Youmacon is a convention in Detroit held usually during Daylight savings, for 2016 it was November 3-6. The theme is anime, but it’s really open to anybody in fandom willing to wander around having a good time. Thousands of people meeting with friends, cosplaying whoever they want to, and riding the People Mover around a convention that justifies the continued existence of the midwest.
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A few days after Halloween, people keep their costumes on and continue to show off colorful character attire. Mostly anime, but any media can inspire somebody’s outfit. This year’s popular brands were the new Voltron series on Netflix, the video-game Overwatch, and original web animation series “RWBY” were the popular series this year, and it feels like there were more people dressed as Red Hood than Batman. Everybody wearing their Fairy Tale or Stephen Universe costume will be glad to explain the series to you and tell you which episodes you should start with. And as always, if your heart seeks him, you can find Jesus.
The actual schedule of panels felt like it was lacking anchors with a lot of This but none of That and many panels like “Cosplaying your shipping 18+”. The organizer’s classic excuse is “people didn’t volunteer to host them,” and maybe it’s time to reconsider the volunteer-reliant system and perhaps they could actively recruit people. While it’s nice they remembered cover artwork this year, the printed program’s schedule grid was a nuisance to read and ideally by next year they’ll conceive something better suited for a convention of Youmacon’s scale. Wu tang is for the children.
As Youmacon’s crowd grows older it feels like more attendees are going mostly for the evening and late night events and scampering around after dark than the day’s usual panels. Dance parties with many DJs of varied levels of talent and people acting like ecstatic teenagers in luminescent and revealing outfits. Or for hedonists there’s the “Chicken of Beef” panel. No Live Action Mario Party, So instead you can go to the 24/7 gaming area and enjoy the free play on many arcade games, vintage consoles, or this years hot experience: Anime themed Pachinko machines. Dedicated gamers can sign up for one of the many gaming tournaments to test their might against others.
Returning attendees will note that Youmacon has a lot of returning guests every year like Vic and Jon, because they know that it’s the Midwest’s best place to meet their fans. For some you need to line up to meet and greet, others like the artist couple Comfort and Adam were just spending their weekend in the artists alley being genuine to their fans. Team Four Star, most known for a hilarious redub of the anime Dragon Ball Z, announced their newest major project.
The hosting Detroit Renaissance Center was functionally the same as always and still had a few twists that made it easy to get lost, but large portions of the interior was under construction tarps for a bit of renovation, but as long as there’s Zoup in the food court then things are as they need to be, and the elevator flow was good as can be expected with a crowd of that size. The other half of the convention was held a short People-Mover ride away in Cobo Hall where there is still room for Youmacon to grow. It’s hard to imagine that there was a time when all of the festivities fit inside of just the RenCen. When moving between the two facilities you get a safe look at Detroit before the city gets rid of the Joe Louis Arena and the Robocop statue erected in (estimate) 2034.
There’s a lot of excitement at Youmacon, it is the antithesis of events that are just crowds of people looking for back issues, it’s a big party and exhausting and on Sunday many people were coping with their hangovers. Cool people wandering around in colorful outfits looking to make a few friends, or capture Pokemon. But there’s also still a few miscreants using it as an excuse to be loud and uncouth so uncertain attendees should stick with a group of friends.
Each year the shower is bigger than the last, growing in scale and sensation as more people rear about Youma’s reputation for being the marathon party convention. 2016 was a great celebration a few days before America made a controversial decision to elect that guy. For people too eager to wait a whole year for the next Youmacon, there’s the Midwest Media Expo in April.
Michael Ryan, November 16 2016
Just adding personal anecdote here, this year my con crew took the train to Youmacon instead of a road trip, and while it cost a bit, we saved a ton of hassle on parking and I’m going to consider it as an option for future American conventions I travel to.
I bought a drink on the train using my credit card and they actually rubbed an impression of my card like it’s the early 90s, haha.