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By Inactive or EX ROG Staffer On 23 Nov, 2013 At 02:53 AM | Categorized As Conventions, Featured, Otaku Events, ROG News | With 0 Comments

No GravatarChibi Pa has kicked off today to the delight of many. One of our new writers, HMK, has hosted several panels today (and on his birthday, such a champ). I will be hosting panels tomorrow and Sunday while HMK will be hosting his podcast live tomorrow. Here are the events starting Saturday in chronological order.

Chibi Pa: Future

  • EPIC and HECTIC LIVE (JJ & HMK): Saturday 4-5 PM
  • Let’s Play with Slenderman! (Isabel): Saturday 9-10 PM
  • The History of Vocaloids and their Fandom (Isabel): Sunday 10 AM -12 PM

I will be giving away freebies courtesy of the website to anyone who attends my panels. We’ll have a lot of fun, guarantee. Chibi Pa is also an amazing convention that has welcomed us with open arms repeatedly, and for that we are proud to help them have another spectacular show! Anyone currently in South Florida should make sure not to miss this opportunity.

By Inactive or EX ROG Staffer On 12 Aug, 2013 At 10:59 PM | Categorized As Conventions, Otaku Events, Reviews | With 0 Comments

No GravatarMini Con certainly stays true to its name. Having been to many conventions held in smaller hotels before, I knew the majority of them weren’t as wholesome as conventions held in conference centers and spacious well-equipped hotels. I believed Mini Con however would be a good experience. Was it? Kind of.

It would've been more fun if I had money to buy stuff.

It would’ve been more fun if I had money to buy stuff.

I will begin with the biggest problem I had with this convention, basically, the entire layout. I’ve complained about the layout of conventions before but the layout for Mini Con was nothing short of a panelist’s worst nightmare. Everything was stuffed into one room (except the video game room which was before of the main room). Aside from some artists and vendors near the entrance everybody was packed along with the main event stage, photo booth, and makeshift panel “room.” Basically it was a small area with chairs and some equipment obscured by two walls, one of which served as a doodle space. When you have more people interested in a wall than what’s supposed to be going on in it, it’s very discouraging. I have hosted these two panels before, and all of them have had a decent turn out but for Mini Con that wasn’t the case. The reason for panels being hosted in their own, concealed space is to attract more people by having an environment separated from all the distractions of the con itself so people can wander in and see if what’s going on is of interest to them without being drawn away by something more noisy. The feel of the room is greatly improved by isolation as it does provide a break from the often agitated atmosphere of a convention. My setup didn’t provide that, the loudness of the main stage in this enclosed space had me yelling to be heard and passerby couldn’t understand what was going on. Also the people that attended overall didn’t seem to seek out the unique things a convention provided and were mostly there to hang out. Maybe this was due to the fact an offshoot show hosted by a more notorious well known convention I’ve covered before was happening the same day and might have directed the active hardcore convention attendees away but it’s just a theory. The video game room was quite good, lots of retro games were to be found as well as newer ones. The cosplayers, simply great. The majority of the attendees were cosplaying and there was everything from Attack on Titan to League of Legends. This made the costume contest quite entertaining.

The free table of a young artist.

The free table of a young artist.

The sellers were decent and I did see quite many underage and disabled artists selling their artwork because of Mini Con’s generosity. A paid workshop to make Twinkie minions was held to give the profits to Drops of Hope. And of course everybody’s paid tickets had part of it go to the same charity. With all its faults Mini Con is still one of the only geek events in Florida to be actively involved with a charity and it needs the community’s continued support to keep thriving and growing. As a newcomer to the scene it is bound to make some mistakes, but I have confidence in that the show will get better with time. These are my suggestions in how to make the new show considerably better.

  1. Have panels away from the main event room in their own individual spaces.
  2. Seek out panelists to offer a wide variety of panels so con attendees can see the plethora of things they can do on their con schedules and decide to check some out.
  3. Have parking for con attendees in a more convenient location.
  4. Larger space if exhibitors and main stage are to be put together.
  5. Try to get more attendants by making sure event is not the day of another event and advertise in other conventions more.

To stay up to date with Mini Cons next show, like their official Facebook page.

