I woke up Sunday morning with a throbbing headache. My hair was all over my face, and it hurt my eyes when I looked outside of the bedroom window. I wondered how much alcohol I had consumed Saturday night - then I realized that I hadn't had a drop all weekend. But it felt like I had the worst hangover in the history of excessive drinking.
I then saw the wigs and costume pieces scattered around the bed and realized I did have a hangover - a "con" hangover.
A con hangover is when your body reminds you that you've spent the entire weekend at an anime convention - hence the name. I spent the weekend staying up until 3 a.m., then getting up four hours later to get into costume and run around the convention hotel again. I had been eating cookies and downing Pepsi for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I experienced Anime Detour.
This was the third year for Anime Detour, a convention in Bloomington, Minn., which I have made it to every year. I was one of six members of Cosplay x Conflagration, a campus anime costume club, to attend the convention.
We woke up at 7 a.m. Friday to get into our costumes. We readied ourselves frantically, in a room strewn with makeup and wigs. Girls' chests were wrapped with Ace bandages and Saran Wrap so they could become boys for the day. In a matter of hours we were no longer ourselves, but characters seen on DVDs, manga, video games and Cartoon Network. Our convention adventure had begun.
The convention provided three days of nonstop action, including several panels presented by attendees, 24-hour anime rooms and a new game show called "Anime Street Smarts." There was a vendors' room where attendees spent their rent money on action figures and anime pillows.
Convention attendees could display their own work, as well. An artist's alley let them show off their craft, which was coupled with an art auction. Attendees could visit various workshops that focused not only on cosplay (dressing up in costume), but on the anime industry as a whole.
And if it couldn't get any more jam-packed, celebrities of the anime industry walked around the hotel signing autographs, presenting panels and speaking about their experiences in the world of anime.
The biggest event of the convention was the Masquerade - a cosplay competition where attendees went on stage and showed off their costumes. Participants go all out for this competition. The costumes shown there were usually not the ones seen out in the hallway, but were made specifically for showing off on-stage.
One woman in particular had the audience cheering when she dressed up as a giant Hello Kitty who then dressed up as Sailor Moon to celebrate her 31st birthday.
On Sunday during the con hangover, convention attendees had to drive home and return to the reality of work and school. However, for one weekend we had successfully become Fullmetal Alchemists, Naruto genin and Inuyasha demons. We watched anime music videos and learned why Dragon Ball Z and Linkin Park were not a good combination. We bought art, soundtracks, books and trading cards.
We partied at Anime Detour, and for three days, school was pushed aside for a giant Hello Kitty in a Sailor Moon costume. The con hangover was the best hangover to ever have.
- Briana Lawrence is a senior in English from Chicago.