After my positive experience with the comic convention in Philadelphia, I was curious to see what what the anime fans could get up to. I expected the usual trade show with lots of stuff and people dressed up as their favorite characters. I was not prepared to degree and depth they took their hobby. I expected lots of people dressed up, but many of them were traveling to the convention in costume. It was amusing that few of the subway travelers even noticed the outlandish characters.
Arriving at the convention center in New York, I was met with a line that stretched as long as football field. This wasn't the line to get tickets, this was the line to get inside. The place had been open for a couple of hours so I was convinced it was packed full of people. I was pleased to discover that it was not thronged with people, but quite spacious. A lot of young people were sitting on the carpeted floor, in small groups, examining their purchases or preparing their costumes. There were a lot of costumes. Most consisted of simple adornments like cat ears or capes, but I could see some fairly elaborate getups like the traditional Star Wars storm trooper. The New York Jedi club was also there and I spent a few minutes photographing one particularly ominous member.
Judges were determining which individuals or groups had the best outfits. The winners would be flown to Japan to compete as the American representatives.
Some characters were obviously from anime shows or manga comics, but others stood in an altogether separate genre. The Gothic Lolita style draws from Victorian era costume but adds a number of interesting twists. It's typically frilly and lacy but quickly diverges based on the taste of the woman. Black with white trim was very common, and traditional, but there were also white with black trim and pastel colors. The ideas is to dress up, but can also be used to dress down as there were some women who adhered to a punk Lolita style even horror and sadomasochistic inspired outfits.
I spotted an artist I met at the Philadelphia show. There he had made a gigantic chalk drawing of Superman and other DC heroes. This weekend he was hard at work, on elbows and knees, sketching a Japanese comic character. Barriers held back a small crowd watching him sprawled on the floor. When he completed the project, it was suspended for everyone to admire. It stood about ten feet high! He told me he preferred working on the manga characters because they had more depth and subtlety than superheroes.