Anime Punch: Battle Scholars
Note: For the sake of objectivity, please note that the writer of this article is a staff member at said con. Which means they have a higher standard for the con than most attendees.
Anime Punch is an anime convention in Columbus, OH, that’s held on April 22-24. It’s run by a few different principles than most. First they strive to be an anime only con, meaning they try to focus as much of the con as they can on anime. Not that they put down such things as video games, manga, j-pop, or the like just that they wish to put the ‘anime’ back in ‘anime con.’
Second, the con is “college age.” This has two meanings itself. The con does a number of well thought out and researched panels and treat those who attend the con as adults when doing events; they don’t dumb things down. The other part is they are hard partiers. I mean real hard. They use the term “battle scholars” a lot.
The con also wishes to work at bringing the anime fandom together in community. By respecting each other and working together. They promote friendliness and understanding. They make sure that all staff members are well informed of the happenings of the con and are helpful to and respect all attendees, guests, and others while at the con.
The con has a few guests lined up for this year. Toren Smith was one of the first people to bring manga to the western audience; founding one of the first companies to translate manga for publishing companies. Lawrence Eng has turned his love of anime into a multi-year academic project studying anime and manga fandom in America, even founding the Anime and Manga Research Circle for scholars to study anime, manga, and their fandoms. Voice actor guest for this year is Brad Swalie, known as “Mousse” in Ranma ½, “Amuro”, “Quatre”, “Dearka” and “Auel” (on their respective Gundam series), “Gohan” from Dragon Ball Z, “Nightcrawler” in X-men Evolution, “Hikaru No Go”, “Light” in Death Note (and the live-action Death Note films), “Rock” in Black Lagoon, and “Setsuna F. Seiei ” in Gundam 00. Also coming are Jared Hedges, Joel Bergen, and Alex Muniz who wrote the re-version of Shin Chan. They have also worked on Sgt. Frog, Dragon Ball Z, YuYu Hakusho, Fullmetal Alchemist, Case Closed, Samurai 7, Tsubasa, the Fullmetal Alchemist movie and more. The band for this year is the Protomen who perform a rock opera inspired by the events of the hit game Mega Man.
The con has a number of wild and original events that they run. Game shows such as Distraction, a Hardcore Academic one, a Multimedia one, Legend of the Hidden Temple (with an actual temple for contests to play in this year), and more. Other main events include Hentai Olympics (nothing is known or can be told about this event, a late night improv puppet show, karaoke battle, and the con founders’ original event Your Favorite Anime Sucks. The con’s cosplay event, in keeping with their anime only belief, only allows those cosplaying as characters from anime not other media. They also hold a swimsuit cosplay contest. Smaller events at the con besides their normal academic panels include doing drinking songs at the bar, episodes of Shin Chan with commentary from Alex, Jared, and Joel; interviews with the guests; blitzball played in a real pool; and a Trial where attendees can put their choice of the most horrible anime character on trial, the person voted most fowl will be executed the next day.
The con also maintains an open and free consuite, with sushi. Karaoke and model building are only a few of the events played in there. While being anime focused, the con does take pride in its video game room. They maintain a number of TVs with old and new consoles with the latest and favorite games along with the weird and obscure. The con’s table top room is even planning their own special events. They have Anime 40k, an original Gundam miniatures game, mahjong, Ghost in the Shell LARP, anime D&D, Magic, Yu-Gi-Oh, Death Note Mafia, and plenty of board games.
Anyone who has been looking for an anime con that tries to be a little more mature may want to give this one a try. Or maybe you want to come for the room parties and rave. Whichever the con has you covered.
Check the con’s website and forum for more information. http://animepunch.org/