This weekend, locals and out-of-towners will shed their everyday attire and take on the personas of their cartoon counterparts. May 24 marked day one of the four-day Anime Oasis Double One convention at The Grove Hotel in downtown Boise.
The 11th annual convention is comprised of panels, where attendees can learn various anime-related skills, themed tea parties, cosplay, discussions, photo gatherings, discussion bikini contests and fashion shows.
“In this type of community, stereotypes are just out the window,” said Zach Schoenfelder, Anime enthusiast, sales clerk and arcade tech.
The first panel of the convention was an informative discussion centered on costume building. Speakers advocated dumpster diving as the best source for costume-building materials, emphasized the importance of Christmas lights when building any costume, and threw around phrases such as “taco pizza” and “sword smelling” to a small audience. The conversation evolved further to discuss the proper oxidation process when dealing in aluminum as a medium.
The first themed tea party of the convention was harajuku punk, or as tea party assistant Steven Barber put it, “all things Japanese.” Over tea and pastries, attendees discussed Samurai Pizza Cats, acceptance, gender bending and the importance of thrift store shopping.
Barber, a transgendered esthetician, played gracious host, refilling teacups, piling plates high with sweets, and creating conversation while wearing a black skull-covered dress and Hello Kitty backpack.
“I am considered transgendered because I make my outward appearance female on a daily basis,” Barber said. “That’s how I live my life.”
By next year, Barber hopes to have a room at the convention, where attendees can have their costume makeup done. Barber stressed the importance of acceptance in the Anime community, where everyone has their own niche and everyone has a place to fit in.
“We really don’t take ourselves too seriously and are able to laugh at ourselves," Barber said. “A lot of us have all gone through the same kind of stuff in life; we really understand where each other are coming from. It is really nice, a really friendly atmosphere.”