Countdown Till Ichiban Con 2023 Starts
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Round Zero: The two days leading to the convention It is that time of the year again where I get to be let free and have some much-needed time off and enjoy a summertime anime convention. The convention is Queen City Anime Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. The convent took place at the Sheraton Hotel in Charlotte and it took place August 5 – August 7, 2022. My vacation started on the Wednesday night before the convention. I had a good friend and convention hotel roommate stay over the night so we can get some last-minute things done before leaving on Thursday. My friend took his Covid 19 test, and it was confirmed negative. I took mine earlier that day so at least we had a base line and were in compliance to QCAC’s attendance policy. We uploaded his results to CrowdPass and enjoyed the night. I Already had my Vaccination information uploaded to Crowdpass so I was good for the convention. The next day my friend and I did some running around after packing out my car with all our gear. We stopped at a couple of ABC stores for some drinks and then stopped at target near the hotel to pick up a couple of other items. Next we stopped at the PetCo next to Target and grabbed my friends bags while he was working so we can then check into the hotel room and all he needed to do was just go to the room. Once the shopping was done and it was near check-in time, we headed to the hotel, parked the car, checked into the hotel and got the Handicap Accessible room and key cards. We to the car to utilize the cart to unpack the car and get settled into the hotel room while we waited for a couple of friends to arrive. We unpacked the cart, got our stuff situated and hung out until my friend arrived from York SC. We met up with him outside the hotel and walked to our dinner reservation at the Japanese BBQ Gyu Kaku in the rain and arrived at the restaurant before the skies opened up. The dinner was awesome. Not only was the food awesome. The Time spent with friends was much needed. We at well more than the price of admission. The food was cooked to perfection for the sides and meals that weren’t prepared at the table and the quality of the Meats and Seafood to be grilled at the table were tasty as hell. The bill was 352 dollars after tax and tip for the four of us. But it was money well spent. Ten out of ten will go back again next year with the boys and make this a tradition. We headed back to the hotel to wait for a friend to arrive at the trains station. My buddy and I went and picked her up at the sketchy train station on North Tryon Street. We waited outside for about 20 minutes before getting her and her luggage packed into the car. She had a long ride from Virginia to Charlotte, and she was hungry. We stopped at a Wendy’s near the hotel, and we couldn’t order for her as they weren’t taking cards for payment. We had no cash on us, so we had to go to the hotel with no food for her. Luckily, she packed some snacks which helped her last to the next day. Round 1: Fight – Friday Day 1 We all woke up early to get ready for the convention. We took our showers, shaved, did our make up and got ready for the convention. I was dressing up as Doctor Robnix from the Sonic the Hedgehog Movie series/Games/Animate series. My friend was dressed up as Lord Briarwood, my other friend was dressed as himself, and my other friend was dressed as Mcree. We all left at different times to get to the registration area of the convention. While Walking from the hotel down the stairs to the registration area my pant leg caught under my boot after I started walking down the stairs from the middle landing and I fell down the stair. I fell like a graceful gazelle. I protected my head and made sure I didn’t damage my props. I was able to get up and some onlookers ran by to see if I was alright. I fell down in front of the Registration Tables and No one from the con came by to help, it was the attendee’s who checked me out. Luckily, I was wearing my motorcycle boots so that helped minimize damage to my ankles and leg. I dusted my self off and got back up and stood in line with my friends. The convention thought it was wise to have the registration lines on the left side of the strairway right in front of the Elevator. The left was for people to buy at the door and near the stairs for those who pre-registered. That was a bad move for accessibility as you were blocking the way for those who needed use of the elevator. But I digress, We got into the line, I was able to get my badge after some confusion as I have a lifetime badge and their system didn’t show the registration. I showed them my email from the Convention with the bade number and the VIP status and they gave me the badge. After going through the