Hello everyone! I just came back from an exhausting, but incredibly fun, three day weekend extravaganza called Animecon 2018. This annual event took place in the city of The Hague, and is a convention centered around all things Asian. This means there is a lot of anime, manga, workshops, food, games, in short all the good stuff. In order to not make a post that is so long you will get bored by it, I decided to split it up into two different parts, where I will talk about all the things I have seen and done in this fun filled weekend. So, let’s get started!
Just like last year I stayed at a
castle hotel. It was conveniently about a 3 minute walk from the convention itself. Which means that after buying some loot (more on that in part 2) you could drop it off at your hotelroom and get ready for buying more loot….erm, yes, moving on. As you can see from the pictures below, the hotel was pretty luxurious and a nice way to spent some time resting after running around all day at the con. Especially as my room had a very nice view. They also provided a terrificic breakfast in the morning with enough food on offer to cater to everyone’s needs.
Now that we are on the subject of food, let’s talk about that for a bit. Oh, and you will get hungry after this, so you have been warned. What is a convention without food? No idea really, but there was certainly plenty to eat and drink here, and everything was just absolutely delicious. I ate a lot of cup ramen in all kinds of flavors, all of them very tasty. But the highlight certainly was the Japanese version of a Dutch dish called “poffertjes” (hey I never said or language was easy). Best way to describe poffertjes is a kind of mini pancakes, that are very sweet. However this variant was totally different and more of a salty snack. I also very much enjoyed the melon bubble tea which tasted soooo good, as well as the Japanese Crepes and Dango. All in all there was so much food there, that you had to be careful not to spend all your money on all these mouthwatering dishes.
One of the floors of the convention was turned into a true video arcade. But instead of paying for these games like you normally would, you could play them all for free. With classics like Time Crisis, Monkey Ball and Tetris to name but a few, you could relive the golden age of videogames. Besides the arcade machines, you could also play games on a great variety of different consoles with both modern games as well as golden oldies, enough to satisfy your gaming addiction. If you would like to play oldschool, you could also spent time playing an amount of boardgames at the boardgamenights (which I didn’t attend myself). Many games were anime oriented, like the Attack on Titan Deckbuilding Game, but you could also play classic Asian boardgames like Go. I did play one round of Go, but as it was my first time playing that game (yeah I like to make up excuses) I lost miserably (but still had fun playing it anyway).
Just like last year, besides anime there were also a great number of Asian movies to be seen. I ended up seeing two of them, back to back and both were very much worth it.
Going the Distance (Japan, 2016)
Going the distance is a movie about friendship and how much you would give to maintain that friendship. Asahi is a boxing trainer in Tokyo who is about to get married to the girl of his dreams Kaori. When his childhood friend Hiroto shows up asking him for help, he is torn between his soon to be wife and his friend. Time is running out for Kaori as she wants to get married before her ailing grandmother who suffers from dementia, forgets who she is. Things soon spiral out of control though, and Asahi finds himself in increasingly more trouble. This drama was very unique in the way that there was absolutely no music that accompanied it. It was an immensely beautiful film, that once again proves how precious true friendship really is, as well as the hard fact that you can’t always get what you want in life.
Her love boils bathwater (Japan 2016)
This beautiful and heartwarming drama was sent in for a contender as the best
foreign language film at the Oscars of 2017. Sadly it did not make the cut and one has to wonder why. The film tells the story of the woman Futuba who has just been diagnosed with cancer and hears she only has a few more months left to live. Instead of giving up, she is determined to finish a few things before she dies. One is finding back her missing husband and get him to resume the family bath house. Another no less important thing is getting her daughter Azumi, who is being bullied at school, to stand up for herself. With time running out, will she be able to accomplish these and other goals? A movie like this could become an enormous tearjerker. While I won’t deny that you won’t shed a few tears it is mainly a film that fills you with hope and an incredible feel good feeling. I was especially astonished by the high level of acting in this movie. In particular by lead actresses Rie Miyazawa who plays the terminally ill Futuba and Hana Sugisaki who played her daughter Azumi. Both were absolutely amazing in their admittedly very difficult roles. This was a powerful film that stayed in my head long after I finished it.
Well, that’s it for part one. Tomorrow I will bring you part 2, which will feature the anime that I watched, as well as all the stuff that I bought. And, last but not least I will also tell you what was the highlight of the convention for me, and suprisingly that wasn’t any anime or a movie. But more on that tomorrow, as I have to keep some suspense up right? Thank you all for reading, and now I am going to try and make up for some lost sleep lol!