There is nothing quite as fascinating as obsession. If you haven’t an obsession of your own, Midnight East strongly recommends acquiring one soon. In the meantime, the obsessions of others can be quite enjoyable as well. Midnight East spent part of Purim at Harucon, the annual conference of the Israeli Manga and Anime Association.
Ronen told Midnight East about the Manga and Anime community is Israel. Although Anime and Manga are the main focus for most participants, some are drawn to them through their interest in Japan and its culture, some come to anime from listening to the music known as JRock and JPop, while others become involved with Japanese culture due to their love of anime. “In Japan, anime encompasses all aspects of life,” said Ronen, “there can be anime on any subject. There are anime about women taking care of their kids at home – they are called ‘slice of life’, science fiction, fantasy, suspense…everything.” Not just for kids, there are anime created with more mature audiences in mind, with complex plots and highly developed artwork. An advocate of anime for the discriminating palate, Ronen writes a blog called Seinen, where he writes about anime such as Dante’s Inferno.
The conference is a terrific opportunity to stock up on Manga, with reps from the leading Israeli suppliers displaying their wares. There are also booths set up by independent young artists with drawings, fashion accessories and other creations for sale. Workshops, anime screenings, karaoke and talks throughout the day make for a full schedule of activities, but just hanging out at Harucon is an unforgettable experience.
What makes Harucon so amazing? The costumes, or cosplay, as it is called. People not only dress up as characters from Manga and Anime, they make their own costumes with zeal, flair, and attention to detail all too rarely seen on Purim. The closing event of the day was a costume competition. The judges must have had a tough time choosing a winner (unfortunately, Midnight East was not able to stay for the entire competition) – there were so many amazing costumes!
Eliran, dressed as Allen Walker from Grayman, spent 5 days making his costume. Eliran’s mother was rooting for him in the stands and said that Anime has opened new horizons for Eliran. Despite learning disabilities which have prevented him from reading and writing, he designed and made the costume himself. Using lycra fabric over a wire understructure he created this surreal hand, fimo was used to create the intricate buttons and the zippered boots look so realistic!Midnight East was very impressed, as was the applauding crowd at the competition!
It was a very lively and friendly audience, most seemed to be in the 12 – 20 group, but one could see people of all ages. The youngest anime fan Midnight East encountered was Ella, aged 6 ½. Dressed as Miku, a character who likes leeks and the color green, Ella spent the day with her mother and two sisters – devoted anime fans who enjoy singing songs from the soundtrack. Midnight East met Ella on her way out of the building with mom – who sewed all three costumes (yay mom!), while the two older girls in their black and yellow costumes stayed to sing and party. Midnight East would have liked to linger as well…