*Early March the Decimation hit Supergeekdj.com. WordPress/Thanos was angry with the late synchronization. The Endgame is the only hope…—-Dodson
Saturday, July 7th, Animecon gave me the opportunity to organize a field trip for the budding otakus at Primo Women & Children Shelter. With the combined support of Shiri Burson and Jerry Wynn of Chicago HOPES for Kids on facilitating the field trip, JP Hardboiled on food logistics, and Ryan Kopf (President of Animecon) with free passes for the kids this event was amazing. Exploring the convention center, enjoying the cosplayers, enjoying I Play Games game room, and taking advantage of the Carolina Manga Library will forever be the highlights of all 8 of our first time convention experience.
We took the Green Line to the Blue Line Rosemont stop. Shiri, Jerry, and I met the kids at Primo at 10am and we were on our way by 11. For most of the kids this was their first time getting on the blue line, let alone an anime convention. We ate snacks, practiced surfing on the moving train, did pull ups, and got to know what type of anime and cartoons the kids were into. By the time we made it to the free shuttle bus, everyone had an idea that we were going to all be experiencing something for the first time.
When the shuttle arrive we already seen some of our first cospayers walking to the convention center. The kids recognized Naruto off hand and when the shuttle pulled up they look astonished by the sheer variety of people dressing up in their favorite characters from shows, movies, and video games. When they saw a female Pennywise and an adult Georgie (It) while waiting on registration to get their badge, it was the first time I had to corral them back to the group. Going through registration was like waiting for the gun to go off during a track meet, especially since Time and Anime Midwest couldn’t find an agreement on how much awesome one can fit in a 5 hour outing.
The trip was planned with the intention of going to the game room, Carolina Manga Library, and socializing with the friendliest congregation of nerds in Chicago. The surprise was spending an hour in the Carolina Manga Library doing the literacy support we were all trained on at Chicago HOPES for Kids. The biggest letdown was getting whomped by a 7 year old, three times, in a PS2 Naruto fighter (SHAME). The icing on the cake was the kids joy when seeing characters they’ve grown to love and seeing the cosplayers just as excited to see the kids joy. There was an abundance of free hugs.
Shiri Burson adds, “Taking the youth from Primo Women’s and Children’s Shelter to Anime Midwest was more fun than going with friends. Seeing Anime Midwest through their starry-eyed lens allowed me to appreciate the costplay, the games, even the free soda better. It was my first time too, the moment we stepped off the free shuttle onto the convention’s well groomed pavement I was lost to the wonderment of the fantastical costumes and characters I recognized.
Immediately the kids pointed out Gokus and Sailor Moons walking around. The first place we checked out was the game room. We split up and played a game of dance dance revolution. The girls I was with worked together to pass the very difficult level by each taking an arrow and respectively pressing on it as it appeared on the screen.
The pop and ramen was just that…pop and ramen but it was a nice break between game room and the Manga library. We ran into Wakadan residents; Black Panther, T’Challa, Akoye from Dori Milaj, and our beloved Killmonger. It was cool to see our kids’ beautiful brown bodies reflected in such recognized characters. The kids revelled in the moment. “