Otaku Festival V – It’s a Matter of Friendship

Posted: May 25, 2011 in Otaku in Romania

Ok, so first of all I should mention that what I’m going to write here reflects my personal point of view, not the organizing team’s point of view. So don’t take this as an “official” statement of any kind. I won’t talk about what’s behind Otaku Festival, or about what it means to organize such an event (for us, it lasts three or four days). This post shows what I feel about the event that has just ended.

To me, this year’s Otaku Festival had a particular magic, because it gave me the most beautiful present: I regained some things that I thought lost forever. I used to tell my friends that my most beautiful memory still remains the 2008 edition of Otaku Festival, which had left me with a very special feeling I didn’t believe I’ll experience again.

Yet, this edition I saw the workshop rooms full of people who seemed to enjoy playing with string and wire to make waraji sandals, or with beads to make various bead art anime and game characters; who were busy with cutting and sewing during the cosplay workshop, or with making small robots and planes in the plamo workshop; or who attentively followed the explanations provided during the animation and drawing workshops. At the first floor, facing the J-music corner – where the girls were surely having fun listening to their idols, and later explaining how to do obtain the perfect visual-kei make-up – the cardboard panels were being covered with some pretty amazing drawings, and at the third floor, the two graphic tablets didn’t have time to rest. And my heart was filled with the same joy I had previously experienced when seeing a street full of anime fans in the spring sunshine back then, in 2008.

In my hectic scurry up and down the stairs, I noticed how much the otaku community has changed since the first edition. Many colorful costumes, from Vocaloids to Lolitas, kids who felt that they can fully show themselves as representatives of their hobby, without the fear that they would be laughed at. Also, our public seems a little more educated; they understood the meaning of waiting in queue to get in, or the usefulness of the Info Point. And I guess that it’s a good sign for the evolution of our still lagged community.

In the backstage of the performance hall, it seemed to me that the atmosphere was a little friendlier than at other editions: all the participants were talking and laughing freely, without resentments, without exaggerated tears, and without badmouthing (at least not in there) the organizers and the jury. And I was glad, because it is also a good sign, which proves that our cosplayers finally begin to understand the beauty of cosplaying for the sake of cosplay, not of prizes. Congratulations to the winners, and good luck to all of them. And last, but not least, good luck to The Laughing Men, the band who, judging from the public’s reactions, managed pretty well for their first performance.

I also want to congratulate our anchor, who did quite a good job. I hope he won’t forget our pre-festival meetings and rehearsals in the park or in the streets, as they were quite fun. Hey, Rammy, do you remember when you tried out your skills shouting at that taxi driver and spitting on his car’s window in Unirii Square? That night I admit you really freaked me out. I was already thinking “Oh my God, what should we do if that man gets out of his car?”.

I for one am happy because I also met some newly made friends who already are very dear to me; I found some old lost friends; I rediscovered how it is to work again with people who once were very close to me; I saw old and estranged friends talking considerately to one another, and for all these I was truly glad and thought that “miracles can happen anytime. It depends only on us”.

And, at the end of two full days of festival, I left the Students’ House with a very warm feeling of joy and accomplishment. No trace of resentments, sadness, or bitterness. I found myself smiling, because I was left (and I guess the public also) with the true essence of Otaku Festival: a gathering of fans, a celebration of our passion for Japan and of friendship. An anniversary feeling of an anniversary edition.

Otaku Festival 2011 picture gallery:

Otaku Festival 2011

Photo Credits: Isabela Parvu, Cosplay.asHobby.com

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