Zenkaikon… From A Non-Performer POV

Today we have a special con report from Lexi W.  She normally performs at conventions as part of Last Chance Myu, but this time, she was able to check out this con and give it her two thoughts… Check it out.


Despite the fact that I go to many anime conventions, I rarely go for the convention itself.  It has been a few years since I’ve been to an anime convention where I wasn’t performing.  As such, I am not used to the con scene as an observer. Even this time I wasn’t a complete observer as I helped to judge the karaoke contest.  But that aside, I wasn’t actually needed to be anywhere at any specific time and thus had the ability to wander Zenkaikon to see just what it had to offer.
What was interesting to me was the fact that there was a mix of both anime and sci-fi. While I see sci-fi costumes at the conventions I perform at, there never seems to be much for the sci-fi crowd to take part of.  Yet there were panels and booths in the dealer’s room that were more geared towards fans of science fiction and not just anime which was nice. Even though I’m a fan of both, I do tend to lean more towards the science fiction genre than I do anime, so seeing that variety was something I enjoyed.

Despite the fact that it was a small convention in comparison to what I am used to, I saw a lot of well-constructed costumes which I see more often at the larger conventions I’ve performed at and as a theatre kid, I always enjoy a well-constructed costume even if I myself am not capable of making them.
While there were definitely aspects of the convention I enjoyed as mentioned above, there were also things that grated on me.
The main thing was the organization.  It’s a common thing, really.  There always seems to be some form of issue in regards to the organization of a convention, communication between the staff and presenters and such, but it seemed as though this was a reoccurring problem.  And I do understand that it is hard to organize a large group of people and communication can fall apart rather easily, but I also know that communication is important and there needs to be a way to ensure that it happens on both sides of the spectrum.  Both with the heads of the convention as well as their staffers and security and presenters so that things can run as smoothly as possible.  Yes, this is still a new convention but it is still a necessity, especially at the beginning phases as it needs that foundation to be successful, even if the goal is to remain a smaller convention so that it’s a more personal atmosphere.  The better the communication is between the different parts of the convention, the more smoothly it will run and the more likely people are to come because of that smoothness.
The other issue I had was the location and it’s accessibility for those coming from out of town.  The accessibility of the convention was rather limited to those who had access to a car or those who had friends with cars.  Being in the suburbs of Philadelphia, one would have to get there and then either catch the 99 SEPTA bus or rely on taxi if they did not have access to a car, which can either cost a lot or run the risk of getting lost because of not knowing the stops.  Given the size of the convention, it’s not surprising that it wasn’t in a hotel but the fact that the website listed a hotel as being closest which wasn’t would make it more difficult to get there as, from what I saw, there is only one bus route in the area. Even the hotel I stayed at, which was closer, it was still a good eight minute or so walk with no access to a cross walk so playing chicken with the cars was the way to get there.
Because I’m not used to going to conventions for the sake of conventions, perhaps these are normal issues that are had, I don’t know.  And most of my complaints are mostly just because of the fact that the convention is still relatively new and figuring themselves out, which is completely fine especially as there is great potential.  But these were my observations, both the good and the bad. As such, if it were at a more readily accessible location and had the communication worked out, I wouldn’t mind coming back to see how it’s grown from this year to next. So now that I’m done sounding like a pretentious bitch, I’m signing out.  Carry on and good day.

DJ Ranma S

DJ Ranma S is cosplay veteran. He has won numerous performance awards with his friends over the years. He has staffed conventions in the past, ran panels, judged a couple of masquerades, a jack of all trades. He's worked dealer's room too! Running this site is his way of giving back to the cosplay community. He feels that it's his turn to give a future cosplayer their fifteen minutes of fame.

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One Response to “Zenkaikon… From A Non-Performer POV”

  1. ユキ says:

    I'm hoping that this Lancaster location works out for Zenkaikon, so that the convention organizers have something to build upon. I've gone every year since 2008, and even though it was at the Valley Forge three of those times, the rooms/spaces they managed to rent out were always different, so there was never any consistency to the lay-out between years.

    I like smaller conventions better than large conventions because of the likelihood I'll run into friends and people I've met over the years, the schedule isn't as tightly packed, so people aren't always in a hurry. Basically, Zenkaikon was a bit of a chili-out con for me; which is one of the reasons I keep going back.

    I do have sympathy for the public transportation people, as the con was in a terrible location for anyone taking the Amtrak/Bus into Philly. Downtown Lancaster might actually be better because of the Reading rail-line.

    Anyway, I enjoyed reading your blog 🙂

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