Let’s get into the complicated world of conventions together as we explore Star City Anime, a three day convention located in Roanoke,Virginia, that is on its second year, and review one of the budding conventions of the southern United States. This is your official walkthrough of an anime convention with love from us! Complete with tips and tricks to get you ready for your first venture into the world of anime con etiquette!
Last weekend, I woke up early for a road trip with my friends to our first anime convention. We all piled in the car and took off on a hour long drive to spend time learning about anime and cool Japanese merchandise to show off to you.
First things first, the things you should know about anime convention etiquette!
- Never buy or support bootleg merchandise if you see it; generally these people can have harmful items or cheaply made ones that will break as soon as you get home. They also will be removed from the con very quickly by staff after displaying their merchandise.
- Don’t feel ashamed to cosplay and if you are cosplaying you have the right to say no to any pictures!
- Remember that voice actors and other guests need space, too.
- Don’t be afraid to start a conversation with people. Part of the experience is making friends!
- Bring cash; you never know if a vendor can accept cards or not.
Star City Anime: The Convention
The best thing about going to a relatively new convention is the fact that you get a lot more time to wander freely without really having to worry about lines or everything selling out. This con had a lot of people, but it was a manageable sum. The hotel that it was in was especially nice and they rented out all the conference rooms as well as the ballroom to accommodate everyone so there was plenty of space to move around. The vendors were also easy to talk to and the lines for signings were not at a point where you had to fight tooth and nail to get into the conference room. There were also plenty of activities and different items to look at, not to mention some incredibly well done cosplays of everything from anime to Star Wars!
The people at the convention were all super friendly. Most of the cosplayers were more than happy to take a picture with you or stop to chat about their costume. Everywhere you went you saw people running around with plushies they just bought or jumping up and down with excitement. The first thing you really notice is that everyone is smiling and laughing like they’re at home or with a large group of friends. The staff members were talkative as well and seemed to enjoy helping out when they could. Over all the crowd itself was just a really positive experience and made you feel right at home.
Cosplay was everywhere as soon as you walked in the doors. There was someone from every series you could think of and they all looked great, I mean really great! Just to give you an idea of what I saw here’s a short list of characters:
- Sailor Venus (Sailor Moon)
- Jibanyan (Yo-kai Watch)
- Dante (DMC)
- Edward Elric (FMA)
- Misty (Pokemon)
- Bell Cranel (Danmachi)
- Inspector Gadget
- Kylo Ren (Stars Wars)
- Maka & Soul (Soul Eater)
- Terra ( Teen Titans)
- Zero (Vampire Knight)
No fandoms really got left out to say the least. It was an incredible mix of people with passion for an incredible number of things. There also were a lot of handmade items and accessories that each of these people had to make there costumes perfect.
The shopping was also pretty awesome for those of you who love to go on hauls. Between the artist alley and the merchandise vendors, you could find something for everyone! The merchandise section had everything from Amuse plushies, anime merchandise, and kigurumis to imported Japanese candy and video games. A lot of the vendors had discounts when you bought more than one item, and several even were nice enough to give us some amazing deals. The artist alley had breathtaking creations and a weapons vendor to purchase your dreams arms from. The art was reasonably priced and there were even some that would do commissions for you. I ended up walking away with a Keyblade, Tessaiga, a Gloomy Bear plush, a mystery box, and candy for about 200 USD which is a lot cheaper than I ever anticipated for a convention.
If you didn’t want to shop or wanted to rest a bit from walking around there where a lot of activities you could involve yourself in. There were panels going on all day with everything from signings with Vic Mignogna and Emily Neves to Captain Jack Sparrow explaining to you how ridiculous it was for a pirate to have a license. If you wanted to be more active, right up the hall from panels was karaoke and a sword fighting tournament. Next to that was a game room filled with board games, cards games, arcade machines, and game consoles. If you got tired, there was a restaurant up front with a special menu just for the con where you could rest and refuel. If you like to stay out late there was a formal ball and a foam party you could attend and have a blast.
Verdict on Star City Anime
The convention was amazing and fun. I actually highly suggest going if you are within traveling distance to this one. The people and quality of the event where great and very welcoming to new-comers. One of the friends I took is a complete introvert and it was extremely easy for him to get around and handle everything, which is great for those who get weary of social gatherings. I really feel like this event achieved a world where people can be themselves and feel free of the judgement we go through in everyday life. Plus wouldn’t you love to hang out with an army of Deadpools and Sailor Scouts for a day?
Let me know about your cosplays, convention stories, and any convention related questions in the comments below!