Last weekend, two friends and I attended the San Japan anime convention in San Antonio. I’ve attended this convention since 2013, and I tend to take the time to meet different guests while my friends partake in their own activities. I know some of you are asking, “What does this have to do with Libertarianism?” The answer: there are numerous vendors that sell merchandise at their own rates and prices. Pretty much, San Japan promotes free market capitalism.

While I wasn’t at panels or autograph sessions, I would be in the artist alley or the dealers room browsing or purchasing merchandise. Several of the invited guests, including Toshio Maeda, who is one of the pioneers of adult manga, and Myuu: The Dark Pianist, whose music is mostly used in Creepypasta videos, had booths in the dealers room. And just like many of my fellow con attendees, I’ve purchased their merchandise at affordable rates. Though yes, some items (such as out of print DVDs) can get really expensive, many of these vendors would have them at lower costs than what you can get them for on either eBay or Amazon.

As for the artists, they would sell their original or inspired works to con attendees. Even at the guest autograph sessions, the guest assistants and agents will sell material for guests to purchase if they don’t have an item for the guest to sign.

I personally bought items from Media Blasters, an anime distribution company; OtakuJoes, a company that sold both new and used DVDs and Blu-rays as well as CDs, vinyl records, and laserdiscs; Myuu: The Dark Pianist, who signed my copy of one of the CDs I bought from him; and, finally, Toshio Maeda, who signed both an original drawing and a short manga that I bought from him as well as my personal copy of one of the his manga I brought to the convention.

Most of these items ranged from $13 to $40. I even bought a badge from a local San Antonio artist that had a chibi drawing of Marvel’s Thor that I purchased for $4.

There are even greater benefits for independent game designers and companies to have people try out their games before they buy them. I had the chance to try out and personally enjoy an alpha beta version of an upcoming visual novel based around vampires entitled “Twice Reborn,” which will be released on Steam for the PC and Mac next year.

As geeky or nerdy many people find anime or comic book conventions to be, they are another perfect example of how great free market capitalism can be. As I mentioned before, I’ve attended San Japan since 2013, and I plan on attending future conventions to help keep many vendors, artists, and guests in business. For those of you who are reading this whom are fans of either anime or anything comic book related, I highly recommend taking part in attending these conventions and help keep free market enterprise alive.

Nolan Schmidt is an independent filmmaker, and serves as the County Chair for the Guadalupe County Libertarian Party.

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