Sakura-Con recap 2015
Written by GeekGirlCon Manager of Editorial Services Winter Downs.
One thing I love about volunteering for GeekGirlCon is the sense of community we foster among our attendees–and even among people who haven’t yet made it to the Con!
Each year we have a booth at Sakura-Con, the biggest anime convention in the region, and this weekend I got to help out.
Sakura-Con has a celebratory atmosphere, and the cosplay is among the best and most varied I’ve ever seen. (Excepting GeekGirlCon, of course–but then, I may be biased!)
I talked to many people who were super excited to attend GeekGirlCon ‘15, whether they were veterans, or whether this would be their first time. The best moments for me were when someone would ask a question about GeekGirlCon, and someone else just standing at the booth would jump in to talk about how much they loved it. Common threads were things like how inclusive and welcoming they found the atmosphere; the high quality of the programming; and how fun it was to find things like the DIY Science Zone, the GeekGirlConcert, and the astronaut- and slam poetry-filled Closing Ceremony in among the usual convention favorites like fandom panels and artist alley.
Since everyone was so pumped for GeekGirlCon, I thought I’d ask some anime fans to share their fandom excitement with me and tell me all about their favorite female anime characters. (Which doubled as a sneaky way of getting some anime recommendations, since I haven’t watched much in a while!)
Olivia and Dani are regular GeekGirlCon attendees who stopped by the booth on Friday afternoon. Dani said that “just having a woman-centered convention” was what keeps them coming back.
Her favorite anime character is Bulma from the Dragon Ball series. “I wanted to be her since I was a little kid,” she said. Olivia chose Major Motoko Kusunagi from Ghost in the Shell, “because she gets things done.” Kusunagi is also one of my all-time faves–a total pragmatist, whom I find myself disagreeing with from time to time, but who is always worthy of the respect of her colleagues, and of the viewer.
Many people found “favorite” too big of a question, so they talked about their favorite of the moment. Sam pointed to her cosplay–Claret from Teahouse, a (highly NSFW!) webcomic about high-class sex workers. “She’s adorable!” said Sam. Claret is the only heavyset character in the comic, which makes her more relatable.
Sophia mentioned Akane from Psycho-Pass, a character who she described as “ready to do what’s necessary to protect her friends, even though they’re no longer fit for society.” Psycho-Pass is set in a very dark dystopian future, in which people are labeled as criminals based on their likelihood of committing a crime. Akane’s friends include several “latent criminals,” and she stands by them regardless.
Bridgett, Miranda, and Chelsea also had some interesting contributions to my growing list of characters.
Miranda likes Homura from Puella Magi Madoka Magica, a character sometimes described as an anti-hero or even an antagonist, because she starts out mysterious and her motivations only become clear as the series progresses. She has endured great hardship, and her character becomes more sympathetic as more of her history is revealed. Again, her dedication to her cause and to her friends was cited as an attribute that makes her interesting.
Bridgette was really excited to talk about Ange from Cross Ange, who over the course of the show (I’m paraphrasing here) starts out as a pretty pretty princess, gets assaulted and beaten down by life, goes through a transformation, gets over it, and goes on a murder spree in revenge. “Maybe these aren’t the best reasons,” said Bridgette, given the common tropes about women whose backstory involves sexual assault, possibly as a catalyst for a revenge spree, but what Bridgette loves about the character is how she handles her troubles, and how she grows over the course of the show. Oh, and that she pilots a giant robot; that doesn’t hurt.
Chelsea told me about Minori from Log Horizon. Along with the other protagonists, she’s trapped in the world of an online RPG called Elder Tale. She goes from being lost, uncertain of her role in life, to helping her friends. She starts out a healer–a support class, unable to get much done alone–and becomes a master tactician, controlling the entire battlefield.
What was really interesting to me was that common threads started to emerge from the conversations I had: people loved to see characters who came into their own over the course of a story, who grew from someone lost or broken into someone who’s in control. Many people also praised characters who were passionately dedicated to a cause and/or their friends.
Going to Sakura-Con was a great opportunity to meet some other geeks, and fuel each other’s excitement about the things we love. And now I have an extensive reading/watching list to catch up on!
Who are your favorite female anime characters? Let us know in the comments.