Kicked con season off with a new show this year- new to me anyhow. ZipCon is an Anime Convention put on by the University of Akron’s Animation Association . usually, I like to check out a show before I take the kids, make sure it’s appropriate and that there is enough action. However an Anime convention is something entirely new to them anyhow. Lydia had asked me recently when the next comic book convention was, and at the time I didn’t have any scheduled. It also just turns out that Maddie had a sleepover and birthday party schedule this weekend so she wouldn’t be home. This was a perfect opportunity for Olivia and me to do a quick daddy daughter day.
I like the fact that this convention was being put on by a college Anime club. This sort of thing tells me that their heart is in the right place, and that they’re not just out to make a quick buck like so many other conventions around. Passion driven conventions always end up being more fun than profit driven ones (not that there’s anything inherantly wrong with proifit driven ones but they have a greater tendancy to devolve into pop culture cash grabs. I’m looking directly at you Wizard World). Still, I should’ve checked it out. I thoroughly underestimated how big a show this was . I could see a respectable amount of programming, and Anime conventions always bring out the cosplayers. Nevertheless, I didn’t expect the kind of crowds we saw. Lydia and I arrived about three hours after the show had begun, Lydia has dancing she’s not going to mess that just for an Anime con. Upon arrival, we found a line that stretched out the doors and took at least 15 minutes for us to make it inside the building to attend registration. It was a fairly rigorous one at that, complete with rules about masks and greasepaint and a release form stating our permission for people to take photos of us (And man, I’m glad we had our forms filled out and in hand already, we skipped ahead in the line a bit because of it). I suppose I understand heightened security, the college has a greater deal more liability then I Convention Centre. I noticed they did a remarkably smart thing with little Lydias admission wristband, they wrote my phone number on it. I like this kind of detail, it’s a really clever way of keeping kids safe. Despite the long wait, I had a good feeling about this place and I wasn’t wrong .
The University of Akron student union is also where the very first Akron Comecon was held, but that show actually seemed to have a lower attendance than what we encountered at ZipCon. This place was packed wall-to-wall, with everybody wearing costumes and excitement and hustle and bustle were all around. We hit the dealers room first- it’s a good way to get Lydia into the con spirit. there were a few photos along the way, including a great photo up with a quite friendly mega man . Why do I always get into battles with video game characters at these things?
The dealers room for this particular show was quite small, understandable for a second year and a small school run convention. Still, I think they need to get the word out. There is plenty of foot traffic to support easily twice the number of vendors they had.
The vendors and artisans they had were quality, I found a marvelous minions and Doctor Who mash-up shirt in one booth, and all sorts of handmade crafts and art . Over at the booth for vendor Kopes Kreations, they had a plushie Pinkie Pie that was dressed like Deadpool . Pinky Pool may be my new favorite thing, although it’s a close tie with the plushy bacon that squeaks and smells just like real bacon!
Retrocade Erie had a marvelous video game booth full of vintage systems and cartridges was fascinating to look through . I saw people leaving with a bunch of Super NES cartridges as we were coming into the con, so I hope he was doing good business . I found a Starfleet Academy game that I never even knew was ported for the Genesis, granted with the 32X attachment but still… I was certain that had only ever come out for super nes!
Lydia found a knit panda plushie and dropped her entire con allowance on that along with some help from me. She named it Pandora. I’m such a proud father.
We hit the make up a panel where the resident artist worked on transforming his willing victim into the Dark Knight Heath Ledger Joker. Lydia sat down in the middle of the aisle in the middle of the room, and he was so nice paying attention to her. He’d come up and show her the materials he was using, scar wax, liquid latex… and trust me, Lydia knows liquid latex already!
I think Lydia’s favourite part of the show may have been the video game room. As soon as we arrived in it, she sat down in front of a classic NES and dove into a game of Metroid. there were turning into going on, but plenty of free play all around. They had made maximum use of this room with probably 20 systems up and running, set up and supplied by Retrocade Erie . In the back of the room, people played Super Smash Bros on a gigantic projected screen . This game in particular fascinated my little Pikachu Lydia and she sat, captivated by the spectacle for ages . I managed to get in a little bit of Shadow the Hedgehog, but the real fun ways playing Batman and Robin with Lydia on a Sega Genesis. The other real treat about checking out the video game room, was the chance to see a PC engine up close and personal. Lydia pick up the controller and started playing a Castlevania clone, and I realized what system it was playing on as she went through the levels . I had a TurboGrafx when I was a teenager, and I loved it . it’s a criminally under rated system that didn’t get the kind of support in the US that it did back in Japan . In Japan it was this tan brown monstrosity we call the PC engine. I read about them but never seen one of close . the controller is pretty much the same as the German graphics other then the colour in the gameplay is real similar.
As we wandered around the convention, we happened upon the tabletop gaming room . Now usually I will pass right by this, because it’s kind of creepy for me to watch over somebody’s shoulder is the play . I’m frequently alone at cons and board games are just not what I’m there for. But Lydia was interested and immediately found a Pokémon version of Sorry! We sat down and played through the board game . It must’ve been quite the sight, to see the little Pikachu playing a Pokémon game with the giant robot . It’s such a Lydia thing to do though, I think it may have been my favourite part of the day .
I insisted on us getting downstairs to catch at last part of the bands set. music at the conventions generally tend to be fun. I find it especially fun at shows like this where J-pop and techno and music in general are part of the genre that is being celebrated . after a great performance from Pete Mako and The Boogiemen we were getting a bit wiped and ready to go. The convention goes on for quite a while after our departure time, but I had a film to get to and Lydia had managed to squeeze in a birthday party at the end of the day. Still, I’m really glad we made it out to Zipcon. It’s on my radar now and may well become one of my regular stops on the convention circuit . We took lots of pictures (and also stole a ton from facebook), more than usual in fact. cosplay is a big deal at Anime conventions and even all these photos barely scratched the surface. Take a look below to see for yourself how much fun this show is!