By Inactive or EX ROG Staffer On 8 Aug, 2013 At 11:51 AM | Categorized As Conventions, Featured, Otaku Events, Uncategorized | With 0 Comments

No Gravatar

minicon

Part of my work with ROG is the ability to attend events and host panels. It allows me to promote the site and get the chance to interact with other otakus. Mini Con is one of those events. I don’t always get to host panels, but when I do I make sure they kick butts! I will be hosting two fun, informative panels for your enjoyment.

  • Otaku on a Budget
  • Spot the Fakes: How to Avoid Replicas and Other Unlicensed Goods

Mini Con is an event I strongly recommend attending. A portion of every ticket sold goes to Drops of Hope, a local charity that helps pediatric cancer patients. Thus you can have a great time and help people in need simultaneously, it’s a win-win. Another charitable gesture they do is give free artist tables to young and disabled artists, make sure you support them.

Make amazing things like this happen. A room makeover for a little girl who’s battling cancer.

There shall be a game room hosted by Anime Gaming Experience, a costume contest with prizes, and many other cool panels alongside mines. I hope to see you there soon!

RSVP here.

By Inactive or EX ROG Staffer On 18 Jun, 2013 At 08:44 PM | Categorized As Conventions, Otaku Events | With 0 Comments
End of panel audience

No GravatarThis year’s Mizucon was held June 14-16 to lovely weather and sunshine at the Miami Sheraton hotel. Mizucon has always been one of my favorite conventions due in no small part from the tremendous effort and love their volunteers and staff put into it. But last year the followers of the con learned Mizucon was now under new management after an amazing run. And you know how most people react to change.

NO.

The new management was under an extremely reliable group called the Japanese Anime Investment Group that run conventions like Ikkicon in Texas and Anime Crossroads in Indiana and have investors as well known as AAA Anime (the only United States distributor that sells Good Smile Company merchandise) and Yes Anime (another distributor that is the largest in the Francisco Bay area), and the con chair himself owns a store and online retailer called Anime Pavilion, also an investor. To me it seems this well funded group and the staff would be capable of pulling off another hit this year. Well let me analyze how everything went.

In terms of activities available and use of space they get a thumbs up. There were the necessities, a video game room, maid and butler cafe, vendors room, artist alley, and plenty of roaming space. But the promise of karaoke and an anime viewing room went unfulfilled. The panel rooms were spacious enough but my panel room on Saturday lacked sound and the staff had to fetch me a cable and the likes. Needless to say I believe every panel room should be prepared prior to any presentation but the staff were constantly running around doing things and I could forgive them. The panels were varied enough so there was something for everyone to do. This abundance of activities made it unlikely for anyone who decided to look at the schedule to be bored.

End of panel audience

I ended my panel earlier than expected and ended up improvising, lots of people showed up so now I have a new panel to host…

I loved the vendor’s room and walked out with some amazing deals and the vendor’s alley had great artisans but my funds were limited and I really wanted some merch. The video game room had Super Smash Bros. Brawl but other than that nothing interesting.

The cosplayer attendance was huge, I believe there were more cosplayers than casually dressed people, and the costume contest had great entries. The most impressive costume I saw during the convention was definitely the Alphonse Elric armor that won Best in Show.

Alphonse Elric cosplay

What made the con was the attendees who were hanging all over the place because there were huge problems all three days of the con. All of them were largely the fault of the hotel who caused major inconveniences for the organizers, panelists, and attendees. I’ll break the problems down by day because there were plenty.

  • Friday: Panel rooms were missing and the schedule was changed, panels were pushed back and moved around, and attendees didn’t know when certain panels were being held.
  • Saturday: Solid schedule set but late night panels were cancelled because the hallway containing all the panel rooms was closed off early. The rave was shut down early for unclear reasons and attendees that were planning to stay late were made to leave at the same time.
  • Sunday: The convention was made to end earlier than expected.

Needless to say, the con chair is now looking for a new venue for next year.

The new management of Mizucon definitely tried the best they could to create a good show and it was a pretty good show. Next year will definitely be better with a hotel capable of handling conventions, a larger staff and volunteer pool, and the knowledge gained from this year’s experience to make a show that lives up to the image Mizucon has held for so long. And I’ll definitely be looking forward to next year. All picture taken of the convention are below.

