The Middle Tennessee Anime Convention has come to Nashville once again, which means 3 days of shopping, cosplaying and geeking out for fans of all things nerdy.
This weekend has thus far been full of ups and downs. On a positive note, the dealer’s rooms have been amazing this year. Dealer’s rooms are big shopping centers in a convention where vendors sells their art, Japanese imported toys and food, clothing and much more, and the selection at this year’s convention is phenomenal.
Shopping in the dealer’s rooms has absolutely been my favorite part just from the sheer variety of items for sale this year. An impressive amount of figurines were the main attraction, along with plushies at almost every booth. I was also a big fan of how much Japanese food and imported items were there – my favorite find was a cute thermos popular in Japan, which resembles a character with an oval-shaped head which you unscrew! Many vendors who only sold Japan imports also sold small, soft (almost blanket-like) towels with cartoon characters on them, which I learned are given to Japanese children with their lunches because paper towels are not common in Japan. Items like the thermos and these towels are amazing finds because it’s items like this that you just can’t find here in America!
The only issue I faced with the dealer’s rooms was a small lack of organization on Saturday, which is the most popular day of the convention. Understandably, the amount of people made it hard to control the line to get into the dealer’s rooms, but the vibe of confusion and frustration made it feel like it wasn’t worth getting into the shops at all. The wait wasn’t long, but people were shoved together so tightly that things became frustrating fairly quickly. Cramped spaces can be expected at a convention, but the staff’s handling of the crowding could have been a little better than yelling at us and not being considerate of people who were too shy or nervous to shove their way into a line. The dealer’s rooms, however, proved to be worth the wait.
Cosplay has also been loads of fun this year, with almost all congoers participating in some way, be it dressing up themselves or making the environment fun by taking pictures and encouraging improv acting in-character. For the most part, people at MTAC are great about asking permission to take photos, which, as a cosplayer, I greatly appreciated. Public photoshoots kept things interesting; gathering fans of the same game or show in one place is sure to generate some fun. (The Undertale photoshoot in particular, I’m sure, started some friendships!)
Video game tournaments have also created a shared sense of comradery among congoers. You really haven’t had the convention experience until 20 people gather around a Rock Band game to sing Bohemian Rhapsody, or a crowd applauding a player for winning a round of Smash Bros.
The best things to do at MTAC? Simply wander around and you’ll find the moments- the environment of being with your peers is an amazing feeling that’s worth the trip. Go to MTAC to see things you normally can’t: Japanese food, clothing, toys and household items, a figurine from your favorite anime, a piece of art from a local artist to beautify your home. Comradery really is the best word to describe the feeling MTAC gives you, almost traveling into a unique and amazing world with a group of people who love all the same things you do. It is full of things you can’t find anywhere else, with people who share your passions, complementing your cosplay or posing in a picture for you.
Even if you’re not a fan of anime, if you like comic books, video games, Dungeons and Dragons, Japanese culture or cartoons, go to MTAC next year. You’re guaranteed to find something to make you geek out.