By David Cabrera
#22: “Dude, The Cops Raided Anime Boston” – Enter The Anime Rave
Twitter's a wonderful thing, isn't it? Set it up right, and you'll find out about everything you care about the second it happens. (I'm @sasuraiger.) And so it was that at two in the morning during a round of Dodonpachi with a friend, I found out that Anime Boston had been shut down by the police.
“Dude, the cops raided Anime Boston.”
My friend, a former anime fan who retired after Gurren-Lagann, instantly shot back, “The rave?”
If the cops have to shut down your anime convention-- not that this is by any means a regular occurrence-- it's safe to say that it's because of something that happened at the rave.
I was hesitant to even mention this kind of “convention culture” thing in our column, but it's one of the most popular events at any American anime con, and this whole business at Anime Boston has forced me into it.
I mentioned that the American anime convention is a weekend vacation for many people, and of course, a weekend vacation without any partying is just a waste. Come Saturday night at the anime con, everybody is partying somewhere. Many are doing so out of their hotel rooms, and if you're not very careful about your room party you'll be kicked out of your hotel for it.
As such, though it usually has absolutely nothing to do with the subject, many geek conventions offer a dance party or similar event at the end of the night. For anime conventions, the style always seems to be a rave, with thumping electronic music and flashing lights on a pitch black dance floor. A lot of conventions-- including Anime Boston-- call it the “dance” to avoid the seedy cultural connotations of the word “rave”, but the kids still come in asking about the rave.
There are folks who only come to the convention for the rave, just like I have friends who only come to conventions to party with people from the Internet. It's actually really easy to go to an anime convention without doing any anime stuff, or even caring about anime. Gen Urobuchi was just at Sakura-Con this weekend, and yet I'd bet money that the line for the rave was longer than the one to see him. Again, when you hear about 100,000 people at Anime Expo, please keep this in mind.
Nobody knows yet exactly what went wrong at Anime Boston, but I'll take an educated guess and say “some underage kids were drunk and got into some trouble.” That's what unsupervised kids do in dark places. Remember, they just got away from Mom and Dad for the weekend.
The whole thing raises the issue of whether a club-style party at a geek convention is any place for children at all, and whether cons should just make the whole place 18+. This seems like the sane solution, but do you know who are most excited about the rave at any given convention? The kids!
Police raids or not, the anime convention rave isn't going anywhere, because nobody wants to see their attendance numbers drop. Have I been to the rave myself? Not my kind of party. I'm in my twenties, you know?