Boise-based convention Neo Anime Oasis implements a strict dress code banning non-manga/anime cosplays and receives some heavy criticism from the fans.
Neo Anime Oasis: 02 has implemented one of the stricter dress codes people are likely to encounter at anime conventions.
The Boise, Idaho event updated its website before the opening ceremony in June 2023 with a note stating a hard-line policy on cosplays that don’t draw directly from Japanese manga, anime, or games. The convention emphasized that it’s not a typical pop culture event and, as such it is implementing a hallway dress code prohibiting costumes that do not “fit the theme of the convention.” The convention added that the policy was created to give an intimate experience informing prospective attendees that if they preferred something that had more content, they should look to other events with a less specific focus.
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Neo Anime Oasis received immediate protests against its new policy from numerous fans of anime, a majority of whom cited the tone and content of the site as the main issue. Anime News Network editor Mike Toole said that the content reads like “the person who wrote it is throwing a fit,” while Anime Herald editor Samantha Ferreira wrote that the convention sounded “like an extremely somber event.” Neo Anime Oasis has since removed much of the content from its site, and has reduced any reference to a dress code to the simple statement that the convention is “for anime people who are looking to participate in anime-related activities.”
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The Anime Community Reacts to Restrictions
It’s not the first occasion that an anime convention has been criticized by the fan community however, Neo Anime’s policy is one of the strictest in recent times. Cosplay, though it’s an art form lets people express themselves uniquely and creatively. This part of the experience for fans is not accessible to those who have strict “festival themes” like those at Neo Anime Oasis, which might be the cause of some frustration within the community’s response.
Neo Anime Oasis: 02 the second edition of the convention, will take place from June 23-25 at the Grove Hotel and Idaho Central Arena in downtown Boise.