Anime, gaming convention attracts enthusiastic crowd

For some, San Diego Comic Con is the convention of all conventions for cosplayers (people who dress up in costumes). But for many, Youmacon 2013, located in Detroit, sparks a higher interest.

Youmacon is Michigan’s largest anime and gaming convention, and is held every year at the Renaissance Center and Cobo Hall in October and November from Thursday to Sunday. While Youmacon focuses on anime (Japanese animation), cartoons and gaming, all other cosplayers are welcome. An influx of superheroes, television shows, movies and musicals are also represented at the convention, but most of the cosplayers are part of the anime fandoms.

This was my second time at Youmacon. There is usually a high variety of fandoms represented, with a large crowd of characters from the most popular shows, such as “Bleach” and “Naruto,” and video games such as “Assassin’s Creed” and “Final Fantasy.” The majority of cosplayers present this year were not from any of those fandoms.

“Attack on Titan,” or in its native Japanese, “Shingeki no Kyojin,” increased in popularity over the past few months, so I could not glance in any direction without seeing a green cloak, “Survey Corps” badges or 3D Maneuver Gear. Adhering to the gathering popularity of the show and an avid fan myself, my friend and I dressed as the characters, Mikasa Ackerman and Hanji Zoe of “Survey Corps.”

Youmacon, like most other conventions, has time slots conceived by con attendees and approved by staff held panels for fans throughout the day. Panel topics ranged from “How To Sail a Ship,” to “Demons and Devil Traps: A Supernatural Panel” to incorporate nearly all fandoms and their related themes.

But the activities don’t end when the sun goes down. After dark, there are raves that you can attend and party into the long hours of the night and early morning, and on Friday night, there is the Charity Cosplay Ball where cosplayers dress up in their most formal outfits, in character, and the benefits go towards charity.

The sheer amount of cosplayers at Youmacon is astonishing, yet euphoric. Many people feel at home at a convention, surrounded by other people who share similar interests, and oftentimes friends are made. You’ll find that most people are extremely friendly, as they’ll saddle up next to you while you’re at lunch in the food court, or come up and hug you and compliment your costume.

The most flattering thing for cosplayers is when they are asked for a picture, for it means that their cosplay is good enough for a captured moment in time. It’s definitely a fantastic feeling, speaking from experience. Honestly, you can never truly understand the feeling cosplayers have at a convention until you attend one yourself. It’s an experience you’ll never forget, and just one go will make you want to return again. Cosplayers call it “Post-Con Depression” and many prepare for the next big con just hours after the con ends.

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