Some of you are wondering what the title to this post / rant might entail. Well, coming from a long time con goer a lot of you will understand where I’m getting at. Who knows? Maybe I can incite a riot in this case. **chuckle** Just kidding on that. But I am hoping to bring more attention to this with people out there and maybe we can take back the conventions and get them to that old level of respectability. And please share your thoughts and comments at the end of this. Be interesting to get different opinions on the topic.
I’ve been going to anime cons for easily over 10 years now and I’ve noticed some drastic changes over the past 6 years. And I know I’m not the only one to point these out with other long time con goers out there. For the first years I was attending anime cons the age range was usually about 18/19 at the youngest on average to those in their 30’s. Those of us in our 20’s back then could harmlessly flirt with others and not worry about running into someone underage. Granted there were a few back then, usually a younger sibling attending the con with an older family member. Now these days the young end of the age spectrum really took a nose dive right into the early teens!
So now we have a huge influx of younger con goers these days. To old timers it’s nice to see a younger generation come onto the scene. But in this case what we’ve witnessed at anime cons has been absolutely horrible. With a lot of anime going “mainstream” on various cable channels back then kids got exposed to stuff that had them going “wow.” Natural curiosity kicks in and they want to know where they can see more anime so internet research kicks in. During that they happen to stumble upon information about anime cons.
Unfortunately with a lot of kids attending anime cons in these past few years a number of them have brought a level of immaturity that is unbelievable. Granted not all of the kids are monsters, but the few that are always causing trouble are more than enough. Even better the ones that were acting like said monsters years ago are now in their last stages in college or just out of college still acting like same monsters back then. This level of immaturity has spread to other young con goers. And it affects the hotels that everyone stays at and the convention centers where some cons are held at. Granted, in the past there were very few incidents of stupidity and those did come from the older crowd. But these days it’s drastically changed.
It may seem like I’m rambling on and singling out all the younglings in this case. Not really, only the troublesome knuckleheads that we’ve all seen and experienced. Because of them I’ll point out several examples I’ve seen and heard of. Some of you will cringe at these and I know some of you can share some real zingers from cons you’ve attended.
Yaoi paddles. We’ve all seen them in action and in some cases been on the receiving end of them. Nothing says assault than, “Hey I’m going to whack that cutie I don’t really know in the butt over there and get a giggle out of it.” Because of incidents like this cons have banned the dreaded things because of irresponsible con goers. A few sneak out here and there, but they can still be a small menace. Hopefully some of the recipients of a yaoi paddle have broken the dang things in public, reported the offenders for assault, or even better (hopefully this has happened) give the paddler a taste of their own medicine.
Glomping. It’s fun when a friend catches you off guard and everyone you know gets a good laugh. Not when a stranger comes out of nowhere with a flying spear tackle. People have had their costumes damaged when some crazed fangirl (in a few cases fanboys) sees their favorite character being cosplayed and goes in for a screaming flying kill. Even worse in a few cases people have been injured. When you hear a high pitched “squee” coming your direction better take cover or turn around and stick out your arm to close line the screwball trying to tackle you. Just kidding on the close line! 😛
Airsoft. Never fails at some anime cons that allow airsoft to be packed around for prop weaponry misfires happen. Even though rules state the guns must be in non-working order there are a few numbnuts out there who will blatantly defy that rule. Even better in some of those cases, the guns will be loaded. Two well known incidents happened not too long ago at the same con in different years. The first incident had a young con goer buy an airsoft gun in the dealer’s room. Following the rules he took it back to his room immediately. Buuuuuuuuuut, he decided to test fire the new acquisition and ended up hitting the fire sprinkler. Yeah, no doubt his parents grounded him for life on that one. The second incident had two drunken idiots doing target practice in their room. Guess what got hit again? One undocumented incident had me see a few goofs test firing their new guns in a parking garage. Airsoft and lack of common sense is not a good mix.
Of course we can’t forget the wanton destruction and defacing of property. Doesn’t matter if it’s done in a convention center or a hotel, damage is damage. We’ve seen our fair share of stupidity in this case. Windows covered material showing messages or something else. Bathtubs stained due to people dying wigs at the last minute. Rooms left in shambles. Furniture broken due to drunken stupidity or people being high. Cigarette butts left all over the place. Empty booze bottles strung out all over the place. All of have lists a mile long of convention stupidity we’ve all been witness to.
What can we do to curb a lot of this immaturity run amuck? When I mentioned taking back the cons and getting them back to their old levels of respectability we can do it. And we can do it smartly and show the knuckleheads that we’re not playing around. First, by projecting a vibe to other con goers that we won’t take any crap anymore that could result in a con having to close down or move to a lesser location. Second, anytime someone witness stupidity in action that can result in dire consequences report it to the proper agencies. Convention staff/volunteers and hotel staff can only do so much. So it falls to con goers to do the right thing. It’s not ratting people out, it’s protecting our cons from stupid people. Third, watch over those you’re with. Keep your friends and family out of trouble and in line. We take charge and keep people in line we can keep our cons around a lot longer.