Friday Free-for-all: Anime Conventions and How to Survive Them

Welcome to the first Friday Free-for-all post! This week’s topic for concentrated (debatably helpful) rage is how to survive anime conventions in 20 easy steps. More or less.


Step One: Don’t be polite to the desparate weirdos, they get the wrong idea.

anit the Flea: I remember that at one of my earliest cons, I was sat next to a girl who I had met about half an hour beforehand. We were watching the cosplay competition and I unwrapped an icecream. She leaned over, said “sorry”, and took a bite out of it. Those are terms for a duel, but sadly I only thought about it at the time.

wildfillysama: A neckbeard with a disturbingly similar name to Windfyre in real life (seriously, terrifyingly similar) followed me around for ages at another con. Even attempts to sit down and watch the cosplay competition in a place where there were no other free chairs only resulted in awkward hovering. Did not accept attempts to kill conversation. Did not accept “goodbye”. Had to literally run to escape when said neckbeard attempted an “in character” neck bite. Creeeeeeeepy.


Step Two: Personal hygiene!

anit the Flea: Soap, god yes! At least once a con, and every Magic the Gathering prerelease, there will be “that person”. Also, if your tooth is black, consider seeing a dentist. I met a guy at a con like that and had to wonder if he had coloured it in, but it’s black every single time I see him…

Windfyre: Yes, you smell. Other people can smell you too.

lorekai: If you’re sweaty, no surprise hugs! Or actually, no surprise hugs at all!

Windfyre: Don’t wear the same costume two days in a row. It’s horrible. You sweat at cons in Australia!

anit the Flea: …because sooner or later you’ll get tired, start slouching, and very quickly swimming pools will form under your bra.

wildfillysama: Showers are non optional. One before and one after the con ends each day.

EbolaBooze: I recommend a good Hazmat suit, doubles as cosplay!


Step Three: When cosplaying, steer clear of anything with fangirls.

Windfyre: There are so many creepy girls at conventions. Everyone hears about the guys, but there are just as many girls. And they are very forward.

anit the Flea: This one time, at WaiCon, this landwhale…

Windfyre: Girls and guys, it is sexual assualt. Get a handwritten contract, with three witnesses. There’s also nothing sadder than people with the “Free Hugs” signs. There was one person doing it the first time, now there are twenty and they’re all sad. And sweaty.


Step Four: Be prepared for nepotism.

anit the Flea: You will not win the cosplay competition unless you are sucking on the judges’ junk.Or metriculating through their clothing. Yes, we know what we said.

wildfillysama: The same faces will appear on all the boards and the promotional materials, all the same names win the competitions. Do not expect to win anything. Move on beyond public recognition. Be at peace with anonymity…

lorekai: Tetris competition. The winner was someone who knew someone who was on the judging panel. My score was higher, but they wouldn’t accept it. Rar. I wanted that prize bag. Totally… It was the principle of the thing.

anit the Flea: lorekai’s principles include being best at tetris in all of Perth.


Step Five: Run a stall – you need somewhere to sit.

anit the Flea: A chair is worth the cost of a stall.

Windfyre: Also great for storing your stuff.

wildfillysama: Having a stall is a great way to catch up with people. No more hunting through crowds! You’re in a fixed spot and they have to walk around you eventually if they’re doing a tour of the con. Plus you’ll see all the best costumes from the comfort of your randomly assigned plastic chair. Plus you might even make money at the same time…

anit the Flea: But you can’t sell stickers at Supanova…

Windfyre: How many stickers would it take to mummify someone?

General consensus debates whether or not someone has tried that. Suggestion for Future Friday-free-for-all post. Get EbolaBooze to calculate surface areas. lorekai bags’ not it. Windfyre asks if stickers need to be eaten to do the insides too. wildfillysama has decided to stop transcribing from here.


Step Six: Do not stand in the line for chips. You will die of old age before you get the chance to die of cholesterol related issues.

Windfyre: Cannot say it enough: BYO food. It will double your budget for…pogs. (anit the Flea fills in “super special awesome yaoi hentai tentacles”).

General conversation derails into possibility of opening a stall that sells giant tentacle arms. Concern is raised by anit the Flea that it would turn into particularly horrific con orgy. Records stop here because wildfillysama doesn’t want to type in the imagery.

anit the Flea: …what are pogs?!

