Wednesday, October 22, 2008
So this last weekend was the Anime convention in Busan, and as a resident genius on this kind of thing, I knew that I had to hit this up for the Nerd Evolution blog. If nothing else than to make another entry in my Korean Nerd Culture Watch segment. This particular convention is held every two months, so I took this opportunity to check it out and find out just what the Koreans think of when they think of anime. What I discovered was that it wasn't too far off from what we in America preceive, which is much the same as what is produced out of Japan.
We arrived at the Bexco center with the most open minds and with the most heartfelt intentions and were pleasantly surprised to find a large number of people participating in cosplay. We milled around for a while outside the convention and met some people in costumes, but quickly discovered that there were few foreigners...in fact, we 5 made up 50% of the foreigners at the convention, which made it easy for us to stop people and ask them some questions, about themselves and their costumes. Mostly, we just took that as an opportunity to get some really good pictures.
It was 4000 won to get inside the convention doors, which was a reasonable price (which is about $3 in the current market) but then I found that the convention mostly consisted of Fan-made items, all of which costing between 3,000-7,000 won (t-shirts I think were 10,000), which basically meant that they had me at the door, and then they had me at every turn. But it was okay, we enjoyed ourselves, but the convention definitely isn't for someone going on a tight budget. (Well, maybe that's not the case when you think about how I could have bought everything I wanted for under $50 total dollars). However, for you tight wads like myself, you can walk around and enjoy the cosplayers...maybe even pay 1,000 won (less than a dollar) for a hotdog in crazy grey bun covered in lettuce and ketchup.
Here's the slideshow I made of our experience. For those of you wondering, the song is "Oh My Friend" by Big Bang.
Basically, the average age of the crowd was 14 or 15 years old and consisted of lots of cosplay and lots of fan-made materials. It meant that there was a large amount of Yaoi (for those interesting in such things) and a whole lot of milling around and talking. It was fun to get out and see all the people getting worked up about comics and anime, but it definitely wasn't a Sakuracon or a Comicon. But then, I hear that the anime convention held in Seoul every month is more like those kinds of big name american conventions, and that this Busan one was kinda like the younger brother. Well, Busan is the second largest city in Korea, it only follows that it's convention is the second largest as well...
However, I have a theory that if the convention was held only once a year like Comicon, Dragoncon or Sakuracon, then it probably would have been different. Much bigger build up, many more events, and probably would have had a competition or two. Needless to say, it's definitely something you visit once, but I think I'll save up for Seoul's animation convention, which is much more about the animation side of things, and much less about the animations themselves, but I heard basically kicks a whole lot of ass.
In the end, I give the Busan Comic World festival a C, because it was averagely fun. Kinda sucky in some parts, but there were some really cool costumes to oogle at.
See you later, cowboys.