anime cartoon channel all together.


Yet there was a time in college when I was very much into anime. I stayed up with my roommates watching Cowboy Bebop and Bleach on Adult Swim. I watched Lane videos religiously. I wasn’t a junkie, but I, alongside my roommates, sat up night after night contemplating the philosophy behind each episode. I was especially hooked on Serial Experiments Lain, anime about a lonely teenage girl who got too involved with the “Wired” which was another word for cyberspace. The series focused on philosophical subjects of reality, identity and communication not only with other living creatures, but with cyberspace as well. Lain’s identity and her reality was shattered when the Wired started making itself a part of her. The story misdirection was central to the plotline. No one was to be trusted, and Lain least of all.  My roommates and I sat around discussing everything from human thought, memory, consciousness, to conspiracy theories and cyber addictions. One of my roommates ended up writing a whole paper on the subject of dissociative identity disorder, which is one of the themes in the Series. Another argued successfully with her teacher about the freedoms and dangers of information highway.
Back at the convention I didn’t see anyone dressed up as Lain at the convention, but it was to be expected. Lain was never as popular as InuYasha or Final Fantasy. It had themes and messages deeper than ‘lets rescue a princess and kill the bad guys’.


When I told my brother about Serial Experiments Lain, he didn’t know what that was. He had come to listen to real live band (Molice) play, not stare at some make-believe characters. That’s when I realized the generation gap between us. He is a completely different Wired generation.

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