Last weekend was IKKiCON, in Austin, Tx. Full disclosure, IKKiCON has always had a special place in my heart due to the fact that a friend and I helped with the very first one. Because of this, my emotions are cloudy, and any attempt at a review would only lead me to the Dark Side.
They made great use of an old Ushi Con hotel that I haven’t been in since 2004! There was that quasi ‘I’ve been here right? Right?!’ moment.
There was apparently some scandal at the Cosplay Contest involving a guest sponsor, Hioshi Jackson being outed as some sort of fraud by e-celebrity YouTuber ProJared.
I mention the first two facts so there is full disclosure and transparency. Ethics in Anime convention blogging is very important to me. The surrounding area behind the hotel was beautiful, and gave room for some amazing photo shoots.
I already showed off my Free Photo Shoot in a previous post, but below is one of my favorite images from a shoot that I did.
To sum up my feelings, the convention was a lot of fun, despite a few problems. If the convention hadn’t taken part in winter, I would recommend going to it if you get the chance.
Oni-con happened over last Halloween weekend, and it was quite enjoyable.
I’ve been going to said convention on and off since 2004, and I even remember helping one of the convention heads post fliers for the convention at our local community college when I was in an Anime Club with her.
I mention this, partially for full disclosure, but also so I could mention that this is a convention that’s hard for me to review. I used to go to a lot of panels, concerts, and cosplay shows going all the way back to Oni-con 1, which was much closer and my first convention. So if I missed a lot of the big things there, what did I attend? Panels with either Chris or Greg Ayres in them, sort of by accident?
In order to make sure that I got great seats for my friends Family Feud game show, I attended the ‘It Gets Better Anime Con Edition,’ and that featured Greg Ayres as well as one of his friends whose name sadly escapes me. That had to be one of the best panels to be in, as even as an adult, we often are made to feel self conscious about loving the dorky things we do such as Cosplay, My Little Pony, or Whatever. Also, many people in such fandoms deal with depression, or are in the LBGT community, and people can be quite negative towards them. This was an amazing panel, that I sadly forgot to take any pictures or video from.
While waiting for yet another panel on Saturday, The Pose Off, I caught Chris Ayres and Chris Bevins panel Chris and Chris say “Do it again” which was a Q&A panel about being directors in the field of dubbing anime. Apparently there are a ton of directors in this field named Chris, so whenever there is an overlap, they tend to do this panel. Huh. It was pretty entertaining.
The last Ayres brother related thing I did was Greg’s rave on Saturday night, and that is pretty hit or miss with a lot of people. It’s always awesome to see guests who want to go above and beyond like this, but I’m not that huge of a fan of his performances.
Outside of the realm of The Brothers Ayres, I walked into a Steven Universe Ask panel right before Greg’s, and quickly decided to walk right back out after some of the fans stumbled on some questions.
I apparently can’t stomach these types of panels, in their defense, so they get a pass as I admit my bias against it.
My friend’s Family Feud panel started late, had major technical difficulties that were mostly not their fault, and largely due to the help of myself providing a white board w/ markers and providing SFX, the show went on. Despite all of that, the guests all seemed to have fun.
Most of my friends who were in charge of Family Feud were also involved with The Cosplay Formal on Saturday night. The music was mostly classical, with some appropriate Japanese music and a few more modern songs.
Speaking of the more modern day music, when the music changed to Frozen’s Let it go, instead of everyone sighing at the inclusion of such an over used song, all eyes turned to a beautiful Elsa cosplayer and her dancing partner as they blushingly danced the night away, as everyone sang along with the music.!
Anime Matsuri was pretty enjoyable, but I’m on the fence if I want to go again. I helped out at the Louisianime artist alley table this year, and while that was enjoyable enough, the convention has just grown too large for my personal taste. Then again, I had similar feelings when I worked in the same dealer’s room space at Comicpalooza.
This is a really weird complaint to have, and the only fix is to go down the path of self destruction for the convention, so I think I will just have to look at other conventions to volunteer to go to.
Despite the lack of cheap food in both the surrounding area (food trucks aren’t cheap), and inside the George R. Brown, I did enjoy myself well enough. The sad thing is that this seems like a photographer’s convenention, as they had a giant exhibition room set up just for photographers and cosplayers to take some excellent pictures, so I dislike disliking it. Also, right outside of The George R. Brown Convention Center is Discovery Green, a beautiful park that allowed for some amazing photoshoots.
Perhaps with the appropriate networking beforehand, and not working an artist alley booth, I can grow to enjoy large conventions in The George R. Brown, but honestly, I didn’t like the smaller first year Anime Matsuri at this venue too much, nor Oni-Con when they used it.
Maybe I just like going to hotels more? Anime Matsuri 2016 is going to be even larger, and use up the entire George R. Brown, which they are currently doing construction on as they expand it. Awesome.