line, I tucked my pants into the boots, reapplied the spirit gum for my mustach and then went up the stairs. The convention was packed. I had my photo taken multiples time as the eggman. People liked the cosplay. Every so often I would stop, open my jacked up and take a swig of the Gatorade I had in my camel pack to stay hydrated. Little did I know I would go a gallon of that liquid in one day. The convention center was hot. I sweated a lot. I had to apply the spirit gum over and over just to get thorough the day in cosplay as the mustache kept coming off. I went around the convention did my rounds through the vendor hall/ artist alley, and hung out with friends. I did a mustach swap as the original one was drenched in sweat and couldn’t be used for the photo shoot. At 5 pm I did my photoshoot with my Photographer Imiicie. We went to the parking deck and took photos for the package I purchased. The Shoot went well and when that was done and we cooled down a bit inside, I went back to the room to get out of cosplay. I attended the Burlesque show at 10:00 pm and had a great time hanging out with my friends and then we all retired for the night at our hotel room to prepare for the second day of the convention. Round 2: Fight – Saturday Day 2 Day 2 opened up to me preparing for the cosplay judging. I got into my Ainz Ooal Gown Cosplay. Took me a bit to get into the boots as I am sore as hell from the fall the day before. I get everything I needed for the judging, and I had my handler get me to the judging room. We entered the room and go over everything with the judges. They seemed impressed with the work. Liked the way it looked and thought my finishing was well. Overall the judging lasted about 10 minutes and I was on my way. I then rushed back to the room to get out of the cosplay as I was boiling and I couldn’t wear it in the convention center for health risks. I then changed back into robotnix and walked around the convention again. Repeating what I did on Friday. Hanging out, meeting friends, taking photos, talking the “SHIT” with friends and people overall having a good time until I had to get ready for the cosplay contest. I rushed back to the room to get dressed by myself while my handler was MIA. I met up with him at the main events hall. We get in and start getting ready for the cosplay contest. The event room was standing room only. The contest started 15 minutes early. And lasted till about 7:30ish. I didn’t place, again. Though The contest only had first place winners for craftmanship contests, but 3 places fore the runway which was interesting. To say I was pissed for not placing was an understatement, but It happens. I get out of the event all to get back to the room, some Kids said My cosplay was awesome and I should have won and asked for my photo which made me feel good. Afterwards, I rushed back to the room to get out of the cosplay as I was hot as hell. After the contests, I ordered some food to the hotel and hung out with my friends. Went out around the con while the late night events were about start and then went to the room to rest my leg and hips for the rest of the night so I watched some anime on my laptop while icing my leg. After doing some short resting, I packed up all my bags and packed the car out a bit. I brought a cart to the room and got that prepared for checkout so we could have a fast check out in the morning. Round 3: Fight – Sunday Day 3 Day 3 started out the same as Saturday. We got up. Got dressed and cleaned up the hotel room. We packed out the cars and made sure the room was cleaned and we weren’t missing anything. I checked us out of the room and then we hung out for the most part of the day. Didn’t do too much. WE waited for my friend’s sister to pick her up which didn’t happen till about 4 pm. Afterwards we left the convention to end fun weekend. The overall weekend was good. There was some things that could have been done much better and other things that my need to be fixed. The Good, The Bad, The indifferent The good: 1) The convention cared about the health and enforced a mask mandate as well as mandatory testing or full vaccination. 2) The hired security staff was good, nice, courteous, and did their job well. 3) There was a variety of food truck. The Bad: 1) There was no Cosplay Contest Feedback panel 2) Lack of accessibility for those who needed accessibility. 3) The placement of the registration booth was bad. 4) The food truck placement was not accessible and too far. 5) The venue was too damn hot 6) The con staff didn’t even see if a convention attendee was alright after falling down the stairs The Indifferent: 1) The hotel could have better accessible rooms. 2) The room we had leak from the room above, 3) The accessibility room had doors only 33 inches wide and the rooms were narrow. 4) The cosplay contest seems to be chaotic from a backend. There seems to be no consistency between each year I have attended. Overall, the convention was fun. Things will need to change to help the event grow. I don’t know what’s happening in the back end but things will need to be ironed out big time way prior to the event occurring. In conclusion I will continue to attend. But there are changes that will need to be done in order for this event to grow and continue to operate. I say this is a solid 4 out of 5 stars.
