As convention season comes to a close at 2Shots of Geek, we said good-bye with one final convention: Yama-Con. This 2nd year convention took place December 6-7 in Pigeon Forge, TN. Despite the wintry weather and freezing temperatures, fun was had by all! I was only able to attend about a day and a half all together due to weather and working schedules, but I had a blast!
Before I get into my experience at this convention, let me tell you what I really loved about this convention. I loved how this convention was in the mountains; the Pigeon Forge area is beautiful in December with all of the lights and sights. I also loved how kind and informative every single one of the staffers that I talked to were! Thank you all so much for being so helpful with all of my questions and being so informative. One more thing that I absolutely loved about this convention was the guests. I have NEVER seen so many big names guests at a smaller convention. But… HOLY DRAGONBALLS! If you were a fan of DragonBall Z, then you were in voice actor heaven! With VA’s for Goku, Krillin, Master Roshi, Android 17, and so many more, Yama-Con really had a great troupe this year! In total, Yama-Con had 7 Voice actors as guests (Sean Schemmel, Sonny Strait, Johnny Yong Bosch, Mike McFarland, Paul St. Peter, Chuck Huber, and Little Kuirboh), 3 Celebrity Zombie guests (Larry Mainland, Sonya Thompson, and Jim O’Rear), a martial artist (Dan Netherland, and Greg Wicker from Greggo’s Gameshows. In addition to the celebrity and voice actors, there were also a lot of musical guests, 8 in total!
Friday night was a great time to get settled into the convention. When I arrived, there was the “Iron Cosplay” competition going on. If you’ve never heard of a competition like this, then you really need to see it. Basically, you are creating a costume out of random items with a team of a few others and a model. While I did not get to see the end results of the competition, it looked like a really fun time. Most of Friday night was spent getting badges, checking into hotels, and discovering the layout of the convention.
Saturday was a much busier day. First stops were the Artist Alley and Dealer’s Room. For a small convention, you generally get smaller dealer’s rooms; however, at Yama-Con, this was not the case. This room was massive for a smaller convention and packed to the brim with amazing things! With everything from old school animes to new school figurines, this was one of the most amazing Dealer’s Rooms that I have been in! The Artist Alley was also packed with amazing artists and was always packed with people. I spent more money in this artist alley than I ever have at convention before, and it was all very much worth it! (I love attending conventions right before Christmas so that I can buy all of my nerdy/geeky friends the perfect present.)
Throughout the day at Yama-con, we were running into people that we knew from other conventions. Needless to say, this was a great convention to catch up with people that we hadn’t seen in a good while. In addition to talking, we also ran into the nice staffers from Akaicon, which we attended in October, and Anime Blast, which we attended in November. Both groups seemed to be enjoying the convention!
I have to say that one of my very favorite parts of the convention was meeting the one and only: Little Kuriboh! Some of you may know this name from the Yu-Gi-Oh!: The Abridged Series, while others may know him from DBZ: Abridged. Martin Billany (A.K.A. Little Kuriboh) is one of the nicest guests that I have ever had the opportunity to talk to. Throughout the convention, you could find him at his booth (which, in addition to his own banner, was decorated with Yu-Gi-Oh! bedsheets) chatting with fans of his work or just chatting in general. I stopped by his table dressed in my Jaden Yuki (Yu-Gi-Oh! GX) and was able to cross “Talk to Little Kuriboh while dressed as a YGO character” right off my Convention bucketlist. Later on, I was able to interview Martin and got one of my most favorite interviews of all time!
I wanted to get even more interviews from all of the amazing voice actors that attended this convention, but time and weather did not allow for this, much to my dismay. Perhaps next Yama-con will bring in just as many great voice actors and voice actresses as it did this year. I did get a signature from three of the voice actors: Sonny Strait (Maes Hughes – Full Metal Alchemist, I had him sign my FMA manga), Little Kuriboh (he signed my Winged Kuirboh), and Paul St. Peter (voice of Xemnas from Kingdom Hearts II, of course I had him sign my badge!).
Apart from the Voice actors, panels, and fun; Yama-Con also had a Charity Auction in which the proceeds went to Pets without Parents. Pets without Parents is a no-kill pet shelter located in nearby Sevierville, TN. I’ve not heard a final amount on how much was raised, but I am hoping that it was a lot! Great job Yama-Con!
In all, the convention was a great success! Even with the weather and setbacks that were brought upon the staff, they put on a fabulous show. Thank you from all of us attendees! We can’t wait to go back for Round 3!
Yama-Con’s Official website: http://www.yamacon.org/
Yama-Con’s Official Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Yama-Con-Anime-Comic-Convention/416492768436164