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Posts tagged “Hazard Con

Hazard Con 2022

Maddie and I were so excited to get back to Hazard Con. We only just discovered it before the plague, and that totally shut down our return visit. In our one trip out though, the show it made a big impression with good panels, interesting guests, a beautiful arcade, and a tiny but surprisingly diverse and effective dealers room. We liked Hazard Con. Maddie and I were already to go with our Promised Neverland costumes, breaking both of these out for the very first time. Maddie was dressed as Isabella, the mother figure from the series, and I had crafted a demon that only appears in the Mangas, Arch Duke Leuvis. 

As we pulled into the parking lot, I noticed things seemed a bit empty. It was enough for us to almost wonder if it was the right day. I double checked the website and we were definitely in the right place at the right time. Our fears were abated when I saw a couple of other anime kids pull in, jump out of the cars and start to prep their costumes. I handed Maddie the admission money because I have Tentacles rather than hands in that costume, and in we went.

Then they stopped Maddie at the registration table and informed her she would be required wear a mask.

I’ve got a bone to pick here. Because I’ve been watching to see what the rules were. No where on Hazard Con’s website is there any mention of a mask requirement. Nor is there one anywhere on the hotels site. I double checked Pennsylvania’s website. As far as I could see, there was no mandate for masks in all enclosed spaces, though there’s some government offices were still requiring them themselves. I never found an announcement until well after the convention,  after searching for a Facebook account that I didn’t know existed, and digging through past posts. This isn’t really an argument or discussion about whether or not it’s necessary or helpful to mask somebody who has been fully vaccinated and has already had Covid (in that order btw). My beef is that we didn’t know going in and that it wasn’t made clear enough in enough ways. Being on the border, Hazard Con must surely know they’re getting attendees from out of state. Every anime convention I know of does. Ohio’s laws and rules aren’t always the same as PA and that gives them a responsibility to do better.

Then something happened. Maddie impressed me. She decided that she was going to try and have a good day anyhow. Her wig kept slipping, and giving her problems. So she decided to ditch it and just be an original character… (The photo with K-9 in fact, gives me serious Romana vibes.)… perhaps some kind of character that would justify the mask… In fact, we went back to the car, ditched the one that the con had given us in favor of a sleaker black one. We found the arcade and got her on the drum game and her spirits began to lift. We stumbled upon the Guilty Pleasure panel and blew her mind with some new finds. She snatched the volume of Assassination Classroom I had just purchased and started to flip through it, and by the time we hit the Japanese art panel she was having the time of her life again.

I discovered that the mask I was wearing needs some work. I need to create some extra space for my nose, because it was getting smashed down and by the time we were about 2/3 and I couldn’t stand it any longer. Now the fun thing is, Archduke Leuvis is really just a repurpose of my Shadow costume… It’s got extra belts and accessories, but the red neck gaiter was still in the pocket along with my ring. So I detached the mask from the hat, pulled up the red scarf and removed the belts, heading back into the convention.

“A mysterious stranger has entered the room!“ One of the anime girls said in a video game voice as she spied me. This was fun. But I was astonished when I headed over to the game room to find Maddie. No sooner had I entered the arcade then I saw the Riddler walking towards me with a quizzical look on his face.

“The Shadow?“

Because the lower half of my face was covered, he probably couldn’t see my jaw drop. I don’t know what was more surprising, getting recognized in this costume or getting recognized as the demon from the Promised Neverland.

I ducked out of the art panel a little bit early. Despite being fascinating (I got Maddie to catch me up later) It was also scheduled in the middle of signing hours for Barry Yandell. Barry is a personal guy, and happy to chat a bit. Of course, I don’t know most of what he’s done. I probably should watch Black Butler at some point, but I’ve definitely never gotten there. Still, he was participating in Sunday sales with a lot of the other vendors, so even autographs were marked down! I got a nice 5 x 8 with a bunch of his characters displayed signed for $10. Those of you who know me, no I’ve been complaining about autograph prices going crazy for the last two years. I love something like this.

