Anime-Mini is the coziest convention you didn’t go to a few weekends ago. If you did, hey there! I was the scrawny guy in a fuzzy coat selling nerdy stuff!
The venue may have seemed scarce for avid con-goers, but what it lacked in scale it made up for in warmth. Held at the Greensburg Garden and Civic Center, this was local Jonathan DeWitt’s first attempt at organizing an event.
“The goal of Anime Mini is not to become a 30,000 guest con to compete with Tekkoschocon or other such events,” DeWitt said, “but rather to regularly invite a few hundred people every month or so.”
My experience was a little different than what I was used to. Normally with geek-outs, I’d be taking pictures with cosplayers, hassling panelists, and getting smashed imbibing responsibly. Taking the role of a vender at the con’s make-shift flea-market/bizarre/bizarre-flea-market lets you be an observer. You see photo bombings, parents bickering with their kids over what to buy, and my personal favorite, babies strolling around in pikachu-onesies.
Our neighbors ranged from an out-of-state stranger to the neighborhood Joy’s Japanimation. The menagerie of shops had just enough variety to satisfy anyone’s nerd-fix. To the left of our video game paraphernalia was a shop with walls of J and K-pop. Beyond them were castles with giant robot model-kits as bricks. Messenger bags and keychains were across the room, but it was hard to see them past the Super Smash Bros. tournament happening in the middle of the vendor’s room.
I got to have conversations I’d never get to have otherwise. Fallout 4 just came out so you couldn’t look anywhere without seeing the Vault Boy’s smiling mug. I told a Lolita-model that she had great taste to which, she handed me her business card. Best yet, I found some new slang to use: “Beard-cape con.” I nabbed this saying off the vendor next to us. He had this great story about a disgruntled Doctor Strange fan that got kicked out and-ah, who am I kidding, you had to be there to get it.
You’re in luck though, the event might just become an annual, or even a monthly event, in which case you can stop by and make some inside jokes for yourself.