A First Year and a New Experience

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So Emily and I attended Akai Con a few weekends ago, and for its first year, it was great! Akai Con is a brand new anime convention that was hosted at the Millennium Maxwell House in Nashville (like a ten minute drive from downtown, when traffic isn’t a jerk). I don’t quite remember how long they have been planning this con, but I remember hearing about it as early as late 2012. Since then, I’ve seen the con promoted at MTAC, AWA, and Nashville Anime Day(but I know they’ve been to more cons).

The con ran from October 11th-13th, and we managed to get there all 3 days, sorta. That Friday I couldn’t get back to Nashville till late, so when Emily and I threw on our Sora and Riku cosplays and arrived to pick up our badges, we had unfortunately missed registration. On the bright side, staff was so nice! We asked around about registration before we found out it was closed, but we had bumped into some of the staff around Information, and one of the members clearly said “I remember talking to you about press, so I know you guys are telling the truth, but we don’t have access to the badges,” after a few moments of thought, he concluded with “Ok, good news and bad news. Good news is, you guys can just float around; it’s the first night so it should be fine. Bad news…your cosplays. I need a hug.” The rest of the night we just wandered around a bit, tried to get some photos in, and just tried to figure out what was where. The venue was a tad smaller than when MTAC was at the Sheraton, but it was just the right size when I wasn’t waddling in my Sora Shoes.

The next day, I arrived pretty late. I had decided I wanted to enter the cosplay contest as Sora, so I wanted to get there around 11, but my younger cousin wanted to come too,and she was going to get Pokemon X first. I threw on my cosplay, picked her up after, and was good to go; or so I thought. Traffic was awful, and that 20 minute drive became 45; when I finally got to the con, surprise! I had forgotten my Sora hoodie in my room, so I had no choice but to drive back home. After figuring out traffic, I made it in 35 rather than 45, and finally got to the con. My cousin got her badge, my keyblade was safety tied, and thankfully, a cosplay judge was the one working registration, or I wouldn’t have been able to have entered the contest. It was around noon at that point and I had a few hours till judging so we killed some time in the dealer’s room and just wandered around again until it was time for prejudging. I was the last one because I wasn’t sure of the line and I accidentally let a few people in front of me, but hey it paid off! The judges were really nice, they didn’t ask for a reference picture, but they knew the character well and judged my cosplay based on the appearance of everything and said a lot of really nice things that made me happy.

After even more wandering, it was time for the line-up. It took a while as they made a few changed here and there than I was used to in contests. They had lined us up according to skill rank after showing us the stage, and man I was shocked. I was the 3rd entry from the end, and the last guys were masters, know what that means? I was bumped from Novice to Wanderer (I want to keep calling it wayfinder’s so pardon me if I slip up)! There was a large group of Novice entries, so a handful had been bumped up, but the costumes were all very impressive. After we all went up on stage, the winners were announced; I can only remember the 1st place winners and a few of the others (sorry if I left you out!) but I know the first place in Novice was an Attack on Titan group, and they were really impressive! And I remember talking to the guy who won 3rd in Wanderer about his prop (and how he also did KH cosplays) and that the winners of the Master division are pretty well-known around the con circuit as big head Goku and Piccolo. As for first place Wanderer…

I was really surprised honestly; before they announced the winner, they gave some background to the winner with something along the lines of “Now about our 1st place Wanderer; when she walked in, we were blown away. She looked like she had come straight out of the series, and we were just done. She had scored a perfect score, and nearly killed Devin.” I had won! Seeing as I had never won an award before, I was so happy. My goofy clown shoes and cake keyblade were totally worth it, and I can safely say Sora is going to be a cosplay I return to very often! Apparently I’m being remembered as “dem shoes” Sora by some people, and I’m ok with that! So I won a certificate and a little bag of neat things; a pair of chopsticks, a case for them, and a copy of AD Police (which I’ve still yet to watch). The chopsticks and case came from a nice lady in the Dealer’s room/Artist alley, and I absolutely love them because now I can eat instant ramen in my dorm.

So with that, we walked around a bit and decided to call it a night as we were all really tired and the con scene was dying a bit. The last day neither Emily or I cosplayed, but we got to enjoy the panels and whatnot. The Attack on Titan panel was one I went to; it was late by a good hour at least, but I can’t blame the guy, traffic was terrible. It was amusing though, I believe the guy who ran it is the guy who hosts the Fairy Tale podcast, so of course he’s gotta have a great personality. The next panel we went to was I believe “The Don’ts of Group Cosplays” or something along the lines of that. The panel started late as the girl who was in charge had the impression it was at a different time so one of the staff members, took over. I’ve met him before, he was a fellow cosplay contest contestant at MTAC the year I was Ventus, and needless to say he did a great job at improvising the panel; he gave plenty of insight from past experiences. When the person who was actually in charge showed up, it got even better. They did bring up serious manners, but they did it while goofing off; you had them balancing shoes on their heads, them messing with a Barbie doll, or even simply suggesting a group of multicolored Spidermen (Why be Spiderman when you can be yellow Spiderman, blue purple Spiderman, or even Golden spiderman?).

Overall the few main points that were made is that cosplay is for fun, so if there’s drama in your group, it’s not worth it, don’t start things just to “become famous”, don’t fight over characters, and really, just have fun.

The con was a few hours from ending, and I wanted to stick around for closing ceremonies, so we went to the Dealer’s room one last time and I got an awesome Gipsy Danger print! After we just waited it out in the viewing room, and were informed closing ceremonies were an hour before I had thought. So we went in there, and they had decided to mix the ceremonies with a charity auction; they auctioned off stuff donated from vendors, the con reps who were there promoting their cons, photographers, and so forth. It was really entertaining, there was this one guy who basically started a bidding war on everything, and bought this shirt for I think like $80? Still it was for charity! Some of the things announced were the theme for next year; we got to vote on them by our applause, and I believe they were:

  • When Worlds Collide: Good Versus Evil (winner)
  • Magic
  • Deadpool Con 2014
  • Where’s Devin Con

And a few others I can’t remember. I wanted magic to win because Magical girls, but they fit the theme of Good Vs. Evil, so I’m not complaining! The running gag at the con was that no one could find Devin (the con chair) when they needed him, so everytime someone found him, you’d know. You could it hear it down the halls “I FOUND DEVIN!” “YOU FOUND DEVIN?” “I FOUND DEVIN!”

It’s safe to say I will return to Akaicon next year, but now I need to decide…Do I want to be the hero, or the villain?

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