Thursday, September 12, 2013

SeishunCon 2013 Report


Fourth year convention, Seishun Con, is located in Marietta, Georgia. In the suburbs of Atlanta, this convention already had that going for it: location. Near the city but not directly in it, Seishun moved to the Hilton Atlanta/Marietta Hotel and Conference Center.

Smaller cons provide a great atmosphere for getting to know people. It allowed for very personable dealers rooms (yes two!) and artist alley. The dealers shared the sentiment; they felt as though they had to work to get to know people at larger conventions, but it was easy in the small room at the small convention. Of course there are benefits to the larger conventions, but I can see what the dealer meant as it allowed for more personal interaction since there weren’t as many dealers in one room. It was pleasant seeing familiar vendors such as: JHouse Rock/House of Anime and Cordy’s Corner; while finding new ones too!

Artists were extremely friendly! In that relaxed, close-knit environment, every artist was willing to explain their work, talk, and generally made visitors feel welcome. Also, Shannon, who was a staff member running the Artist Alley, was very helpful! There was a familiar face in Guinea Pig Lady Sara in her Wreck-it-Ralph cosplay as Felix. Also at MomoCon, she seems to be a fixture around here with her friendly face and awesome stuff. Then I met a new artist, Caroline Cash, with her creative creations. I loved her buttons with various characters on them, and the cute stickers. She also had a deck of Hetalia themed playing cards she designed. I hope to order the Avatar ones from her personally.

When it came to panels, there was definitely a variety of terrific panels offered. Lots of “ask-a-character” type panels along with quite a few music videos, AMVs, and animes shown throughout the weekend. Autograph sessions for both Tiffany Grant and Micah Solusod occurred in addition to individual Q & Q panels and a joint panel. They had other things like “Easy Armor”, “Take the Cost Out of Costuming”, “Convention Horror Stories”, “Abridged 101”, “Cosplay Chess” and more!

“Cosplay and Cons 101” was the first actual panel I attended at SeishunCon. Before then I ended up wandering around, learning the layout and admittedly stopping by the Dealer’s room. More on the cosplay side, this panel was still super informative. It discussed various fabrics and materials to make costumes out of, how to do it, and where to get wigs. The highlight was a hilariously accurate explanation of how to approach and not to approach cosplayers about taking their photo. Abby ADOS Cosplay , Minzii Cosplay , and Sakuya Cosplay did a great job!

Run by well-known photographer Blake Entrekin of Bentpic5, “Cosplay Posting for Beginners” was massively helpful. He started out with an educational PowerPoint on poses and talked about how to work with your environment and props. It was entertaining and remarkably helpful at its best. The PowerPoint showed examples of various poses, angles, and compared them to others all while Blake patiently explained it to the room. It inspired me to play around and as soon as the next panel was done I soon found myself shooting in the beautiful garden area they had at the hotel. His tips were very helpful.

By request of a friend, I went to the “Soul Eater Trivia & Ask a Character” panel on Friday. Having just started the anime, by request of the same friend who dragged me to the panel, we went and watched. The people running the panel seemed to know quite a bit about the show as the big fans in the room were even more excited as the panel went on. It was entertaining even for someone without knowledge on the show. Though it wasn’t until the panel later with Soul’s voice actor when I really wanted to continue the show.

Karaoke was out of this world! It had a comfortable environment and was even funnier than most karaoke events because you could get involved too. There were quite a few group songs ranging from the original Pok√©mon theme song, to the English Sailor Moon theme, and once it was open Karaoke, “Bohemian Rhapsody” too! The highlights, besides the group pieces, were when a young girl went up and sang by herself (and did a great job!) making everyone smile, and when a Loki cosplayer sang a parody version of the popular song “Call Me Maybe”.

Saturday was the day, after a great ending to Friday. The first event of the day, and my personal favorite panel, was the “Ouran Q&A“ fan panel, this Q&A session was in character with cosplayers for all of the main characters from Ouran High School Host Club. The anime is about a group of rich boys that go to an expensive private school that run a host club. They are boys with too much time on their hands that entertain ladies who also have too much time on their hands (to paraphrase the show). It was hilarious! Everyone was spot on with their portrayals and I was impressed considering they didn’t really break character the whole time.

