A little late on this one but I am proud nonetheless to bring you a great review on the most important anime-related convention on Aztec soil which, luckily for me, this year’s TNT started on May, the same month I was in the vicinity, studying composition in Morelia; surely an opportunity I couldn’t let go having it right before my eyes!
This was my room for the 3 months I spent in Morelia. It’s so sad I’m going to cry. Right now.
It all started some Saturday when I decided to stroll around Morelia’s downtown when I discovered a small technology meca named “TECHNOLOGY PLAZA”. “Hell yeah!” I thought; if I was to enter a tech-heavy place I was bound to find some anime and videogame-related merchandise, and I was right. Several booths selling anime paraphernalia and hundreds and hundreds of illegal videogame products (Oh, how I love Mexico). Looking around I found a small ad on a wall announcing a groupal trip on a bus from Morelia to the TNT all the way to Mexico City.
“Awesome!” I said, “I can’t let this opportunity go”, and without a lot of thinking I contacted the organizers and secured my place on the bus. I never knew all the suffering I’d experience on that trip. I never knew. . .
Some things never change; a bunch of Morelian dudes playing Yu-Gi-OH at the Technology Plaza.
We were scheduled to depart from Morelia at 2:30 a.m. so obviously I wouldn’t sleep. A taxi took me to the meeting place in time, being the first individual to arrive to the dark, eerie meeting point. Not too late after that a lot of people gathered at the place and, surprisingly so, said members of the tour were of all ages, genders, and sizes imaginable. Some even went with their cosplay ready, others had it as luggage to change on-site and me. . . well, this time I realized it was going to be a major hassle to come up with something so far away from home so I opted for civilian-wear. Just this time.
It was. . .a 5 hour bus-trip.
5 hours through bumps, curves, destroyed freeways and unbearable heat. The longest bus trip of my life, all this suffering just for you fellow DDN readers who I love so much. Take note of my deeds for my epitaph for it will be a long one.
If something could be reminisced joyfuly from that trip I can assure that I had a pretty good time with a very unusual sight at least in the anime community:
A mom taking her two adult daughters to the con. What a sight! I could almost cry. We sat together on the bus and we had a pretty sweet talk about their anime-watching habits and their likes and how the three of them would gather around the family computer and enjoy some anime episodes. A very rewarding scene.
That lady is one in a million, I tell ya.
Arriving to Mexico City, the first thing we did was get lost. It’s like that city’s welcoming ritual; no matter how many times you go, there’s always either a new road, a blockade, or some worker strike on the street that makes you take a 30-minute detour just to get across a boulevard. Luckily we still arrived on par with the other buses from the nearby states, making two decent-length waiting lines: one for us peasants and another one for Cosplayers (notice how I capitalize the word).
After we all were set loose inside the convention center I decided to take a quick-peek at everything before the masses started to suffocate the place; 3 main areas, each with their small stage for gigs, presentations, and conferences, plus a cosplay photo-shoot-only area. Add to that a second floor with independent cartoonists / designers, an amateur karaoke stage, and a very, very lacking videogame section, except for the Latin-American premiere of the newest Pump-It-Up in Mexico which guaranteed a 100-person non-moving, sweaty-as-hell blob at all times (You Americans wouldn’t know the impact of that machine on Mexican soil). So yeah. . .
Front of te blob.
Right of the blob.
Left of the blob.
The blob in its calm state, analyzed from an outer point of view.
Having been to almost 10 San Diego Comic-Cons in a row I decided to skip the merchandise booths at the start and focus on the little extra this con could offer, so I attended most of the events on stage, going from a crash-course on how to make your own erotic comic sequence all the way to top-quality anime-music groups.
This guy (red shirt on the left), he knows his stuff when talking about dem vixens.
The highlight of this con was the attendance of two famous cosplayers on Monday (Pixiekitty and Neon Genocide) and a set of daily concerts from Japanese singer Minami Kuribayashi; her main highlights: Chrno Crusade, Katanagatari, and School Days.
One of the wall-wide designs on the cosplay area. I really liked this kind of decoration.
All in all, looking at the schedule there is a reason why this is the most important Mexican anime con; a decent amount of conferences by nationwide artists, a wide variety of music groups and genres, great cosplays from around the country, and international guests, all this spanning for four whole days. But not everything is great about it; several errors came to mind when I compared this TNT to what I could consider an excellent con:
Lack of space: Like almost 20 years ago when the San Diego Comic-Con had to change from the Cortez Hotel to the Convention Center, adding to that the present fashion and social trend in youngsters to be “geeky” since some years ago, it is encouraged for an event of this magnitude to change to a wider space; anime fans will tend to increase a lot at least in the current decade and if they don’t do something about it they’ll start to go all “comic-con” and number their tickets to limit daily attendance. I tell you, by 1 p.m. we were just a person-mass inside the building, free-will was almost impossible.
The floor is plastered with people! It’s the Warsaw ghetto all over again!
Ambiguous Quality of Shows: I only attended one day but it was enough for me to realize that some music groups were a pain to listen to. I can only wonder what quality level they consider for someone to play at TNT, if any.
One of the exponents of some kind of Fantasy belly-dancing. Kinda cool. Very fresh for an anime-oriented audience!
Lack of Oganization: They really let that Mexican side of our lives show for all to see; in the videogame booths as in the food court and in-between shows, bad organization made some of us leave with a sour expression on our faces, some shows lagging up to one hour behind schedule.
With ads like this one no wonder some people get a bad impression of anime fans, just look at that Chesire cat’s face!
Overall: As I commented with some of the guys on the bus on our way home there is a lot of iniciative and good will when doing these kind of events, but there is this great gap between the good, the bad, and the goddamn awful. And I mean it in everything: guests, infrastructure, organization, and booths. These are the tiny differences that can make the experience worthwhile or a complete hassle. To me. . .all I can say is that it was a very balanced sweet n’ sour experience.
The first impression this booth gave me was that there had been a fatal accident of some sort. Like an assassination before opening the place to the public. It turned out the guys from this booth were just late.
I’m a sucker for Gashapon figs. so I managed to get some pretty cool ones.
It was. . . another 5-hour bus trip home. . . Oh well, who needs a coccix anyway.
Now on to the Cosplay! I swear, I was taken back by some costumes, really neat! Other costumes were. . . well, as they say, love is blind!
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