Five Things I Loved About Anime2012

My weekend in Almelo on the northern border of the Netherlands was packed with good things. In no particular order, these are my standout memories:

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1) The cosplay programme.

Vibrant, varied, inclusive, packed with workshops and make-sessions and get-togethers both arranged and impromptu. Cosplayers and photographers from all over Europe and Scandinavia. Not just one, but two stage contests. Impressive costumes in competition, matched by the skill, inventiveness and sheer sense of fun on the convention floor. No wonder there’ll be a strong Netherlands team at the World Cosplay Summit in Nagoya.

2) The comics programme

Manga, comic, striep, bande dessinee – doesn’t matter what you call it, if you couldn’t find a kindred spirit here you occupy the smallest niche in the world. Powerful, passionate debate about the future of comics, open and respectful discussion about piracy and artists’ rights, seeking a positive way forward. Filled me with hope and enthusiasm.

3) The MangaKissa

A uniquely Dutch take on the classic Japanese manga cafe, doing amazing things by having fun with comics. Educating, unifying, building friendships and bridges and engagement and confidence. An amazing achievement that shows what readers can do when they set out to share their love of comics with others.

4) The poets

One of the most enjoyable haiku workshops I’ve ever done. Such creative energy, such respect and love for the form, such a willingness to explore and play. I look forward to new haiku in Dutch & Flemish! (And a plug for the wonderful Akita International Haiku Network, a welcoming place for haiku makers of all nationalities.)

5) m.o.v.e. & DJ REMO-CON

What a night! The whole theatre was on its feet and rocking to two terrific shows. The energy and fun was amazing.

And that’s without mentioning the EMV – Ecchi Music Video –  contest, the late-night Japanese whisky tasting in the hotel garden, and the piano music that filled the lobby throughout the day (where else have you ever heard the Totoro theme in the same jam session as Leonard Cohen‘s “Hallelujah”?) and the origami workshops and the artists’ avenue and, of course, the anime screenings.

You should definitely go to Anime2013.

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