My fellow blogger and steampunk, Jha Goh, once gave me this piece of advice: practice self-care. We were talking about sociopolitical activism, but that advice is pertinent for anything one is passionate about: cosplay, journalism, and even just attending conventions. I found out the hard way at A-kon 23, and I’d like to remind everyone to make sure you don’t push yourself too far in your work and play. It’s not something you want to hear at the beginning of your weekend of fun, but other people end up being affected by the physical and emotional strain you put on yourself, whether it’s through dealing with a stressed-out friend’s moodiness or nearly getting puked on in an elevator. Not to mention you might end up taking off more days at work because you got sick at the con (that’s what happened to me).
The list of panels was quite extensive, and the writing panels were so specific that you almost had to have a work in progress to get the most benefit. Same went for Music for Nerds, but we did have a good discussion on the state of music in America right now with Blair from Absinthe Junk providing some insight on how the industry works. Rikki and Tavisha from Studio Tavicat also talked a bit about the American manga industry (though most of their panel was focused on their current and upcoming work). On the fashion side, there were plenty of cosplay, steampunk, and lolita events both the beginner and the experienced.
This year, I saw considerably less Whovians and Homestuck trolls than expected. Pokemon remained a favorite along with the Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt. Cosplayers of the latter often attracted the most attention with their flamboyant outfits and sassy attitudes. I even saw a Scanty and Kneesocks duo arrive in a limo at the convention with escorts in black suits. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and The Avengers generated the most buzz. I missed out on seeing most of the Avengers cosplayers gather outside of the hotel, but I was able to visit the My Little Pony photoshoot.
One trend that really grew on me was the reinterpretation of characters. There were gender-bent Avengers, steampunk Mario characters, and lolita ponies. Cosplayers never fail to amaze me with their creativity, and it’s always interesting to see what they come up with next.
I often hear negative comments about A-kon’s staff, but the people working at the convention this year were quite helpful overall. There were a couple misunderstandings that could have been avoided (the rules probably should have explained that the Sheraton didn’t let people get on the elevator on certain floors), but I had more positive experiences. A-kon seems to be learning from the criticisms it has received, and it’ll be interesting to see how they continue to grow in their new location next year.
For the rest of my cosplay photos, click here.
Listening to: “Oniajara no Uta” live by Kra