A large portion of the Jrock fanbase strayed over from being anime fans (while many are still are) after falling in love with the music on their soundtracks.
If you’re visiting this Web site, there’s a 50/50 chance that you’ve been to a Japanese animation (anime) convention. Maybe a friend told you about Jrock Revolution, or you stumbled upon it from a blog you enjoy reading. Or maybe you got connected through our MySpace (http://www.myspace.com/jrrevolution).
Nowadays, Jrock is spreading more independently as a music genre and less as an accessory to anime. Still, it’s good to acknowledge those same anime cons (many of which are now full-fledged Japanese culture conventions!) and remember their relation to Jrock. Even today, anime cons are still a great resource for learning about–and most importantly, supporting–Japanese rock music.
Back in the day, Jrock fans would gather at anime conventions. Jrock conventions didn’t exist, and there was no place to cosplay (costume) as your favorite Jrock artist without getting some quality looks on the street.
At anime conventions, almost everyone is decked out in something, so if you wanted to pay tribute to your favorite visual kei group–whiteface, bright hair, generous makeup, huge costume–it wasn’t a problem. If you were lucky, you might run into or meet up with other people to form the whole band. And the only people who’d recognize you would be fans of "your" band–instant bonding. What a deal!
Anime conventions were also great places to find Jrock off-line. This was before CDJapan
(http://cdjapan.co.jp) and way, way before Amazon.com started carrying imported Jrock CDs (when you plugged Japanese rock music into their search engine, you’d get Zen rock gardens).
Dealer’s rooms were meccas for curious fans looking to buy CDs of artists they had only heard of, read about, or heard snippets of on-line–and then to boot, anime conventions expanded to include panels on Jrock and Jrock video screenings, open to everyone. Even if you knew nothing about Jrock, you could, in one fell swoop, learn about the artists, see their videos, and buy their CDs (or videos, posters, t-shirts, buttons, plushies, and/or stickers). All in one place.
Finally, anime cons began featuring the musicians who composed or performed songs to popular anime series. Composer Yoko Kanno (Cowboy Bebop, Vision of Escaflowne) is a beloved guest of numerous conventions. Jpop entertainer T.M. Revolution (Rurouni Kenshin, Gundam SEED), thrilled Baltimore’s Otakon 2003 attendees. And Jrock group L’Arc~en~Ciel’s billing at Otakon 2004 had fans buying Otakon passes just to see…L’Arc~en~Ciel (Rurouni Kenshin, Great Teacher Onizuka, Fullmetal Alchemist).
Anime conventions have long been instrumental in both raising awareness and promoting Jrock in the U.S., and they’re a valuable resource until the next Jrock festival comes along. They’re especially good if you don’t feel like experiencing Jrock beyond listening to it privately just yet.
So if you couldn’t make Jrock Revolution this year, fear not. And if you live too far away from a store selling Jrock, or don’t feel like paying shipping costs buying CDs on-line–relax. Hit up your local, area, or regional anime convention instead. Get comfy. And then come to the next JRev festival!