I would hesitate to call myself an anime fan. Don't get me wrong, I like anime just fine — the original Hellsing is tops (if a bit baffling), as are FLCL, Serial Experiments Lain and Ghost in the Shell — and I'm as stoked as the next guy for the upcoming Studio Ghibli retrospective at The Belcourt. But I am nowhere near achieving the level of fandom required to attend an anime convention. Still, that doesn't mean I can't find the whole thing utterly fascinating.
And so, press badge in hand, I loaded up my camera bag, pulled out my bike and pedaled my way straight into the heart of dorkness — the Nashville Convention Center on day two of the Middle Tennessee Anime Convention.
In total, I managed to survive eight hours at the con before succumbing to a raging headache and an overdose of being around strangers in pink wigs. As much as I would've liked to have caught some of the music later that night and the other festivities, my armchair Jane Goodalling could go only so far.
I've got to say, though, I was pretty impressed by MTAC as a whole. I'm all for giving people a forum to fly their freak flags, whether that be Bonnaroo or a hockey game or an anime convention, and this was certainly a welcoming experience. It was fascinating, watching people light up at the sight of strangers dressed as the same character (or as characters from the same show). Even the most, let's say, socially unrefined in the bunch were able to be comfortable in an intense social situation, which is objectively pretty great.