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By Inactive or EX ROG Staffer On 20 Apr, 2013 At 11:00 PM | Categorized As Conventions, Featured, Otaku Events, Reviews | With 0 Comments

No GravatarHurricon is one of those conventions that are only feasible due to the tremendous dedication and love of otakus who want to bring joy to other otakus. I attended Hurricon in its first year, and I can confidently say I’ll keep going for as long as I stay in Florida, but it is a young event that still has much to learn. Going this year as a panelist has made me more aware of what Hurricon needs to be better and I’m going to list what’s wrong here. I am not saying Hurricon is not worth attending I had loads of fun and for what it’s worth (free entry for everyone) you shouldn’t miss out.

Unused rooms and time gaps

What do I mean by this? Many rooms went unused during the little time the con was active. When I looked at the schedule I felt my stomach drop because both my panels were scheduled during the costume contest and its prejudging, which would wipe out a good part of my potential audience. Many rooms were unused prior to the time, and I don’t mind presenting early. My turnout was smaller than it is in other cons, but the audience was wonderful and I’m glad they dropped by. As a panelist however, the bigger the crowd the better, and the schedule wasn’t working in my favor.

Panel rooms are split in two

Basically the center of operations is a big building I believe serves as a two story student lounge. All the vendors and the cafe is outside, the first floor hosted one vendor, an exhibitor, and the karaoke setup, and the second floor hosted all the ballrooms and the video game room. But the schedule has some panels held in “The Learning Center” which is a long tiring walk all the way to an orange building. I’m alright with it, but because of that 10 minutes between events is probably not enough for people to bother going to see those faraway panels, especially since most congoers are used to having everything in one place (convention centers spoil us).

Almost no vendors

I was disappointed in the selection provided this year despite that there were more sellers than last year. Out of the many people who got a spot to sell stuff only three merchandise vendors showed up, the rest were artisans and artists. I support the latter, but I much prefer an import figure than a piece of jewelry (although I occasionally bite). This is the first convention I didn’t want to buy anything from. The first year I did want to buy but this year nothing really stood out to me. Of course the convention is not responsible for what their sellers sell, but I hope a wider variety of vendors come next year because that revelation was quite shocking. Good news is no one was selling fake merchandise, yay!

Your refreshing honest vendor, sadly nothing he sold interested me.

Your refreshing honest vendor, sadly nothing he sold interested me.

Some artist tables. The lovely Reimu cosplayer is Zipper Tan, check her out.

Some artist tables. The lovely Reimu cosplayer is Zipper Tan, an artist and talented cosplayer.

Video game room uninviting

Let me begin by saying the video game room was all male, which is odd because other conventions have females in their game room. I could see a few problems. The biggest blunder was all the consoles and television were set up too close to each other, making a small square in between and leaving little space to roam and see what could be played and comfortably watch others. This is important, in fact so important that is why most successful arcades have plenty of free space. Also there was too little light, which somehow makes the small space worse. The room had plenty of space, but it seemed instead of moving around the seats in the lounge  to create an ample gaming space they just decided to make a small circle of doom surrounded by them. As for the gamers themselves? It seemed many of them have been camping there since the con started, it made me feel too uncomfortable to ask if I could play a round. I could play the same game at home anyway.

But enough with everything wrong, what was good?

The location is beautiful

UM should pride itself in its campus because I can say with confidence it has the most beautiful one in Florida. The location difference from your typical convention center is refreshing. You’re surrounded by trees and sculptures done by students, the walkway to the learning center passed a peaceful fountain, and the student lounge has an appealing modern design and awesome murals. To the delight of many, the first floor had plenty of plugs and phone charging stations with all types of cell phone charger cables.

UM campus

Many talented cosplayers

I am not kidding when I say Hurricon brings the best of cosplayers out. Maybe it’s the fact the hobby can be expensive and the entrance is free that makes the magic happen. Theories aside they’re everywhere, and friendly so you can take pictures of them without hassle. This also probably makes it harder to win the costume contest.