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By Inactive or EX ROG Staffer On 9 Jun, 2013 At 03:57 AM | Categorized As Conventions, Featured, Otaku Events | With 0 Comments
Her

No GravatarIf I was to summarize my experience at Hero Hype in two words it would be “laid back.” Conventions in their first year can’t be expected to do much because technically the first year is always more of a trial than a final product. I was familiar with the location, the Ramada Hotel, from going to previous shows that were solely for buyers and collectors and knew the convention space was smaller than those of other hotels, hence why it’s ideal for buying and selling only events. On my way I reflected on that and wondered if they’ll pull it off.

This convention was a lot more fun than I expected, and a great example of a spectacular first year. I’m not even sure where to begin.

Her

The rented space had three rooms, one large one for the main stage and all the vendors and exhibitionists and the other two were slightly smaller rooms. The first room was the video game room which had only about four or five games set up but was not fully occupied throughout the con despite having a good selection and a room with plenty of chairs and a television as the room for screenings.

Hero Hype Exhibitor/Vendor

One of the funnest parts of the conventions was definitely seeing all the short films that were screened throughout the event. Whether original flicks or fan made tributes, all of them were excellent in their own ways. Several short films were aired by Ginnungagap Filmwerks, a short Thor film featuring cosplayer Ryan Frye Thor, and Last Laff‘s Batman and Spiderman: The Chaos Continues. I signed up for a free copy of the last film, and I’m looking forward to receiving it.

The main stage had frequent giveaways with a variety of prizes given out to those who could answer trivia. The costume contest held was not only a costume contest but also included a dance off, don’t know why but it was entertaining nevertheless.

Cosplayer Dancing

The photo came out trippy. But in a really cool way.

All in all, Hero Hype was a simple but satisfying convention. With this convention’s first show concluded, I expect every consecutive year to become better and better. The atmosphere was great, the activities were great, and the convention is very promising.

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By Inactive or EX ROG Staffer On 7 Jun, 2013 At 10:34 PM | Categorized As Conventions, Featured, Otaku Events | With 0 Comments
The Hero Hype Con

No GravatarA new convention is coming to Florida tomorrow, and it’s Hero Hype Con, a promising newcomer to Florida’s convention scene. It’ll be taking place in the Ramada Hotel in Hialeah. The convention covers all areas of the geek fandom from video games to comics.

The Hero Hype Con

 

If you want a deal it is a cosplayer loving con, because all who attend in costume can get $5 off admission. Hero Hype also treats parents because all kids 10 and under are free with a paid adult admission.

A costume contest accepting only hand made entries shall be taking place. There will also a screening of a fan made movie called Batman and Spiderman: The Chaos Continues with a free copy of the movie if seen in its entirety.

So Hero Hype con will be taking place tomorrow, so drop by if you want to do something fun this weekend!

By Inactive or EX ROG Staffer On 5 May, 2013 At 12:40 AM | Categorized As Conventions, Otaku Events | With 0 Comments
Banner for free Ichimura event

No GravatarBanner for free Ichimura event

The yearly anime convention called Chibi-Pa will be hosting a free event tomorrow at Ichimura Japanese Garden, located in Miami.

I will be hosting panels and possibly giving free stuff. Get there early, the panels have no solid schedules and will be randomly scheduled at the event. The panels hosted will be

  • Spot the Fakes: How to Avoid Ripoffs and Other Unlicensed Goods
  • Otaku on a Budget

So if you live in South Florida, drop by.

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 4 Apr, 2013 At 11:13 PM | Categorized As Company Spotlight, Featured, Podcasts | With 0 Comments

No GravatarWhat can be called hands down South Florida’s best arcade, Arcade Odyssey, has decided to create its second podcast Arcade Oddities weekly on Mondays at 8 PM (Eastern Time). The podcast is hosted on Twitch.tv alongside their first podcast AO Plays which will also livestream on Youtube. The subject of this podcast is, of course, video games where they’ll also answer fan questions.

 

The arcade's trademark.

The arcade’s trademark.

 

Arcade machines imported from Japan.

Arcade machines imported from Japan. Unrelated but they’re awesome.

The first episode went live last Monday and you can see the full stream by clicking here (takes a while to begin, NSFW). The second episode shall be available next week at the listed time. Check it out.