Well…not really my “first” con, but at least in North America it is.
Okay, this con actually happened at the very end of July, but I didn’t have the time to write on this con nor did I have the internet to do so, thus I finally decided to “pick up my shit” and pump out this article.
First off, if this post gets a tad bit hectic to read, please bear with me as this is my very first article on a convention that I’ve been to (Oh noes, my con posting virginity *kyaa*). Secondly, since this is my first con that I’ve attended in North America, I was literally what I liked to call neophytes: a “noob”. No, not a boob, but I sure stuck out like one because of my lack of a proper cosplay, but a noob because I hadn’t had the slightest clue of what was going on and what I was supposed to do. Finally, since I pointed out that I’m a “noob”, I didn’t take very good pictures. Or at least, even a decent amount of photos like I should have. Therefore, in retrospect to my somewhat of a failure of a first con, I will make amends when the next con comes along!
Let’s get started shall we?
So the local con in (Amegakure) that I attended was aptly named Cos & Effect. Usually in Amegakure, the con that happens at that time of the year is called Anime Evolution, but it was somehow cancelled. Thus, Cos & Effect became the substitute. Being that this is my first event, I didn’t know just how “grand” Anime Evolution was in comparison, but from the looks of it, it was a lot bigger than Cos & Effect.
At Cos & Effect, the ticket was $28 for the entrance fee. Wait, what? $28 CAD? You nuts? Yeah, this is like 6X what I paid for in a Manga Expo in Taiwan. They even had Kadokawa and other publishers of all sorts. This was just a con with randomvendors! Jeez! Anyways, with $28, you get entrance, a rubber arm band thingy you saw in the top picture, a brochure (which is actually entirely free). In terms of “entrance”, it was literally open to everyone. There were even people who didn’t buy the entrance ticket that could walk right into the convention building and save the $28 on merchandise. I felt kind of ripped off, not just by the extravagant ticket price, but by the fact that there was a dearth of security and exclusivity.
Anyways, already having a bad taste in my mouth, I walked into the vendor area which…as you can see…is pretty small. Obviously there’s more than one floor, but this is mainly where most of the serious stuff can be bought. In terms of goods, you could get steampunk sculptures, Gachapon, Nendroids, Figmas, handmade merchandise, used DVDs & manga, Gundam kits, Visual Kei accessories, posters, and etc.
In terms of quality of the merchandise, other than the non-handmade items, it wasn’t actually all that bad. However, I did notice that some of the merchandise vendors were selling their goods for an absurd price. I mean come on! A panda-eared toque with an angry vein pin costed $25 CAD! Outrageous! I can get that for less than 80% of that price in ANY expo or con in Asia. Perhaps that’s just North American con pricing that I never knew about. Regardless of which, it still didn’t stop me from buying it. I was in desperate need of something that made me feel more otaku.
While I was still on the first floor, a particular booth caught my attention the most. Not only did it capture my attention, as you can see, there’s also a crowd of people there too! The artist was selling some quality posters and portraits for a reasonable price. Instead of only selling posters, she also did some commission work for people such as drawing chibi cards, black & white portraits, and full-colour portraits. I was so sold by her drawing style that I bought a chibi card and bought a poster for a combined “deal” of $40. Although if you put it in terms of her pricing, it is a deal, but to me, a pure Asian, those prices were pretty high for me. Ugh, the sacrifices I must make to get a chibi portrait of myself.
Oh, before I show y’all my chibi card, I’ll let you guys know that the artist’s name is Lisha Lee and she’s an artist that travels around to cons. Although she doesn’t do online commissions, I do suggest you guys go look out for her if she goes to your local con. Check out the rest of her work here: http://cutemew.deviantart.com/
So after my first floor shopping spree, I headed up to the second floor. At the second floor, it was mainly an artist-feature area where the said artists would be selling posters, tiny accessories, bookmarks, and all that jazz. While I’m a fan of fanmade art, I can’t really bring myself to pay $15 for a bookmark. Now that’s just simply crazy.
Well, that pretty much concludes the “merchandise” portion of my first con. I’ll post a later picture of loot, but for now, the show must go on.
To me, the true purpose of coming to this con was not to buy merchandise, not to get writing materials (actually partially yes), not to look at cosplayers (I lied), not to take photos, not to cosplay, but to go to the cosplay cafe.
While “they” called it the Cosplay Cafe, I would like to accurately refer to it as a M*E*I*D*O Cafe. No, it’s not an acronym, just emphasis on pronunciation. So, being the happy little boy I was, I went to go line up for the “Cosplay Cafe”…and…there was a huge line. Also, I found out they actually had a system. It wasn’t like that of a standard restaurant, but rather they handled customers in batches of 20 or so people and with these people, they entertained them for blocks of 45 minutes each, and rotated shifts & customers accordingly. While I could have chosen a later time to visit, I was ardent on making the 1:3- PM shift because that’s the exact shift when a renowned cosplayer would be a there to serve. Too bad I didn’t get her as my maid, but I certainly got to meet her friend, who was equally stunning.
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention another thing. The pricing for the Cosplay Cafe was $5. Wait what? Everything had been so expensive at the con, so why was the cafe so cheap? Who CARES?! I GET TO SEE MAIDS FOR $5 AND EAT NOMS FOR 45 MINUTES? AND THE $5 IS DONATED TO A HOSPITAL?! OH DEAR LORD THIS IS WHAT I CAME FOR!!!!!!
Precisely explains reaction ^
So what did I have at the Cosplay Cafe? Well, I had a chocolate donut, which was actually damn good, or at least the pretty maids made it taste better, and a can of coke to drink it all down.
Not bad for $5.
What did I do with my Maid-sama? Well, we played Uno for a bit and then we played that “moe moe cosplay cafe jun-ken jun-ken-pon!” (Rock paper scissors a la moe-style) game. Wait that’s it? Correct. Being the shy guy I am, I later felt like I was being a tad bit TOO courteous to the maid and I didn’t use her to the abusive extent I should have. Dang, missed the chance to do all those things I dreamed about doing such as a “fella…” Oops. Let my mind slip there.
Well, that concludes all I did at Cos & Effect. Usually I would like to stay for later-night events and perhaps try to get into the 18+ events, but being the good Asian boy I am, I had an exam to study for. BOOOO.
But, before a conclusion paragraph…here’s some photos of loot & battle gear:
So let’s do a summary of events shall we?
- Arrival @ 11AM and bought ticket
- Toured first floor and bought goodies
- Toured second floor and didn’t buy goodies
- Wait in line for 45 minutes for Cosplay Cafe
- Finished with cafe and shopped a bit more
- Bought more goodies on first floor
- Went home at 4:00 PM
Chibi-Sabishii Card: $30 (bundle deal)
Bleach Ichigo Vizard: $10
Panda Hat w/ vein: $25