That’s the question that’s been on the minds of con goers and cosplayers alike since March of 2020. With the vaccine rollout chugging along despite setbacks, the U.S. population is now 28% fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and its variants. As restrictions in several states are easing up, we’re still not at a point where its 100% safe to return to the nerd sanctuaries that we once called ‘home’. Right now anime fans and convention goers are all wondering when can they return to the Smash Bros. tournaments, the voice actor Q&A’s, the late-night raves, and the laughter of their fellow weebs. Trust us when we say that we miss ALL of it, and we’ve been doing everything in our creative power to keep ourselves in that nerdy mindset since last year; at times it’s been kinda difficult. However once we reach the target range of 70-90% full vaccination (or about 220 million people in the U.S.), anime conventions will return in full force better than ever; but what will they look like once we DO come back?
It’s no secret that anime conventions have been a part of anime nerd culture for decades. Its been a place where various nerdy fandoms have come together to celebrate their love for the overall medium. Young and old con goers from all walks of life have found themselves going to one of these conventions at some point, and the level of acceptance is nothing that you could even imagine. Many of us remember when conventions started out as after school anime clubs and when the number of people started to grow in said clubs (as well as get funding), they turned into the anime conventions that you see today! Even though it has its squabbles and disagreements sometimes, the anime community is one of the best communities that we’ve been a part of.
Back to the real issue at hand; what will conventions look like once we finally reach the end of this dark tunnel? Well we can only assume that precautionary measures are going to be made; because even though we’re getting close to putting an end to COVID-19, Con-flu is still relevant. We can’t tell you how many times we’ve gotten sick at the end of a convention because someone did not take the precautionary measures to wash their hands, or take care of their body. Hygiene should be a number one priority before you set foot inside a convention, and it most likely will be once we return.
Another thing that most likely will change is the price of admission. Many of the mid-sized and mega conventions cost between $75-$120 for the whole weekend, and add the hotel cost and you’re looking at a near $450 or more for a single weekend out – about the price of a car payment! Why do you think we take one or two friends with us? Cuz’ cons are expensive and it lets our wallet breathe! Aside from the price of admission; the level of attendance will also change. COVID-19 has done a number on most conventions financially, and some of them may be forced to close their doors forever. With that said, the budget that a lot of conventions have (or used to have) will change; meaning that they’ll have to scale back costs in order to stay operational. That means booking not as many big name VA’s, and shrinking down their space from convention center-sized to hotel-based size.
Hopefully once we reach the target range of safety, we won’t have to worry about not wearing masks at conventions because everyone at the convention will be fully vaccinated. That’s the normalcy that nerds and otaku everywhere want to get back to; back to ‘squeeing’ at the sight of our favorite VA’s when they do a line from the show, back to waiting in line to get an autograph from said VA’s, back to the late-night raves, and back to the nerdy sanctuaries that we call home. Cons ARE coming back – just where safety is their number one priority! 🙂