Today is Sunday, Septmeber 6, and it’s almost up to 91 F / 32 C outside, which… means I’m solidly staying inside. Still, even with the last bellows of an incredibly hot summer, it’s still a rather nice afternoon that will most lead into a rather nice evening.
So how am I choosing to spend my personal time? Well… I’m slowly working on drafting an article about TokyoPop’s biggested OEL (Original English Language) manga series, Dramacon.
If you’re in my age range -that is, late 20s millennial- and were a big follower of TokyoPop during the 2000s, you’ve probably heard of Svetlana Chmakova’s Dramacon. It was a huge OEL title that centered on North American convention culture, though it might be better to say it’s a shows a very American experience of an anime convention, a la mid-oughts.
I don’t want to go too in-depth because I don’t want to spoil anyone, nor do I want to make this post too long, so… here’s a summary a la my own words:
Dramacon follows amateur writer -and con newbie– Christie as she swandives into her first anime convention, YattaCon. Despite planning to spend it with her boyfriend, she unexpectedly finds herself falling for a mysterious cosplayer, and things get complicated real quick. What’s a girl to do when when the guy you’re starting to fall for will be a world away after the closing ceremonies?
Volume 2 takes us to a year later at the Lakeside Anime Convention where the drama from con number one continues! Christie’s back with her friend Bethany, and they’re ready to promote their latest comic. But it wouldn’t be a con without drama, would it? Now, Christie’s old boyfriend is back, but shocker: he’s got a girlfriend!
In the final volume -Volume 3- Christie and Bethany are back to share their comic at Lakeside AniCon once more, this time to loyal fans. With Bethany’s art on the con shirts and program, it seems like the stars really have aligned. But surely something else will happen during the con…
Over the past two decades, it’s gotten multiple editions. The series was first released as individual volumes from 2005 – 2007. Then, in 2008, it got a special, glossy hardcover omnibus that included extra materials.
This month -September 2020, for future readers- marks the 15th anniversary for the series, something which I and TokyoPop noticed. They’ve chosen to commemorate things with a 15th-anniversary deluxe paperback edition omnibus. That will mark the third version, and probably the last edition, I’d imagine.
(It’ll go nicely with my originals and the hardback deluxe that, yes, I ordered just today because I lost it and can’t find it.)
Part of why I want to revisit this is because I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about conventions lately, especially as more and more cons go virtual. It’s hard to imagine a time when conventions will go back to being physical: it’s even harder to imagine entering a convention center with a mass of con go-ers. It’s hard for me to imagine being around people in general.
But a big part of me yearns for the buzz of a thousnad voices in a convention center, for the crush of bodies at a nighttime rave, for the rising music of the charity ball. I yearn for industry panels and fandom panels and hallways that are too full: for the humidity of a packed Artist’s Alley, for 3 for $20 prints, for overpriced snacks and nightly pizza, for greasy, chicken fajita nachos a la Naka-kon in Kansas City. Nothing in this world can crush all of that into three days: there really is nothing like an anime convention.
Hence the connection to Dramacon.
Ideally, this article would go up ahead of the 9/15 release date: I’d read through everything today, make all my notes, and do some drafting before bed. I’d have this ready in a few days, and I’d slap it up for a pass or two from other folks and then see it shine on Anime Feminist.
In reality, it’s nine days before the North American release date, I’m still between jobs -and viciously job hunting- and I’m still adjusting to being in the states and in a completely different time zone.. My article will come out this month, and that will be perfectly fine for us all.
I plan to host the article two places: here on Backlit Pixels and Anime Feminist; possibly also on my Medium, which is still bare. But hey, by month’s end, it’ll have an article! Since it’ll be free on here and AniFem, it’ll also be avaliable for free on my Medium: I’ll add on my Ko-Fi on case anyone wants to tip. But that’s all article stuff: I really just wanted to talk about this in a general sense.
Overall, I’m pretty excited about this surprise idea: it’s actually really nice to be revisiting a formative series for me. Dramacon is what convinced me to go to Dallas’s A-Fest, which was my first con. It’s what spurred years of con go-ing and fandom engaement. Writing this article -taking notes for this article- feels like the world’s biggest love letter.
Here’s to success and some big, nostalgic feels.
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