On The Importance of Conventions

This subject has been in the back of my mind for a while now. I originally started this draft as just a title over a year ago, but here it is again, ever present in my thinking. And that is on the importance of conventions.

We (my two boys, their cousin, and best friend) just attended our first (of 3) anime conventions this year, Anime Milwaukee, a month ago.

There are all the regular trappings of conventions: the merch room, artist alley, video and tabletop gaming, guest panels, and cosplayers. These things alone set it up for an interesting weekend to be sure…but I perceive there to be a greater impact.

I was reminded of this during the “LGBTQ+& Anime Cultures” panel. I attended this panel out of curiosity and as a dad of a gay teen I sometimes feel it important (for me) to get a deeper perspective into things that affect his world. It was presented by the Milwaukee LGBT Community Center. It was a good panel. But one of the most things I walked away from the panel was the message of inclusion and having a safe space where individuals, no matter how they identify, feel like they can be themselves.

(Visit their site and support them or organizations like them in your community. http://www.mkelgbt.org/ )

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 I made sure to thank them afterwords. As a dad it makes a great impression and means a lot to me. While my son has a supportive family and group of great friends, not all people do and many struggle with being accepted and loved by those around them. Panels like these are important and I appreciate them.

 It’s not the only place I have heard messages like this at a Con. Anime Midwest is the first place I encountered this. Voice actor and D.J., Greg Ayres has been doing his “It Gets Better- Con Edition” panel there (and at other Cons) for the past several years. Greg’s panels include much of the same message, but is expansive beyond the LGBTQ community, but to those who are different (in the many ways we can be). But the overarching message is to be good to one another, be accepting, one of inclusion.

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(Go see this panel and say hi to Greg!)

 And as I walked through Anime Milwaukee I reflected on this. I saw all spectrum’s of race, gender, sexuality, size, and age. I saw all levels of fandom, from casual to hardcore. Anime otakus and gamers. People had a place to unite.

 A community.

 It gives me hope.

 In a time when there is increasing division and the politics of hate is prevalent. Where cynical politicians and intolerant, angry people are trying to legitimize racism, sexism, and homophobia, there is something else.

 The Importance of a Convention.

 It is there to help you realize, not all people are like that. That you can have a diverse community. That you can, and should, celebrate and love those around you. That we are better than the hatred that streams through our media filters daily.

 Conventions give me hope…and I love that!!!

 Go to a con near you and get some hope. See something new. Celebrate that there are people different than you and know that this is okay.

 Then let that inspire you and take it outside the con. Give to your time or money to something that you care deeply about. Stop getting in fights on social media and spread love and inclusion where you can.

 Just some thoughts from dadwatchesanime…

 Some of people I saw at Anime Milwaukee.

Oh yeah, I met Vic Minogna. That was cool. I got a FMA Brotherhood scroll signed for the boys.

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Until next time: Happy Viewing!

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It’s Convention Time!

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It’s that time of year again for me and the boys.

Anime Milwaukee is the first con of the year for us. I’ll be taking my two boys, their cousin, and my older son’s best friend. Myself and 4 teens in one room (*shudder*), pray for me.

Anime Milwaukee is the largest Anime Con in Wisconsin. Attracting 9000+ attendees. It is held at The Hyatt Regency and Wisconsin Center, February 17-19.

It usually is a pretty fun time and has a fair amount good guests.

This year the line up includes the following voice actors:

  

VIC MIGNOGNA        IAN SINCLAIR

  

LAURA BAILEY       MAX MITTELMAN

  

LAURA POST            ZACH AGUILAR

  

ERICA MENDEZ     ERICA LINDBECK

Among several others.

There are other fashion, artists, and cosplay guests as well.

Also con favorites:

SAMURAI DAN AND JILLIAN

Who are an absolute blast to see. If you get a chance, go to one of their panels.

It should be a fun time.

Pictures in a couple of weeks!

 

Anime Milwaukee 2016: Recap

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It was a weekend of teens, panels, and lines.

Anime Milwaukee 2016 was a fun time for me this year. This convention has grown over the last several years and this year topped over 9000 (yes I know) attendees.

Highlights for us (my younger son and I) this year was the Sgt Frog panel with Brina Palencia and Todd Haberkorn (and later Cherami Leigh). Winning some Blue-rays in a Sentai Filmworks industry panel. A Funimation panel. The dub release and showing of 4 episodes of Monthly Girls Nozaki-kun. And my son finally getting Kerero (Todd Haberkorn) to sign his Kululu cosplay head piece.

