On my quest to attend every convention in the area I set off to King of Prussia, PA near Philadelphia where a relatively new anime convention takes place. My impressions of the convention before I got there is that it will be a small convention so I was expecting a day of relaxation just like MangaNEXT last year. And so I pre registered a few days before the convention and drove on a Saturday to the con.
Glad I didn't go. -AnimeAlmanac
I arrived at around 9:15 AM and saw a sizeable registration line. Not too bad...except...it barely even moved. Soon it split into pre-reg and reg lines. I think I waited a good hour to get in, and finally made it. Then I heard that the cap for the day was reached and not everyone will be able to get it. Whoops, guess they didn't plan for the size of the crowd.
It became painfully apparent that there is a crowding problem. Main attractions actually had lines to be able to get in. Hallways were constantly crowded and it was hard to move. This is not what I expected from a small convention. But since the venue was so small, I was able to quickly figure out where everything is. Soon making sure I show up for all the planned events became very easy.
There were a whole bunch of panels before the opening ceremonies, but since it took me so long to get my badge, the first thing I was able to attend were the opening ceremonies. The opening ceremonies took place in the main events room next to the dealers room. I took advantage of the chaos that is the line for the dealers room and snuck into the main events room about 10 minutes before the show. At this time Reni was still rehearsing with Uncle Yo who I hope everyone who went to NYAF is already familiar with. And whoops, I wasn't supposed to get in but somehow I did. Oh well, I probably avoided waiting in a line to get in. So the ceremony was pretty interesting. There was a pretty funny "making of Zenkaikon" video; Reni performed a song with Uncle Yo; and finally, Zenkaikon introduced a treasure hunt game where you collect money that was stolen by Carmen Sandiego and a couple Kefkas.
What did I get myself into this time? This was basically a random panel I went to, but basically it was about a comedy youtube series that was inspired by many different anime. The panelists, who partook in the making of these videos presented to the audience brand new episodes of the series. For an amateur made series, it's quite good and would recommend it for those who are bored and have extra time.
One of the main attractions of Zenkaikon was the voice actor and former power ranger Johnny Yong Bosch. Although I missed the power ranger panel, I didn't want to miss seeing Johnny talk about his voice acting role as Ichigo Kurosaki from Bleach. Once again I did something clever and attended the panel right before to avoid waiting in a line to get in. So Johnny is a pretty cool dude. The audience had a lot of questions for him and not all of them were related to Bleach. He kept the panel interesting by sharing his own fan view of Bleach and his experience in doing voice acting for various Anime.
Uncle Yo isn't the only otaku comedian. A trio from Geek Comedy Tour performed their stand up jokes at Zenkaikon during an hour long panel. Their performances were quite different than that of Uncle Yo's but were still very funny and I enjoyed their comedy.
Haha. The final panel I went to was an educational presentation on Hentai. Not much to report on this panel other than the fact that it was presented in a humorous way. Anything you'd expect from a general panel on hentai was here.
Well, there were a couple concerts that I didn't attend. Johnny Yong Bosch apparently has a band called Eyeshine and held an hour concert. Also [Geist], the band that oppened for Kanon Wakeshima at Otakon was also performing. I also didn't go to the con on Sunday since I didn't feel like driving for 90 minutes for a half con day. There was also a masquarade, but I wanted to take it easy for the day and didn't bother.
Zenkaikon is still a small convention and so the dealers room was roughly the size of the smallest panel room at Otakon with about 8 booths. Quite ironic that there was a long line to get in. The artist alley was also about the same size. Nothing too surprising about that.
Looking back, despite the crowding problems, I still enjoyed my time at Zenkaikon. The attendance easily reached 1500 on Saturday and with a new venue I expect that next year, it will reach around 2000. Philadelphia is quite a major city and therefore Zenkaikon has potential to become a significantly larger convention. I am looking forward to attending next year.
For other reports on Zenkaikon:
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Interesting. I was thinking about going but in the end there's only time and money for so many cons a year, and I just wasn't sure about the guest lineup at Zenkaikon. It seems that they're only able to pull US guests, which is not surprising but is a detriment. Good to hear about the pros and cons.
4 years ago
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