Lost in Wonderland: 2007

Last summer, after much nagging and badgering, I convinced Dasad to accompany me to an anime (Japanese animation) convention. Our individual takes on the whole scene differed greatly. Being more comfortable with spectacle and chaos, I found the bizarre melting pot of costumes, adolescent crowds, giant swords, and unhygienic otaku (Japanese for “obsessed fans”) intriguing. Dasad on the other hand . . . well, you’ll see.

The day began somewhat like this:

We enter the convention center and walk up the stairs to pick up our badges. I bounce along, ready to take in the landscape of cosplayers, eager to watch some shows and enter a few video game competitions. Dasad winces as a pair of black wings grazes his shoulders. “I wish I had brought my bottle of Febreeze,” he mutters loudly. A group of four girls and one guy dressed in short-skirted school uniforms giggle behind him. The guy titters in baritone.

. . . ready to take in the landscape . . .

. . . ready to take in the landscape . . .

“Oh come on,” I say, “It’s not that bad.”

“That one guy in the green spandex, smelled like piss.”

“The Rock Lee guy? Yeah, well, it’s probably just an old costume from last year,” I said ruffling through my bag for a schedule of events. “You stuff an old costume in the attic or basement with a few moth balls and it will accrue a . . . uh, certain pungency.”

“So will the human body if you live off Cheetoes and don’t wash it once a month . . .” Another cosplayer dressed in black leather and an odd assortment of chains and belts wrapped around his body passed carting a ten-foot cardboard sword and some serious B.O. Dasad wrinkled his nose. “Hey,” he muttered, “next time do us all a favor and tell your mom to buy soap, freak. With all the hot springs in Japan, you’d think that otaku would catch onto the concept of regular bathing.”

“Come on, don’t concern yourself with the occasional smelly cosplayer, dude,” I said smiling at another cosplayer in white leather and little else. She smiled back. No cross-dressing for this one. “Not everyone smells of month-old sweat.” Some smell of lilacs.

“Anyway, I found where they’re showing the music videos contest so let’s have fun today. Get excited.” I somewhat shouted this, but no one notices. If anything they look on approvingly. A seven-foot tall guy in a stuffed-tiger suit gave me a hearty thumbs-up and a long growl.

"Oh come on . . . it's not that bad."

"Oh come on . . . it's not that bad."

“I get any more excited and I’ll piss my pants too.”

“That’s the spirit. We’ll make you an otaku yet.” That comment incited a wave of revulsion which I purposely misinterpreted [ignored] as the shudder of pure joy. “Come on, I’ll buy you a green tea and some pocky stix.”

And so went the entire afternoon. Though Dasad never stood still long enough for a picture, some of his looks of shear disbelief would have sent you sprawling to the ground. I have to seriously thank him for putting up with me that day. The convention can be quite uncomfortable even at the best of times, particularly if you’re not in the scene much anymore, so thanks again, man. I truly appreciate it.

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