Some cosplays

Engaged panel attendees 

Despite being left with a smaller audience than I would have desired the ones that stuck around were great. There are two types of good panel attendees, the ones that are so excited they often shout insightful comments and funny remarks or quiet, attentive, and engaged attendees. I got the latter which is a refresher from the usual excited fans and they also gave feedback, asking questions and answering some question I asked. Other panels varied, but the typical audience was made up of good people. I can say with confidence you will feel comfortable at one of their many panels.

Everyone is friendly

Like the cosplayers this rule also applies to everyone. You can talk to anyone like you’ve known them for a long time and they’re open to almost anything. This is a convention were there is not as many groups as in your larger con, and it opens opportunities to make new friends and have a good time.

Summed up it is undeniable the con did have its flaws but they’re not bad to the point I would recommend staying away. I had fun and I really want it to become a UM tradition. Everything that isn’t wrong is so good fixing what was wrong would create the perfect convention.

If you live in South Florida attend the next Hurricon in 2014, it’s a great otaku treat.

By Inactive or EX ROG Staffer On 12 Apr, 2013 At 10:10 PM | Categorized As Conventions, Otaku Events | With 0 Comments

No GravatarAs the official brochure below will confirm, I am an official featured guest at this year’s Hurricon. Although I’m not sure I feel completely comfortable about my full name being published but, that’s a minor issue.

hurfull

Two panels will be hosted, below are the titles and times.

  • The History of Vocaloids and their Fandom (3:35-4:35 PM)
  • Spot the Fakes: How to Avoid Ripoffs and Other Unlicensed Goods (4:45-5:45 PM)

Bonus for ROG panel attendees. A special “code” will be given at the end of each panel for the chance to win prizes. “Like” our Facebook page and wait for the instructions concerning what you do with the codes. For the complete listing of panels and events click here.

There will be video game tournaments, but because there’s no official page listing I’ll list them here.

 

Brawl Sign-Ups: 12:30 – 1:00
Tournament Starts 1:30

Ultimate Marvel VS Capcom 3 Sign-Ups: 2:00 – 2:30
Tournament Starts: 3:00

Super Street Fighter 4 AE 2013 Sign-Ups: 3:30 – 4:00
Tournament Starts: 4:30

 

To summarize my previous article Little Kuriboh will be a guest of honor, there will be a cosplay contest, and, I forgot to mention before, a maid cafe.

So drop by and have a good time, you won’t regret it!

By Inactive or EX ROG Staffer On 28 Mar, 2013 At 09:45 PM | Categorized As Animation, Conventions, Featured, News, Otaku Events | With 0 Comments
Hurricon's Mascot

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Hurricon's Mascot

So cute you can’t deny it.

The University of Miami Anime Club is hosting their second annual anime convention, Miami Hurricon, on April 14. Yours truly will be hosting panels during the event on behalf of ROG. Although the con schedule has not been released yet both of these panels have been confirmed.

  • The History of Vocaloids and their Fandom
  • Spot the Fakes: How to Avoid Ripoffs and Other Unlicensed Goods

Hurricon does have many other things to offer. Two guests have been confirmed, Marianne Miller who’s an American voice actress for English dubs and Little Kuriboh creator of Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series. A costume contest will be held again this year and so will a video game tournament sponsored by Anime Gaming Experience. This a free event anyone who lives nearby shouldn’t miss. You can RSVP on the Facebook event page and like their official Facebook page to keep updated about their plans and future events.

I hope to see a great turnout this year, and if you can come drop by one of my panels that would be awesome!

 

littlekuribohUPDATE: Unfortunately, due to a scheduling conflict Marriane           Miller will not be at this year’s Hurricon. But her husband (Little Kuriboh) is still coming as scheduled.

