Anime has become a cultural phenomenon in recent years with millions of fans worldwide developing a deep love and appreciation for it which has given rise to a thriving community. Anime conventions, in particular, have played a crucial role in bringing this community together and fostering a sense of camaraderie and belonging.
Anime Boston, which averages about 22,000 attendees, is one of the biggest conventions in the Northeast area. The convention was phenomenal and an opportunity for me to interview people and ask them about their feelings about how anime conventions build community.
Anime fans come from all walks of life and have different backgrounds and experiences, but they all share a love for the same medium. People at Anime Boston only had positive things to share about the role conventions play. “I think conventions create a community that you think may not be out there. I’ve met a lot of my friends here at Anime Boston and my best friend I actually also met here, so I believe that the role in building community is exposure.”
At anime conventions, fans can attend panels, screenings, and workshops. This creates an environment in which people can bond over their shared passion and form new friendships while learning about the intricate details that make anime so unique.
At anime conventions, attendees can express themselves freely and without judgment. The anime community is known for its acceptance of people from all walks of life, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, or any other characteristic, and at Anime Boston there was an overwhelming sense of acceptance.
Cosplay, the practice of dressing up as a character from anime, manga, or video games, is a significant part of anime culture, and it allows fans to showcase their creativity and express themselves in ways that might not be possible in their day-to-day lives. Cosplay also serves as a way for fans to bond with others who share their love of a particular anime or character. It was clear that Anime Boston attendees truly believe in the positive power of Cosplay. “On the street you don’t really say hi to people. But in conventions, different people from different races come up to others and compliment each other.”
Anime Boston also provided a platform for fans to engage with creators and industry professionals through guest panels and Q&A sessions, where fans can interact with their favorite voice actors, directors, and artists. These interactions provided fans with insight into the creative process and helped them better understand and appreciate the anime they love.
Fans often travel from all over the world to attend conventions, and the opportunity to meet and connect with others who share their interests can be a transformative experience. Conventions also serve as a way for fans to discover new anime and expand their horizons. The sense of community that is built through these shared experiences is a powerful one and can often lead to lifelong friendships.
Anime Boston played a significant role in building a community of passionate fans worldwide. Through shared interests, diversity, inclusivity, engagement with creators, and shared experiences, the event brought people together and fostered a sense of belonging. The sense of community that is built through conventions like this one is a testament to the power of anime and its ability to bring people together.