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Anime Convention Invades Crystal City

by ARLnow.com November 12, 2010 at 3:58 pm 3,956 22 Comments

(Updated at 4:35 p.m.) The annual Anime USA convention has brought scores of, er, colorful characters to the Hyatt Regency in Crystal City.

The convention, which ends on Sunday, features bands, workshops, celebrity meet and greets, concerts, a Japanese marketplace and more. Between 3,000 and 4,000 people, mostly younger, are expected to attend.

Samantha Burke, who along with four family members traveled here from North Carolina in a decorated white van, said Anime USA is a “celebration of Japanese culture.”

Almost as interesting as watching the sea of costumed humanity standing outside the hotel is watching the reactions of unsuspecting passersby. Taxi drivers, office workers, hotel guests not affiliated with the festivities — all crane their necks.

“Wow,” said one woman, gawking from the sidewalk. “All I can say is wow.”

The crowd frightened at least one citizen, who called police earlier today when she thought something was amiss. One officer told us that in years past, police have been called when convention-goers with fake guns or samurai swords have walked into banks or restaurants.

  • BallstonNOTBoston

    Just when Crystal City couldn’t get creepier.

  • Frenchy B

    Worst. Convention. Ever.

    • Frenchy B

      So, no one picked up on The Simpsons Comic Book Guy reference…

  • ThisisSarcasm

    I just imagine a nice family from the midwest in town and staying in Cystral City for the Cheaper rooms and great metro access and then running into this.

    Sheesh.

  • Seriously

    Honestly, I don’t know what the big deal is. There are certainly weirder conventions that go on out there than this, they may just not receive editorial coverage for anyone to take notice. Yeah it’s amusing and yeah with some of these people you may question their level of sanity, but it’s all in good fun.

    • Seriously

      Ok maybe it’s not questioning their sanity as much as it is questioning their attachment to reality, or rather detachment from reality. But still. Let the anime dorks and freaks have their fun.

  • Thes
    • Arrrrlington

      Checked out their site. They had a seminar on how haters are gonna hate.

  • A.M.

    This is their hobby, they’re having fun and living their lives. No one shits all over you for going to a Dave Matthews concert or whatever the hell it is you like to do. “Man, people who are into different things than me sure are weird!” Grow up. Go back to whatever little sheltered flyover state it is that you transfered from.

  • ThisisSarcasm

    Hey – A.M. why the hating and the foul language?

    Also, just so you know, using the term “flyover state” flags you as a DB. A major one.

    • G::NativeArlingtonian

      Actually what makes people DB’s is their inability to not make fun of people for doing their own thing. As said, this is their hobby, they like to dress up, watch anime, and have a good time. More power too them. This is really no different than the socially acceptable Halloween antics most adults deem fine once a year. And probably with a lot less drunken stupidness.

      It would indeed be nice if people could grown out of their high school clique mentalities and just live life.

      • person with a pumpkin

        Unfortunately there is probably about the same drunken stupidity…. but all in good fun. I was there, had fun, came home, back to life, the end. :/

  • A.M

    Yes, because clearly I’m the only hater here – why can’t we just patronize these people in peace, right? Can’t we just continue discussing these “freaks” and their “detachment from reality” without being assumptive and generalizing?

    You are so right – carry on.

  • NERD ALERT

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_ekugPKqFw LIGHTNING BOLT, LIGHTNING BOLT!!

    • Catalina

      haha, this was entertaining.

  • MC

    Hope the visitors are having fun and feel welcome. This is a good example of making Arlington a destination in its own right: people coming to Arlington itself, instead of people coming here looking for a staging areas for a “national capital area” event. Even better: doesn’t seem that police had to close down any streets for this one.

  • Wow, so mean to such a nice group of people. I actually went to the first 2 of these way back when (I don’t do costumes since that is really not my thing). Con goers are some of the nicest people that you can meet.
    Are they weird? Hell yes. Do they love this stuff and want to share? Definitely.

    But are they any worse than people who put on their teams Jersey’s, wear paint and costumes at sporting events?

    They are spending money on hotels and food and bring a bit of color into the often drab world we live in. They are not rioting or creating disturbances (unlike some of the other guests that come to the region).

  • Greg

    I actually wish there was more of this here. Keeps things from feeling too corporate….

  • Skeptical

    No kidding. I thought we all got over picking on “different” people somewhere back in junior high school. Did I miss a turn?

    People dressing up, playing and having fun — what a relief from the multitudes of stuffed shirts (and stuffed skirt suits) who infest this town day in and day out, clearly convinced they are the pinnacle of God’s creation because they live and work in the nucleus of power, or work for a well heeled defense contractor, or are going to change the world while someone holds their coats.

    “Nice families from the Midwest” probably are texting home right and left with pictures of the delightful characters they saw on their vacation. Fortunately, the anime people, like science fiction fans, comics fans and the Society for Creative Anachronism, don’t much care if you think they’re dorks.

    Great pictures.

  • Ben

    Is anyone else amused by the guy dressed as a ninja with the giant tootsie roll pop? Is there some hidden deeper meaning going on there or does he just really like tootsie roll pops?

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  • NERD ALERT

    hey, that’s cool, whatever makes them happy. I think being nerdy is cool, and I have my quirks. I just don’t quite understand what they do at the convention. Is there mass larping tournaments or battle scenes? What do they all talk about? Or is it a costume swap meet? I’m actually interested. I had to post the lightning bolt video, that’s just too funny.

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