By Inactive or EX ROG Staffer On 20 Aug, 2012 At 12:35 AM | Categorized As Animation, Comics/Manga, Conventions, Otaku Events | With 0 Comments

No GravatarWhat can be said about Mizucon this year? Mizucon has always been a great convention, but for some reason the attendance seemed to be lacking this year, which is a shame because it had the same great entertainment as the previous years. The panels provided were varied, and almost anyone could find one that would entertain them. There were also two video rooms set up showing a variety of anime from oldies to new ones.  In the video game room you could play Halo 3, Super Smash Bros., Soul Caliber V, Blazblue, and many other video games with tournaments taking place at various times. Also a stand in the vendor’s room had music playing and whoever wanted to could dance in cages. To put it in a short manner, there was no shortage of things to do. The only thing Mizucon had changed was their location from their old hotel to Doubletree Miami Airport and Convention Center which was much larger, even if they were only using the top floor.

My panels went very well. Otaku on a Budget was delayed but all the attendees were great sports by waiting a bit longer for it to start, and the Vocaloid panel was very energetic and with a hefty fandom presence. Overall most attendees are well behaved and friendly, which is what I like the most about this convention, there is an environment where you feel it’s fine to interact with strangers and be yourself.

I’m hoping to once again attend Mizucon next year, and hope more people will as well. Check out the slideshow for pictures from the show.

[slideshow id=26]

By Inactive or EX ROG Staffer On 9 Aug, 2012 At 02:59 PM | Categorized As Conventions, Otaku Events, Otaku Music | With 0 Comments
August 17-19

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August 17-19

This convention is a can’t miss for geeks in Miami! The convention prides itself as an anime convention, but has expanded to include many fandoms including gaming, tabletop, and American pop culture. Panels to suit any tastes are abundant, but there are too many to cover. So all you need to know is yours truly will be hosting ROG panels the Saturday and Sunday of the con. Freebies will be given out to the lovely people who attend so I suggest you all come and enjoy yourselves, you might get something.

Saturday

10-11 AM: The Birthday Panel

7:30-8 PM: Otaku on a Budget

Sunday

1:30-3 PM: The History of Vocaloids

One of the main events this year is a new Masquerade Ball that will be held the Friday of the weekend. Saturday will also be host to a pool party and a cosplay contest, and while Sunday is the shortest day in convention time, it usually is the most relaxed one, perfect after two days of excitement so you can just lay back, chill with other fans and perhaps catch a few panels. Mizucon 2012 will be fun, so plan your days ahead of time to make the most of what it has to offer and just have fun!

The list of all the panels and events that will occur can be seen here.

By Charles On 5 Aug, 2012 At 11:00 PM | Categorized As Conventions, Editorials, Featured, Reviews | With 0 Comments

No GravatarEarlier in the summer, I posted a recap of three weeks of consecutive congoing. This, alas, was neither unusual, nor the end of my con season. Summer, particularly June and July, are busy months for East Coast congoers. So while on the one hand I was able to get a few weeks rest after three straight, the busiest weekends of the season were still in the cards.

Two Guys with Glasses

I will preface what follows simply: ConnectiCon and Otakon are two very different shows. One is a multi-genre con with a huge internet and gaming presence, situated in a (mostly) dead city in the middle of the year. The other is thrice as large, located in one of the largest metropolitan areas in the Mid-Atlantic and focused on a diet of pan-Asian culture. They are separated by a thin barrier of weeks, during which time (generally) the same attendees prepare for both. I have been attending them for the exact same amount of time, and have had both amazing, and awkward, years there. But if you asked me to choose between them, I was steadfastly refuse. They are NOT the same con, nor should they be thought of as such.

Let the reviews begin.

ConnectiCon: July 13-15. 5 panels, 3 roomies, 2 pillow wars.