Windfyre: You don’t know what pogs are? They’re little plastic disks. I’ve got a freaking tub full at home. Remember those things you got with crisps with disgusting pictures on them?

Discussion reveals that no, anit the Flea doesn’t remember, but she did collect stickers. Windfyre also collected stickers, but didn’t stick them on anything. lorekai waxes nostalgic over sticker books. General consensus is that scrach-and-sniff stickers are cool, not everyone likes fuzzy stickers. LED t-shirts also deemed possibly cool as well.


Step Seven: Don’t buy anything until Sunday afternoon.

Windfyre: It’s always nice to walk around and see the people who’re broken. They’ve sold one thing. Then you get to buy that DND necklace you’ve been eying at a great sale price. And they won’t be back next year.

…Or maybe be nice to stall holders? Survival of the fittest, or be nice to the struggling sellers?

wildfillysama: If you don’t buy things early though, cashed-up sweaty people will beat you to the good stuff. Portal guns. Star Trek silver jewellery. Plush watermelons. Alas. So many years spent staring at people who are carrying loot that should rightly be mine… I need that crap to fill up my cluttered room!

Windfyre: Also, don’t join in the auctions. You never get anything good. I went in with two other people and bought $130 worth of pocky. It was reckless. There’s nothing worse than winning.

anit the Flea‘s contribution is an excessive amount of money for a stick-figure drawing that fell out of a prize box. Windfyre remembers Japanese classes in school and a bidding war in class for points and a prize that he can’t remember any more. Mini swords and stuff. Point was that had to win, and bid on the first thing that see. Consensus is that competitiveness breeds bitterness. Also random crap in house.


Step Eight: Go with friends, boredom is your enemy.

General consensus is that this is pretty straightforward. See also step one for reiteration. Windfyre says that by 10am on the first morning he is aimlessly wandering around. Conventions are really boring if you don’t have people around you. wildfillysama and anit the Flea are always behind a stall. lorekai camps at the stall as well. Chairs are important.


Step Nine: Look out for pickpockets.

A good friend had his wallet stolen, complete with cards and all of his week’s pay in cash. 6 Angry Apha Nerds still feel great pain and rage on his behalf. Look after your stuff. On that note, don’t have that much cash on you. You need to live after the con. Remember that life does go on.


Step Ten: Budget.

anit the Flea: Don’t eat.

EbolaBooze: That’s about it.

Windfyre: Never have a credit card. Listen, we know you want to spend everything, but don’t. First, read the next point.


Step Eleven: Don’t budget. You need that stuff.

wildfillysama: Of course you need a plush watermelon, plush Companion Cube, plush Dragonball Z eternal dragon, plush Sonic the Hedgehog characters… I have no space anywhere any more. So much freaking plush. Why is it always the plush?!

EbolaBooze: Swords. Make sure they’re combat ready. A good test is slicing through green bamboo.

anit the Flea: That Lord of the Rings stuff…

Windfyre: The one ring in my size was gold and $2000… The hardest thing to resist was a set of glass dragonballs. I don’t need them, but I want them. You could have an easter egg hunt with dragonballs!

anit the Flea speaks of an anime boxset that she has never seen, aside from an advert, but still wants to buy. She talks about butts and fanservice and a highspeed announcer.wildfillysama drinks coffee and stops typing so the full explanation is lost. The mysery will endure.


Step Twelve: You know nothing. Never talk to other nerds and don’t compare knowledge with anyone else. There’s always a nerd more alpha.

See step one.

Windfyre: No matter the topic, there’s always someone there to correct me. It doesn’t matter what it is. I don’t even know if they’re right. These are the guys who’ve read on the internet that being confident is a good thing. They’re wrong.

wildfillysama: Anyone at an anime convention with an opinion will be loud, excitable and sweaty. Always sweaty.

Speculation whether it’s a nervous sweat or caused by polyester or polypop costumes ensues. Clarification is offered that polypop is the cheapest material available in every colour. It’s not as bad as you’d expect, but people never use it well. If you’re going to cosplay, for crying out loud get the right colour wig. It matters. There’s always some cosplay nerd who will criticise you no matter how much time you put into your outfit.


Step Thirteen: Get there early. Don’t stand in lines if possible, preorder. Alternatively, get there late when the lines are gone.