Downsides: Lines…

The time taken to get Todd’s autograph: 2 1/2 hours. We also did get to meet Lauren Landa (voice of Sayaka in Puella Magi Madoka Magica) which was cool for me, being the Madoka fan that I am.

We also tried, and failed, to get Christopher Sabat’s autograph for my son (Chris voices Giroro on Sgt. Frog). We waited for 2 hours in line on Sunday and the line was cut and we were turned away.

I know this is a risk at conventions while trying to get autographs, and it is why I am personally kind of against it, but my son really wants to get as many Sgt. Frog characters as he can so I indulge that for him.

The Sgt Frog panel was probably the best experience of the convention for us both. The guests were very funny. They really all seem to be fans of Sgt. Frog as a show and I have always heard good impressions for those who worked on it. The bonus was my son raising his hand at the “wrong” time and as a result was being picked on (in a silly way) by Todd. It was hilarious, my son was in heaven and couldn’t stop laughing.

I didn’t get a ton of pictures, but I will share with you some of the many talented cosplayers we came across.

Well, Crap… My Son Got a Dakimakura

As previously noted in my blog post, Why I Haven’t Got My Older Son a Dakimakura, I had avoided getting him his own sexy, anime, body pillow.

There’s a thing about teens…you can’t leave them to their own devices.

But at Anime Milwaukee I did just that.

I set him loose with his best friend and his cousin and gave him some money while I went to enjoy the convention with his little brother (who is not old enough yet to wander by himself).

I come back to the room for a break and a snack at some later point in the day and what do I find?

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I was speechless.

I wasn’t mad, or annoyed, or anything. I was somewhere between amused, slightly disturbed, and wondering what his mother was going to think when I dropped them off after the convention (she thought it was gross).

He was not in the room. His best friend was however. She laughed her butt off and texted him my reaction much to her glee.

So the moral of the story is: Teens are not to be left to their own devices with money, if they are: they might end up with a dakimakura.

Live and learn.

Now he wants another one…

Anime Milwaukee 2016

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It’s that time again: Convention time.

Myself, my two boys, their cousin, and my older son’s best friend are all packing into the car and headed out for the 3 day convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin next weekend.

Anime Milwaukee is in it’s 9th year and this will be our 4th time going (at least for my boys and I).
Guest highlights this year:

Todd Haberkorn

 Todd Haberkorn

A prolific voice actor know for many roles such as: Natsu from Fairy Tail, Italy from Hetalia, Ling Yao from Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Cheren from Pokemon, Allen Walker from D. Gray Man, Hikaru Hitachin from Ouran High School Host Club, Death The Kid from Soul Eater, as well as my younger son’s favorite Kerero from Sgt. Frog.

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 Brina Palencia

Another voice actor with a Sgt Frog credit (Tamama) along with some of the other following roles: Touka in Tokyo Ghoul, Chibitalia in Hetalia, Ciel Phantomhive in Black Butler, Holo in Spice and Wolf, Yumi Azusa in Soul Eater, Rei Ayanami in Evangelion 1.0 and 2.0, Chiaotzu and Puar in Dragon Ball Kai, Tony Tony Chopper in One Piece, and Georgie in Shin Chan.

Sabat (Print-Web)

Chris Sabat

The final member of Sgt. Frog’s armpit platoon, Giroro, Chis has a great number of other voicing acting credits such as: Alex Luis Armstrong in Fullmetal Alchemist, Roronoa Zoro in One Piece, Ayame Sohma in Fruits Basket, Shio Sakaki in Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple, Yugo “Braun” Tennouji, as well as numerous voices on Dragonball Z.

 

All of these people are talented voice actors, but also as producers, writers, and directors. There are more guests (Sonny Strait Cherami Leigh, Kyle Herbert, Lauran Landa as well as other non-acting guests), but these are a focus. Why? Because of my younger son’s desire to get as many autographs on the head piece of his Kululu cosplay as possible.

Him with Chuck Huber (Kululu) last year at Anime Midwest.

Another fun guest pair is:

Dan

Samurai Dan and  Jillian

A comic duo, writer, and martial artist: they are a lot of fun to see. If you see them listed as guests at a con you are attending do yourself a favor and attend one of their panels. They are a lot of fun.

I will update my adventures (with pictures) after the convention.

Until then,

Happy viewing!

-the images on this post are not owned by this blog-