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Worldwide Ace » Freaks & Geeks

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Freaks & Geeks

19 September, 2004 (20:26) | Social Commentary

I’ve spent the last two days in a counter cultural mecca of freaks and geeks. And it was glorious. As part of my regular abuse of my press privileges, I snagged press passes to Nan Desu Kan for myself, Jeff (who does the Acid Lounge on Radio 1190), and Steph (who does the weekend morning show). Nan Desu Kan is Denver’s anime convention. Last year, one of Radio 1190’s reporters attended and did a solid story on it, so I figured this was a perfect opportunity for me to finally have some fun with work again (the last time being at the Big Wheel Rally {next year’s is scheduled for July 25}).

It was incredible. For the first time in what feels like months, I was able to kick back, relax, and enjoy myself with people I liked being with. I played a ton of Halo, watched a movie, spoke with lots of people (including artists, writers, animators, modelers, and store owners), and was ushered to the front of everything. Sure, I have to sit through over 30 minutes of audio and pick and choose, but it was totally worth it. So even though I should probably be working on my 10-page story due Tuesday,

All Shapes and Sizes

The most incredible part of any convention, be it Trekkie, comic book, or anime, is the lengths people go to in their costumes. I’m a completely lame bastard, choosing to dress casually over attempting to put together what would’ve been a half-assed costume. Steph, however, went as Chobits (I’d post a pic since her costume was awesome, but she and Jeff have all the pictures on their cameras). There were people there in all sorts of garb and garments, from No Face, a character from Spirited Away, to the immortal Space Ghost to Lupin. It was incredible the range of costumes and the number of people dressed up. The entirety of my effort to dress accordingly was to wear my Asian styled shirt with the dragons and skulls on it on day 1. Talk about a let down.

I was stunned and amazed at some of the costumes, but far more than that, I was pleased and bewildered by the comfort some of these people felt with their bodies. There were some beautiful women there who did not at all fit the typical stereotype of model beauty. As I’ve ranted about before, seeing people with this horrendous body image bother me to the extreme, and I truly believe that beauty is more than just outward appearance. But even beyond that, there are far more body types that are aesthetically pleasing and pleasurable than what the media and Hollywood lay out for us. At Nan Desu Kan, I saw so many beautiful women who didn’t seem afraid or ashamed to show off. It was refreshing. Instead of a society that was bound by standards set by clothing designers and magazines, I was smack dab in the midst of an all out assault on societal beliefs. And the true irony is that anime hold women to standards that are completely and totally unattainable, even more so than the model industry, but nobody cared. There were boys, men, and lecherous-old-men (which I seem to be becoming) gawking at these women and admiring them despite their so-called “flaws” (and you better know I disagree with the use of flaws in this case). That is what beauty should be.

This week I was partnered up with a stunning sorority girl in one of my classes. She’s not skinny and seems to have a handle on her body image, but after talking to her a for a while, I found out that she used to be a cheerleader in Texas during high school and she regularly attends nutrition meetings to attempt to undo the damage. Normally, I attempt to be civil to sorority girls, as I don’t generally like them and find them vapid and shallow, but knowing that gave me an entirely new level of respect for this girl. After going to Nan Desu Kan, I only wish every girl could attend something like that and begin to understand the truth about body image.

From Sleek to Geek and Back Again

Nan Desu Kan had a tremendous amount to offer. I got to see small children in costume watching movies with wide-eyed awe. I sat in on several panels including Self Defense, Animation, and Japanese Rock (which turned out to be kids making J-rock costumes the whole time). I played many video games, some I had never seen before. I browsed more DVDs and Manga than I can count. I watched some fantastic music videos using anime (Steph entered several, but none got picked). There was so much.

One of the more interesting things was a game called Navia Drapt. A combination of chess and classic role playing card games (Magic: The Gathering), Navia Drapt uses several pieces, each of which move differently and have a secondary function, to attempt to capture the other persons navia, or queen. You can also win by getting your navia across the board or by collecting 60 stones, which are then used to drapt (or flip in English) the navia. I spent about 20 minutes playing, and lost miserably to another first timer, but I was so intruiged, I actually considered buying it. Then I found out that one half of the game was selling for $35. That means it was $70 for a set. I found it online for $23, but I was thinking about writing bandai and seeing if I could get a review copy free “for the station.” Why do I suddenly feel evil?

Regardless, the convention was most excellent and I hope to attend again next year.

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  • Ahh, I mean to go every year and I never seem to make it. This gives me even more encouragement to go next year though.

  • Ahh, I mean to go every year and I never seem to make it. This gives me even more encouragement to go next year though.

  • Maybe next year I can hook you up with a press pass too…

  • Maybe next year I can hook you up with a press pass too…