Maddie grabbed a blind box and some pins, I found a few buttons I wanted myself as well, along with a nice glittery skull pen. But the real thing I was there for was Japanese candy and chips and all the curious kind of things you just can’t buy in the US. I love seeing these kind of vendors, and I loaded up. It almost makes me wish I’ve been in a Koro Sensei costume instead. We played more games, as including a claw game that was set up by one of the booths and went over some of the more fascinating wears. Vintage video games, anime music, dolls and keychains and plushies. We went through all the dig bins, and grabbed stuff out of the secondary dealers room… This year’s anime flea market. With the flea market you’ve got to be ready to buy immediately. Seriously, stuff flies out of there quick, and tables increasingly vanish as the day goes on. They’re scheduled all the way until 3:30 or so, but honestly, if you get there around 1:30 or 2, pretty much everything is gone. I was still able to score some cheap mangas, but am still kicking myself for missing that Supergirl trade that just slipped through my fingers while I was checking out another booth!

Hazard Con was not the day we expected. The price, even for just Sunday has increased by 25%. The content however, seems to have decreased. Fewer panels and no anime screenings which I find REALLY weird. One of the entire reasons you go to a con is for screenings – a good way to test out anime you’ve never seen before and share the experience with others. But we had a good day nevertheless. It’s another one of those where it’s just the right size that I wish it was closer to home, although to be fair, two hours is not a terribly arduous journey. We’ll keep our eye on them next year, and perhaps ask more questions going in. There’s still a distinct possibility that we’ll be back.






Hazard Con 2019

Conman54405417_823993254624547_1364624260852613120_n.jpgA man in a billowing black cloak approached me.

“Where were you yesterday? You would’ve been a shoe in at the masquerade!”

By my robotic side, my diminutive companion, resplendent in her Pokémon gear giggled. It was Sunday morning at Hazard Con.

In all fairness, I’m really not much more than a tourist when it comes to anime. However, my daughter just turned 13 and is slowly finding herself more and more ensconced n the genre – and she anticipates Anime conventions now with equal or greater interest than comic book conventions. While I had previously been content to include one every year, I get the impression we’re going to be hitting more of these as time goes on.

I had recently become aware of Hazard Con, though I never attended it before. It’s been about a decade since I need to drive into Erie Pennsylvania (is Erie Horror Fest even still a thing anymore?). It’s about two hours from Cleveland, but it’s not a hard drive – you basically drive in a straight line on a single freeway for the entire trip, the convention 67330188_2613366932041047_1082462003475251200_ncenter being attached to a hotel that sits right by the exit.

We had chosen to come on Sunday for a couple of reasons. Hazard con does not offer single day passes for Friday or Saturday, you either by the weekend pass for $40 or simply go on Sunday when the admission is reduced to $15. Because it’s Sunday, hours are little shorter as well, with things closing up around 5 o’clock. That’s fine, I wasn’t even certain that Maddie would make it all the way to 5 o’clock. Besides, this seemed like a nice low key opprutunity to try out the newly repaired Voltron costume and see how the changes held up. Maddie for her part, was looking forward to bringing out her Serena outfit again.

In addition to a vendor‘s room, Hazard Con also sports a flea market – held for half a day in one of the panel rooms. If you think the dealers room is eclectic, you ain’t seen nothing 67408675_2613366812041059_2005463660935249920_nyet! Movies and toys in bits and bobs littered the tables, and we resolved to come back and check it out a little bit later – that ended up being a mistake since we misjudged how long the market would last and by the time we returned, they were all packing up.

As we pressed further into the convention center, we passed the movie room, then rounded the corner and found ourselves face-to-face with a giant robot. I don’t just mean someone in a costume like a Voltron outfit I was wearing. No, there was an actual eight or 9 foot replica of one of the giant robots from Pacific Rim. Next to it was a small one person land speeder and they were both gorgeous! We took photos by the props before hassling into Kyle Herbert’s panel. Kyle is a voice actor – and an incredibly prolific one. He was a regular at the late and lamented Shinbokou Con. It was good to hear his casual and self-deprecating humor as 67641557_2613367058707701_3859623758700478464_nhe hosted a very informal panel – more of a talk with those of us in the crowd and the sort of easy back-and-forth that Herbert excels at.

