Thanks to old VHS recordings, let’s revisit an anime convention from 1995

A 1995 anime convention

Anime and/or cosplay cons are now common enough to be found in cities big and small across America, but in 1995 people’s ability to share their interests (and buy related merch) was much more limited .

Back then, you could know a few kids from school who also liked much of the same stuff as you, meet a few people through a local comic/book store, or if you were really lucky, reach out to a relative handful of like-minded fans and contact them Internet. That’s it! Given how difficult it was to network and make friends in the scene back then, it’s incredibly cool to be able to look back on a visual record of those pioneering days like we’re about to see.

(If you want to see any Yes, really groundbreaking convention stuff, Here’s an excerpt from my cosplay book about what the downsides were like in the 70’s and 80’s).

Cosplay in America divided Found this video earlier this week and found it on a dusty old YouTube account that hasn’t uploaded anything since 2009. called old school animecons, it has extensive records of two early cons, Anime America 1994 and Katuscon Ichi, which as the name suggests was the very first Katsucon. For example, in this video, we get a guided tour of the Katsucon showroom, which, in addition to the posters and shirts and autograph sessions, also has…stacks of copies penthouse and a company that sells desktop screensavers.

Katsucon is still going strong, of course; While this original event was small enough to be held at a Holiday Inn Executive Center, it has since grown and expanded to the point where today’s events (like the ones we just covered last month) are located at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in Maryland and routinely draw over 15,000 visitors (excluding 2021, as this year’s show was canceled due to the pandemic).

If you want to check out the rest of the channel’s videos, many of which focus on “cosplay masquerade” — a competitive-like event that used to dominate early cosplay conventions — you can check them out here. Thanks to old VHS recordings, let’s revisit an anime convention from 1995

Curtis Crabtree

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