Prologue It has been crazy the past couple of years since Covid 19 struck the world as a global pandemic. This made the plans of many become cancelled as the virus spread like wild fire throughout the world. In 2021, I had plans on going to Ichiban Con in Concord, NC. The convention was cancelled due to the pandemic, which rightfully so was the smart thing to do by the convention organizer. Things have cleared a bit in 2021 where I was able to go to Queen City Anime Convention and they had very strict covid 19 protocols which made the convention feel very safe. Time to leap forward to January 2022 and Ichiban Con made its comeback appearance in the convention scene and this is my story of what happened at the convention through my perspective. Now, the convention journey was standard. Working on my cosplay, making small improvements, and getting ready for the convention. On January 12, 2022 I packed up my car with my gear and my friend Ventus and I drove up to the Embassy Suites in Concord, NC at around 2:30 P.M. We arrived at the hotel around 3:30 P.M just before the normal check in. I was smart and I performed the Check in online making sure I was able to choose a room on the 2nd floor as I knew we would have roommates who would have mobility needs and being on the 2nd floor would be the easiest to get on and off the elevators and if we those who needed to use the stairs they would be able to do so. Ventus and I get to the hotel to grab the key cards. There was a bit of a snafu with my bank card and I had to use Ventus’s Card in order to secure the room for the reservation because I didn’t get paid till the 13th. After checking in, we grabbed a cart and packed it up to bring our gear to the hotel room. This is where we stood for a bit and then went out for dinner. We hit up the Iron Dish Korean BBQ restaurant that is literally 10 minutes away from the hotel. We partook in one of the best dining experiences I have had in quite a long time. 45 dollars per person, all you can eat food, with a 2-hour time limit cant be beat. We enjoyed every minute of it. Once dinner was completed, we slogged our way back to the hotel with our stomach’s full of great food and retired for the night at the hotel resting for the long weekend ahead of ourselves. Day 1: The next day, we woke up, stopped at the front desk, changed the bank card to my bank card and then had breakfast. The hotel has a decent continental breakfast where we enjoyed things from eggs, bacon, cereals, coffee, tea, juices, and variety of other breakfast staples. Now that breakfast was completed, we went back to the hotel room and relaxed until around noon where we went to stand in line to get our badges and get age verified. The line was already forming and we waited till 1 pm for the line to open. While waiting for the line to start we chatted with some artists from the artist alley and craft fair who was in line with us and I found out I bought some merchandise from one of them last year at Queen City. Talk about a small world. About 10 minutes in line we grabbed our passes, got age verified and then I went to get my staff of Ainz Ooal Gown Prop Checked. The staff said it’s a propped and its checked without looking at it or inquiring anything about it. I asked if I could at least get the zip tie to commemorate that it was check in at a con for posterity and they did. While walking back to the room to drop the prop off I met up with my buddy Cam who we went up to the hotel room, dropped the staff and helped bring his stuff up. This occurred several times through out the day with various of our roomies and when the last roomie made it our convention trip started to get going full swing. Since this was the first day, nothing was really going on, the convention was light on participants as it was a Thursday and the time the convention started was at 3pm. We all hung out, took our tours of the dealer room, check out panels and met other friends throughout the day. We had pizza for dinner and drank the finest alcohol we could bring to get the convention part started. We ate, drank, and we were merry until we called it quits to get ready for the next day. Day 2: Friday was the next day of the convention We woke up early, went to the lobby had breakfast and got ready for the convention. I cosplayed as TeruTeru from