I’ve written many critiques of the city of Hartford, none of them particularly positive. I’m fond of saying that CTCon is the best part of the city, a point that anyone who has actually been there will likely agree with. But that does no real justice to the scope and breadth of the actual con. Started as a webcomic-focused convention, ConnectiCon has grown into the largest multi-genre event in New England. While attendance lags noticeably behind Anime Boston, the con more than makes up for it in community and content.

Friday night fun…on Sunday morning.

I started attending in 2009, and have made it a point to return each year. Unlike many other fan conventions, CTCon takes it’s mission statement to heart: their goal to present a “massively multi-genre” event, coupled with a huge space at the Connecticut Convention Center, allows them an unprecedented flexibility in scheduling panels, tournaments, interactive events and vendors. When the con succeeds, they do so splendidly. But when something goes wrong, it becomes more visible.

Much like Katsucon and AnimeNEXT, CTCon was hit hard by the “line effect:” a huge jump in attendance that forced the fire marshal to shut down panels at capacity, relocated the registration line outside into the summer sun, and caused backups in the halls as attendees lined up to (hopefully) grab a seat in panel rooms. More than once, the top floor had to be completely shut down to accommodate crowding for Main Events. Events ran over, panel rooms filled long before the start time, and traffic had to be re-routed in the vendor spaces. This led to grumbles and complaints online and in person. Which was a shame, considering the wealth of options attendees had to choose from.

Those Hartford parking prices can be insane…

However, those options ended at the vendors. While CTCon had a huge artist and dealer space in previous years, reshuffling forced the number of exhibitors down visibly this year, resulting in more complaints and grumbles from both vendors and attendees alike. The visible devotion to gaming space effectively capped merchandise, and left some people going home with less stuff and more cash.

For my part, I caused several of those pesky code violations with over-capacity rooms, and spent little money anywhere, but the weekend was a rousing success. Looking past the lines and lacking selection of goods, was a well-structured weekend full of panels and gatherings for any type of fan. While I hope CTCon manages to correct some of the flaws in execution that hit it this year, it’s still one of the best conventions in New England, and one that I highly recommend.

Otakon: July 27-29. 5 panels, 32000 attendees, 1 purchase.

Otakon. The granddaddy of east coast cons. 19 years going strong. The second largest anime con in the country. This behemoth of an event has come from humble roots into one of the more dominating of culture festivals. And all I could think about going in was “there are HOW MANY seats in Panel 3?”

See, this year I was selected to be part of the featured panelist programming track, which right off the bat scared me. While I give panels at upwards of 10 cons a year, and have been a guest at about 8 of them, there was something different about Otakon. And I’m not just talking about size here. Yes, this is the largest event I’ve ever presented at. Yes, this con has a long, glorious history that I am now a part of. But imagine trying to live up to that legacy, when you’re used to presenting at small-mid size cons.

After seeing multiple members of the Avengers, Loki calmed down and let this photo be taken.

Otakon is more than just a con. Otakon is a way of life. People have been known to spend all year looking forward to JUST this convention. The variety of cosplay, programming options, Japanese guests, vendors, artists, and PEOPLE is greater than all the other cons I go to. Combined. Otakon is not a convention for fans of anime, it a gathering for fans PERIOD. There are no easy words to describe the power and appeal of Otakon, though I’ve tried repeatedly to do so before. It’s something one must experience for themselves- hollow words just cannot convey the scope. It’s such a powerful concept that after it was done, it practically erased ALL the emotional connections I had to the four cons that directly preceded it, until only Ota-memories remained. AMA, for all my love, feels like a lifetime ago, compared to what I experienced last weekend.

And now there I was, with everything I had to offer displayed before tens of thousands of people. You can imagine the stress there.

But I survived.

Saturday night Death God panel: who’s more morbid? Me for hosting, or all these people for showing up?

