Since Ohayocon 2014 is almost upon us, I figured I would celebrate by tempting you with the details of Ohayocon 2013!
Taking place over three days in Columbus, Ohio, Ohayocon is one of the largest anime conventions in the Midwest. While the layout of the convention center is a little complicated, (it’s hard to use the “convention center proper” as a reference when you don’t know where it is!) it’s well worth it to navigate your way around to check out everything that’s going on.
As always, many participants cosplayed. Because of Ohayocon 2013’s zombie theme, blue Oni were especially popular; they were everywhere. Some other popular costumes were characters from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, Soul Eater, Hetalia, My Little Pony, and Rise of the Guardians. That just goes to show how diverse cosplay can be, even at a convention specifically centered on anime. Some of my personal favorites were Excalibur from Soul Eater, a crossplay Loki from The Avengers, and myriad characters from BioShock. Last year, I cosplayed for the first time ever. My character was Dvergr from the anime Kiddy Grade and my costume turned out a lot better than I had expected. I am not a seamstress by any definition, so I took a few shortcuts, but by the end of the convention the main thing I had learned that using Velcro just isn’t worth it! I have a few new costumes in the works and I am putting a lot more effort and care into them, but unfortunately none of them will be ready for Ohayocon.
I suggest spending a lot of time in Artists’ Alley and the Dealers’ Room. I just kept going back for more. In Artists’ Alley at Ohayocon 2013, the area dedicated to artists peddling their wares, there were webcomic artists the likes of Garth Graham (Comedity, Finder’s Keepers) and Fred Gallagher (MegaTokyo) as well as people selling unique handi-crafts. Most of the artists took commissions, at least on Friday and Saturday. I had four done. Commissions are a guilty pleasure of mine. Then of course there is the Dealers’ Room: t-shirts, figurines, wigs, plushies, manga, anime, wall scrolls, tiny steampunk hats… oh the tiny steampunk hats. How I drooled over the tiny hats that I could definitely not afford. (I did buy a nifty leather pair of steampunk goggles though.) The Dealers’ Room had everything an anime fan could want and more.
When you’re not checking out the things for sale, make sure you sit in on plenty of panels. They’re the lifeblood of the convention and there is a panel going on pretty much every second that the convention is open. As far as panels went, there was a little something for everyone. They didn’t post the schedule ahead of time, so we had to wing it when we got there, but it was well worth it to hunt down the panels we wanted to see. The most interesting for me at the 2013 con were the Studio Ghibli panel (I learned there are a lot of Ghibli movies I still need to see), Philosophy in Video Games (which was a fascinating panel all about quantum mechanics), and You Can Japan: Basic Cooking by Trial and Err0r (check them out on Facebook).
In addition to the panels, cosplay, and things for sale, there were two separate gaming areas, both featuring tournaments for popular games in their respective themes: one for tabletop gaming and the other for DDR, Rock Band, and console/PC gaming. For those who like to do be a little more active, there was a ballroom dance Friday night and a rave Saturday night. Raver attire abounded — neon colors, beads, fishnets, furries, and lots of LED dreads.
Ohayocon 2014 is set to take place January 24-26th at the Greater Columbus Convention Center/Hyatt Regency Columbus hotel. While 2013’s themes were zombies and steampunk, next year’s theme is magical girls, so get your wands and staffs ready! Some recently announced guests for the con this year include Ian Sinclair, Richard Horvitz, and Lisa Ortiz. Ohayocon’s website boasts that the next guest to be announced will “DESTROY US ALL!”
This year’s panels are going to lovingly be referred to as The Ohayocon University and we can only hope this year’s lineup is as good as what was offered last year. For a list of panels that got selected this year (no schedule is up yet), check out this link to the panels forum. The ones that sound the most intriguing to me are: Anime Physics Fails, Cosplay Props and Armor Using Pepakura, Costume Construction Basics, Makeup for Steampunks and Cosplayers, and Writing: Going Beyond Fanfiction. Which ones do you want to see?
For more information, visit: http://ohayocon.org/