Well that last one was two words but you get my point. Among everything I experienced this past weekend as a cosplaying guest at this massive Midwestern event, these three things cover what this convention was all about, in my eyes anyway. The sense of community at cons of this caliber are the reason why I am drawn to them. It’s a friendly environment where you can go up to literally anyone and discuss your common interests with them. It’s a place without fear for everyone involved. I’m sure anyone who has been to any sort of convention before can agree with that statement. Whether we are discussing cosplay or searching for rare Pokemon, Anime Midwest for me was a place to make new friends and really experience the underlying sense of geek community that lives here in the Midwest.
Ok, let’s try to get a little less mushy here and talk about Anime Midwest itself! I can really only discuss what I was able to do when I was there so my con adventure won’t be the same as everyone else’s, but hopefully this will give you an insight to what this past weekend was like through my eyes.
On Friday, I went as Harley Quinn and my friend Sam accompanied me as Poison Ivy. The designs of the costumes were an original concept. I honestly just wanted to prance around in a big tulle skirt because how does that not seem like fun?! We checked in at about 10:30am and really just explored the con until the main floor opened at 1:00pm (and by ‘explored’ I 100% mean we were looking for Pokemon). We spent the next three hours perusing the shops until we had to leave at 4:00pm. I was successfully able to feed my Zelda addiction by purchasing three different types of master sword paraphernalia and two ocarinas (...I may have a serious problem...). I always love looking around the main floor and seeing just what sort of nerd stuff is available and seeing how creative all of the vendors are. Venturing around all of the booths is always a major highlight to the cons that I go to.
Saturday was the big day for me. I was able to participate in my first cosplay competition, the Masquerade! I competed as Midna in her Imp form from Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. Super quick background on the costume- I made the entire costume by myself by hand, minus the black body suit, in just under a month. I used to play Twilight Princess when I was little and recently rediscovered it. I have since nose dived into this fandom and decided I HAD to cosplay Midna. As I was working on the costume I decided I wanted this one to be the first cosplay I competed in. With the masquerade in my schedule, I got to the Rosemont convention center at about 11:30am, did some shopping with my friend who was cosplaying the Postman also from Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, then went to prejudging at 2:00pm.
I only competed in craftsmanship, so prejudging was just talking to the judges about my costume and how I made it. The judges were so kind and helpful. You could really see that they know exactly what they were talking about and were passionate about the cosplay community. My favorite thing about the masquerade is that it doesn’t feel like a competition, it feels like a bunch of people who have a common interest are coming together to show what they love. Everyone involved is so kind to each other and is always willing to lend a helping hand. From being involved, I learned so much about different techniques to creating props and costumes as well as made some amazing new friends whom I definitely want to stay in contact with. I mean when you’re trapped in a room with the same people for roughly 9 hours, you’re bound to meet new people and form new relationships. (Disclaimer- we were not actually trapped, we were free to leave and get food and do whatever, but it’s more poetic, or something). Overall, It’s an experience that I would definitely want to partake in again.
Since I was unable to make it Sunday, that was the end of Anime Midwest for me. It was a wonderful adventure and I would love to make it back to this con next year!