While an adults-only con allows for a more relaxed convention experience, the age limit comes with its own baggage. "With a usual con...you build it and they will come. Everyone knows what they're getting because every con follows basically the same formula. We don't," said Lore. "It's really hard to market an 18+ event when that usually means porn. We're not 'porncon' as many would think. We had to beg for yaoi and hentai programming last year just to get very little into the lineup!"


Though the differences set The Sangawa Project apart from other cons, the show maintains many staples such as dealers, cosplay competitions, gaming rooms and panels, while putting a new spin on the execution.


The game room not only features contemporary systems, but has consoles dating back to the NES. Another special feature of the room is the Pachinko parlor, allowing people to play the popular Japanese slot machine-type game.


"We offer programming that is aimed at a different audience than most anime conventions. We've found that instead of the usual deluge of character panels and game shows, we receive programming that centers more on the bonding and knowledge-swapping side of otakudom."


"Instead of 'Ask Cosplayers Dressed as Hetalia Characters Dumb Questions'-style stuff we have 'Cosplayers Explain the Historical Significance of the Uniforms in Hetalia'-style stuff. Writing out rules for a show like this is also much easier. Many standard anime con rules are implied, while others have to be invented just for us, like making sure you have your towel very secure for the Cosplay Cleanup!"


The show's guest of honor is Matt Miller, best known as the voice of Tenchi Masaki in all four "Tenchi-Muyo" series as well as the three movies. Miller is an accomplished actor who has appeared in numerous other roles in anime, domestic animation and video games, including roles in "Princess Mononoke," "The Dog of Flanders," "Fern Gully 2" and "Final Fantasy X."


The first Sangawa Project's relaxed feel was reflected in the attitudes of the attendees, bypassing the hostile "my show is better than your show" mentality that tends to permeate conventions.


"I was absolutely blown away by our attendees who turned out, brought programming and just brought the company. I met so many amazing people and saw so many friendships formed," said Lore. "This is hard to do for many at a regular con where you have to wade through so many 'kids' (who while nice, may not quite 'get' you because you're so much older) to get to someone 'like you'."


"At TSP-1 we had people who had given up on anime conventions give us a try, and loved it. We had not only a 60-year-old fansubbed VHS-hoarding awesome otaku lady but plenty of just-out-of-high-schoolers and college students being assured that they do not have to give up their hobby and 'grow up'."

Anime Con Offers More to a Mature Audience

Photo by Sarah Saxon