Matsuricon 2019: The Game is Afoot.
Matsuricon 2019 has come and gone, but not without leaving us with so many glorious memories. It was an eventful weekend from the moment you walk into the convention center to when you try to pack your car to the brim with swag that you have accumulated over the weekend. From the seventeen guests that had attended to the wonderful charity auction they ran. There was so much to do and see in such a short amount of time. If you timed it out perfectly or if you just winged it, you were sure to have a blast.
If you arrived on Thursday there were activities that would keep you busy and having fun. Mostly in the form of games but at least it was something to feed your desire of what is to come. If you pre-registered you were able to pick it up and let the fun begin. From small events like Rock Paper Scissors Showdown to an 18+ Cards against Humanity session there were things to help get you pumped for the weekend at hand. Cosplayers were walking the floor and jamming to music. Old friendships are rekindled and new ones made right on the spot. The atmosphere in the hotel and the convention center was filled with laughter and joy. You could tell that it was going to be an exhilarating con this year.
Friday morning comes and you could see people flocking to the convention center to begin the amazing weekend. The staff did a wonderful job at handling the lines and it seemed to go fairly smooth.
People were chilling on the main floor right outside the badge pickup room. It has always been a place to meet up and have some fun. From dancing and singing to people playing card games or their Nintendo 3DS or Switch. It is the perfect meetup zone for everyone to find their friends and have some fun while they wait for the panels to start up and the dealer/artist alley to open.
Everyone was eager for the vendor/artist alley to open up and for the Opening Ceremonies to begin. Both of them were being held in the Columbus Convention Center this year so you were able to find most of the attendees there early on. Other then some games and some photoshoots, the Opening Ceremonies is where the convention officially starts. As the main stage room fills with guests and everyone finds a seat, we were greeted by a wonderful video made by Matsuricon VES staffers. The quality and craftsmanship put into it is proof of how dedicated the staff is to making this weekend such an amazing experience. From there they go on to talk about the guests that are attending the convention and bring them out onto the stage to introduce them. They talk about the charity auctions that will be happening over the weekend and Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, The James. It was a nice presentation to what was in store for everyone at the convention.
Along with panels ramping up the dealer/artist alley has opened up and it was moved to Exhibit Hall A which is in the Columbus Convention Center. It was a huge upgrade in size this year. Even with all the artists and vendors in the hall, it was just a bit more than halfway filled. Though they had some seating as well as some photo props set up for everyone to use. It took some time to get used to the new setup for the dealers’ room but after a while, it was easy to navigate. There was plenty of space between the vendors so never really felt like it was crowded like at some of the other conventions around. While talking to some of the vendors, there were mixed feelings about the move. Some vendors liked it and are glad to see them utilizing the space they have. Others felt like the move hindered them a bit with sales dipping for a few compared to last year and other cons they attend. There was a nice selection of different vendors to go to and get different items. Overall the experience in the dealer room was a very pleasant one. With room to grow and try new things, it will be interesting to see what they will try to improve on and do.
There was an astonishing amount of fun and interesting events this year. The schedule was packed with panels to go to by attendees and from the guests that were invited to the convention. With well over a hundred different panels of all types, there was something for everyone to attend and enjoy. Some of the big panels that were held by the guests were: Women in Anime, We Told Ian and Josh Tey Could Do Whatever They Want, Matsuricon Presents: A UA High Roundtable, Learning Japanese and Working in Japan, Who’s That Pokemon? With Toshifumi Yoshida. Even if you did not make it to any of those amazing panels there were plenty that was run by attendees that were fun, interactive and just overall a great experience.
One of the things that separate Matsuricon from other anime conventions is the charity auctions they hold over the weekend. They spend so much time gathering some awesome swag from other cons and get them signed by so many different voice actors and talents. Some of the items that they have taken years to get what they desire. That just shows how determined they are to getting us the coolest memorabilia around. Some of the items are one of a kind prints, drawings, figures and signatures that otherwise would nearly be impossible to get on your own. They bring all these to auction over three days starting on Friday and ending on Sunday. By the end of the con, they raise thousands to tens of thousands of dollars to be donated to such a great cause(Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, The James.). Their goal is to raise over $100,000 and with every year they grow ever closer. The charity auction this year was truly astonishing. With Friday’s auction, it started off a bit slow and did not have the usual hype from the attendees. It still did a good job raising money and had some really nice items for bidding. Saturday’s auction ramped up and did better than Friday’s auction. There was a slightly higher attendance at the auction and some high-value items were going to be auctioned away. With a lot of the items going between sixty dollars to a couple hundred, they were raking in the money. There was even an item or two that went for nearly $1,000. As always on Sunday, they had their main auction where they saved most of the high valued items. There was a nice crowd that was at the auction and you could tell that it was going to be a good night for charity. It was not uncommon for items to go over a hundred dollars. With the average pricing of the items being auctioned off at around three to four hundred dollars. One of the biggest items that were auctioned Sunday was a book that had over forty signatures and or drawings from voice actors or other individuals within the industry. By the end of the convention, they were able to raise roughly $19,000. Bringing them within only a few thousand dollars away from reaching their goal. The whole event was a blast and it was good to know that all the money went to a good cause.
Over the weekend we were able to get interviews with seven guests that were attending the con. (We will be uploading the videos/audio in the near future.) The first guest we were able to interview on Friday was Ian Sinclair and oh boy was he a blast to chat with. We covered a few topics like favorite foods, what city he likes to visit and a few other little things. Saturday we had two more interviews with voice actors: Erica Mendez and J Michael Tatum. They were both extremely fun to chat with and found out some interesting bits about each of them. From inspiring words and proudest moments in their life. Sunday was the busiest day for us with interviews as we had four to do before the con ended. The four interviews were: Jezeroth, Toshifumi Yoshida, Brandon McInnis, and Luci Christian. This was a crazy fun bunch. Each had their own funny stories and we learned a little more about each one. We are so thankful that we had this opportunity to interview these guests.
This will always be a convention we look forward to visiting each year, and we are very excited to attend and see what they come up with next year! Hope to see you everyone go!