Anime Weekend Atlanta 2015 (AWA) was an absolute blast this year and probably one of the best conventions I’ve gone to. It’s in Atlanta, Georgia and spans over 4 days – Thursday through Sunday usually in mid-September. If you’re in this neck of the woods, I highly recommend going! It’s freaking huge compared to Kami-Con (Birmingham, AL) and Momo-Con (Atlanta, GA). There’s a ton of panels, popular cosplayers, and so much more at AWA.
This convention was different for me in many ways compared to Kami-Con and Momo-Con. The biggest way was that I was going to cosplay one of my favorite characters for the first time ever. I was excited and nervous about the whole thing, but I was ready. My boyfriend and I had been preparing the week before by getting our wigs in order (brushing, de-tangling, and styling) when I realized how much fun I was having. I didn’t need to be scared anymore about what people would think, because this new hobby was incredibly fun and relaxing.
So what should you expect when you cosplay for the first time at a convention?
- Being called by your character’s name. This actually caught me off guard. I don’t know why, because I even did it at conventions. Alec and I were in full cosplay looking at the Artist Alley booths when I was approached by another cosplayer and a guy running the Crunchyroll Live booth. He called me Miss Asuna, and I didn’t even answer him the first time! Talk about embarrassing. After I realized he was talking to me, he and another Kirito wanted Alec and I to join them on the Crunchyroll carpet to participate in their Live Feed. It was pretty exciting for me to step up to the camera and see dozens of messages scrolling across the screen proclaiming my character’s name and how cute I was.
- Seeing other people dressed as your character. I was very surprised to see only one other “blue” Asuna (SAO Mother Rosario: Asuna). Some people tend to take offense that they’re not the one dressed as a certain character at a convention. Instead of feeling like you’re just part of a crowd, use it to start a conversation! You already have something in common! Plus you could get some pretty funny photo opportunities.
- Getting asked for a photo. I have to admit, this was one of the happiest moments I’ve had at a convention. One sweet lady stopped Alec and I, and said she had been looking everywhere for us; would we please take a picture with her. It gives you an instant ego boost to be asked for a picture. Be aware though that even if you don’t get asked for a photo, plenty of people are snapping photos of you without asking, simply because they’re shy, you look busy, or they’re busy trying to keep up with friends as they walk through the convention. There were lots of people I wanted photos of but circumstances prevented me from asking them. Instead, we’d snap a photo as we were going by, or jump in while someone else was taking a photo. While this may not be correct cosplay etiquette, it happens.
- Working on your cosplay at the last minute. While I didn’t exactly “work” on mine, I did find a pair of elf ears to finish off my cosplay the day before I had planned on wearing it. Alec also opted out of wearing his wig because it was uncomfortable. Sometimes things don’t go as planned, and that’s okay. Keep an emergency cosplay kit handy, double check your checklist before you leave the house, and remember it’s all for fun.
- Getting compliments. This was something else I wasn’t particularly expecting. I didn’t sew my costume; I bought it from China and asked my grandmother to alter it. It was too small across the chest and hips, but she managed to make it wearable and comfortable. I had always admired those that could sew their own costumes, but I haven’t learned how to yet. After having heard a lot of bad things from the cosplay community about those that buy their costumes, I hadn’t expected anyone to stop me to tell me how great and awesome my cosplay was, but that is exactly what happened.
Have anything to add for our first time cosplayers? Leave a comment below for our readers!