If you somehow missed all the hype and local coverage of the 1st annual Berkshire Anime & Manga Convention, see Pittsfield Gears Up for Anime Invasion at BAMCon on iBerkshires or check out Derek Gentile’s account in Monday’s Berkshire Eagle for an overview of this new endeavor that launched last weekend at Pittsfield’s Crowne Plaza hotel. Or simply scroll on and enjoy the mish-mash of clips, pics and highlights below.
The Chibi Project was a definite high point for me. The Project has been inventing new ways to destroy anime toys “for no good reason” for over a decade. In this short clip Patrick Delahanty takes a handsaw to some odd little Sailor Moon figurines attached to a board. To say I “get it” would be a lie, but I’m not ashamed to say it was inexplicably thrilling to watch.
A little boy named Devon was a smash hit at the costume contest Satuday. His father said when he set his mind on dressing as classic Transformers character Starscream, he insisted that the outfit actually transform. With a little help from his mom, various parts were detached, adjusted and reattached as he went from robot to airplane form, showing a delighted audience that he was “more than meets the eye.” Devon earned awards in two different categories from the expert panel of judges.
The spontaneous cosplay singalong dance party while the masquerade judging was going on was pretty hilarious; as organizers took requests for songs and enthusiastic fans kept returning to the stage for heartfelt renditions of animated theme classics from Pokemon to Mulan and even (cringe) Aqua’s “Barbie Girl.”
There was more of that sort of thing going on around different parts of the Con, too, little bits of madness enough to bemuse or scare the uninitiated (like the Minnesotan couple who upon checking in to the hotel, leaned to me and whispered “Is…everything… alright?”
“In Anime, you tend to have a more complex, unpredictable story,” explained Jonathan Chambers, in a presentation called Anime vs. Western Cartoons, whereas in standard cartoons “There’s typically a simple plot, that’s usually defined as Good vs Evil… Anime also touches on a lot more topics- it’s politics, religion, humanity, and a lot of other concepts.”
Also on the serious side, perhaps even too much so for its own good, was the informational panel on Zombies- what they mean, where they come from, and what do about it. It came with a raffle for this gift bag of awesome zombie swag, though, and the winner, a Mr. Hermann, said he personally was stoked about all the zombie education.
At the very end, organizers of the Con held a Q&A to review and take suggestions from attendees while their minds were still fresh on it. This is a really smart thing to do at an event of this kind and it was wise of them to include it. Input ranged from things like having an organized ultimate frisbee game to suggestions of bands fans thought would be appropriate for next year.
Now that it’s all said and done and continuing to gush out onto the interwebs, the real story here, from a wider local interest perspective, is that Jon Wynn’s MediaCrash and a bunch of dedicated volunteers managed to pretty smoothly execute a totally viable 3 day anime and manga convention in Pittsfield that covered two floors of the Crowne Plaza, apparently covered its costs, and is looking ahead to a second year. As several shred individuals observed, that’s demonstrative. That sends a message to enterprises both in and out of the region, to organizations, promoters, and geeks with visions- that Pittsfield can be a location for viable niche events that draw locals and out-of-towners (various attendees hailed from parts of NY, CT, Eastern MA and I’m pretty sure a couple of Canadians). If the area can be host to a successful anime con, it paves the way for all sorts of other cons, Star Trek, comics, horror, you name it.
Heck, why not a weekend of zombie themed events? No, no, I’m not supposed to talk about that yet… <zips lips>
For many more photos from BAMCon see iBerkshires.com
There are also more videos on the con’s own Youtube channel here.