Panel Discussions

On Saturday I sat through two minor discussions at Anime Boston,  Cosplay Psychology and J Fashion.  Unfortunately both were rather ill prepared, but J Fashion was about a billion times better thanks to the interactions from the hosts.

I want to state beforehand that my expectations for these two panels/workshops were probably too high, and at least for the Psychology one I expected a strong academic discussion on the topic.

Cosplay Psychology started started a bit late.  I noticed a well dressed cosplayer pacing around the entrance to the room with a boombox on his back, he was playing a sappy song that I didn’t recognize.  I assume it was anime related, but the lyrics were in English.  As cosplayers go, he was pretty well put together.  I could feel a vibe of separation coming from him, he wasn’t in line, he wasn’t talking to anyone, just pacing. 

We eventually filed into the room and our blue haired pacing friend was sitting by himself where the panel should be. I was surprised he was going to lead the discussion, but looking back at his behavior it started to make sense. We waited a bit for the panelists to arrive, but no such luck.  It was just Mr. Pacing.

I looked into his eyes as he was trying to be nonchalant slouching at the table in front.  I knew we were in serious trouble, I got a distinct smarmy aura emanating off of his white suit.

Now to give a talk on cosplay psychology one of the prerequisites should be that you do some research before you speak.  It was clear that he had very little academic credentials other than taking some psychology classes and being a cosplayer, but that doesn’t really matter to me.  What did matter was that he projected an attitude of being smarter than everyone in the room, covered it with some shallow “everyone is beautiful” hippy philosophy and generally made stuff up off the cuff when he didn’t know the answer to the questions which was about 75% of the time.  There were several people in the room who did appear to have the academic credentials, were more humble and knowledgeable about the subject and were infinitely more interesting to listen to.  I had to leave the room eventually otherwise there would have been trouble.

The J Fasion panel was distinctly lighter in tone.  The speakers also were not prepared and were slightly insecure, but tolerating them was easier due to their humility and absolute adoration of the subject matter.  They were willing to learn from people in the audience when a sub genre was introduced that they didn’t have knowledge of and were more likable in almost every way.

There are lots of individuals doing fine work in fan culture in the Cambridge area and in Massachusetts, I would like to get some of these people in touch with each other.  The Anime Boston experience is fantastic overall and these small problems can be overcome quickly and easily with little effort. 

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