Vancouver Hilton & Red Lion on the Quay
September 3rd to 5th
By MICHI/ AnimeSeed.com
Kumoricon this year was a little different for me. I didn’t come with the people I have for the past several years, I staffed and I didn’t cosplay. It was an interesting, new experience for me, but one I did enjoy.
This was my 9th year attending Kumoricon and it’s been interesting to see the convention grow from the first one in 2003 when it was in Eugene, Oregon to what it is now. It still has that small con feel that I know many people crave, especially those of us who attend almost nothing but large (10,000+) conventions.
This year, Kumoricon returned to the 2007 location in Vancouver, Washington and we were in two hotels this year. The Hilton (were we were in 2007) and the Red Lion on the Quay. This is a first for Kumoricon, but it worked out. The convention didn’t seem as crowded as the previous two years, then again, being near Ester Short Park probably helped too. I got to Kumoricon a little before 9PM. I got my badge, got my room key from my roommates and went to dinner with Kato Shiroi and a handful of our friends.
Day One (Saturday) –
For Kumoricon this year, I was the Hall Cospaly Coordinator. That meant I wandered around the convention (two hotels, plus the areas cosplayers hung out) and took pictures of costumes that I liked or where really creative. I also handed out shiny blue ribbons and had people sign release forms. I admit right now that it was hard to cover the entire convention by myself, but I did the best I could.
Now because I did not interact with attendee registration, I have no real knowledge on how the registration staff was, or how fast the lines where. But from Twitter messages a friend was posting, the lines where quick and short, and quite often there wasn’t one.
The hotel staff at the Hilton (where I spent most of my time) was very friendly and helpful, moreso than I felt they where (at another location) last year. The convention staff was equally friendly and made the whole experience that much better.
I took around 60 pictures, 17 of them where group pictures, before I went to dinner with some friends. After that, we went straight to Bressler’s Whose Line is it Anyway? Panel. This was my second year participating and again, I had a ton of fun! And I must say, that Todd Haberkon (guest of honor) makes a fabulous Godzilla movie! The Director of Publicity got him to come to the game for just a bit. He played in a couple of games and one of them was Party Quirks. He was a guest, so his quirk was “You’re an entire Godzilla movie”. I swear the audience couldn’t stop laughing, I know at least that I didn’t. I got to talk to him for a bit afterwards. He’s a really nice guy and just because he’s a voice actor (popular role atm Italy from Hetalia), doesn’t mean he isn’t a person, but that’s another rant for another time.
There wasn’t a lot of adult programming that I was interested in. I wish that they would have had the sake tasting again. That would have been amazing. But, things do change every year, so maybe there will be something that catch my eye. After the Whose Line panel finished, I wandered around the convention for a little bit more, but didn’t see any costumes that really caught my eye. I was getting pretty tired at this point, so away to bed I went.
Day Two (Sunday) –
This day brought about more people and more costumes. I didn’t seem to take as many pictures this day, but I just can’t be every where and I know I missed so many costumes. But I was busier because the panel I was co-hosting was this day. Like every year since 2008, we once again had the Crossplay 101 panel, but unlike previous years, we did not have the Late Night version. This was our third time with the present slide show and I, personally, got feedback from people about how they felt the panel went. I also had quite a few people coming up to me to ask questions throughout the day. I did have to duck out early from the panel.
Because Hetalia is so big right now, the line for one of the panels was huge and needless to say help was needed. I was able to get some help to get things sorted out so there wouldn’t be any fire code violations. From there it was more wandering about the convention, taking pictures of people and just generally remembering why I attend conventions.
This day had higher energy and more people because it is considered the “main day” to attend because that’s when the Cosplay Contest (Masquerade to some) is. It was still fairly easy to get through the convention space. As the weather was gorgeous all weekend, a lot of people where hanging out in Ester Short Park.
The Cosplay Contest Green Room I found was a great place to take pictures of cosplays I absolutely loved and I got to talk with some of my friends. The Cosplay Contest wasn’t as long as some that I’ve been to, and there where some really good skits. But there was also a lot of skits that made me go “Eh?” and alot of dance skits. Anime Hunters did the half-time show. And as always, they delivered. I unfortunately had to leave before the winners where announced (food was needed).
I realized that I did a lot of wandering at the convention this year, as opposed to previous years when I was sitting at the Sakura-Con booth or in the Cosplay Contest green room most of the time.
Around midnight, I headed to the Adult version of Bressler’s Whose Line is it Anyway? Panel. I couldn’t stop laughing during most of it and even when I was in a game, I couldn’t stop. Everything everyone was saying was way too funny. And I was pretty delirious from being exhausted. A good portion of the participants where drunk, and considering we could say pretty much whatever we wanted… It led to some interesting scenes. And I certainly know that the audience was enjoying the adult version of the popular panel. Though around 2AM I finally crawled back to my hotel room and went to bed.
Day Three (Monday) –
Final day of con. I actually didn’t take any pictures this day, as I spent the morning and afternoon with the Director of Programming in Main Events for Cosplay Chess. I sorta lied when I said I didn’t cosplay. I did wear Billy Katagiri from Gundam 00 for all of three hours for Cosplay Chess and just for Cosplay Chess. It was another year of White winning in an epic match of Anime vs Video Games. Next year, we’re shooting for Good vs Evil!
Anyways, before Cosplay Chess, I actually packed up my stuff (just a single duffel) and lugged it down to the hotel front desk. I got it into bag check and was able to get it out again after Cosplay Chess to change into street clothes. From about 1:30 or so on, I was in the Programming Office, working on picking the Best of… For the Hall Cosplay stuff I was in charge of.
Then came Closing Ceremonies… We started half an hour late because we where waiting for a file. Apparently convention attendees can really entertain themselves. Well, once Closing Ceremonies got started and all the official stuff was out of the way, we learned that this Kumoricon was the last one the Anime Hunters would be performing at together. It was a bit sad as the past four years they’ve been a staple at the convention. But, it’s not like the members won’t be around anymore, they just each have their own lives.
Then I announced the Hall Cosplay Best of… Everyone seemed to appreciate the costumes that those of us in the Programming office chose. After Closing Ceremonies, I grabbed my duffel bag from the Hilton bag check and off I went to meet my ride and head home.
Kumoricon was a blast. I know a lot of people had decided not to go because of the past two years, but what can you do? I still had a lot of fun and was grateful to each and every person I came across. The panels (those I did go to) where entertaining and fun. I defiantly will be going back again in the future. Kumoricon is chill for me, even though I did staff, I didn’t feel like I was stressed out. It was a nice change of pace for me personally to not spend all weekend worried about cosplay or whether everything I was running would go off without a hitch. And I have started to remember why I love conventions so much and why I keep coming back year after year to them.
Kumoricon is growing and changing and I am excited to see what they have in store for their 10th year in 2012! Kumoricon will be held at the Vancouver Hilton and Red Lion on the Quay in Vancouver, Washington and will be over Labor Day weekend once again. Those dates are September 1st-3rd.