Vancouver, WA, USA. September 3 – 5, 2011.
Well, once again Kumoricon has come and gone, and once again the staff impressed. It was in Vancouver, WA this year, right across the river from Portland. For the first time, it filled two hotels, and it seems like the staff are really pulling it together and optimizing everything to make sure all attendees have the best time possible. I’m very pleased with the results.
Day Zero went very smoothly. I got my press badge after a bit of running around, and I heard word that the lines took almost no time at all. The registration process, from what I observed, was quick and easy, as was peace bonding attendees’ weapons.
For those who showed up at Day Zero, there was a chance to catch Trigun: Badlands Rumble in one of the viewing rooms. A treat for any Trigun fan, the movie provided laughs, thrills, and that classic Trigun feel. Overall, it’s worth a watch if you like the original series. After that was the usual getting settled and relaxing/resting up for the official beginning of the con.
Day 1 was fairly eventful with a lot going on. I participated in the ever-popular Anime Dating Game and had a good laugh, as I was imitating an Inquisitor fromWarhammer 40k. I then took a spin through the Artist Alley, which had a good deal of cool original art available. The interesting thing about its location was that it was situated next to card- and tabletop-gaming, so anybody who wanted to could check out art, buy some prints, and then play a game of Magic: The Gathering or Flux. After eating, I went to check out the vendor’s room. It was smaller than usual, and had pretty strict traffic control. Dark Horse Comics, a local favorite, had various raffles going on all day for prizes such as artbooks, comics, and other great stuff. One in particular that caught my eye was an Avatar: The Last Airbender set with Dark Horse’s beautiful and well-put-together compendium/artbook for the series, complete with concept designs and gorgeous full color spreads. There were also some nifty collectible figurines of some of the characters as well.
I stuck my head into the dance, which featured the usual happy hardcore music, this year played by Disko Warp. Kumoricon pulled out all the stops in this department, as there was a dance both the first night and the second, as opposed to the usual schedule of a masquerade one night, followed by a dance the next. I personally prefer the masquerade, but I digress. The last event of the night I went to was my personal favorite of the 18+ events, “Where Fanfiction Goes to Die”. In case you haven’t read the previous articles I wrote about Kumoricon, it’s a panel where the hosts read the worst of the worst, with people acting out every horrifying moment. This time we were treated to an absolutely horrible Inspector Gadget fic, and another where Robocop got it on with Batman. After that, I went back to my room to sleep, which came easily after all the running around I did.
This day was devoted to panel hopping. There were actually quite a few this year that caught my attention, so I had plenty to check out. The morning started off with a rather fun event – the Random Panel. The Random Panel was, well, random. Competitions were held, there were dance-offs, scavenger hunts for the charity auction, and even a marriage proposal. Another panel of note covered one of my favorite anime, Sailor Moon. It was a general overview of the history and background of the anime and manga, as well as the many spinoffs. For example, there was actually a highly popular series of live action musicals, even one involving vampires. As a fan, it was pretty fascinating to see just how much there was to Sailor Moon, and how each individual incarnation of the series had its own unique take on the characters and story. In the live action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, there was extra characterization for Sailor Mercury, and she actually had a dark side. This was all new information to me, and it piqued my interest in the live action series as well.
After that it was off to the Filk panel. Filk is an interesting little thing that happens in fandom where people take existing songs and write their own lyrics revolving around said fandom. For example, taking the Amy Winehouse song “Back to Black” and making it about the tragedy of Zack Fair and Aerith Gainsborough, changing the title to “Back to Zack.” Sometimes the songs are more lighthearted, like a Harry Potter themed hip hop club banger. Whatever they are, Filk is a lot of fun to see and think about, and it even got the gears turning in my head.
Once again in the evening, it was time to go to the Anime Dating Game. This time it was the 18+ version, so the humor and jokes were more innuendo-laden and more risqué, which of course got the crowd laughing heartily. I had a great time with it myself, as it’s always amusing to see just how people can use their character backgrounds to think up hilarious responses. Later on, it was time to head back, so I went to my room and watched some Makoto Shinkai shorts before I rested up for the third and final day.
While Day 3 is usually a slow and somewhat somber event, I still managed to have a good time. I made one last pass through the dealer’s room, saw a few friends, and was even interviewed by a Warhammer 40k fan regarding my cosplay. All too soon, I made my way back home, and so ended yet another Kumoricon. It seemed like there were things they had to cut out to accommodate more of the events, and I felt that I didn’t actually do as much as I did at Sakuracon, or even Kumoricon last year. I will admit there were a couple events I wished would have stayed on the schedule, such as the masquerade ball and speed dating, but it was still a fun con. I hope that the coming year is just as well-organized and a little more filled out content-wise.