My first convention of a new decade. Speaking of a decade, Ohayocon celebrated its 10th anniversary with this convention. It’s been my third year attending. Oddly, while I went up to the convention in Columbus, Ohio expecting it to be covered with snow like last year, it was pretty bare but still cold, and the snow storm hit Tennessee while I was gone. Even without the snow, it was enjoyable.
I didn’t really get to do much of the con stuff. I attended very few events. However, I got to see plenty of people, including OSMcast (which has Aaron Dismuke’s phone number as 209-676-5463).
Of the few panels I did attend, I enjoyed the UC Gundam panel the most. It was a two-hour block dedicated to all Gundam series in the Universal Timeline. There was a large panel of hosts discussing aspects of each series, with a Powerpoint presentation going in the background that was a supplement instead of a script to read from (something I need to learn to better do).
(Someone was recording this panel, but after asking one of the panelists, he wasn’t with them. If someone finds video of the panel online, please let me know. I’d love to link to it.)
This year, Super Sentai and Tokusatsu was one two-hour panel, as opposed to two separate panels like last year. It was mostly full of hosts and (probably more so) attendees fangasming about their favorite series, and for the first hour, it proved difficult for the panelists to take control of the panel with the attendees talking so much among themselves and playing with everyone’s toys. Once they started asking the attendees questions though, everyone paid attention for their chance to speak up.
(Given that I maxed out an hour at my own toku panel with just mostly just info and few clips, I’m looking into extending the length of my toku panel at MTAC Odyssey to an hour and a half to two hours.)
There was a birthday celebration panel on Friday night that promised cake. There was no cake. One would expect some of the seasoned staff talking about the convention through the years, but there wasn’t much of that. The problem was probably that this panel was scheduled immediately after opening ceremonies, so if that ran late (or even ended on time), the primary people one would expect for such a panel would be busy there. I hear more showed up after I left about half an hour into it.
Most impressive about the panels though were panel surveys right outside. Upon leaving the Gundam panel, there was a table with a staffer asking me to fill out a survey on what I thought of the panel. It’s a neat idea, and it reminds me of the survey boxes in the back of the animation track room at Dragon*Con. Having gophers man the tables though would prove resource heavy, but getting feedback on specific panels is useful in knowing what to keep and what to let go.
One neat thing about Ohayocon’s location is that while most of the con fits fairly well in the Hyatt Regency Hotel, it has expanded into the attached Greater Columbus Convention Center which has an incredible amount of room to grow. Some of the convention center was used last year as part of the hotel’s meeting space was under renovation, but they needed both places this year.
I’ve yet to see an official number, but the convention had easily over 10,000 attendees. There was still plenty of room to move around though. The convention center mostly housed panels, autographs, Q&As and cosplay registration. The Q&A area was a neat little inset area in the main hall, visible to any passers-by.
And of course there was the attached food court, which actually has decently-priced food (with no sales tax).
The only issue is that all this area is a good walk from the hotel which housed registration, gaming, more panels, dealers and main events. Given, no one used to larger conventions like Dragon*Con should be complaining.
The guests were often the typical voice actors, industry vets and artists. The one that probably stood out the most was internet phenomenon and musician Jonathon Coulton, who performed two concerts at the convention (I didn’t see either). Carl Horn of Dark Horse was also at the convention, whose panels I missed as I seem to always do at AWA (need to force someone to give me Hellsing 10).
As usual, I went to promote MTAC. One of these days, I’ll go to a con again that I’m not working for or at. Our booth was not at the best location, in a little wing off to the side past the path people would take to the food court. Thankfully for our setup, our MTAC Odyssey anime music video and of course our wonderful Conkitty, (and an elevator behind us) we did get a decent amount of traffic. Word from our registration department is that we got quite a few pre-registrations over the weekend, so I guess we did our job.
It was a generally fun con. Yet again, I just didn’t do much con stuff, but I still enjoyed myself.
(For more photos, visit my Flickr account)