Danganronpa, Cam cosplayed as Endeavor from My Hero academia, and our other friends either cosplayed or went in weeb attire. We hit the cosplay floor and Cam, Camilla, and I went around chatted with several peeps, went outside, took some photos, started to enjoy the festivities within the convention. We hit up the dealers room, we hit up the game room, and what not. Highlight of the game room was when Cam and I played some Rock band. He took guitar and they forced me to be vocals after the first song Cam played. I choose Crazy Train for the song and needless to say, I nailed it and blew Cams mind. He wasn’t expecting me to go ham with it, but then again, Ozzy is one of my favorite artists so I knew I could sing it quite well. My cosplay for teru teru got some weird looks, some people called me chef boyardi, another called me barry the slasher from FMA, and another said I looked like a chef form the hotel. I was ready to be asked that because this was a dry run of this cosplay, I am hoping to get more items set up correctly for it, like the mini chef’s hat, the symbol on the apron, and the wok. The highlight of the cosplay was getting a plastic ladle prop checked from the security department. I thought that was pretty funny. We all met up several times throughout the day and we attended panels, met with friends and what not. The best thing that happened was Cam and Josh were asked to be roasted in the Cosplay Roast. IT was hilarious and we all had a good time. After the panels were done, we came back up to the room hung out with friends and retired for the night to get ready for Saturday. Day 3: We started Saturday the same as Friday. We ate breakfast and went back to the hotel room. Cameron got into his cosplay for this 10:15 judging slot, I walked around the convention while pushing Camilla around in her wheelchair as she has limited mobility. We hit up the dealers room, did our laps of the Con Floor, She had many photos taken of her cosplay which many people loved. Around 1 pm, I went up to the room and got into my cosplay. This is the first time getting the cosplay together with the boots, sabatons, knee armor, and new gloves. Ventus was my handler, we walked around, I was stopped many times for photos and video opportunities. Had my photos taken by the variant and I paid for the thumb drive with the photos on it. I retired to the bar for a bit to wait till the photo shoot with my fried Imiicie. At 3:50 I suited up, met with Imiicie and we did the photo shoot. The shoot was outside. It lasted an hour, And took many photos. Some of the basic photos are going to be used for my portfolio that I will be putting together for my entry into Queen City Anime Convention in August. Once the shoot was over, I walked around for a bit, took more photos and then got out of the cosplay so that we could attend the cosplay masquerade. Ventus and I were lucky we got on line when we did. The filled up fast. The masquerade was good. The MC’s had good chemistry but the organization was poor. There was too many skits and not enough time for the craftmanship run way walks because they ran out of time. On the bright side, Cam won 3rd place in the masters division even though he entered the journeyman version. After the cosplay Masquerade, Cam, Camilla, and 2 of our other roomies, left the convention as they had long trips back home and the weather was going to be bad for Sunday as there was a winter storm watch in affect where there would be snow and ice. The Rest of us couldn’t check out due to 2 others in our group were a bit drunk and were in no way safe to drive. I made the decision to pack the car out so it was easy to get ready to leave in the morning. Ventus and I had Chinese food for dinner, while Josh and Jason did their own things. We went to bed around 12 or 1 am. Day 4: Day 4, we woke up and say there was about 2 – 3 inches of snow on the ground. We all woke up, ate breakfast and we cleaned the hotel room. Once we were all done, we checked out and Josh and Jason did their own thing while Ventus and I did out our thing and left. The drive home from Concord to charlotte was a pain in the ass due to the snow and ice on the ground. IT was sleeting and For some reason there was no plows on the road. We were able to make it home safe with no incidents. I would like to thank my many years of living and driving in winter conditions in New York. It kind of sucks we had to end our convention short. But It happens. I am hoping year will be better and we can stay the entire time. Epilogue and Rants. Overall, I had a great time at the convention, It was great to hang out with my friends and enjoy their company. We met so many people and made some new friends. Our cosplays were a hit and despite having to cut the trip short, I rate the convention this year a 8 out of 10. There were some things