Held at The Galveston Convention Center in Galveston, Tx, this was Oni-con’s 11th year over all, and their 4th year at this venue… which means that I’ve been going to anime conventions officially since 2004… so I’ve been going for… 10 years wait… Things are complicated numbering them in my head… because one year for me means Oni-con 2004 all the way to 2005, right? Bah! Whatever.
Seeing as how I was stuck behind the Louisianime convention table, It’s hard to figure out if this was a great convention or not. What do I mean? Of the convention alley tables, only 2 were used for conventions… which is crazy, as the others were used by people just wanting to sit down and play cards… which is important to do… as opposed to starting a huge game where people were literally laying down in front of our signs! Maybe a better set up would have been if we were part of the first floor, where the Artist Alley and Dealer’s rooms were? Besides the previously mentioned gripe, I certainly enjoyed myself
I saw the Ganglion concert on Friday, experienced the Formal Dance right afterwords, and on Saturday I took part in a Super Smash Bros. photo shoot. Fun stuff, but ultimately, I think it would have been more fun to just do things correctly by just being a regular attendee.
Another major complaint I have, and I acknowledge that this one is rather silly, is the fact that the badges were not laminated. They were in the badge holders that you see for other types of events where the paper piece with all of the important information is just slipped in… in fact, the paper is too large to actually fit inside of the plastic, so the badge stuck out at the top. I try to keep my badges together, so as far as keepsakes go, this is quite the let-down.
Everything that I did at Oni-con, I enjoyed… heck, I even discovered an anime I really need to watch called “Towa no Quon.”
So, I failed Peter’s Challenge, while at the same time winning it. I only took something around 960 photos, which would normally mean that I loose. That being said, I also took an almost hour long video of my panel. As we all know, video is typically what… 23 frames per second? So I got almost 82,800 photos from that? LOL, no. I lost the challenge, but better luck next time?
My Friday of working at the convention was a little uneventful, in that I had to spend a few hours guarding equipment in a very cold video room as I waited for a surge protector. While in there, I got bored, so was relived for a minute to go into the dealer’s room, only to end up with a Sailor Mercury Figma toy, which it’s small photoshoot can be seen here.
Once everything was hooked up and we were good to go, Louisianime’s exclusive Crunchyroll stream was constantly hindered by the hotels terrible wireless signal. Since they no longer had the hard line connections they once did, the viewing room became at times a not so animated MST3000 room with new friends… which honestly might have made the experience better.
Some might argue that the game room was small, especially considering the fact that where it was last year is now where they had the steam punk alley called “The Docks.” While I only played a few games in there, I was impressed that they eventually went out and purchased a Wii U and Mario Kart 8 for everyone to play, which was honestly going above and beyond for the group running it, considering that the convention had outsourced the entire thing to a 3rd party! After running around, seeing panels such as a bit of how to play Go!, as well as the tail end of The History of Toonami, my day was pretty much done.
For Saturday, I did a little bit of video room, but the bulk of my volunteering was helping with T-Shirt sales next to registration. I did miss going to Saturday’s tea panel in order to help registration. You know what’s amazing? I had a poster board sign saying “Did someone say Photoshoot? Follow Me!” and no one wanted one, until the Babydoll cosplayer/volunteer to the right wrote the words “FREE” on it. Apparently people thought that I was charging! So, the now more apparently “FREE” Photoshoot went great! I then had a solo shoot with Babydoll in order to thank her for the help.
Between registration helping and doing a few typical photo shoots, there was an amazing impromptu photo shoot on floor nine with some attendees, as we waited for the elevator. Oh man! I took some awesomely weird photos, 32 pf them to be exact, as we waited for the elevator. I had enough time to take even more if I wanted to!
I was able to catch the Cosplay Contest, from the first row even (it pays to know people), and I saw one of the most hilarious cosplay shows in the history of well, a week or two, at least. It was hosted by the beautiful and elegant hostess Count D. D… Well, D deserved what D got: twerking Pokemon, a creepy/’sexy’ Jewish guy trying to win D’s affection, the twins from The Shining, etc. During the half time show improvisational outburst of utter chaos that happened to take place while the judges deliberated, things went a little cray cray. Pokemon got even sexier, the creepy twins got OH MY GOD THEY ARE RIGHT BEHIND YOU D! The DJ made things amazing, as he made sure to continuously play scary music in order to summon the girls. Keep in mind that this is a huge room, and there is two of them. It’s not so much the one you see creeping up to you that you should be worried about.
And that was Saturday, outside of boring stuff like eating at Chili’s (Raising Cain’s was yesterday) and door sitting.
Sunday was typical. Gathered my stuff, prepared mentally for The Pose Off, performed it, and got the heck out in time to loose at least one thing. FUN TIMES!
Outside of a few small schedule/website information problems, the convention was great! Schedule’s are always tentative at these things, because well… you are relying on volunteers mostly for things such as panels. I had a blast at this years convention, despite not taking enough photos to meet Peter’s Challenge. I hope to do more awesome things next year!
For more of my photos, please check out the following links: