CARRBORO, NC—Carrboro residents are in for a treat this weekend, with conventions celebrating two of the town’s most popular pastimes. Carrboro will play host to the North Carolina Anime Convention—dedicated to the distinctive, influential form of Japanese animation—and also a yet-to-be-titled anomie convention—addressing the feeling of personal unrest, alienation, and uncertainty that comes from a lack of purpose or ideals.
Coordinator Max Sears said that the NC Anime Con will be held in the events space of the Carrboro Arts Center, where a kickoff address from Hikaru Sugura, an illustrator of the acclaimed Attack on Titan manga series, will mark the start of the convention at 7 pm Friday evening.
The anomie convention, according to organizers who wished to remain nameless and faceless, will take place in the open compound behind Open Eye Cafe, although they stressed that it will also occur “everywhere and nowhere,” in the accusing effluvium of streetlights and steam vents, and in the secret heart of each Carrboro resident lost in the gulf of shame between society’s accepted vision of success and the means by which one is told to seek it.
The anime convention, Sears said, will feature a diverse array of events over the course of the weekend, including several expert panels, a cosplay performance, and a roundtable fan fiction reading. The anomie convention, meanwhile, is slated to include a demonstration of the impossibility of lighting a match in cold rain, when one is most in need of making fire, a kitchen table where each attendee can stare, silent and unmourning, at the quivering surface of a cup of coffee in the days after his or her mother has passed, and a panel that, according to one organizer, will discuss “Why, as if by design, it is in the very moments when one should be most conscious of what is good and beautiful in life when one instead engages in such unseemly deeds, such deeds as… well, in short, as everyone does, perhaps.”
“The marathon Gundam viewing is definitely where it’s at,” said Carrboro resident Marco Buhl, who said he plans to be present for as much of the anime convention as he can manage. “It’s always fun to swap theories on mobile suit development and just share the weird humor of the whole metaverse.”
“Listen, sometime, to the moaning of an educated man who is suffering from a toothache,” said anomie convention organizer Claude Dillinger. “Not his moaning on the first day, when he moans simply out of pain, like some coarse peasant, but, say, on the second or the third day, when they are not straightforward moans, but crafty moans.
“These moans,” he said, still counterfeiting Dostoevsky’s underground man, “express the pleasure of one who is suffering, for they declare the futility of pain, which so humiliates consciousness. But moans will be of no use to him; he knows that he is only straining and irritating himself and others in vain.
“How can a man of consciousness have the slightest respect for himself?” he said.
The anime convention is scheduled to run until Sunday afternoon, when it will conclude with the presentation of awards for best fan costume and best fan fiction. The anomie convention is expected to continue into perpetuity, unbroken and deathless, the phantom companion to progress.