Tag Archive | "Kumoricon 2011"

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Anime Fans At Their Best – Kumoricon 2011

Posted on 12 September 2011 by pocketninja

It had already been eight years since attending my first anime convention, and not much has changed: high energy, anime fans clad in finely crafted cosplay, and random waves of laughter erupting from behind closed doors of events and panels. Every aspect of Kumoricon was foreign and little bit scary to me back then (I was also afraid of being caught for sneaking in because I couldn’t afford a pass). But here I stand, almost a decade later, craving to attend an event that has refined itself and has grown tremendously in attendance over the years. 

Opening Ceremony
There are two events that I make sure to always attend at every Kumoricon: Cosplay Contest and the Opening Ceremony. Why? Because the most unpredictable and hilarious things happen at these events. This year was no different, as the audience watched another captivating video of “Convention Rules” produced by the local group, The Anime Hunters, who had announced their retirement at the ceremony.

Cosplay Panels
My first panel of the weekend was “Wig Styling: Beginner”, which turned out to be very informative and entertaining (the girl who hosted the panel was very sweet and knew a lot about wigs). I learned that materials like Kanekalon and Toyokalon are the best fibers to look for when purchasing a wig, and never to comb through a wig when it is wet. There were also demonstrations of how to style wigs with different techniques. The wonderful thing about the people who take their personal time to host these panels is that their love, passion, and experience of their subject shines through in their eagerness to share with their audience. 

Photo Shoot
I believe that one cannot fully enjoy the experience of attending an anime con without cosplaying (to dress up in the costume of an anime/video game/comic character). This year, I cosplayed as Homura Akemi from Puella Magi Madoka Magica, an anime and manga series. A photo shoot was held out in Esther Short Park where it reached a high of 90 degrees. Aside from a little sweat from wearing a full wig and thick fabric, I had a great time. Next time, I will definitely plan my cosplay for the weather.

 

Cosplay Contest
This event was serious: attendees waited so long in line that the “maid squad” walked down the entirety of it with cups of water for anyone who might be thirsty. For the lucky ones who got into the event, the wait was worth it. Amazing costumes with incredible craftsmanship were displayed as each entry walked across the stage, judged by a panel of special guests. The whole spectacle was like a beauty pageant that I actually wanted to watch. Then came the skits, each written and performed by fellow attendees, some groups only having met each other the day before. 

There is a special place in my heart for Kumoricon. After all, it was the first anime convention I’ve ever attended, and it is held (mostly) in my hometown of Portland, Oregon. People who are used to the bigger anime cons such as Anime Expo and Sakuracon might find that a con of this size would be lacking of certain things, but if you take a closer look, you will find that the people here have hearts big enough to fill in that empty space.

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Kumoricon 2011 – Events and Panels

Posted on 06 September 2011 by GillRider

As with SakuraCon, we decided to actually attend and enjoy the panels, rather than just stalk awesome cosplayers around. Like the overall experience, panels at Kumoricon were smaller in scale, but sweet nonetheless. We picked out a few panels here that we thought were especially interesting/awesome/unique.

Boilerplate
Now this was actually a panel we decided to go because there was nothing else we really wanted to see at the time. But it turned out to be pretty awesome! The panel was run by a husband-and-wife comic book team Paul Guinan and Anina Bennett, and was about how one of their most innovative and creative masterpieces came to life; Boilerplate: History’s Mechanical Marvel. Simply put, Boilerplate is a robot built in the 19th Century, who’s life intertwines with key players in world history, such as Teddy Roosevelt and Pancho Villa. Without getting into too much detail, the most intriguing thing about Paul and Anina’s work is how they’ve incorporated this fictional robot into key events in history a la Forrest Gump. Even more interesting and unique is Paul’s skill with photoshop. Some of the “photos” of boilerplate with the above mentioned historical figures are so well done that it seriously looks like Boilerplate was there! It’s hard to explain in words, but just take a look at the trailer below to better understand what I’m talking about:

YouTube Preview Image

Boilerplate may not be for everybody, but I found it fascinating. Checkout his official website for more info: http://www.bigredhair.com/boilerplate/intro.html

Gaming Tournaments
So a few days before heading down to Kumoricon, ClassicMoments all of a sudden tells me that I should enter a gaming contest there. At first I refused, saying I wouldn’t even make it past the first round. But after he “encouraged” me several more times, I began to think, “Oh well, no harm in trying. It’s just for fun.” So, for the first time ever, I entered a gaming tournament for Super Street Fighter IV, at Kumoricon. There was a bit of a delay (an hour and a half), but those hardcore gamers/anime fans waited, as did I. The tournament began and I watched as the elimination process began. And it was finally my turn: With sweat collecting in my palms, I grabbed the PS3 controller and picked my character of choice: Bison. And guess what? I actually did pretty well! Not only did I do pretty well on that round, I did pretty well in the whole tournament; I came in second! I was so surprised! Now granted, this was not a gaming Con, and there were only 12 players all together, it was still both an exhilarating and humbling experience for me, and has re-ignited in me a passion for fighting games. Thanks Kumoricon!

