Surviving Your First Con

Hi everyone! I’m very excited to be back in Toronto especially because Anime North 2013 is in two days! A lot of my friends are driving in from out of town for this convention and many of them are first-timers (and I’m sure some of you are too). If you are a first-timer, both nervous and excited for your first con, here are some tips and little bits of experience that I’ve learned over my three years of con-going.

anime girl at computer 11) Scheduling- The program for the convention will no doubt be posted online one or two weeks before the actual con. Download the file, print it out and circle or highlight the events you want to visit. Chances are, you won’t be able to visit every single panel or screening if the con is huge and you only have a few hours every day. However, planning out your itinerary for the day will save you a lot of last minute indecision that wastes time during con hours. Planning beforehand will also give you better chance to scope out the con’s hottest events!

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2) Packing- I’ve learned that the best kind of bag to have around is a backpack, one where you can throw EVERYTHING inside. You’ll want to carry the bare necessities – wallet, phone, mp3 player and perhaps a reusable bag because if you end up with 30+ volumes of Naruto, that flimsy plastic bag isn’t gonna cut it. If you’re an art collector and Artist Alley is the highlight of your con experience, remembering to bring plastic folders of different sizes to safeguard your purchases in your messy bag. Ziploc baggies also come in handy especially if you’re like me and you spend fifty dollars on buttons and bookmarks every year.

3) Dressing- If your con takes place in the winter, bring a lot of layers on the first day because lining up outside in the snow isn’t fun. If your con takes place in the summer, make sure you’ve got sunglasses, a hat, perhaps an umbrella (or frilly parasol) and sunscreen. For those of you who are cosplaying, pack a change of clothes just in case… especially if you’re making your cosplay and it’s your first time sewing (LOL). Especially if you’ve decided to dress up as someone like Yuuko Ichihara from xxxHolic or a full-on Gundam, you’re going to have a little trouble navigating through the crowds of the con. The most important thing to remember is to wear comfortable shoes because you’ll either be standing in line, walking (or dancing) all day.

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Amu_with_Shugo_Charab4) Buddy System- If it’s your first time going to a con, perhaps ask around to see if you have any friends who are seasoned con-goers. They’ll know the best panels, the best stands and are probably the best price hagglers. Conventions can be overwhelming and having a buddy with you can make any experience a lot easier to handle.

5) The Noms- Pack granola bars and at least three water bottles either on your person or in your car. Mealtime will often shift every day according to your con-schedule and you will definitely lose track of time because of all the con-craziness. Bring some snackies, don’t pass out on your buddy! If you’re waiting in line with friends to grab your con-badge, send someone to scope out the restaurants or fast-food stops that are nearby.

Nakano Azusa, Tainaka Ritsu, Hirasawa Yui, Akiyama Mio, Kotobuki Tsumugi Wallpaper

images6) Shopping- Don’t be an impulse buyer. The best deals are usually made on the last day of the con in the last hour or so. The first day of the con is for you to scope out all the things you want that you can possible bargain for later on in the con. However if you’re looking for artist’s work or fan art, those disappear in the blink of an eye so you’ll need to grab (and pay for) what you want from your favourite artists. Think of the set amount of money you might spend and double (or triple) it. Only tables hosted by big stores accepted credit and cash is a must.

glomp-137) Glomping- Some of you might not know what glomping is. To glomp is to run up and hug (or lovingly body-slam) an individual dressed up in your favourite character. Sometimes your inner fangirl just takes over, I know, I’ve been there… At strictly anime conventions, there is usually a no-glomping rule. However, if you ask nicely, I’m sure they’ll be more than happy to give you a hug and snap a picture with you… which brings me to my next point, bring a CAMERA, you’ll definitely want to photos of friends (and cosplayers) to look back on after the con is over. Cosplayers spend hours on their costumes because they want to be fangirled/or boyed by other fans who love the anime or manga as much as they do 🙂

Lomo-LC-A-seen-in-Japanese-anime-series-K-ON_01Bonus tip: If you’re bringing a digital camera, don’t forget to bring a spare battery and charger. If you’re going old school and using film, bring a wide variety of film and labeled canisters as well as proper cleaning equipment.

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HAVE FUN! At the end of the day, the convention is all about enjoying what you love with people who have the same interests as you. Whether you’re a first-timer or a seasoned veteran, a light anime fan or a hardcore otaku, the con will have something for you. I hope you guys liked this little rant. Feel free to like or follow for new posts coming almost every day. I’m so excited for Anime North and new posts will be coming soon! Stay tuned!

– Cloudy

What are you pondering today?

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