I wish I could say more about the con than just those words, but there really is no other way to describe the immensity of the Dealer’s Room, or the hordes of costumed attendees that arrived on Thursday decked out and left Monday the same way, or the snaking lines and energetic high that permeated the weekend. I can’t elaborate on the laughter booming through the room during “Anime’s Craziest Deaths,” or the cheers during “Beyond Miyazaki.” I can’t put into words the exhaustion from arriving as the doors opened and leaving when the BCC closed, grabbing ice cream before heading back to my room for an impromptu party. That was my Otakon, and mine alone, one of many stories going on that weekend.

Oh, and Panel 3 had 1700 seats, most of which were full when I took the stage.

And with Otakon, my summer of cons came to a close. My year isn’t over, and I have between 2 and 4 more left to attend before November is out, but looking back on where I’ve been…Fall is going to be so easy.

So long, Otakon. Until next year!

No GravatarWhat is Chibi-Pa Moto? That question can be answered with a few simple key ingredients for a convention such as this. It’s what happens when you take the combined voice acting talents and careers of Lord Zedd from Power Rangers, Batuo form Ghost in the Shell, Dita from Vandread, Spain from Hetalia and mix them all together. Then to add a bit more soul and flavor, you drop in an Otaku Comedian group, a unique musical band, some hardcore gangsta Otakus, and a guy who built his own GUNDAM armor as cosplay. And the result you get from that combination is Chibi-Pa Moto 2011, which is by far one of the most fun cons I have ever been to. The people were fun to hang around with, the guest were just as fun and cool to talk with, and the Otaku power level is far and beyond 9000.

 

Below is the gallery of pictures I and the rest of the R-O-G staff had took while exploring the convention that was Chibi-Pa Moto. Even though a picture is worth a thousand words, not amount of words could describe the fun experience and atmosphere of actually being at Chibi-Pa Moto. My compliments to the staff and others who made this con what it was, a fun experience that ever Otaku out there should witness. Check out all the pictures and see the EPICness that we saw.

 

 

 

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No GravatarHere is Part 4 of our pictures from Mizucon Miami. Here, there are tons of photos we took from the convention floor. Checking out everything from the cosplay, to the booths, to the panels, the concerts, and of course, the stars.

 

This past weekend, the ROG staff and myself got to go to Mizucon 2011 and check out all the cool things present there. What occurred was a truly EPIC festival of Anime goodness. A place where fans of anime from all over Florida, and even some far away places around the US, came together to celebrate their beloved hobbies and media. There were so many great and awesome people there, as well as so many cool looking and ambitious costumes worn by many of the con’s attendees.

 

But check it out for yourself. Check out our main gallery of pictures from the showroom floor of Mizucon 2011. The Anime Mecca of Miami.

 

 

 

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No GravatarThis past weekend at Mizucon, we got the chance to not only check out the events and awesomeness going on, but also had the opportunity to chat with some of the EPIC guest celebs that were there. Of the guest there, we got to hang out with some real popular voice actors such as Johnny Yong Bosch, Todd Haberkorn, and Lisa Ortiz. And that wasn’t all, we chatted it up with the rising band Eyeshine, Plug Hitz Live, and a bunch of the booths/panelist that made it out to Miami Mizucon. Check it out below.

 

Johnny Yong Bosch

 

Lisa Ortiz

 

Todd Haberkorn

 

EYESHINE

 

PLuGHiTz Live!

 

 

No GravatarHere is Part 3 of our pictures from Mizucon Miami. Here, there are tons of photos we took from the convention floor. Checking out everything from the cosplay, to the booths, to the panels, the concerts, and of course, the stars.

 

This past weekend, the ROG staff and myself got to go to Mizucon 2011 and check out all the cool things present there. What occurred was a truly EPIC festival of Anime goodness. A place where fans of anime from all over Florida, and even some far away places around the US, came together to celebrate their beloved hobbies and media. There were so many great and awesome people there, as well as so many cool looking and ambitious costumes worn by many of the con’s attendees.

 

But check it out for yourself. Check out our main gallery of pictures from the showroom floor of Mizucon 2011. The Anime Mecca of Miami.

 

 

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