Well, this will be my first post covering a anime convention for my blog, I try to make a point out of attending at least one anime convention per year, but I’ve never covered one for my blog. Generally when I attend a anime convention it’s out of state, and I go there to drink and party with friends, no work. I had not originally intended to attend this local convention because I was scheduled to work on Saturday, but I ended up with the day off, so at the last minute I made a quick trip and was not disappointed.
Youmacon is held at the Dearborn, Michigan Hyatt hotel (next year it will be held at the Detroit Renaissance Center) a very nice and clean facility with plenty of free parking surrounding the location. Even though I arrived at the convention fairly late (1PM), my walk from the parking lot to the hotel entrance was less than 5 minutes.
Once inside the hotel, I hit up the registration line, which moved very quickly taking me less than 10 minutes to fill-out my registration card and pay my $25 dollars admission fee. Once I got my bearings straight I headed off to the artist alley to take a look around at the offerings. While I did see a lot of interesting original artwork, one thing that really struck me was the shear number of vendors selling cat ear hats, but the funniest things I saw was a vendor selling a “how to glomp” t-shirt right next to a “no glomping allowed” t-shirt.
a shot of the artist room
After finishing up with the artist room my next stop was the dealer/vendor room which featured a decent variety of anime DVDs, manga, J-pop music CDs, cosplay items, anime & manga models, anime & manga t-shirts, and Japanese food & snacks. One thing that I’ve noticed over years is the rise in the spending power of the female anime and manga fans; I’ve never seen such a high percentage of female cosplay items and yaoi stuff for sale. I’m really glad that Youmacon is moving to a larger facility next year because the dealer room was more crowded and cramped than many conventions I’ve attended that boast 2-3x the amount of attendees.
a shot of the dealer/vendor room
After finishing up in the vendors’ room, I stopped by the AMV room to watch a few videos and found the room packed with fans giving the room a very lively feel to it. Then I decided to head towards the cosplay and gaming area but first stopping to listen to a little live music at a lounge area.
a shot of the lounge area
After a short break, I made my way to the gaming and cosplay area, but I didn’t manage to get any pics of the gaming area because they had a no packages allowed rule, and I wasn’t leaving my purchases outside the door. The cosplay photo-shoot area was well stocked with a wide variety of characters from Final Fantasy, Trigun, Sailor Moon, FMA, Inu Yasha, Lucky Star, K-On!, Naruto, Bleach, Death Note, Haruchi, plus many many others. By far the most popular cosplay outfits for girls seemed to be some version of Haruhi, followed closely by Sailor Moon, and then some form of a custom Japanese schoolgirl outfit or custom Lolita outfit. For the guys it seemed like the most popular outfit was of the Naruto variety followed closely by an assortment of Bleach outfits. Since I got to the cosplay area late the best spots for pictures were already taken and I wasn’t going to smash my way through a bunch of kids to get the pics, but I think I’ll return on Sunday with the intention of getting some good cosplay pics.
a couple of shots of some interesting cosplay outfits
Once I decided it was time to head home, a custom Naruto motorcycle display near the main entrance caught my eye, and I just had to stop and gawk.
After admiring this fine demonstration of love for a anime series I chatted with Rob Pasque, the bike’s owner. Rob told me that his custom Honda VTX-1800 Naruto bike features custom paint, wheels, seats, pipes, and many other custom features, and his bike took two years to build from conception to completion with a cost of around $65,000 USD. I think I’ll stop back on Sunday to get a few more pics of the bike, and Rob has promised to send me some additional pics of his bike.
a few additional pics of the bike
Once I got back home it was time for me to check out the spoils acquired at the convention, and in the spirit of Remembering Love I traded in my old VHS fansubs of the original Macross series for a set of Macross DVDs. So, next week I’ll begin my journey through the entire Macross universe, and I hopefully finish before the end of the year.
Well, I plan on returning to Youmacon 2009 on Sunday to get some better cosplay pics and do a little more looking around. Then I’ll give some final thoughts on the convention, and share some insights on how I think modern fandom has mostly changed for the better. If anyone has any specific requests for cosplay pics please leave a comment tonight, and I’ll see what I can do.