Friday, September 4, 2015

Saikucon is really an "awesome con"!

Hey there wonderful readers! So last weekend I attended a local (to the Lehigh Valley) anime convention called Saikoucon. Saikoucon, when translated, actually means "awesome con"! While I’ve been attending conventions for about 20 or so years, this was actually my first true anime-only convention! Amazing, I know. To be clear, I enjoy anime, but I’m not familiar with EVERYTHING, so this was a learning experience! I figured a small convention was a good way to start. In a few weeks, you will see some video interviews with people (creators and cosplayers) I met at the convention. Exciting, right?

Let me first talk a bit about the cosplayers. I always enjoy chatting with anyone who decides to dress up as their favorite whatever (and I say whatever since it is an animated genre and anything goes). A cosplay can be as simple as a tee-shirt or as complex as a fully animated robot. Anything goes! Personally, I think the way you wear it (and it should be worn with pride) is more important than anything else!

I’d say that the majority of attendees were pre-teen through twenty something, so this convention definitely attracted a younger group. There were of course a few senior attendees rocking an awesome costume (and more power to them) but the majority were millennials. There were only 3 events that were actually 18 or 21+, which I thought was actually great, since they did keep their audience in mind. To that point, much of the items being sold definitely catered to their whims and price point.

Approximately 1000 people attended over the course of the weekend. I know that sounds small, but based on the venue and location, I think it was a pretty good turnout. The organizers graciously gave me a press pass and full access, which meant that I was able to meet the special guests (more on that later) with the VIP and all access attendees. I also had access to the organizers and sponsors, which let me get a good feel for their interest in making the convention successful!

I spoke to many vendors over the course of the 3-days (and yes, I did actually attend each day). I will actually have another post with vendors and contact information because there is so much to talk about! What I can say is that the artists love their genre and clients. Many people commissioned work (I’ll post my commissioned piece when I receive it) and examples were posted at each booth. You could get anything from cat ears and kimonos to jewelry, art and carnivorous plants (seriously). Again, they really do know what the kids want and cater to that!

Most of the costumes I saw were from the anime genre. I could count the comic book cosplayers on one hand because honestly, they aren’t anime, they’re comic book characters. On that note, there is still quite a bit of hate between some comic and anime fans. You’ll find attendees at some comic cons making fun of anime cosplayers because of their silly attitude. What I learned from this weekend is that normally, they’re just “acting” and are really normal people. They just stay in character for the entire time or else they’re just goofy. Stop the hate and appreciate the skill and tenacity it takes to wear a costume!

Please check out my instagram feed for photos of the awesome cosplayers. Keep checking back for interviews with the artists, cosplayers, and vendors from the event!