that could have been done better. The covid 19 protocols in place were a bit too laxed. They didn’t have any information posted until a week or so before the convention. They required all attendees wear a mask, yet the staff was allowed not to if they were vaccinated. There were some people who didn’t wear masks inside the convention sections and people weren’t enforcing the mask rules. I am not going to say how the convention policy differed from the policy of the hotel, which was fully vaccinated you could be mask less, while not vaccinated you would need a mask. Other issues I seen was the snafu with lines and queuing. It seems like it was inconsistent, and some staffers couldn’t make the lines correctly. This caused some arguments and contention between staff and congoers. I think they would need to think of queuing more seriously next year and come up with better solution. My final rant doesn’t have to do with the convention, but it has to do with certain congoers. This issue focuses on cosplayers who are disabled, who need use of mobility aides, who are different body type/gender from their cosplay source, or just human in general. My main rant was hearing some of the stories stemming around the fact that some people are cruel. People who will openly say that “you shouldn’t cosplay x person because your body type doesn’t match.”, or the cosplay would look great if you didn’t have crutches or if you weren’t in a wheelchair.”. This makes me angry. Everyone has the right to be able to cosplay who they like regardless of who they are, if they are fit, unfit, disabled, or have a different body type, gender, or skin color from the sourced material. You know how bad that makes people feel. It makes them feel like shit. This community is awesome. Cosplaying is fun and everyone has the right to experience that. Just because a cosplayer isn’t accurate to the source for what ever reason, doesn’t mean they didn’t do their best to do so. They put their time and effort into the cosplay to get the Dopamine Hit for getting asked to have their photo taken with a fellow fan of the fandom. A hit of dopamine to see that people like their work. Saying things that hurt people’s feeling is a dick move and isn’t tolerated. If I would have heard those statements from the people saying them, I would have given them choice words. They have no right to say things like that especially when it can hurt the feels who are affected by the words. Cosplay is meant to be an outlet for fans to dress up as their favorite character. There is no room for hatred and I do hope those people who say things like that, I hope they question their life decisions as it is wrong. This ends my experience from Ichiban Con 2022 convention.
Okay everyone, I have a topic here that I have been meaning to post a while. I have been thinking of all of the information and the right way to put what I would like to say out there. A little background is that I have been into the anime culture since way before when. The Time frame is 1993 or thereabouts. That is when I started watching anime when it wasn’t fully mainstream in the United states and anime was either Brightly Colored with Magical Girl storylines, Dark and gritty like Akira or Gundamesc. I started going to conventions in 2005 with Otakon followed by New York Anime Fest in 2008, 2009 and New York Comic Con in 2010. The times have changed and the anime styles changed from the above mentioned to Harem, Echhi, Yuri, Yaoi, to the standards you see today like Dragon Ball, Sailor Moon, Naruto, Bleach, Death Note, Lucky Star, etc. It was in 2008 when I started to cosplay and got the itch to portraying some of my favorite characters. I did Gluttony from FMA and The Millenium Earl From D.Gray Man. Two series which were popular at the time. I chose cosplay’s to suited my body style and characters that may or may not have been my jam as far as who I could have portrayed, mainly because I felt that I would do better portraying my body style. After the NYCC in 2010 I stopped going to conventions, primarily due to money and not having the time to take off to enjoy my WEBDOM. But I have been following the anime Scene not as closely as some, but to an extent knowing that is some of the popular series are, and what’s trending. I have noticed that Cosplay has grown in popularity. More people portraying their favorite characters from anime/comics, moving into cross media cosplays Video Games, Movies and TV. It was a spectacle to see this happen, you have stars getting big like YaYa Han, Jessica Nigri , Gothic Sushi to name a few. You had a show on tv about Cosplay Judging on the SCI Fi Channel and you saw many people complimenting, complaining, and giving feedback of all sorts both positive and negative about certain cosplayers. To me it is weird. How did something so innocent