Per My Brother
While visiting Atlanta, GA and attending MomoCon recently, I spotted a familiar logo. The Middle Tennessee Anime Convention (or MTAC for short) held a vendor’s table throughout the show, so I struck up a conversation with the ConKitty, leading up to this interview.
Who, exactly, is the ConKitty?
– “I’m Charlotte, or ConKitty, for the Middle Tennessee Anime Convention in Nashville Tennessee.”
Could you tell me a little about being the ConKitty?
– “Being ConKitty has its perks, but it’s also kind of a lot of work. We travel to a bunch of different cons around the states — different anime conventions and gaming conventions. I have a really busy schedule for MTAC, with all the panels and events we have going on, but it’s a lot of fun. I enjoy my job.”
What got you interested in anime?
– “Oh, my gosh. Well, I started watching Sailor Moon when I was, like, 7 or 8 years old. My Mom’s claim to fame is that she bought me a Sailor Moon book and that’s what got me into anime. Then, when I was probably 13 or 14, I watched YuYu Hakusho and InuYasha and I was totally immersed, after that point.”
How has anime influenced your life?
– “I started doing cosplay when I was in high school. I’m now a major in Fashion Design at college, and a minor in Costuming. So, it’s really gotten me into costume design in theater.”
What would you say is the best thing about anime?
– “I really love the costumes. That’s my favorite part. I can pick up an anime magazine and just flip through it, just to look at the characters and what they’re wearing, and think, ‘I can cosplay that.’ Maybe getting together with my friends, watching it, having the whole fan moment with other people. But, I can’t say I’m too into the fans, because there’s a lot of anime that fans have ruined for me.”
How did the fans ruin anime for you?
– “Just the huge fanbases. It doesn’t interest me, half the time, because there are so many of them. Homestuck and Hetalia are the huge ones right now. Tried and didn’t like it.”
I’m guessing you have a huge catalog of anime?
– “Actually, no. I have a very small collection. I only have a couple of my favorite Mecha Series: Eureka Seven, Gundam Seed, Gundam Seed Destiny and YuYu Hakusho. That’s about all I’ve got. I normally only buy ones I’m definitely going to watch again. So, I watch them online, mostly. Especially the newer releases in Japanese. I watch them on streaming sites. I really like the anticipation of it coming out new every week. That’s fun for me.”
Do you have to become a member of MTAC to attend the convention?
– “You can purchase a lifetime membership to MTAC and go every year, but you can just do registration for each year, like most anime conventions. You can get a three-day pass, a two-day pass or even a one-day pass, depending when you want to go. I think we have admission for just the rave this year, too.”
Are there any other MTAC events throughout the year?
– “MTAC is also run with GMX. It’s the same partner-owners. GMX is in the fall. It’s a three-day fandom convention, more like DragonCon. GMX is on their fifth year now, so it’s newer than MTAC. Our fanbase is growing pretty big.”
How big was MTAC last year? How big can we expect it, this year?
– “Last year we had about 7,000 people. This year, we’re anticipating 8 to 10,000, so it’s been growing about 20 or 30 percent per year.”
I attended GMX last year and really enjoyed it.
– “GMX is really fun. We’ve grown really quickly in that, too. Both of them have gotten really big. With MTAC this year, we’ve partnered with Full Moon Tattoo and Horror Convention. They only have one room in the Nashville Convention Center, whereas we have the whole thing. But we do have tickets where you can purchase tickets to both of the shows, so it’s discounted.”
What are you looking forward to at MTAC this year?
– “I would have to say the highlight for me is the rave. We have some awesome performers. I’m actually wearing my Pinn Panelle scarf today. They’re one of my favorite bands to listen to live, because their sound is unlike any other. They have actual instruments, but they play electronica. It’s really neat.”
“And we do have a Pony Ball, on Friday. My Little Pony is incredibly popular, so we decided to throw a ball — which will be fun. I get to wear a nice ball gown. I’m not into My Little Pony, but a lot of people are.”
“And I’m really excited about our guests Todd Haverkorn and Monica Rialo of Soul Eater and Panty & Stocking. I’d love to meet them.”
Will you be promoting MTAC at any other events?
– “We’re doing a promotion at the Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival in Nashville. I’ll be hosting the Cosplay Contest. We’ll do a little promotion there, but I don’t think we’re traveling again. The prize for the Cosplay Contest is a round-trip ticket to Japan. I’m really excited about it.”
How can we get information about the Cherry Blossom Festival?
– “We have been posting it on our MTAC Facebook page. They also have their own website and Facebook page as well.”