This past weekend I attended the 11th annual Ichibancon Convention held in Concord, North Carolina. Ichiban is held in the Concord Convention Center located the Embassy Suites Hotel right across the street from the Charlotte Motor Speedway. This is my second year attending this convention and I thought I would write a review detailing my experiences, observations, and thoughts about the con.
I stayed at the embassy suites again this year. My arrival date was on Wednesday, the day before the official start of the convention. I thought it was easier to check in a day earlier and not have to deal with the crowds of guests rushing to check in and get ready for the con. It was great to gather all of my luggage and cosplay items and get them into the room with no hassle.
My buddy arrived shortly after I did and we dropped his gear off into the room and then we proceeded to go to Lidl, a local grocery store, similar to Aldi’s but better quality to grab some beverages, snacks and some food to sustain us through the convention weekend. We promptly returned to the hotel so that we can get a spot to park as we planned to stay at the hotel and not leave eliminating the headache of the parking situation I experience last year.
We ordered some Silver Lake Ramen off of grubhub to be delivered and we had that as our dinner. The food was great and reasonably priced. After we ate, we retired to the hotel lobby and grabbed some Adult beverages to rewind and get mentally prepared for the upcoming convention over the next couple of days then returned to the room to watch Trigun Bad Land Rumbles and Paprika.
Day 1 – Thurday
Thursday is the official day one of the convention. We woke up and grabbed some hotel breakfast. We hung out in the hotel room until 12:00 noon. At that time we went down to the Convention Center to grab our badges. The badges were similar to last year, but it seemed like the lanyards were thin and not as good as last years.
After we got our badges, We did 18+ Check to get our wrist bands and then I went back to the room to get my Staff of Nazerick to be checked in by security as it is custom to have your Cosplay Weapons and Propped Checked. This is where I knew my weekend would be worth it.
I stepped to the Security desk and said I had a prop to be checked. The Security Staff looked at it and was in shock and awe to the sheer size, weight and the fact that it was 3d printed but looked like it was casted in another material. I asked if I needed a special zip tie or item on it and the other staffer said We know this is a prop and we are not going to waste a Zip Tie. This made me laugh and I was on my way.
While walking back to the hotel room to drop the staff off I was stopped multiple times by many people curious to see what the staff was about and why I was walking around with it. I told many people that this is for my Cosplay that I will be debuting on Friday and Saturday as I feel that Thursday and Sunday’s were days to days to be comfortable, check out the convention layout, check vendors and see what’s around.
After eating lunch, we went back down to the convention at 4:00 pm to start our con day. Went to the dealers hall, otaku flea market, and the artist alley. I scoped out items I would buy later and met with some friends. While this was happening my Buddy was going ham buying Items to have signed by the VA’s and Guests as well as other gifts. Which was interesting to say the least as I wait till the final day to buy things and to see if you can get them discounted as the vendors don’t want to lug the items around.
Once we saw all that we saw, we retired back to the room to drop off our stuff, get our drinks from the lounge. Drank the adult beverages and then went back upstairs to play some Cards against Humanity. The game was fine but it was 3 people playing so you couldn’t get the best kind of combinations. We retired around midnight to get ready for the next day.
Day 2 – Friday
Friday started normally. Woke up early, grabbed some breakfast and then waited. We knew the convention would start at 10 am. So after heavily preparing to fight out of the Con FUNK by utilizing the methods called “SHOWER and ANTIPERSPERANT,” I geared up for my cosplay. Mind you this is the first time that I have suited my cosplay up with everything. It all went on fine. I just needed some help to make sure the cowling fit right.
Onwards to the convention hall. I had to side step, crab walk, or scuttle out of the hotel room door into the elevator. We went down stairs and since we had our badges we were able to walk in without waiting. Walked into the Hall and met up with my buddy who Cosplays Endeavor and Reinhardt, and spoke for a bit. My neck plate strap broke off but my friend brought it back to the room so I can repair it later. We then went our own ways. I walked around for a while getting stopped for photos. I was being the character. I started Talking like the person I was cosplaying. I had people stop and kneel and bow down before the Great and Powerful God King of Nazerick. AINZ OOAL GOWN.
The reactions were wonderful. Pictures were being taking. People commenting on how well the cosplay turned out. People asking about the staff and what I did to bring him alive, etc. This made my day. I had positive results at Queen City, but this was better than I expected and I am not even done with my cosplay yet.
The best reaction of the day was when my friend, who was dressed as Endeveour and I met up with Jesus and we decided we were going to walk back into the hall. One person asked to take our picture where a cleaning lady stopped and said I need to take a picture of this “SHIT” too. She looked at me and with a look of disbelief she said “Oh shit his eyes are glowing.” That was the best reaction I could ever ask for.
After several hours of cosplaying, I was getting tired walking with the staff and my vision was poor due to the mask being worn over a morph suit mask. I retired Ainz for the day so that I can take photos of cosplayers and just to relax. Fast forward several more hours we had multiple friends up to the room and we were drinking, playing cards against humanity and eating pizza having a good old time waiting for the next day to start.
Day 3 – Saturday
We woke up late and decided to skip breakfast, though I forgot breakfast ended at 10 on Saturday’s and decided to get ready for the day. I fixed the neck plate of my cosplay using Copious amounts of Gorilla branded Hot Melt Glue and donned my cosplay. I walked around for several hours in the con. I was in character the whole time. I scared some con goers by walking up behind them. The thought it was cool. I was asking where my fellow Tomb Guardians were. I did what every person would do. Have fun.
