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.
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.
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.
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.
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.