What is Ani-Con?
Ani-Con is a crowdfunded anime convention that is having its first year in Central New Jersey. Of course, as a first year convention, things don’t go as planned. Things you can expect to find in this convention include but are not limited to-
- An Internet celebrity with an extremely dedicated fan.
- The most inebriated Captain America to ever grace the pages of a book.
- The tried and true way to tell whether or not someone is from New Jersey.
- A piece of fanart that launches a sting operation.
- Something that is not at all a Game of Thrones reference. Nope.
- Awkward, late night Facebook conversations.
- And too many other things to list here!
So grab your badge and post your status! It’s time to share in a most unconventionalexperience.
What Makes Unconventional Worth Supporting?
Unconventional was written by a full fledged, honest-to-goodness otaku who has been involved with the anime and manga fandoms for over two decades and attending conventions since 2009. Inspiration for the stories in this book were taken from many conversations had over the years with fellow nerds, geeks, dorks, and otaku about issues that matter to us in and out of fandom.
Unconventional is a love letter to the convention experience, the good, the bad, and the kowai. Instead of following one character through Ani-Con, Unconventional is a collection of events as experienced by several viewpoint characters. In this book you will find a very small world in which our characters often cross paths in unexpected and curious ways. Your protagonists are-
- Skye, a non-binary volunteer.
- Vivian, a single mother connecting with her daughter, Gabbi.
- Justin and Carrie, a cosplayer couple in desperate need of stitches.
- Fiona, an artist who is running a booth for the first time.
- Mike, a surly YouTube content creator.
- Javi/”Zorro”, a game designer new to fame.
- and Paulie as the man about to lose the rest of his hair.
In addition to a diverse cast of characters, Unconventional incorporates social media in its narrative. Characters text, post, and message throughout the stories, making it a truly 21st century narrative.
If you are or have ever been interested in anime conventions, the kind of people who go to them, and the kinds of things that happen there, this book is for you.
As the author continues to research publishing costs, the money will go towards-
- Editing and Proofreading
- Book Binding and Distribution
- Graphic design for the cover and social media sections within the text
- Writing and publishing the companion piece, “True Con Horror Stories from the Internet!”
Enough Talk! Gimme an Excerpt!
Skye’s True Con Horror Stories
“Peace-Tying” (or, How Skye Learned to Keep Worrying and Hate the Doohickey)
“I’m guessing they’re dating,” Skye said to Alex.
“Nah. They’re friends,” Alex replied.
The couple in question were dressed as a convincing Victorian-era Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson. They were standing side by side and chattering to each other about five or six spaces down from the line. Alex and Skye were waiting to relieve the current Costume and Prop checkers and making bets to pass the time. It certainly helped Skye take their mind off of the unfortunate incident outside of the Men’s Bathroom upstairs that morning.
Paulie had sent Skye down to the main level as a way to get them out of the chaos. It was there that Skye came across Alex. Alex was a fashion school dropout who took the Cosplay Repair Station under his capable wing. Skye had also shown up just in time for him to take a much needed potty break. Upon returning, Skye had pretty much explained to Alex why they were there and Alex took it upon himself to be the friend Skye needed today. After all, it was only Friday. There were still two days of Con to go and afternoon had literally just begun. Alex was, as Skye would say, a “righteous dude” that made them feel incredibly comfortable. Skye would not have minded working with Alex the rest of the weekend if given the chance. That said, Alex was also totally wrong about Holmes and Watson.
“Look at the way Watson looks at Holmes. He’s in love,” Skye said.
“You can’t assume two people together are together every time they’re out. Maybe they’re friends. Or brothers! They don’t necessarily have to be an item.”
“I’d still ship it,” Skye said.
“I didn’t take you for a yaoi fan,” Alex said with a smirk.
“I’m an everything fan,” Skye said.
“Duly noted. Just give me six months in advance if you want to commission a fursuit from me,” Alex said, causing Skye to snort. The pair they were replacing both turned and faced them. Their shift was officially over. And it was time to change the guard.
The directions were simple. Check IDs to make sure the attendees matched their names in the database. Give approved attendees their badges and convention packets. Check costumes and props to make sure they were abiding by the rules. Any and all weaponry had to be peace tied with an orange zip tie. It was like Papers, Please but way less depressing. By the time Holmes and Watson were next in line, Skye had gotten a hang of what to do. They checked IDs and handed out swag while Alex inspected and peace tied. It was the perfect system. Soon enough, Sherlock handed Skye two IDs.
“One for me and one for him,” Sherlock said. Skye looked at the IDs. Juan and Robert Parker-Ramirez. Called it.
“Enjoy your con,” Skye said. She caught Watson patting Sherlock on the butt as they passed them their bags and gave Alex the “told you so” look.
The victory, however, was short-lived. Skye wasn’t one-hundred percent sure, but they could have sworn they heard ticking. It was low but it was there. Skye motioned for Alex to walk down the line of attendees and see if he could find the source. Soon enough, Alex walked back with a dapperly dressed Steampunk Gentleman holding some type of contraption.
Skye apologized to the people at the front of the line and put up the “Next Attendant, Please” sign at their spot. With that, they and Alex took the Steampunk Gentleman aside to ask him a few questions. He was bemused but at least willing to speak to these two.
“Is this about my costume? I know it’s an anime convention but I’ve found these places to be quite amenable to all tastes,” he said, putting his goggles up on his bald head.
“Your costume is wonderful, sir,” Alex said. “Our issue is with the prop.”
“Oh! My doohickey?” he asked, proudly holding out the ticking clockwork contraption.
“Yeah… the, um… doohickey,” Skye said.
“I made it myself!” he said, twirling his handlebar moustache with his free hand.
“Why is it ticking?”
“Well that’s what doohickies do.”
“Jesus,” Alex muttered. “Well, it needs to stop ticking. No props here should have moving parts.”
“Well it’s not like I brought a bomb here!” the Steampunk Gentleman yelled entirely too loudly. That caught the attention of the other registration attendants.
“A bomb?!” yelled one. Skye could already the panic going down the line of attendees like a wave.
“Sir, please don’t say something like that here,” Skye said.
“What, bomb?! I said it wasn’t a bomb!” the Steampunk Gentleman reiterated with no attention to the chaos he was instigating.
“Crap,” Alex said to himself.
“A bomb? Oh my God!” yelled an attendee on the line.
“We need to stop this,” Skye said.
“Someone call security!” said another.
“The-the- there’s really no need!” Skye tried.
But the panic had already ensued. Radios were being radioed and Security stopped by. The alarm system in the Convention Center was triggered and the police were on their way. All the while, Alex, Skye, and the Steampunk Gentleman were taken outside and being watched carefully by Security. Skye took to their Twitter account and described the scene as Security questioned the Steampunk Gentleman, the Steampunk Gentleman then getting loud with Security before an ensuing scuffle that resulted in the doohickey falling and breaking before he was escorted from the premises.
Well at least it had stopped ticking.
Thanks for Reading! Stay Nerdy! ^_^