「ベイベー, イケナイススメナイ」 (Beibei, Ikenai Susumenai)
“Beibei, Don`t Go”
This week, the anime club takes a trip to Comiket, or rather a discount version of Comiket. Sadly, my experience with conventions isn’t nearly as eventful as the ones I’ve been to weren’t nearly on the same scale as Comiket or the cons in Los Angeles/NYC. There was still good merch and I got to see some cool English voice actors & Z-listers who I thought were awesome at the time, but it was usually just a hotel convention floor with a few panels and a mixture of otaku, comic fans, and fans of obscure horror films and short-lived sci-fi shows from the 90’s. I haven’t been to one in five years, but they’ve stepped it up a lot in my area ever since.
But with Comiket’s bustling crowds, long lines for everything, and swathes of vendors ready to sell cool anime merch and doujin games/comics, Animegataris had much more to work with. The club’s main obsession at this point is Re:Zero, so our cast’s main goal has been to surround themselves with shwag specifically from the show like a pin Minoa wears with Puck on it, or a Rem/Ram-esque keychain. To further date this series, Kai’s ultimate goal was to attend a panel for
carbonara Kabanerai that ended up getting sold out.
It would be a challenge to make a topical series that didn’t feel like it only works within the time of its release and Re:Zero is still being talked about as a huge series, but with a fanbase as fickle as the anime fandom about latching onto the latest flavor-of-the-month, you can tell that Animegataris takes place smack-dab in the mid-2016’s, and might not have decent shelf life in another year when the next Re:Zero comes in. It doesn’t help that the latest hype from the Comiket crowd is steering more towards phone game franchises like Kancolle, Granblue Fantasy, and Fate/Grand Order. This season’s Netojuu no Susume is engrossed in this culture with the MMO-style mechanics and the bad civilization that is gatcha. It is about an anime club so expecting phone game episodes wouldn’t be too much of an expectation, but Kabanerai and Re:Zero being the only series’ with heavy rep at their version of Comiket seems dated in the current year, especially when the event’s backbone are the doujin circles that come together that get little to no mention in the episode. Otaku are lining up for hours for so much more than getting handed anime shwag or buying anime merchandise, but none of the characters are carting away fan-made Touhou shmups, kusoge discs, or doujinshi only the creative minds of Pixiv could cook up.
The passion for Comiket, however, comes out the most through Yang Beibei (Hanazawa Kana), an anime fan from Beijing who travels to Japan to attend conventions. She’s picked up Japanese well and wants to discuss current anime with other fans, but because she’s Chinese, people assume she’s only familiar with popular classic anime in China like Ranma 1/2 and Dragon Ball. She’s absolutely adorable and I hope she sticks around throughout the series, but as Erika says, anime is the connective thread that always binds people to meeting once again. As obsessed with the unrealistically bright side of anime as Animegataris is, many anime fans stick together, even if their tastes are vastly different. We might rag on other fans for their awful taste in anime or characters, but anime is such a small niche that fandom becomes the one thing that everyone has in common, and a sign of respect that they even enjoy anime. Beibei’s desire to attend cons and meet other fans ended up giving her new friends through the anime club, so with her push to immerse herself in anime, they’re bound to meet again, whether it’s in Akihabara or another convention.
The show continues to only slightly hint at something bigger when Erika encounters another high school anime club that mentions hearing stories about how prestigious the club at her school is supposed to be. Except before Minoa revived it, the anime club was long dead! Halloween’s over, but that hasn’t stopped anyone from being spooky. Aside from this short conversation, the remainder of the episode is focused specifically on the club’s excitement over being a part of the convention atmosphere. Arisu shamefully admits she’s not as familiar with the convention as it seemed, but that’s resolved quickly as Minoa locks hands with her in anticipation for experiencing their first convention together. At the moment, the show has yet to reveal anything within it’s bag of secrets, but surely it’ll come soon, right?