creators of philly’s tandokucon cite one of the reasons for arranging the con was to prevent youth from becoming involved in violence (link here).
this is quite strange, considering that anime is usually considered excessively violent and otaku prone to both self-destruction and harming others.
there is a definite change in the wind regarding mainstream perceptions of fans.
in popular culture, “nerd” characters such as “Heroes” (Hiro), Densha Otoko, etc. may be slightly laughable and piteous, but also increasingly popular (nominated for Emmys, etc.)
Fandom is gaining mainstream cultural capital!!