Ben Pobjoy’s Conventional Kids series is a collection of photographs that were taken of young cosplayers in 2011 at Montreal’s Otakuthon anime convention. The photos document cosplayers, their elaborate costumes, their social interactions and, above all else, their use of constructed identity to facilitate the self-exploration that is necessary to forge one’s own personal identity during adolescence.
While the birth of Japanese animation dates back to the beginning of the 20th century, the characteristic anime style that has since become ubiquitous was first developed by Osamu Tezuka in the 1960s. Now considered the ‘Godfather of Anime’, Tezuka’s early works gained increasing popularity in 1970s Japan and inspired three Meiji University students to organize Comiket in 1975; Tokyo’s first anime convention. Thanks to adaptations of both anime films and television series for overseas markets in the 1980s, the popularity of both anime and its fan-driven conventions soon spread internationally.