Windfyre: WaiCon is a tiny convention, but it takes 2 hours to get through the line if you arrive at the wrong time. Cue awkward conversations. There’s only so long you can hold a conversation about awesome passing costumes. Also, if you see someone you’re trying to avoid there’s no escape. You’re stuck in line and can’t politely get away without losing your place. You have to ask “don’t you have to go?”


Step Fourteen: Plan and test your costumes beforehand. Don’t let wardrobe malfunctions happen on the day.

anit the Flea: hehehehehehe – remember the time I had to pin you to your Sanzo costume, and I pinned your shoulder as well? (wildfillysama does remember. Feelings were hurt. So were shoulders).

wildfillysama: Sitting at the stall you see a lot of costumes go past, many of which are at various stages of critical failure. We often hand out glue and thread to rescue unfortunates. Remember to bring emergency patch-up kits! Sometimes people walk past with obvious costume issues, but we don’t know whether or not to mention it to them… crying is hard to deal with.

Conversation devolves into talk of coconut costumes, homemade coconut bras and the traumas of trying to crack open a coconut by hand for hours. Hammer was the solution but all the milk drained to the floor. Drill and straw is suggested, as well as cleaning the drill beforehand. Or buy a brand new drill. Much arm waving happens. Filter paper is also suggested. Estimated cost $90 and 39 hours. Average cost of coconut milk by tin, 69 cents.


Step Fifteen: If you’re not in cosplay but are dressed “differently”, prepare a lie or coverstory that’s easy for passersby to understand when you are invariably asked what you’re dressed up as.

lolita excesses

lolita excesses 2

For example, this is a fashion. Not a costume. Hard to tell, harder to explain to con goers. Yeah, no good advice here.


Step Sixteen: Plan your costumes in accordance with the seasons. You will freeze or burn otherwise.

Windfyre: WaiCon gets so hooooooooooooooot. [Windfyre requested extras o’s]

wildfillysama: Yes, WaiCon doesn’t pay for the aircon in order to save money. Alternatively, like Neko Nation, they sometimes just forget. anit the Flea specifies that Neko Nation is an 18+ dancing event with writhing. Windfyre now wants to learn how to writhe and do so at the next Neko Nation. Will also be working on the dance moves from “Free!” Stay tuned for updates on how that goes!


Step Seventeen: Shout fashionable memes. Carry them on your phone. They never get old and no one will ever try to make you leave.

anit the Flea: Teenaged crack humour is not funny. Please, please grow out of it. It’s really sad to see someone in their twenties or thirties still doing it. You can’t laugh…It’s the ones who do something that stopped being funny two years ago, or were only funny when you were a teenager. Ah, those days when I was hyped up on sugar and everything involving sex was funny…

Windfyre: Those days? Also I can’t tell if this step is funny or if we’re being sarcastic.

General consensus is undecided, but most likely sarcastic. For one thing, there’s no such thing as a fashionable meme. A kitten walks on wildfillysama‘s shoe. Distraction ensues and anit the Flea wonders where all the cats are. This stage of the evening took longer to arrive than anticipated. Consensus is that dead cat jokes aren’t funny.


Step Eighteen: Don’t bring out pictures of cats. Everyone at the con will have some and the ride never ends.

Windfyre walks in bearing two tabby kittens. Timing perfect.



Step Nineteen: If you have an art stall, do not charge $40 for a pencil drawing.

Windfyre: There’s something about artists that makes them completely deluded about their value in the world.

anit the Flea does not rise to bait: we are not artists, we are craftsmen!

Picture of “weepinduo” is shared around. Hilarity and confusion ensue.

wildfillysama: Artists’ alley can be a pit of hopelessness and delusions. Good artists might be able to pay for their table and parking. Bad artists may be strung out on wonky cosplay swords. Friends don’t let friends languish in artists’ alley. Have realistic, low prices. Get well known. Then creep them up. Don’t aim too high and lose all your money by scaring people off.


Step Twenty: Don’t go. At all.

Windfyre: Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

anit the Flea: There are no winners in an anime convention.

EbolaBooze: A strange game. The only way to win is not to play


And on behalf of marsy, please remember that pipe cleaners are not for hair.

See you next Friday for the next free for all! 6 Angry Alpha Nerds out.

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