I have actually reached that age where I realize that am far too old for conventions. Last year, I went to SMASH and it was just much too big and too crazy. And while I did enjoy meeting my new friends in Australia as well as seeing that muscled Portgas D. Ace at the con, I couldn’t say that I felt at home with Australia’s anime and manga community after SMASH.
So I’m happy to have participated and be a part of Room801. I was quite set to living the isolated fujoshi life in Wollongong, but Room801 really delivered in connecting not just fujoshi but fans who have an appreciation for fictional non-normative sexual relationships. Surely, there were tons of yaoi but even yuri, queer, and pigeons were well represented in this convention.
As you know, I had the fortune to talk to some folks but I failed to record my talk. OTL. It’s okay. My talk was mostly about this with a fancy powerpoint.
I also participated in the debate which tackled the issue of reality in yaoi and yuri. Do we keep it real? Or should we just let our fantasies take over. I was in the srs business side, talking about the value of emotional reality capturing social truthfulness in yaoi and yuri with my co-panelist. The opposing side had very valid points too because the truth is we can just believe in self-lubricating asses! The debate was glorious and neither side lost. In fact, that debate was a great reflection of how the fujoshi community is in Australia: these fans know how to have fun yet they are mature enough to understand the complexity of their interests. The fans were fun and very grounded.
One talk that I was particularly interested in was Scott Beatie’s talk on censorship and child pornography laws in Australia, wherein a possession of an R-18 AoKuro Kuroko no Basuke doujinshi could possibly get us in trouble. If we’re not careful, we could be paying around $120,000 just for possessing these things. Even if they’re digital! Now, don’t be scared. It isn’t like the government is on the hunt for us fujoshi but on the occasion that one of us gets caught for these things, then we must be ready. The laws, of course, were a bit crazy but it’s also a reflection of Australia’s conservative mindset. For all the liberal appearances and forwardness that the country has , its conservatism is no different than the rest. That was quite an interesting talk, one that I was fully aware of given that it’s also the center of my adviser’s talk.
There were also panels on gaming, cosplay, pigeons (super thanks to Gaming Cult Podcast!), fan fiction, and erotica. There were also screenings for various Yaoi and Yuri related topics. The one that interested me the most was a film called The Fragile Heart of Moe which I would have to review in better detail someday because that was such a fascinating movie about Japan’s Boys’ Love culture.
More than the panels, the artists in the exhibit area were also amazing. Australia’s got a fascinating set of artists as well and to meet them in person were awesome sauce. Here’s a rundown of them awesome lot: Alisha Jade, Kittyhawk, Amei Zhao, Bea Bravo, RAE Comics, Nekochii, and Fox Lee. They even had Aarinfantasy represent not just THE fujoshi forum to go to but also Otome’s Way, Black Monkey Pro, Aphin123, and Penguin Frontier. It was awesome to meet Aarin too! 😀
Not once did I feel bored within those two days and I’m so happy to have met so much fantastic fans and fujoshi in this event. I honestly felt at home with these folks and they’re all awesome. After attending this, I am so curious to see what other fujoshi fans are like. Maybe I’d visit Malaysia, France, or even the South American yaoi con someday! It’d be fun to see the similarities and perhaps the uniqueness of each community.
I’d like to end this post with much love to the Room801 community, especially to LadyLuckDoubt and Pirotess for doing a great job in organising this event. Hopefully, I’ll get another chance to be a part of Room801.