Another Ohayocon has come and gone. In my opinion, this year’s convention wasn’t quite as good as last year’s. There were some pretty good panels and cosplays, but this year there were too many special guest panels taking up slots on the schedule. Additionally, I felt there weren’t as many good options of artists for commissions this year as last year. However, it was still an excellent experience. Let me tell you why.
First off, let’s look at some of the fantastic cosplays from this year’s Ohayocon! Even if you’re not a fan of dressing up yourself, seeing the impressive amount of work that must go into some of the professional-grade level cosplays is fun. It’s also fun to see characters that you recognize.
Awesome Cosplays of Ohayocon: Day One
Awesome Cosplays of Ohayocon: Day Two
The cosplay is fun to see, but that’s not the main reason most people attend a convention, unless they are cosplaying to compete in the Masquerade. The main reason I, and a lot of other people, attend conventions is to listen to and participate in panels. As I mentioned earlier, there were quite a few special guest panels taking up time slots on the schedule this year. That was a disappointment for me because I don’t know many, if any, voice actors, comic artists, or other famous people involved in the anime community. So while those guest panels may have been exciting for some, I didn’t have much interest in them.
In case you haven’t been to a con before, first I’ll explain a little about how panels work. Each day, from about 10am until 2 or 3am there are panels scheduled for guests to attend. Unfortunately, a lot of good panels get scheduled either at the same time or back-to-back. It is impossible to get into some panels that are scheduled back-to-back, especially on Saturday (the busiest day), because the con staff makes you leave after each panel and get in line for the next one. At this con, people are allowed to start lining up 30 minutes prior to the start of the panel, and on a Saturday, the lines fill up fast. If you want to get into a panel, it is best to plan on lining up right when you are allowed. So that means if you have two panels you want to see that are scheduled back-to-back, you’re probably only going to be able to get into one. (Of course, that will depend on how popular the panel is and how many people the room that particular panel is in accommodates.) This year, that happened quite a few times, so I ended up missing some of the panels that I wanted to see.
Fortunately, I did get into quite a few good panels, including: Comics for Manga Fans, Do Fairies Have a Tail?, Gundam: The Experience: The Panel, Mythological Archetypes in Anime, We’s Titans- Attack on Titan, Exploring the World of Anime Movies, Making and Marketing a Visual Novel, Teen Titans, Assemble!, and Special Guests: Yu Yu Hakusho with Jerry Jewel and Justin Cook (the only special guest panel I was interested in). I stopped in a few others that didn’t turn out so great. If you don’t enjoy a panel, though, you can just leave. So I did.
Of those panels, Comics for Manga Fans was my favorite this year. The panelists discussed which comic books are most appropriate for people who are already fans of manga, but who haven’t quite crossed that line into the world of comics and aren’t sure where to start. Some of the comics that the panelists suggested were: I Kill Giants, Atomic Robo, Y: The Last Man (#1-60), Maus, and Underwater Welder. The full list of comics they suggested included 24 Marvel comics, 25 DC comics, and 28 comics by indie publishers. Each of the four panelists also indicated which of the comics are their favorites and provided options for further research, such as comraderecs.tumblr.com, or Comixology and Comic Flow, both of which are apps.
Some panels simply discussed the anime that the panel was about. Other panels, like Mythological Archetypes, gave more in-depth information about a specific aspect of anime in general that might not usually be explored. Others still gave a brief overview of the anime, then popped in an episode for the panels guests to watch. The Visual Novel panelists described their experience creating and selling their visual novel (which is a type of simulation game, called OTChi Kocchi). The Yu Yu Hakusho special guest panel consisted of the voice actor of the main character, Yusuke, and the voice actor of multiple smaller characters answering guests’ questions about what it was like to be a voice actor on the show.
Watching panels is so much fun that I plan on getting into it myself next year. If you have any suggestions for panels you might find interesting, leave a comment! Did you get to attend Ohayocon this year? If so, what was your favorite part of the convention?