Right Stuf is on the move again! Maybe you saw us in the Twin Cities at Anime Detour two weekends ago? We love going to conventions and seeing everyone’s beautiful faces. Located in downtown Minneapolis at the Hyatt Regency, Anime Detour has been around for 15 years and I got a chance to sit down and talk with Emily Kringle, the head of the exhibit hall. Emily has been attending this convention since its inception in 2004 and has staffed over 40 Anime conventions in her life. She’s practically a con expert!
If you have not heard of Anime Detour, I know what you are wondering “Why is it called Anime Detour?” Emily told me that back before Detour existed the closest anime conventions for people in the Minneapolis area were Anime Iowa and ACEN. Con goers would have to drive 5 plus hours to get a taste of the convention life. Anime Detour was created to serve as the detour for those who could not make the drive to Iowa or Chicago. The folks in charge of Anime Detour are very clever. The board at Anime Twin Cities, Inc picks a new theme to go along with the convention every year. Some of the past themes included:
This years theme was New Game + representing the all of the extra content you receive once you beat a new game. The convention moved from the Double Tree to the Hyatt Regency this year and they were able to add new events and activities by switching locations. Some of the new features at the convention were a larger dealer room and a huge game room. The theme for Anime Detour 2019 was announced at the closing ceremonies. Get ready for Anime Detour Refuse to Lose March 29th-31st 2019!
I asked Emily what 3 words would she use to describe Anime Detour and according to her this convention prides itself on 3 things: Community, Charity, and Fun.
Anime Detour is a very charitable organization. Since 2005 Anime Detour has hosted a Charity auction allowing attendees to bid on unique autographed and non-autographed items while being entertained by their variety of Guests of Honor. All proceeds from the auction go to the charity of their choosing. The highest grossing Charity Auction year was 2011 to help out victims of the Tsunami that hit Japan. This year they also raised money to help out a longtime friend of the convention, Chris Ayers. Chris Ayers was diagnosed with end stage C.O.P.D last year and Anime Detour not only set up the You Caring page https://www.youcaring.com/christopherayres-1010986 but they also accepted donations in the dealer room. How could you walk past that face and not donate?
After my talk with Emily, I was ready to experience the con for myself. She told me that I had to check out the room parties. I am not one to go against someone’s advice, so I made my way to the sixth floor to see what the hype was all about. Anime Detour allows everyone who attends the convention the chance to sign up to host a Room Party. Every party has a theme and they all offer the attendees free stuff. One room party had waffles, another party had a huge projection screen and Karaoke. The most happening Room Party was just filled with people having a great time and televisions screens. Everyone was talking and playing games like Super Smash Brothers and Dragon Ball Fighter Z. These parties are one of the activities that separates anime Detour from other conventions. Having a space where people can stay up late and be as loud as they want really enhances the con experience. (since getting kicked out of your hotel room would sure ruin a convention, not that I know from experience) Especially when it’s 20 degrees outside! Hosting Room parties add to the community aspect of Anime Detour and you get a chance to meet new people and you get a bigger room!
There’s also a panel for everyone at Anime Detour. Everything from voice actor panels to the origin of K-pop and everything in between. Anime Detour is primarily an anime convention but there’s a lot of cross over with other fandom subcultures. You still see a few comic book characters walking around along with members of the furry community. Being able to mix fandoms helps grow the community as a whole.Everyone is welcome to share their love for a series with people you just met and that is a feeling that really cannot be described. I attended a Panel themed around the Netflix original Devilman Crybaby and had one wonderful conversation with a mother attending the 18 + rated panel for her daughters. After swapping manga recommendations, I made my way to the dance.
The otaku at Anime detour sure know how to groove! The dance circle was full of B boys, aspiring idol groups, and two steppers. It’s always fun to get a chance to bust a move!
Going to a convention should feel like a vacation. You get a chance to leave your day to day and escape to a world full of like minded individuals who share the same love for what ever you’re passionate about! Dress up as your favorite character, meet your favorite voice actor, or buy a rare figure that you thought you could never get your hands on. With Anime Detour moving locations, Emily believes that the only place to go is up! And it feels like she’s right since the convention recorded it’s highest attendance numbers this year. Start planning for Anime Detour 2019!
We’ll be headed to plenty of other conventions this year so be sure to follow us on social media to find out where we’ll end up next!