I’m still in winter con hibernation, but on a whim I decided to start getting warmed up for convention season when I noticed Oddmall was happening. Lydia was still hacking from the flu, but I asked Maddie if she’d like to go (and give Lydia a break from Maddie getting on her sick nerves) and what she’d like to wear. We both pulled out some old costumes. Slimer and Jigglypuff hadn’t been out since 2016, and off we went to Oddmall.
In the costume contest, Slimer found himself facing down Jeannie. The Emcee, a goblin named Gandersnatch tried to figure out how we should compete. A voice from the audience yelled “mud wrestling!” which would have made for the best costume contest ever.
Maddie was entranced by all the interesting wares. She dug through pokemon, and browsed pixel art. The polished rocks at the new age and jewelry booths caught her eyes (She’s been collecting interesting stones since she was small) and even pondered over an Eevee drink coaster. The plushie pigs were her favorite, but out of her price range. She was delighted to find Miyazaki dust and soot sprites that she recognized from Spirited away and Totoro and dumped her con allowance into it.
It was a nice afternoon and Maddie said she was having the time of her life hanging out at the bazaar, as we ease our way into the 2019 con season.
Straight off the bat, I’ve got to tell you… I love zip con. It really has taken the place of shinboku con for me as the convention for me to get my anime fix… they do such a great job at the University of Akron, managing to take what is a fairly massive show, and maintains the relatively intimate feeling that you get from smaller shows like cinema wasteland or NEO comicon. I had the great pleasure of being a part of this convention this year – I spoke in two different panels – one on cosplaying for charity and another on cosplaying on a budget (that being the panel that Bat-Mite crashed and also took part in….) I had already prepared remarks in advance and each went very smoothly. It was interesting to talk about sourcing materials at thrift stores or rescuing interesting looking wires and sticks from the trash, then combining them into something amazing you could wear out to visit the sick, the shut-ins, the forgotten.
It was a great deal colder this year than when we went last year… This really cast a bit of a cloud for Maddie, my little Jigglypuff. Still, she managed to find her very favourite Pokémon in the dealers room and perked right up. The dealers room hasn’t grown, although I did see some different faces there this year – I don’t know, I Kinda wish they’d open up the wall between the dealers room in the masquerade room and make that whole area one bigger dealers room, and then move the masquerade next door and move the Pokémon tournament to another space – I think this still has a potential for more vendors and better shopping, it’s really the only complaint that I have! We spent the day carrying around Maddies plush Poké Ball and inviting people to try and catch her – just watch!
On a personal note, this may be the last time Voltron comes out – I did some major repair work to components including legs and touch ups, but the wings are just a little bit to beat up and I misjudged where to reattach the shoulder lions, and as a result the chest piece doesn’t close correctly… I’m cringing at a lot of the photos I see and I’m not sure if it’s worth the effort to continue repairs on this one. We’ll see. The character is in the middle of a renaissance, and I saw three or four people around with Voltron shirts on, and I still get people coming up to me just SO excited to get a photo with him. Like I said, we’ll see.
The rest of the cosplay out there however, were spot on. From the shockingly brutal Wonder Woman to the functional WALL-E that was being rolled around by remote control, there was plenty to see. I love cosplay at an anime con…you never know what you are goung to see. I still try to stick with anime, but Voltron and Mazanger z are about all i’ve got…but I also saw Harleys and Jokers, Superman and Belle, Pokemon, five nights at freddys, even a dinoasur…(Voltron fighting the T-Rex may be my new favorite thing). The next day I discovered this marvelous video that shows some of the highlights.
I was a little surprised at the video game room. It seemed fuller last year, with more variety. I wonder if someone got delayed…I did see a bunch of TV that were set up, with nothing attached to them. Maddie decided she was mre interested in the board game room anyhow. We picked up the Pokemon Sorry game.
“I just need your name and some collateral.”
“Most people are leaving a driver license or phone.”
“Will a Voltron Lion head do?”
One of the monitors looked at the other.
“Exactly how am I supposed to describe this in the log?”
Pokemon tournaments were going on in the room next to the masquerade – complete with the cartoon playing on the big screen. The judge was going around inviting people in by giving them a card and Maddie was delighted to receive a Squritle for her collection. We hung out for a bit, watching cartoons and play but didn’t really get involved ourselves. Maybe next year…
One thing I love the best about the convention scene these days, is running into people that I know. In addition to the folks I did panels with like Nick, and Taylor, Ali, Amanda, or Jerry and Eric,it was cool to see Vito there in his Batman suit, or to run into Keith from one bad day cosplay, Ryan and Mason and the guys at rubber city cosplay, Knightmage, as well as my old friend Riley – the first time I ever did a convention with her was I was wearing this exact same suit, and that she was wearing the same rogue outfit as well. The other great thing about having friends there is I can swipe their photos for blog posts and video reviews – and you better believe Maddie has something to say about this show!
I think I’ve learned another lesson about doing conventions this time. If I’m going to bring the kids – I probably shouldn’t be doing panels or getting involved in the show… It sucks up so much of the time, that we end up not getting to do as much as we normally would like to – and that’s just not fair to the kids. Maddie felt that she spent too much of the day just kind of, sitting around. She’s not wrong, considering two hours of the day we spent with me talking in panel and her watching, and considering that the remainder of the day was us trying to plan our activities around those two panels. I’ll do better next time girls, I promise.
I’m deafinately coming back next year, I may try and bring both girls with me… I may even go without a costume – whatever I do though, I wanna take better advantage of the show. It’s such a great and fun convention, and I feel like I missed too much of it. We’ll be back.
And now…pictures. SO many pictures…