Live from Youmacon (Sort of)

Okay, well, that didn’t go as I planned.

If you came to this blog on Saturday, you’ll notice that instead of Star Trek Saturdays, I instead announced that I would be liveblogging as I attended Youmacon in Detroit, MI.

Well, what I failed to realize was that Youmacon, which I attended with my friends on behalf of my college’s anime club, is an absolutely massive event. Easily the biggest con I’ve ever been to, it dominated every inch of the two buildings it was located in, the Cobo Center (where most of the events were held) and the Renaissance Center, attached to the Marriott Renaissance that we stayed at. Just being in and among everybody was so all-consuming that to take time out to blog about it all would have been impossible.

So, here then, here’s a rundown of what I went to, day by day:

Friday:

We left in two groups, with my car leaving Grand Rapids around 10-ish and arriving close to 1 P.M. After registering and receiving my 3-day pass, I dropped off my stuff at the hotel, then we all walked over to the Cobo center, where we split up to do our own thing.

Not really knowing where to go, given that the con’s organizers only put up the events schedule about a week before, I decided to attend a 2-hour panel on Adventure Time, a show I came to love enormously this past spring and over the summer. Everyone else there loved it too, and the woman running the panel–whose name, if she said it, escapes me–seized on that. After a brief powerpoint with her thoughts on the characters and how the show, in her opinion, really isn’t for kids, and a short trivia session with free candy thrown–literally–at the correct guesser, there was a…well, “voice matching” contest is the best way I can describe it.

It went like this: a clip showcasing a particular character was played–like, say, this one–and four audience volunteers went up and tried to imitate the character as best they could, with the best one winning a prize. I won twice, once for playing the Ice King–for which I won a giant lollipop–and once for playing Lumpy Space Princess, which after a tense standoff, resulted in me winning a can of beans (it’s something that makes sense once you research it). After that, and after some delightful conversation with a person I met there, I ran over to the Dealers’ Room basically just to look around and wound up, regrettably, eating from the food vendors in there, which of course charged an arm and a leg.

Then, me and another member of our group went to the 7:00 panel hosted by Martin “littlekuriboh” Bellamy, creator of Yu-Gi-Oh The Abridged Series and the godfather of the abridged series/anime parody movement on YouTube. It was an enormously fun hour, which culminated with him previewing the latest episode of the abridged series of Yu-Gi-Oh Capsule Monsters.

After meeting up with some others, we hung out for a while, then got in line for the 9:00 panel by the kings of anime parody, Team Four Star

While I don’t want to go into full detail here, suffice it to say, the way the line was organized was an absolute mess; both ends thought they were where the line started and the stuff kept shuffling everyone around awkwardly for no real purpose. That was a mess, and consequently, the panel proper started about 20 minutes after its allotted start, but it was still hilarious. The whole crew–over 10 people, I think–were there, and were all equally engaging and entertaining.

After that, we went back to the hotel room and hung out for a little bit. Then my one friend and I decided to go to one of the round-the-clock screening rooms at the Renaissance Center as they were going to be screening Attack On Titan, which is this year’s version of “anime that everyone flocks to and yells at you for not watching.” After accidentally getting in line for another panel, we found our way to the right room….where they were showing Pokemon.

Yeah.  Supposedly Funimation, which holds the rights to Titan and basically every anime ever, didn’t get the screening rights cleared in time. So that was irritating; after watching half of the first episode of the live-action adaptation of something else, we went to bed.

Saturday was the first full day for us, and it was the most exciting for me, as I got to attend a panel hosted by, and later got to meet, Internet celebrity–and one of my personal heroes–Lewis “Linkara” Lovhaug, host of the comic book review show Atop The Fourth Wall.

This year is the 5th anniversary of the show, which is one of the highlights of Internet review shows in my opinion, and the panel was a load of fun, with trivia, Q&A and fascinating stories from Lovhaug (turns out, he used to write Sailor Moon fanfiction). And after a two-hour wait in line, as he was next to Team Four Star, I got to shake his hand and thank him for his inspiration, purchase and get his autograph on the show’s official DVD, and actually talk to him for a couple of minutes about his cameo in Shortpacked! and about DC Comics.

So yeah, that pretty much made my day. Lovhaug is a prime example of how to turn a passion into a career and meeting him was a joy and treasure.

The rest of Saturday was still a lot of fun and laughs, but that was a highlight.

Sunday, I didn’t attend any panels, instead preferring to hit up the Dealers’ Room, where I found, among other things:

  • a T-Shirt from Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, the first anime I ever got into
  • a DVD of Takeshi Miike’s 2007 cult favorite Sukiyaki Western Django
  • Some awesome original art of a grumpy Batman (who is the best Batman along with Sad Batman)

I could go on, and I will post pictures soon, but in the end, Youmacon was a great three days and worth every penny I paid to get there.

 

 

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