Neo Anime Oasis, a convention based in Boise, Idaho, implements a strict code of dress that bans non-anime/manga costumes. It also has received a lot of resentment from its fans.
Neo Anime Oasis: 02 has enacted one of the stricter attire codes that viewers are likely to meet at an anime convention.
In advance of its opening in June 2023, The Boise, Idaho convention updated its website with a statement that stated that they have strict rules against cosplays that don’t directly draw from Japanese manga, anime, and games. The convention stated that it was not an event that was primarily based on pop culture and that, as such, it would be implementing an official dress code for halls that do not allow costumes that do not “fit the theme of the event.” The convention then added that the code was designed to provide an intimate experience informing those who attend that if they prefer something that had more content, they should seek out other events that have a more limited scope.
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Neo Anime Oasis received immediate protests against its new policy, prompted by a variety of anime fans, many of whom identified the tone of the site as the main issue. The Anime News Network’s Mike Toole said that it read like the person who wrote it was in the middle of an argument, and the Anime Herald’s Samantha Ferreira described the convention as “an incredibly joyful experience.” Neo Anime Oasis has since taken down much of the content from its website, reducing any mention of an attire code to the fact that the convention is “for people who love anime and would like to experience anime activities.”
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Anime Community Reacts To Restrictions
Neo Anime Oasis has not been the only anime convention to face backlash However, their policy is one of the most stringent in recent times. Cosplay, while it is an art form, allows participants to express themselves uniquely and creatively. This element of the experience for fans is less accessible to those who have strict “festival themes” like those found at Neo Anime Oasis, which may explain some of the anger within the community’s reaction.
Neo Anime Oasis: 02 will be held from June 23-25 at the Grove Hotel in downtown Boise as well as the Idaho Central Arena.