Once his panel concluded, we proceeded to explore further – the vendor‘s room was in an adjacent wing. It seemed bigger than the ones I’ve seen at Woo-Con or Zipcon, but perhaps it was just the floor plan. Being set up in the atrium, the bright mid-day sun poured down on the room creating a warm and positive atmosphere – it was a remarkable effect. Inside, Maddie spotted a No-Face – one of the characters from Spirited Away. I prodded her and encouraged her to go and ask for a photo. The cosplayer happily greeted her. The No-Face’s arms slowly emerged from the inky blackness of it’s costume, and you could see a gold coin offered up in the black hand. No-Face had come bearing gold, just as it had in it’s movie. They were chocolate 67494214_2613367435374330_7926014522999963648_ncoins, and Maddie happily accepted them.

“Come pet our table!” One vendor shouted out. We wandered over to her table and noted half of it was covered in color changing spangles, and the other half was covered in soft fur.  Among the curious wares were little stuffed dumpings. Each came with an adoption certificate and back story. Maddie had already dumped her con allowance into a pokeball with a small Pokemon and candy inside. I decided to grab a dumpling to take home to Lydia. It was by far the cutest thing I found in that dealer’s room. I grabbed a “Bag of Cheap” for myself and was excited to discover the blind bag contained Tenchi and Cyber City Odeo DVDs! I was hoping for Japanese candy – some of the more interesting Kit Kats or something, but didn’t find anything that really interested me. Nevertheless, I grabbed some more deals on a Cap figure and some Cash movies, topped off with a couple of buttons for my con bag.

67327258_2613369828707424_3270078388529790976_nWe briefly checked out the tabletop room but they were between Pokémon tournament, and gaming is never really been a big thing for either of us. Around the corner and down in a separate hall we discovered the arcade. This game room flat-out puts to shame every convention video game room I’ve ever seen.Sure there were the tables with old systems  set up for retrogaming just as you would expect, but what really drew your eyes as you entered was the room packed full of Japanese arcade machines – over a dozen games the US has never seen. There are familiar games like Dance Dance Revolution and some 2D fighters, but they were outnumbered by rhythm games and flashing light and spectacle. Maddie’s favorite was a rhythm game that involves two gigantic drums. Two players standing side-by-side would try and keep the rhythm with the graphics on the 67262625_2613368198707587_2969431008522272768_nscreen. I enjoyed seeing the Genesis set up again and the other retro games, in fact I probably could’ve spent all day in this room alone, but anime was calling our names!

We broke for lunch briefly and then hit the Anime room for three episodes of Seven Seeds. The second episode is really scary with some monsters on board and I wondered how Maddie was going to react – this stuff is more serious then a lot of the light-hearted magical girl things she watches, but she was entranced – and when they finally ended this run to break for the next panel, she was already insisting that we need to find more of this. It’s on Netflix by the way, it’s some good post apocalyptic stuff which probably appeals to Maddie‘s Hunger Games and Walking Dead sensibilities. Next up was the Studio Ghibli panel. Even I’m familiar with Miyazaki, indeed Spirited Away was the first film out of his studio that I ever saw (coincidently that was at Lake Effect Comic Con). It was interesting to hear a little more about the history of the studio and the idiosyncrasies of its creators. We headed back to the Anime room, but somebody had turned the air-conditioning way up to uncomfortable levels. Perhaps they were just trying to save us from having to watch the terrible Godzilla animation. We made one last pass at the game room and decided to call it a day. I was correct, Maddie didn’t last all the way until five, though she may have if that Anime room had frozen us out. We made our way out to the car around 4:15 to start the long trip home. This is one of those cons that is the exact right size for me, not too big not too small – I just wish it was closer to home. Nevertheless it looks like this might be one we come back to next year,and  I’ll be interested in seeing what the guest list looks like then.