start to go down hill where people are shaming other people for cosplaying someone even if it wasn’t their body style or gender. How about those who criticized people were Sewing challenged and bought their cosplay? Then you have the people who are angry if you made their cosplay look bad. TOXICITY in the anime community, in the Cosplay Community. It was moving everywhere. My reaction is WTF mate. How can someone be mean to someone else? Especially when they are just trying to support their fandom. Why is one fandom hating on another fandom? Why is one Cosplayer Hating another Cosplayer? I moved to NC in 2017 and I started attending local cons again in 2018. I went to Queen City Anime in August 2018, followed by IchibanCon in January 2019, and Queen City in August 2019. This past week I attended the 11th IchibanCon and had a blast. I saw many good cosplays. Enjoyed good company with other like-minded cosplayers, and anime fanatics and saw how well the community can be and the way it should be. The smaller conventions I think is where the true fans go and have a good time. The larger conventions are fun, but they are not as intimate as the smaller local cons. I like the fact you can strike up a conversation with almost everyone with no issues, be recognized by the work you do and effort you put into your cosplay, even if its from a series someone hasn’t watched in a decade or for someone not knowing the series. I feel cosplay is a form of expressionism. A form to be someone that either Fictitious or real. A form to be able together and share moments with people in the community. Share ideas. Share pointers. Work with others that might not have thought about working with such as collaborations, photoshoots, or Panels. Perhaps a form of escapism to feel how it could be that particular person. There should be no negativity. It shouldn’t be Toxic. People have the right to enjoy what they love and to enjoy it without being shamed. Being told that they should stick to their gender if cosplaying. Or perhaps being told to cosplay someone more of your body type or height or build. Or People being knocked down for not being able to sew but they are able to buy a costume, put work into making their favorite character come alive. Visiting the past 3 cons, I learned that this toxicity must go. I believe that anyone can cosplay who or what they feel like they want to cosplay as. If you want to cross play? Go for it. If you want to spend 1000’s of hours sewing a Victorian era Dress so that you can become the next Gothic Lolita? Have fun. If you want to purchase a ready made cosplay because you cant sew but you know other skills like makeup or prop building to make the cosplay complete? I have no issues with that. If you are a fluffy person like me and you want to cosplay someone who is of an athletic build? Do it. Do what you want to do to make your character come alive. I had a great time portraying the characters I did. I worked hard to become the Persona of the last cosplay I did of AINZ OOAL GOWN and I had a blast. I took the feedback of everyone who I talked to and improved upon my Character and I can see that happen with everyone’s cosplay. We all interpret our characters different. There is a reason why you want to portray your favorite character. If you connect with a character no matter who it is, go for it. Do what makes you happy. Forget all the negativity. You do you. What I want the community to do is come together. Help people out. Be friendly. Offer advice. Take advice. Give a helping hand. Help wherever you can. It doesn’t matter if it is just a post saying, you can do it. Or perhaps a post of Hey, I really like your cosplay. It's about community and we need to make everyone feel at home, no matter the fandom.
It is official. I Have taken my Millennium Earl Cosplay out of retirement. The jacket was stored well and is in good nick. It being washed on the Delicate Cycle then It will be tumbled dried on low. The Hat is nowhere to be found and the ears and glasses are pretty much destroyed. Looks Like I will need to purchase a Stove Pip Top Hat, Steampunk Glasses and new wood elf ears. Once that is done I can then adorn the hat and make it look like the Earls. I think this time around I won't have Lero, but instead have a walking Cane. I am still debating. It all depends on how much time I have. The last time I cosplayed as the Earl was back in 2009. Looks Like I will be making some improvements. Instead of the Pirate Boots which were uncomfortable and small, I will be using some SteamPunkeESC Engineer Boots. There will a traditional Stove Pipe Top Hat instead of that flimsy hat I originally had. I will resurrect the moon on the new hat and add some new adornments as the earls hat always changes. I'll Make sure I keep this thread updated as the Earl Takes Flight