Oni-Con 2007

Houston, Texas, USA. October 19th – 21th 2004.
Reporter(s): DrakeZoomi

Introduction By Drake
Oni-Con 2007 marks my second Oni-Con attendance, my first being in their inaugural year of 2004. Right off the bat, the improvements of Oni-Con from their first year to their fourth were very evident. Everything was top notch in their new venue, the George R. Brown Convention Center, which was more than spacious enough for the task. However, while the improvements were amazing, there were also some major let-downs this time around. This review of Oni-Con 2007 will be primarily be based off of Day 2, since the Reporters and myself did not arrive on scene until late Friday night and departed early Sunday morning.

Convention Organization 
By Drake 
On first glance, it would seem that the convention was very well-organized. However, after careful examination, the opposite appears to be true, which is a bit of a tragedy, considering the great facilities Oni-Conprovided. One of the biggest problems I noticed right off the bat was the registration table set-up. Instead of being located near the entrances, it was in a far corner of the Artist Alley, catering to a snake of people that literally zigzagged the entire convention floor. While I normally make it a point not to question a convention’s reasoning for setting up the way they do, I must break that rule and question whether Oni-Con realized at the time how many people could just abuse registration by not standing in line and simply wandering the halls. I’d like to say the registration table was my only gripe with Oni-Con, but it really wasn’t by any means. A second noticeable problem that caused quite a stir amongst a lot of fans was the last minute change of time for the Rentrer En Soi Q&A Panel at noon on Saturday. Now, normally such an issue doesn’t bother me so much, considering how often conventions make last minute changes. However, my vexation comes from the lack of timely notification from the Oni-con staff to the attendees about the change. It was just by luck that half an hour prior to the panel, I heard about the change from an aquaintance of Former Agent Zoomi. Incidentally, due to this, we were unable to cover the event due to the Q&A falling at the same time as the Cosplay Contest. 

Dealer’s Room 
By Zoomi 
The dealer’s rooms showcased various vendors selling things from clothes, mechanical toys, and music to, of course, anime and manga. There wasn’t as much variety as in previous years, but most of the big name dealers from previous years were present, stocked up with their usual goods. 
The only downside to the dealer’s room was that it was actually two totally separate rooms, which was highly confusing and annoying, and the aisles in both were very cramped. The lack of distinction between the two rooms made it hard to remember which room to return to if you wanted something. Also, convention attendees would relax on the sides and minimize the space for walking, and because of this my walk through the dealer’s room was very quick and dissatisfying. This might have been a much more enjoyable part of the convention had the walkways been larger and proper planning been given to the layout of the dealer’s rooms. 

AMV Contest 
By Drake 

The AMV contest is one of my must-see events at a good anime convention, second only to Musical Guests and the Cosplay Contest. This year, I was fortunate to attend the contest with former Agent Zoomi, and I must say I was very impressed with the entries overall. Most of the time, I found myself either extremely impressed with the music to scene relation in a video on the ground laughing, or hyped by one of my favorite songs. Only one or two videos really seemed dull or uninteresting, and the contest didn’t feel too long or too short. I think I can speak for the audience when I say the AMV Contest was one of the few gems of this convention.

By Drake

Wow. My first impression upon entering the Gaming Room Friday night, after a tiring drive from Louisiana to Texas, was its sheer size. Normally, video game rooms are a small room off to the side, but not at Oni-Con. It was enormous, and not just in regards to size. The normal gaming consoles were set up with video games ranging from titles like Dragon Ball Z Budokai to Capcom vs. Marvel and every fighting game in-between. The room’s biggest selling points, however, were the big screen plasma TV playing the newly-released Halo 3, the tournaments running throughout the day, and the arcade cabinets loaded with titles like KOF 4: Maximum ImpactStreet Fighter III: 3rd StrikeCapcom vs. SNK 2The PunisherStreet Fighter Alpha 3, and Super Street Fighter II Turbo.With all these great attractions, it was pretty hard to not lose yourself in this room all day. 

Battle Grounds 
By Drake

I’ll be honest and just come out and say it. Before Oni-Con 07, I had no idea whatsoever that something called LARP (Live Action Role Playing) existed, so you can imagine my utter confusion when walking down the hallway I see none other than Batman and Robin locked in battle with weapons and all. I was intrigued by the performance and determined to find out what exactly was going on. It turns out I had entered the battle grounds, and man was that the name for it. The battles were pretty amusing, and if I had the time, I probably would’ve taken part. Alas, I did not, but I made many return visits periodically to watch the fights and saw many different types of battle including team battles, free-for-alls, and one-on-one. If you’re a fan of LARP, I’d definitely say to check it out next year, if it returns. 

Cosplay Contest 
By Drake 
This was the event I spent most of the day eagerly anticipating. Like the AMV Room, the arena for the cosplay contest was much larger then I originally expected. In the past, the cosplay contests I’ve attended were somewhat limited in space. Surprisingly, there was more than enough room for all the attendees to enter and find a seat. With the large size of the room, however, a problem arose for those in the top rows. They had some trouble seeing, and sometimes hearing, the cosplay skits. (I speak from experience on this matter.)
I wish we were able to use the big screens to help those in the back and top better see what was happening on stage. 
Despite these setbacks, I’m happy to announce that I absolutely loved this event. Our announcers for the contest were Limit Break Cosplay: Gren and Cherry. They were spectacular and personal favorites from MechaCon’s Cosplay Contest panel of judges. The skits were for the most part very well done, and on more than a few occasions they had the audience roaring in laughter. I simply loved the contest. It made my Oni-Con 2007 all the more enjoyable and memorable. 

Final Thoughts 
By Drake 

Overall, Oni-Con had some significant downfalls in the organization of registration and the Dealer’s Room, but was rescued by pulling off great Cosplay and AMV Contests and structuring a great video game room. Now don’t get me wrong, this is a convention that I loved and was impressed by, but these three events do not completely cancel out the negatives of this year. Regardless, I recommend that anyone able to attend to do so. I, myself, plan to attend again if I’m able. So here is to a bigger and better Oni-Con 5!