A Squirtle t-shirt-wearing Ronan Daly, armed with pen and camera, headed to Anime Dublin, the one-day event held annually for fans of anime and manga to get together and celebrate their love of Japanese pop culture.
Anime Dublin began in 2012 and stems from two larger conventions, Eirtakon and Nom-Con. The convention also makes a point of working with and promoting a charity, which this year, took the form of Reach Out, a service providing information and support regarding mental health.
While Anime Dublin is relatively small for a convention of this kind, lasting just one day and with a maximum capacity of 350 attendees, there was a tremendous level of activity from the moment the doors opened and the first wave of guests entered. Adults and kids poured into the convention and swarmed the impressively stocked stalls which were selling all manner of collectible goodies. Costumes ranged from baggy jeans and vaguely anime-related t-shirts to some seriously well-crafted and detailed recreations of characters. Though the official theme for the convention was “kawaii”, the Japanese word for ‘cute’ or ‘adorable’, there were costume to suit every genre and age. There were Monkey D. Luffys and Trafalgar Laws from One Piece, there were Ls and Misa Misas from Death Note and characters from Naruto, Bleach, Sword Art Online and even Batman and Doctor Who. From the very beginning, it was clear that the crowd at Anime Dublin were determined to enjoy themselves.
Entertainment was not difficult to find. Three separate conference rooms boasted a nice variety of activities with one dedicated to screenings of recommended anime series and even a truly hilarious panel called Musicals You’ve Probably Never Heard Of, which treated the audience to scenes and highlights from some of the most ludicrous and obscure scripts ever to be put to music, including a focus on R. Kelly’s Trapped in the Closet. In another room, five separate games systems were set up for attendees to enjoy some retro-gaming and to compare their skills at everything from Street Fighter and Super Smash Bros to Minecraft. Finally, in a larger hall where the merchandise was being sold, there were a lot things happening at once, from ongoing Pokémon tournaments to manga art sessions and games of anime-themed Cards Against Humanity. There was so much happening at any given moment that there really was no fear of being bored and the friendly attitudes of newcomers and con-veterans meant that it was easy to feel included and welcomed.
Aside from all of the official activities, there was a positive atmosphere coming from all the people just standing around, talking about anime, playing video games or generally just having a laugh. While talking with two of the most presentable cosplayers present, a pair of gentleman called Sean and David, they told me that what they really liked about Anime Dublin was the more personal experience of a smaller con, feeling that there’s something nice about seeing the same faces for the day, not feeling lost in a sea of people.
Sean and David
Another formidable cosplayer, Teresa Xu, who made her own impressive props for her Trafalgar Law costume, said that for her, the costumes are what it’s all about and she puts a lot of time and effort into what she wears.
Anime Dublin ran from 10am to 11pm, finishing off with a choice of an anime pub quiz or several themed screenings including 90s Power Hour and Rainbow Hour (16+). The convention really does manage to fit a lot into its single day of running and, though it’s undeniably on a smaller scale than its sister cons, it boasts a more amiable and laid-back attitude with the majority of it participants and organisers more concerned with enjoying the experience than in the structure of the timetable. This was perhaps not ideal if you wanted everything to run like perfectly-tuned clockwork, but it’s just right if you’re just coming to have a fun time with some like-minded people.
Anime Dublin bills itself as “The most fun you can have in a hotel basement!” There are probably any number of fight clubs, secret societies and basement aficionados who might dispute such a claim, but for now, I can definitely understand Anime Dublin’s argument.
At ten euro a ticket, Anime Dublin is a true bargain, boasting an enjoyable and novel range of activities, some truly high-spirited and enthusiastic fans and thirteen hours of letting your inner otaku out!
Convention Highlights: The imaginative costumes, the friendly attendees, merch and the games.
Convention Low Points: That it ended after just one day, that it only comes once a year.
Ronan Daly writes about all things anime at http://animereporter
Photographer Tristan Hutchinson was also at Anime snapping delicious pics
for tripmag.co.uk – manga-styleiiii.