Otaku Party! It's Anime Night in Richmond

Otaku Party! It's Anime Night in Richmond

Guest Piece by Ash Griffith; originally featured on RVA Magazine; first published on June 27th, 2023.
Grab your comfiest dancing shoes, anime fans; Anime Night is coming to Richmond to help you dance the night away to your favorite jams from your favorite series.
Founded by Evan Tuccarello, who also works as a concert promoter, Anime Night is a touring dance party. It’s in the same vein as the popular Emo Night and Taylor Swift Night dance parties that tour the country, allowing fans to groove the night away to their favorite artists. The inspiration came, in part, from noticing that events such as Emo Night and Taylor Swift Nights were not only doing incredibly well but, at times, were outselling live events. While the idea of another emo night didn’t appeal to him since he had seen so many before, it occurred to him that no one was doing anything like this with Anime.
Which, say what you will, but anime music just hits differently.
Taking inspiration from anime conventions and traditional Emo Night events, Tuccarello decided to combine the two to create a one-of-a-kind event. This also helped to create another event for anime fans to gather in Pittsburgh, as there weren’t too many in that specific area at the time.
Needless to say, the debut night sold out and led to the event going on tour.
“There was a morning last year when I was thinking in the shower and listening to the Jujutsu Kaisen intro,” said Tuccarello. “It occurred to me, ‘No one is doing this anywhere.’ Anime is by far a lot more popular now than it was when I was a kid. I kind of thought to myself as someone who has been a fan of anime music for a really long time, maybe the idea of an emo night but dedicated to anime music would be a lot cooler. It could be something that people who otherwise don’t have a market for would come out to.”
For Tuccarello, after seeing so many emo/alternative bands live, the appeal and idea of what an emo night was never really clicked with him until now. However, as someone who was an anime and anime music fan, he knew that most of the bands who make and feature music in anime generally don’t do big tours that reach the United States. So, hearing those songs live is generally out of the question. Much of that is usually made up of studio recordings to begin with, so the idea of getting to hear this music, even just in person with other people, is a fun idea on its own.
“I think it would be a really cool experience for anime and anime music fans to get to try to come to this as something different outside of the usual convention,” said Tuccarello. “Then when I started putting this into fruition, I started thinking about what the actual anime community and what an alternative anime community looks like based out of alternative music. The first Anime Night was your typical DJ synced to AMVs. It was a very small club, not a huge capacity, not a lot of vendors. [One of] the biggest things about anime fans is there aren’t a lot of events that exist out there for them outside of major conventions. I think there is something to be said about places that hold a physical footnote in the community. I wanted to speak to places that actually hold space physically and see if we could get something together and match brands. That’s exactly what happened, and the first Anime Night was born.”
To be honest, you had me at the idea of hearing the Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz theme live in a club. This specifically never came up, but I’m just throwing that out there for the universe and the next Anime Night, and my personal bucket list.
Crowd at Anime Night
Abigail McNatt Photography (c)

Jokes aside, the biggest agreement and revelation that we came to was ultimately that the Venn diagram for alternative music and anime, while not entirely a circle, comes pretty darn close to it. The sub-genres have mixed and meshed together so much for so long that it is genuinely shocking that something like this hasn’t been done before. Especially when you look at the sheer amount of famous musicians who are openly large anime fans.

“I think the deeper that I went down this rabbit hole the more I realized that there are so many aspects of this cross-blend of culture,” said Tuccarello. “[For example], people like Jared Alonge of Sunrise Skater Kids doing the whole ‘Maria Count Me In’ meme, and how that song is used is like an anime intro. And Sunrise Skater Kids did a whole version in Japanese, and it sounded like an anime intro. I’m like, only these people would get this joke. You would have to grow up with this music and these animes to get the bit.”

For the first event in Pittsburgh, there was a heavy theme surrounding the juggernaut anime, Attack on Titan. With so many other anime that would make a fun theme and still bring folks in (ahem: Sailor Moon, Pokemon, Ouran Host Club, the list goes on), is that something we could expect in the future for other events? Possibly, since the current tour is working with the beach volleyball theme.

“I think themed nights are really cool,” said Tuccarello. “It allows a different level of what we do with the music, with the aesthetic, with what we do with the branding. However, definitely, as this gets bigger, I think it’s wise to be careful how we use words and phrasing. Right now, the big thing I wanted to do since we were doing the summer and different dates across the US, we wanted to do something beach-themed. Obviously, the beach filler episodes are a staple in every anime. But, I think it’s a matter of if and when. It’s definitely a work in progress [and as] this gets bigger, we just want to be careful with how we represent that stuff.”

To truly combine the ideas of an Emo Night and an anime convention, Tuccarello has brought the best of both worlds. In the past, they have had a live band in place of a DJ, vendors, and even the always sought-after and entertaining – cosplay contest. Richmonders can actually expect a local tattoo artist to be on the scene as well with a flash sheet to truly immortalize the memory of your first Anime Night.

Sarah Spectre and Samurai Jill posing for Anime Night

Jeff Zoet Visuals (c)

To add to the cosplay contest incentive, a local convention has offered two Funko pops, both signed by their English voice actors, such as Deku from My Hero Academia. Between the ever-exciting cosplay contest, vendors, tattoo artists, and just enjoying the music itself with your friends, Anime Night is proving to be the summer event for Richmond’s quickly and continuously growing anime fanbase.

Anime Night will be at The Canal Club on July 1st, 2023. The Canal Club is located at 1545 East Cary Street, and tickets for the event are $15 and may be purchased HERE.

For more information, visit thecanalclub.com and https://animenight.komi.io/. Please note that this is an 18+ event.

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