Matsuricon Review: I’m Out of Funny Titles
The Hyatt is being used by at least six other conventions this year, so you can pretty much tell that it has a good layout for a con. There is a food court and shops attracted to it along with many other restaurants and stores nearby. The hard part is trying to find a good cheap parking spot.
The staff were all friendly and helpful. Well as they could be. I confused them showing up for a press pass. I got it and when I forgot my badge on Saturday they gave me another one.
The guests for the con were very friendly to all their fans at their signings and when not doing signings or at an event could be found wondering the halls of the con. The signings were on the lower level of the con at two different tables each set up at different ends of a lobby area. They were pretty well organized and went pretty quick. I got to meet several interesting people every time I got in line for a different person. Eric Stuart, Sonny Strait, Steve Nunez, and all the artists were set up in the vendor room selling their comics, CDs, and what not. They were there willing to chat with anyone who stopped by their tables. Fun stuff with them include getting to explain steampunk to Veronica Taylor and her daughter with a friend of mine, Cherami Leigh’s mom being a Micah Solusod fan girl as a joke, Clarine Harp giving out Hetalia posters at signings and running out on the first day, and Eric Vale beating up a guy who asked him to be quiet. That last thing did not really happen, but that does not mean I can’t embellish the story.
Programing was a mixed bag of events. With all the guests, there were plenty of guests panels ranging from how tos are comic creation and voice acting, Q&As, industry insider panels, and random topics like My Little Pony. Their were fan panels on different series (most of them two hours long), bento class, and discussions of several topics of geekdom. Their were also many “Panels of Attention”; were the whole point was for the person running it to act silly and draw attention to the fact that they are “awesome.” Other special events included a geek comedy showcase, cosplay chess, a roast of the con chair, a formal ball, and a rave each night. The lines for the rave were pretty long.
They ran a few con long events too. A scavenger hunt using QR codes for smart phones. Which meant I could not play, but I did see the codes around the con. They also had a Pokemon game going with 8 gym leaders around the con to play and the Elite Four challenge on Sunday. They had a Clue type gaming going on. You got a sheet of weapons, suspects, and victims. Then around the con were signs with clues and from them you had to eliminate people and objects. It all came to a head at closing ceremonies with Dough Walker being killed with a knife by a puppet. Do not fear Doug came back to life as a zombie and will be able to continue his internet shows.
They had three concerts at the convention. One by Steve “Warky T. Chocobo” Nunez, doing his piano playing. A little quirky show, with feathers all over him, trying to play what songs he could remember. The Brehms did their jazz show with Brina Palencia. A smooth relaxing show. The third one was an acoustic show by Eric Stuart. A good chance to catch him showing off the other half of life besides voice acting.
Cosplay at the con was for the most part the usual anime con fare. Hetalia, Bleach, Naruto, Kingdom Hearts, Death Note, FMA, and Vocaloid. There were a number of impressive ones: a Maple Story knight complete with big head, a number of Sailor Moon cosplayers, Panty and Stockings, a little baby dressed as Krillin, a steampunk organist playing Mario music, a full Charizard suit, Death from Soul Eater, and a Katamari Damacy group. You could find groups doing photoshoots all over the place, but mainly on the big stairs.
I missed the cosplay contest waiting in an autograph line. The con did set up a video feed of the event to the secondary events room, which is a good idea even if only a few used it. All I know about the contest is that it ended before I got out of the autograph line, which was earlier than they had allotted for it, much earlier.
The video game room was a bit of a let down. There was a small number of TVs set up in the room. One had Rock Band and another two had old school games set up, but the rest was the standard con fair of fighting, shooting, and the like. The table top gaming room was even sadder. Nothing planned, no game library, and just kind of shoved into a corner. I few people used it for games of Magic and Yu-Gi-Oh.
The dealer room had a lot of room to move around in. You did not fill trapped or have to push through a crowd to get to any part of the room. This was mostly from the lack of vendors. The room also lacked a lot of variety. There were very few DVDs (I would say told under 50 at most) and manga to choose from by two vendors only. Most of the room was figures, plushies, models, and the like. The room also contained a large number of artists. All the guest artists and a few who had bought space in their instead of the artist alley.
The artist alley itself on the other had a good variety. Most of them were upstairs in front of the dealer room. Lucky there was enough space in the hall that it was never too crowded to move through. There were also a few other tables downstairs in the center’s lobby area; an odd place to put them away from the con, of course I am not even sure if they were with the con or brought in by the comic/game store that is in the conference center. Original comics, jewelry, art prints, key chains, badges, hand made plushies, and other random items could be picked up.
There was also a Lego builder there with tables set up showing off some of his work. He had the SDF1 from Robotech/Macross that took up one table.
The con was able to raise $2,5000 for two different charities. They had daily raffles of signed DVDs and art pieces from Funimation, along with some other items as well. They also auctioned off a comic that Sonny Strait, Micah Solusod, and Scott Freeman had all done a part of. After a long bidding process between different groups, the con chair final was able to win it.
The date auction they ran on the other hand was poorly organized. The idea had been to auction off a chance to have Sunday breakfast with the guests in green room, but the only person available for the auction was Micah Solusod, who I do not even think made it to the breakfast. They were suppose to have a list of what guests and others who to be auctioned off while they were at dinner. They did not have this list for the first part of the auction. The auctioneer was someone they had asked to do it ten minutes before the start of it and did not have any idea of what was going on. Finally they just started taking volunteers from the audience and staff who were willing to be sold. I was one of them. For the time I was there, it was confusing and lots of low bids, I only went for $3. The host got belligerent at the audience for not bidding higher. Not a good move.
The actual breakfast was good though, if a bit cramp since they auctioned off more people then they should have. The guy who had bought me (he was really tricked into doing that) did not show up so Mokona and I did not have to be anyone’s servant.
They have already announced their dates for next year, August 24-26, and even some of their guests for next year, Todd Haberkorn and Chris Cason. They will be back in the same location with all new events and activities.
The con is pretty much your usual anime convention and appears to be on track to keep growing each year. They are playing on several interesting guests for next year and will probably bring back a few they have had this year and in years past. I say they are one to keep an eye on for a family friendly con. Keep up to date at http://matsuricon.org/