Saturday, February 27, 2016

Stepping Out of a Comfort Zone

Scott D. Parker

Yesterday, I traveled to a place I’d never been before: an anime convention.

My son and a few of his classmates really enjoy anime. For me, anime is basically limited to the old cartoons I used to watch—Speed Racer, Battle of the Planets, and Starblazers—or the movies of Hayao Miyazaki. Heck, those old cartoons weren’t even called “anime” back in the day. In short, it’s a branch of pop culture of which I know very little.

Turns out, there’s an annual convention here in Houston that specializes in anime: ANIME MATSURI. It’s a great convention. I have to admit that I expected there to be some “counter programming” booths. You know: something that isn’t anime, but comics or other things I like. Nope. Not a one. Unlike the Comicpalooza, which has anime, comics, pop culture, steampunk, etc., Anime Matsuri only has anime.


But I was completely unaware of a majority of the content. Sure, I recognized Sonic the Hedgehog, the various Miyazaki characters, and a few video game characters, but I was nearly completely out of my element.

So I learned. I asked questions. I got my boy to fill me in on things he knows and enjoys. I compared the types of cosplay at this anime convention versus the cosplay at a comic convention. I had a grand time.

Two observations:

One, the quantity of mango (Japanese comics) and books in general was rather small. I saw only about three vendors out of, say, 150, that sold books! Wow.

Two, it was a good thing to step outside of the spheres that make me comfortable. I get wrapped up in the things I like—music, TV shows, books—that I rarely venture out to see the broader world. Yesterday’s convention experience reminded me that I ought to do that more often.

Do y’all ever get in a rut regarding the things you like? How do you get out of it, if at all?

No comments: