Eli loves anime. I like to think I’m a pretty knowledgable dad when it comes to pop culture, but I can’t keep up with my 13-year-old son’s manga and anime obsession, as he’s more likely to watch a show via YouTube on his computer than he is on the living room TV—when he’s not reading in his Manga Cave:
So when he found out about Momocon, a convention for fans of anime/animation, manga/comics and gaming, 20 minutes from our house, he had to go.
With origins in Georgia Tech’s anime club, Momocon has been a growing tradition in Atlanta for 13 years. This year’s convention drew in an estimated 35,000 fans to the Georgia World Congress Center in downtown Atlanta, along with creators, voice talent and online personalities from around the world. We only attended on the last day of the convention, but it was a full day for us, attending panels and walking the convention floor. As with any fan convention, the cosplay was half of the fun, like this classic doubles match-up:
The Scooby Gang:
Or just a fabulous hairless kitty in a rainbow sweater:
But the best part of the Momocon for Eli was the panels. And the best of these was a RWBY “fun festival.”
Every so often, Eli will introduce me to a show he loves to try and get me hooked. The most successful attempt was RWBY, an American anime-style series of five- to 15-minute episodes released by Rooster Teeth on YouTube. We watched the first four volumes before Volume 5 premiered last fall, and for months, we had a Saturday ritual of sitting down together and catching the latest chapter before he’d play me one of his favorite RWBY Chibi spin-off videos.
At Momocon, a panel of fans dressed as RWBY characters performed improv skits based on audience ideas. It was a time of inside jokes among a group of strangers with a shared love for characters their friends and family may not know. For Eli, it was an affirmation that his people, just as passionate about this YouTube series, were out there.
At one point, a few fans, including Eli were invited up on stage as volunteers. He didn’t know what he was volunteering for, but it was the opportunity to take part in an improv activity where the moderators or volunteers could tap into the scene. I was surprised to see my shy kid bravely tap into the scene and get the biggest laugh from the crowd.
Eli spent the day building his own miniature terrarium, participating in a crowd-sourced choose-your-own Zelda adventure and checking out all the games, booths and costumes on site. But nothing will beat that first-con memory of entering the world of RWBY for a moment with newfound friends. Not even getting attacked by Evil Dead’s protagonist Ash:
Or getting a photo with Wonder Woman’s iconic jet: