Ok kids, I must openly admit, I don’t understand you. Don’t get me wrong – I was a total nerd in high school and exhausted a spectacular amount of time engaging in strange behaviors that now baffle my infinitely-more-cool adult self. I spent hours coloring my hair with sharpie, making choker necklaces out of soda tabs and once constructed a pretty smokin’ purse out of a metal lunch box and roughly two rolls of red duct tape. I was a true artist. But while my closest friends drank Bawls and stayed up all night watching Cowboy Bebop or playing Katamari, I found myself perplexed by the attraction to Japanese cartoons, satiating my own caffeine highs by staging rubber band wars with Starbucks employees or covering myself in bubble wrap (all factual statements). The point being, I played out my fair share of awkward antics with a group of social goofballs and had a jolly time exploring the furthest reaches of life in adolescent squaresville. But even hanging out on the kookiest rung of the social ladder didn’t help me get a firm grasp on the Anime phenomenon. Apparently, I’m in the minority.
The fandom of Anime stretches wider and further than ever before, smashing through social and demographic barriers like an old world boar-demon. And with the popularity of Japanese animation, street fashion and pop culture continuing to thrive, come hoards of high-energy enthusiasts looking to wield fantasy weapons and geek out with good times. And while many of the nation’s most popular conventions can set fans back some serious green, those with shallow pockets can still get a chance to rub elbows this summer right here at home. Dust off that Sailor Moon costume, my friends, the Louisville Free Public Library is hosting its ninth free AnimeCon for teens this coming Friday, August 3rd at the Main branch.
Nearing a decade of free fandom fun, this year’s AnimeCon 9 presents a full day’s worth of workshops, screenings, demonstrations, games and cosplay with over 25 activities scheduled for attendees starting up at 9:30am. With registration , teens can participate in a multitude of hands-on sessions such as Manga jewelry making, Japanese calligraphy, a Haiku poetry workshop and showdown, Wii games, comic book workshops, a bento box “Iron Chef” challenge and, of course, the traditional Ramen noodle eating contest. Additional fun includes Sumo wrestling demonstrations, a digital scavenger hunt and the Fraiser History Museum presentation “Arming of the Samurai” – but the list of options  is practically endless. AnimeCon 9 will also present several different anime series, including Gurren Lagann, Blue Exorcist, Sgt. Frog, Hero Tales, and K-ON!, for film screenings hosted throughout the day.
Got an Anime itch to scratch? Let your inner nerd shine bright without burning out your (or your parents’) wallet. Pick your character, grab your closest Anime amigos and block off Friday in that fancy smartphone. AnimeCon 9 is your ticket to some summertime fandom freedom – maybe you can explain to me afterwards; I’ll bring the bubble wrap.
The Louisville Free Public Library’s Main branch is located at 301 York Street. For more information about AnimeCon 9, visit the event page  or call (502)574-1611.
Image: Courtesy of Louisville Free Public Library website www.lfpl.org