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    IchibanCon 2022 - The Cosplay Wars.



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    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. 

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