There’s your regular anime conventions. They have lots of vendors, a few guests, a ton of middle aged dudes, their kids, and the only reason teenagers are there is to show off their outfits. And by 7:00 PM, everybody has gone home. BUT Then there’s Youmacon, a mind-numbing non stop convention which has earned it’s position in the ranks of party cons by having all the regular convention elements during the day, and during the night people stick around to make the real memories. Detroit’s Youmacon 2015 was held at the Detroit Renaissance Center and Cobo Hall. And to get between the two buildings you ride on the People Mover, so it’s more fun than Trick Or Treating.
Of course Youmacon did have all the convention basics to a wondrous extent. It wouldn’t be an anime con without hundreds and hundreds of cosplayers dressed up as characters from fiction and reality and the weird area between (Professional Wrestling). This year the big series to catch on was “Steven Universe” which thankfully has characters with a wide assortment of body types. Ponies? Kind of passe. Craziest group award has to go to a roaming quartet of Shia LeBoufs.
For tag-able uploads of all photos in this article and hundreds more from Youmacon, check out This Week In Geek’s Facebook Gallery for the event.
A lot of cool returning guests, like Steam Powered Giraffe. “Slayers” voice actress Lisa Ortiz was a nice indicator that while the bread and butter of the convention are the trendy things like YouTube Celebrities, the convention remembers fandom past; which gives the overall experience a more genuine feeling. Jon St. John and Vic Mignogna are back too, although at this point the novelty to them has worn off and we just wonder if they’re only around because after last year they never went home.
The dealer’s room/exhibitors hall had artists and vendors selling all the official goods and fan-art for your favorite anime series, and a nice set-up from Funimation. The gaming room had hundreds of games free to play to help people pass the time and try out exotica from Japan, like a crazy table-flip simulator game. Speaking of tables, do you want tabletop gaming? There was library of games to sample so you could spend the weekend on Tabletop gaming. It’s hard to believe that all this convention once fit into just the Renaissance Center, but Youmacon earns it’s growth.
When the sun has descended, Youmacon remained awake, with abundant panels where access was limited to people with ID to prove they’re over 18 and are open to a reasonable amount of hedonism. No Live Action Mario Party this year, but eager people could still display their boldness at Leon’s “Chicken or Beef” panel. And then there’s the dances: The Charity ball for people willing to make a $10 contribution and have a refined time being classy, and afterwards there’s a dance where literally everybody is encouraged to get crazy. This year the late night events felt safer than before, perhaps because all of the attendees have matured. Just don’t expect any of these events to actually start on time…
A big hamper on the daytime events were organization issues on par with FanExpo (Hobbystar era). The printed convention program didn’t have the standard grid of location x time, and the left hand didn’t know what the right hand was doing while the feet were left out of the loop entirely. Volunteers didn’t seem informed on protocol. It doesn’t ruin the convention experience but it mades getting to the right panel a hassle when there’s last minute changes to the schedule. Since the end of the convention, there have been instances of convention officials noting these problems, so hopefully next year there will be a stronger emphasis on planning and networking information. I don’t mind programs being newsprint since at least they didn’t run out this year.
Spending a weekend in a hotel, alternating between the usual exhausting convention activities and partying, it’s a serious drain on physical resources and a great work-out. After getting lost a few times in the Renaissance Center, taking a thousands of photos of all the cosplayers from Mega Man to Macho Man, having hangover in the food court, and making memories in the backwards but well-meaning country to the south called The United States, the convention closes for a year. And that’s about the time it will take for people to get ready for next year’s Youmacon.
November 15, 2015.
SNAP INTO A SLIM JIM