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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Youmacon 2010

Think anime cons are too nerdy for you? Protect your social standing
by attending in the Three Wolf and Moon shirt!

I know it's been a while since I last made a post, but that's because I've been busy with school and gearing up (and down) from the big event of my year: Youmacon! Newly relocated to the beautiful GM Renaissance Center in the middle of downtown Detroit (complete with an amazing view of Canada :D), there were a couple of growing pains this year. However, even despite those, I'd say if they fix all those mistakes, this could easily become one of the best cons in the country.
Oh canada...

The first thing I noticed as I arrived was how big the hotel was. It'd a good thing they chose this size of a hotel, too, because along with a larger venue came a much larger crowd (according to Wikipedia, while last year's brought in 6,000+, this year we had more than 9000 attendees, which is more people than were in that hotel staying for the Super Bowl, which his just a few miles away at Ford Field.). Due to some combination of not knowing the new place  as well as they needed to, and the hotel refusing to believe that this many people would show up, the registration line was a complete train wreck. Right off the start, things started going awry.

Of course, where there's Zoidberg, there's trouble.

However, once that was done (which for me took waiting in line form 9 AM, and the line starting at 12, until i got my badge at 1 PM, though others who arrive later reported 4 hour wait times), the best thing you could have was the first obvious destination: An in-con food court. Complete wit ha McDonalds, Burger King, Subway, all the good stuff. Prices were fair, and while the employees didn't seem too thrilled about all this work, it wasn't too bad as a consumer.  The layout of the area, though confusing at first, is really neat to look at. A bit of a pain to walk around to get to weirdly placed escalators, though.

Riley's been lost so long he doesn't know R. Kelly's already free.

One of the best parts of any con are the events and panels they put on. From the Maid Cafe (of which Youmacon was the first con in America to have) to Live Action Mario Party (plus the 18+ After Dark version they put on), these are usually the events that are jam-packed of both audience and fun, and this year was no exception. A bonus to the new hotel was that the area for the rave was larger, so instead of one small cramped space, there was a large ballroom being pumped full of beats and energy by several different DJ's. Unfortunately, one of the best musical guests from the last two cons, a local dance/electronica act called "My Dear Disco", was unable to be booked. Their segment of the rave was always the one with the highest-energy flowing through the room, and was missed. However, what was there was itself great, so while they're missed, their absence doesn't damper the experience.

Pictured: Anime West Side Story

The dealer's room this year was at least double the size of years past. With the ability to not only move around, but also stop to investigate the different dealers tables, this is the most noticeable improvement. With several new dealers dealing several new things, including one table selling doujinshi straight from Japan, it was a pretty awesome space to be in, provided you had the scratch. The game room nextdoor was about the same goodness it ever was, just with a bit more room and a ventilation system.

Not a lot of cash, so a small haul this year. Of course between
Higurashi doujins, the Higurashi VN's english translation, and
a half price Silhouette Mirage, it's definately one of my best.

The biggest problem, though, is one you'd likely experience right after a trip to the dealers room. Packing 9,000 people into a large space isnt' a big feat, but trying to cram 100 at any one time into 12 elevators, not counting the other floors of people waiting to get on, is not exactly pleasant. Since the con was understaffed, and the hotel refused to bring in any of it's backups for some stupid animation convention, there ended up being pandemonium any time yo uwanted access to your room.  This got so bad eventually the owner of the hotel chain (It was a Mariott hotel) came in to get on the staff's case about the way they were handling the event. All in all, it's something that's almost guaranteed to be fixed by next year, but it was something that held this year's con back.

I blame it on this guy not giving us enough oil, rope, or
bombs to properly regulate the elevators.

All in all, while it wasn't without it's problems, it was still a great weekend. Meeting people, hanging out , playing games, watching anime, participating in the events going on all around, it's too much fun to be dropped by 20 minute elevator waits. If you live in the area, or don't but want another con to go to (one that may soon even rival ACen for Midwest dominance :o), then check this one out next year, it's always been a great time!