They answered questions expertly from the crowd while staying true to what we knew. When questions failed they would ask the audience things, providing a rose as a prize in true gentlemanly fashion. They even did “shipping” photos upon requests from the audience, earning many squeals. The leader of the host club who seemed to be running the panel, Tamaki Suoh, even squealed with delight when asked to do photos with the only main female character, Haruhi Fujioka. The Honey-senpai cosplayer was downright adorable and the Mori cosplayer (they are best friends in the series) fit perfectly with them. There were even twins playing the Hitachin twin characters! Favorite panel of the whole convention!

The “Laugh Out Loud AMVs” certainly made everyone laugh loudly! They were absolutely hilarious! Originally my friends and I went in there to pass the time until the next panel we were attending, but it was so entertaining that I quickly became immersed in the videos. Time flies when you’re having fun! While running out to see if there was a line for the following panel, I ran into a random person who asked what the problem was when I complained about my cosplay. She offered to fix it, but unfortunately the other part was with the rest of my things. She did give me her card and offered to assist! The power of conventions and lovely conversations.

Next, and last for the night, came the “Crimson Star Media Dub Auditions”. Crimson Star Media is a new company located right here in Newnan, Georgia. They recently acquired their first title Looking Up At The Half-Moon, about two teenagers in a hospital and their budding friendship, looking up at the moon. They allowed us to see the first episode before beginning the auditions and it was great! They are taking orders on their website. If they reach 275 pre-orders by August 1st, then they will dub the anime! Unfortunately they have to reach that quota in order to provide that. But in the meantime they guarantee a sub release by September 27th, just in time for Anime Weekend Atlanta! I know I’m getting it!

The auditions themselves were fun as well. They had some technical difficulties so they did the question and answer part first, allowing us to get to know the anime before we saw it and get to know the company. They seemed like nice people who were excited to do what they were doing! After the screening, they asked for volunteers and well, I volunteered to be the guinea pig and had a blast! They showed us the Japanese section before so we could get an idea and then we were to read the English lines off the script! It was a bit of a challenge to match the timing but it got easier! It was lots of fun and they didn’t have the opportunity to get through everyone, as they were originally having us do several lines rather than the later choice of one, but they do have the ability to audition online!

Sunday was slower, but still silly and fun! I wished I could have arrived for the “Zoids Fan Panel”, but I missed it by a little unfortunately. If I’m lucky they’ll have it in the future; it was great to see such an awesome anime represented. The “Cosplay Prejudice” panel sounded interesting. It is always important to have serious discussion alongside the fun because sometimes it is needed to allow for fun. The “Toonami Fan Panel” was cool. The person running it had a lot of examples of various animes and shows from the Toonami times and it was a great throwback to childhood.

The final panel I attended was the “Voice Acting w/ Tiffany and Micah”. Tiffany Grant is an experienced voice actress who has been around since 1994. Whew! She has definitely had time to work on her art and it shows; she does a great job with her acting. Her most prominent role was likely Asuka from Neon Genesis Evangelion, though she has been in so many more shows including Blue SeedFull Metal AlchemistAzumanga Daioh, and Chrono Crusade! Mich Solusod is newer to the game, having been around since 2009, and is most recognized as Soul from Soul Eater.

Individually, I think either of these two would run a great panel but they played off of each other very well! They listened to the audience and told funny anecdotes whenever applicable, also answering questions from any and everyone who asked. Micah said it was always good to be curious and also dug himself into some entertaining holes with his commentary! Apparently, he also was unacquainted with his bio from the program. His response was laughter; they had combined several of his previous bios resulting in a story-like introduction! Tiffany had some great industry stories, including one about the time she played a magical pooping bear! That might not be a role she wants to be known for, but she was a good sport when telling the audience about it. Two terrifically down to earth voice actors made for a fabulous end to the official part of the con. Afterwards I managed to get into a spontaneous game of Ultimate Werewolf, playing several rounds that lasted over two hours combined!

All in all, not what I had expected, but still a great experience. Many of the best things that happen at conventions are unexpected and unplanned. People go in with one expectation and leave with a whole different result, quite often better than the original intent! Conventions are a beautiful place. Seishun is small and standing strong on its own in the summer season when many people are on vacation. I applaud their hard work and friendly staff. It was lovely seeing the familiar faces even during the summer! I’m impressed with my first time at SeishunCon and curious as to how it will grow!

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SeishunCon | House of Anime / JHouse Rock | Cordy’s Corner | Abby ADOS Cosplay | Minzii CosplaySakuya Cosplay | Bentpic5 | Crimson Star Media


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This SeishunCon report was written by Kaitlin Maginnis (Rain) and edited by Alicia R. Thomas.


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