Censorship in Manga and The Future of Manga
These were actually two separate panels given by the same person: Jason Thompson, who is the author of Eisner-nominated encyclopedia Manga: The Complete Guide and graphic novel King of RPGs. Apparently the guy’s pretty much read all the mangas there were to read when it first crossed the Pacific. The first one, called Censorship in Manga, was obviously about how mangas were censored for overseas release, and the reasons behind that, both cultural and legal. It was actually really surprising to know that the reason for a majority of the censorship done for the overseas market is more economical in nature than legal or cultural. Simply put, if they have to put an age limit on the mangas, they will sell less, and so in order to get more sales, they need to be censored to suit all audiences. Makes sense, but it’s also a little sad. Method Man said it right: Cash Rules Everything Around Me, C.R.E.A.M.

Ouran HSHC Hosting
No popular anime convention would be complete without some kind of event related to Ouran High School Host Club. Kumoricon had a hosting session for Ouran HSHC fans, and just like any other anime cons, the anticipation was fierce; the line went around and around, even without a guarantee of being hosted by dreamy Ouran HSHC characters.

With such popular demand, we could only get a sneak peak of the event. All we can say is that it looked like everyone was having a wonderful time together.

Overall
All in all, the panels and events we attended were great! They were all very entertaining/interesting, but also felt comfortable enough to just drop in and drop out if we felt like it. It was just right.

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Kumoricon 2011 Overview

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Kumoricon 2011 Overview

Posted on 06 September 2011 by ClassicMoments

We’re used to big cons.

A few years back, our staff started to cover stories from E3, PAX, CES, AX, Sakura-Con, etc. Big names that only expanded ever since they began. So you know how conceded and spoiled we can be about cons.

Watching cons grow each year is always fun to experience, but lately we feel that some of the conventions have just grown too fast, that they’ve lost some of their flavor.

So when we heard about Kumoricon, the anime and gaming culture convention based inPortland, OR, we were excited to visit. It’s about time we try something different; and the bottom line is, we’re so very glad that we went.

Crowd
ClassicMoments: This was what I was surprised by the most. In terms of numbers, Kumoricon is on the “cozy” side of conventions, but the convention was full of people. It didn’t get too crowded to the point where people were sick of seeing each other; there was a general sense of cosplay happiness to be felt all around. And the staff did a fine job with crowd control as well.

GillRider: Yeah, it was nice. There were definitely a lot of people, but not to the extent that it felt like travelling on a rush hour train in Japan. I thought it was the right amount of people, and they were just there to enjoy themselves. Not once did I feel like the participants’ enthusiasm waning. Great attitude! 

Opening Ceremonies
ClassicMoments: Nothing short of excitement. Even before the official announcement of the Opening Ceremony, you could tell that people were thrilled to be there, in an almost chaotic order. The main staging area welcomed all participants with some club-inspired lights and music. The crowd was filled with excitement as dancing cosplayers slowly filled the seats. We’ve been to many conventions and opening ceremonies, but we haven’t seen anything quite like it. From staff to volunteers to participants, it felt more like a festival that everyone chips in on and enjoys!

GillRider: I agree with ClassicMoments about the Opening Ceremonies. It was really fun to see so many amateur, non-industry participants get involved in the performances. An example was the “Rules” of the Con video, which is usually an official, informational video about the expectations and rules about the convention. But at Kumoricon, the video was made by the Anime Hunters, a local anime-skit group that’s been apparently doing this for a couple of years now. It was great! It was informational, hilarious, and it really captured the local-friendly atmosphere that was Kumoricon. 

Events and panels
There were many cool panels at Kumoricon, so we hand picked a few and created a separate article. Please follow the link here – Kumoricon 2011 – Events and Panels


Kumoricon 2011 was an overall success!

ClassicMoments: Kumoricon isn’t the largest convention around, you can feel the anime fans’ love and passion in every corner of the hotel. There were small hiccups here and there, like the gaming tournament schedule being pushed back, or the projector not working properly, but these are things you find at any convention. The important thing is that whether it was good or bad, people never forgot to be cheerful and encouraging. We can totally see why Kumoricon is expanding quickly, and though it deserves more attention, we really hope that it carries the spirit of community love. It’s something that we will remember and expect when we come back for more Kumoricon in our future.

GillRider: We had a blast at Kumoricon! Like I mentioned before, Kumoricon definitely has a local-friendly atmosphere. They had a great mix of special guests from the industry, with great, informative and fun panels, as well as a lot of amateur, local talents showcasing skits, AMVs, panels and of course, cosplays. It really did feel like a big gathering of anime loving friends, rather than an official convention. We highly recommend it, and are excited to come back next year!

 

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