Around 11:30 I stopped at the bar, hung out with friends, ate some food. I suited up waiting for my photoshoot to start at 1:00 pm. around 12:30 while standing in the bar area. I was asked to take a photo. I agreed. The Person who asked said she was Albedo Last year. I asked her if she had the Fancy Albedo Black Butt Winds and the Septum Piercing and she said yes. I told her that she was the reason why I decided to do this cosplay after speaking with her. She got her photo taken and I told her to hold on. I took the custom made Ring of Nazerick I 3d printed and used resin to make the stone with and gave it to her as a parting gift. The same way Ainz gives the ring to Albedo in the series. I have never seen a girl Swee and Squeal before over a handmade ring. But it was worth it. I also thought the look on her guy friend’s face was priceless as well. He looked like Dude why you giving her a ring.
At 1:00 PM. I met up with Leah of Imiicie Photography for the Photo Shoot. https://imiicie.wixsite.com/miicie We walked off hotel property to the shooting location. It was windy and overcast. Nice and dreary day for a photoshoot of Ainz Ooal Gown. The shoot lasted about 30 minutes for all the photos to be taken and it was a good time. We went back to the hotel bar to talk more about what I would like for the photos and told her what I was looking at and I would send the reference material.
After the session was done, I started to suit up to drop off my gear in the room so I can cosplay later when the unthinkable happened. One of my shoulder armor pieces broke at the seam where it was glued. I was like FUUUUUUUUU. Oh well, at least I got the photoshoot done. I figure, let me get it up stairs to the room and I can glue it later. I grabbed everything hastily and proceeded to go to the room. While waiting for the elevator, I dropped the broken piece to break it further. Made me mad and I was mad I didn’t realize I lost one of the gloves for my cosplay. Oh well. I did what I needed to do so I wasn’t really mad.
I glued what I could glue with E6000 but I knew it would take forever to cure so I cleaned up and De-funkified myself and went back downstairs and walked around a bit, took more photos. There was a fire alarm that happened when a kid pulled the alarm so we all had to evacuate the building and we had to wait for the Fire Department to clear it. I then hung out until the Cosplay Masquerade. This is where things got interesting.
While preparing for the line to start, the con staff was a bit unorganized by the events room. They pushed people back who were patiently waiting to line up. While they were getting things ready and we were allowed to get into line, about 30 people jumped the line. We were like WTF but nothing was done.
We were let into the room and the event started. The MC’s were good and funny and they had good chemistry. There were a lot of Idol Groups, Dancing and some other Millie Vanillie Lip Sync skits. The Cosplay contest was alright. But it seemed like some of the judging was a bit jaded. And my friend was a bit annoyed that he didn’t win, but there was no feedback given to what I was told. This reminded me of QCAC last year to me, where I was told that 3d Printing and Foam Work have nothing to do with cosplay.
With that aside, I did voice my concerns to the MC when I ran into him after the event. He said that CONOPS are aware and that they may have new categories for judging for cosplays that are more technical such as armor work or technical craftsmanship. This kind of led to a Dumpster fire of a thread on the Ichiban Facebook group, but I digress.
After the events of the masquerade. I hung out with my friends. Drank some adult beverage and retired to the patio so people who smoke tobacco can unwind while listening to music and drinking said beverages. About 20 minutes into this the heavens opened up and it started to down pour. We went back inside and then I started to get leg cramps and I was hungry. I went to my room, ordered some food via grubhub. Took some ibuprofen and watched some tv while waiting for the food. At midnight, some people were drunk trying to get into the room next door and they were so rambunctious the walls were moving. I came close to calling the front desk for a complaint but it stopped.
After the food arrived, I ate and cleaned up and packed all my stuff for the next day. I stood up till around 2 am before going to sleep knowing the final day was upon us for the convention.
Day 4 - Sunday
It is now day 4. Woke up early. Finished packing and loaded up the cars. Checked out of the hotel early and then ate breakfast. We waited in the breakfast buffet area till the convention started and then started walking around. This is where I was talking to my friend about the broken window and hotel staff said it was due to the high winds. I bought my case of Steamed Japanese Cheese Cakes. I got a cd Signed by The VA of Asuka From Neon Genesis Evangelion and just checked the dealers room and what not. I left around 12 noon as there wasn’t much for me to do and I didn’t think the panels were worth going to today. I made the 35 minute trek back home to unpack my car and get some additional sleep.
My overall experience with the convention is positive. I like the smaller, intimate venues where you can meet people and make friends. This is far different than larger conventions. Like any convention, parking and food choices suck. Especially when the prices of food can be jacked up so if you go, buy food and bring it in to consume if you want to save some cash.
Many of the people are nice and I had no issues with them. In fact I made many friends just by attending this con and Queen City. The cosplayers were nice to watch and get photos with. I was able to get some good idea’s for my cosplay just by talking to them.
I didn’t see too much of toxicity within the community at the con, but I know it exists out there. I wrote another post about it in the Cosplay Section
Parking was another grip as this con has many people visit during the day and parking gets scare quick. It would be nice if they had more parking or as other has suggested moving to a larger venue. The only issue I see with that is that you may loose your intimate setting of this venue.
I think this convention is good. I loved every minute of it. I know I may not have made use of going to the panels or standing in line for some of the events, what I did participate in I had no issues with. 10 out of 10 I will go back next year. In fact I am already preparing for next year.