The idea of this carnival is to talk about one’s local anime scene, which is a funny proposition, because I think a lot of anime bloggers would consider the blogosphere itself to be their anime community. I don’t think I’d spend so much time on the computer if I had a lot of friends in the meat who not only shared my incredibly specific anime viewing tendencies, but also liked to talk about them.
I know a thing or two about Virginia Beach anime fans, because how couldn’t I? But I’m not the guy to ask about any sort of local community. I’ve never participated in any anime clubs, even though I was aware of them—and I avoided or didn’t talk to the many fans that I was aware of in high school and college. We weren’t interested in the same things.
(Also they were a bunch of huge ponces.)
There are a good deal of anime fans in this city. The word “anime” is pretty ubiquitous here—even talking to the occasional adult, none of them are unaware of what the word means, since their kids or the kids they have to deal with are always gabbing on about it. In high school and college, there were a lot of hipsters who all watched anime to varying degrees, and therefore most of those hipsters’ friends had seen at least one or two shows, or were aware of them.
However, this is based on one high school, one college, and my incredibly limited number of personal encounters. My frame of reference could be so small that I’m basically talking out of my ass here.
We do have two local anime conventions: Nekocon, which every person my age whom I’ve ever been in earshot of has attended; and Anime Mid-Atlantic, which I’m pretty sure is also right here in Virginia Beach. These may be really shitty cons, but they must get some level of attendance, as they’ve both been running for a long time.
If you’re a social anime fan living in Virginia Beach, there’s no reason you shouldn’t find groups of people to do shit with, or things to go and do. We have at least one store with a decent selection of manga and figures (and an asston of obscure 80s toys), and you couldn’t hit someone with a stone without them getting amnesia and forgetting what “anime” is.
Plus, my best friend exists—the only guy I know who’s seen way the fuck more anime than I have. It was an incredible act of fate that he and I ever met, considering that I met him the day before he left school for good, and he was a hikkikomori and I was a borderline hikkikomori. Point being, two of us exist in this city, and close enough that we managed to meet each-other with absolutely no social networking involved. Kinda impressive.
Suffice it to say, of the five friends I have (not counting my brothers), at least three of them are fans of anime, and at least one of them is as big a fan as I am. We don’t do much of anything together, so I don’t think we can claim to do “activities,” nor be a “community.”
Shit, I flew around the world to the Philippines to hang out with an anime fan, and we did karaoke and attended a toy convention with a bigger group of anime fans than the number of friends that I have. Now that’s a community.
I don’t even know where I stand in the anime blogger community. I feel like if I was really a member of it, then I’d at least be reading the aniblog tourney instead of just showing up to vote for each of my friends. I’d also probably participate in the SCCSAV and play Draw Something and comment on ghostlightning’s blog and know about things like a blogger circus without the person running it having to ping me, and I’d even have a post or two on Altair and Vega.
I don’t know what I’m getting at here. I do know that I went to Otakon for the last four years, but I’m not going again this year. Otakon has always been the biggest sense of community that I get out of anime fandom, and this year, I won’t be a member of that community.