A captivating Mikasa cosplayer strikes the powerful “Dedicate your hearts” pose alongside a first-time volunteer at a local anime convention. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Friendly Con-goer

If you’re wondering if an anime convention is for you, the answer is yes. Anime conventions are for people who love anime, are new to anime, or are just curious about anime.

Anime is admired for its many qualities, such as its ability to allow viewers to escape through unique storytelling, visual artistry, capacity to build community, relatability, and so much more. No, I promise you won’t look lame going by yourself! It’s an opportunity to enter these immersive worlds you love, where you’ll find people who share and support your inner passion for anime.

Welcome to the Lovers of Anime club! Take a seat, and I’ll take your coat because you’ll want to get comfortable. I understand that attending anywhere alone for the first time is scary, especially if you have social anxiety or maybe you’re afraid of not fitting in. I know I’ve felt the same way, but every time I saw people visit anime cons, the more I wanted to go. The problem was I didn’t know people who wanted to go as much as I did, so I developed this goal that I want to instill in you that may help with your fears. To meet new people who love anime. You need to get out of your comfort zone to reach this goal. Don’t worry, baby steps. I advise looking up a local anime convention and checking their website for volunteering. Volunteering for an anime convention is a significant first step for our solo first-time anime con-goers. For those with social anxiety, volunteering can provide a structured way for you to socialize with others. It can be used to connect with people who enjoy anime, manga, and Japanese culture. As for those who fear they may not fit in, I want to remind you that anime and anime fans alike are incredibly diverse; however, we all share an interest in anime, so don’t fear that you’ll stick out. I will offer three reasons why you should volunteer.

First, as a volunteer, you’ll have more feelings of control in this new environment. You’ll meet some key people putting the event together, which means you have a resource. If you have any questions or concerns, you’ll have the contact information for those who can help you. Also, you’ll become very informed about the event’s layout, putting you ahead of other first-timers. Now, you have the people to contact with questions and a good idea of where everything is at the event. Are you feeling warmed up to the idea?

Well, here’s the second reason: the experience. Everyone wants to feel the satisfaction of their hard work contributing to the success of that anime convention. It’s true! From monitoring the line to checking people in, you helped run the event. Without your help, things could have been less efficient. So, writing about your experience volunteering at an anime convention on your resume is a must. Not to mention all the cool things you’ll experience at an anime con: the cosplayers you’ll see, the panels you’ll watch, the voice actors you’ll meet, the photos you’ll take, and the anime merch you’ll buy. 

Drumroll for the third reason: the opportunity to meet new people. As a volunteer, you should have realized that there will be hundreds of others, and those are the people you’ve gotten out of your comfort zone to meet. They might add you to a volunteer group chat, and some people enthusiastically count down the days till volunteering. Then, there are the people you’ll meet on shift or in the breakroom. That’s where you’ll talk about what led you to that anime con or your favorite anime. After your shift, you could find some cool people to explore the anime con with.

A round of applause for achieving our goal: we met other anime lovers. Feeling confident about volunteering as a solo first-time anime con-goer? I hope so. Venturing into the anime convention world for a solo, for the first time, is a journey of self-discovery and shared passion. Embrace this opportunity to connect with like-minded enthusiasts, contribute to the event and success through volunteering, and create lasting memories. The experience goes beyond the fear of the unknown, offering a gateway to immersive storytelling, vibrant visual artistry, and a welcoming community as you step into this realm; whether solo or not, the anime community awaits with open arms. So, look out for volunteer applications at your local anime conventions!

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