My friend good friend Chibbles was heading to Detroit for Youmacon (pronounced yo-macon) and needed another reliable person to fill her room and split costs with. While I try to go to any convention possible. So our situations were sympatico and I was shoved into a car with four strangers for the ride to the states. Afterall, the coolest guy at Anime North was this dude Leon who was there to represent Youmacon.
The opening ceremonies was closer to a stand-up act rather than some formal introduction. A story about Captain Lou Albano once drinking the entire convention under the table explained how this convention got the reputation as being more of a big party than some formal cultural exhibition or whatever. Each of the special guests were paraded in front of the audience who sat under psychedelic light patterns.
Brad Swaile and vic Mignon I’ve seen at enough other conventions but I understand how high-profile they are for the anime fans. If I knew Josh Keaton was going to be there, I would I brought something Spiderman to have signed and I’m sure I could find a Duke Nukem comic for Jon St.John. Next year I’ll prepare better. I talked to Mookie for a moment and I’m still amazed that he’s apparently fan of JH Williams artwork. I’ve never heard of the Arc Reactor group before but apparently they’re like the spoony Bards only without street cred.
Of course, there were all kinds of cosplays wandering around including a Santa Clause and an Elmo and at least one Waldo. And a good number of dudes dressed as Sailor Moon characters. I think the number of cosplayers was helped by the event happening a week after halloween. My favorite cosplay would have to be the girl dressed as Darkman.
Also a neat bonus activity for attendees was a scavenger hunt event where attendees who wander around the convention can gathering collectible cards and whomever gathers all the cards receives some prize.
All staff and security had some very cool Tron-esq T-shirts. I would have loved to buy one but the commemorative shirts availible to guests were not nearly as cool. Maybe they’ll have shirts of similar design available on the website.
Now a LOT of the Youmacon experienced was defined by the venue it was held in, the Detroit Renaissance Center. A multi-layered labyrinth of passages and escalators. Miles of suspended ramps and bridges wrapping around each other making it especially tricky to find any Nyancat I’m looking for. Elevator access was moderated by hotel security. Apparently next year the organizers have booked more space in the convention centre which is good because I can’t imagine the designated space this year holding larger crowds. I also hope they’ll have maps everywhere.
At one point I was looking for a quick way to the foodcourt and went down a stairwell, when I hit the room at the bottom the door I used to enter wouldn’t open, and the door across the room was labelled “emergency exit only.” Since my confinement counts as an emergency I took my chances and ended up in the parking garage.
• There was a gaming room with free-to-play arcade games where (except on Sunday) I was able to waste a few hours, I battled Brock (from Pokemon) in Puzzle Fighter II and put my Tetris power against a Hal Jordon. Gaming tourements held all throughout the weekend.
• The tightly packed dealer room had all kinds of anime merchandise (although tragically no Transformers stuff around). I got to see my friends Squid and Lauralee.
• Artist alley was cool, wow there’s a ton of people selling those things made of beads that look like videogame sprites. I need to get in on this industry since I happen to have incredible sprite power.
Like anywhere else, there was a desginated room for tabletop gaming.
• I am astonished by the line-up for some novelty cafe where chicks dressed as maids feed people cake. I don’t really get the appeal of this but I guess it’s an extension of the tea party fantasy. Might be fun but not something I’m going to wait in line for an hour for. If I wanted chicks in maid outfits to feed me I have friends who I’m sure would indulge my request.
• I went to an X-Men panel thinking it would be open discussion about the latest events of the comics (Schism/Regenesis) but it turned out to be an airing of the G4 anime in Japanese with french subtitles. That’s not so terrible since everybody knows the basic • X-Men story anyway. Mutants, sentinels, phoenix, etc. The important thing is this is where I was able to find Mystique.
The Megaman panel was a slideshow of all the various sub-brands with lots of cheering upon the mention of Megaman Legends.
• The Hentai Dubbing panel was actually not sexy at all but pretty hilarious to see people volunteer to embarass themselves by lending their voices to the most comically erotic dialogue.
• The “Equestrian Embassy” is what I guess was the My Little Pony panel. And just like Anime North, twice as many people showed up than the puny room could safely hold under fire code. Later on Saturday was the PMV: Friendship is Music event which filled an auditorium with ponyfans who sang along to a few pony songs and then together watched a recording of the new episode that aired earlier that day. Needless to say, there were a ton of pony cosplayers all over the convention.
• Started 90 minutes late. But hey, I got to see a live performance of Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny. At a different event I caught the Harry Potter Puppet Pals and felt like the only person in the audicence who didn’t know the lyrics to the Severus Snape song
This event was organized by a lot of the people I was hanging out with for the convention, so even if I didn’t want to go (which I did) I would still have to go. Remember that old show Family Double Dare? This event is kind of like that show mixed with a good helping of Anarchy and chaos as contestants eagerly mass-humiliate themselves to get points for the four teams. This year the after-dark event “Adult Mario Party” had even more attendees- filling the room to capacity with easily over 200 people who all wanted to watch the mayhem as a game of musical chairs turns deadly. If you’re going to Youmacon (or Conbravo), make sure to try to get in line for Live Action Mario Party or the 18+ version which starts after dark. Or you’re a terribly boring person.
Where do those glowsticks come from? I never see anybody walk in with glow sticks and yet everybody on the dance floor is covered in 20 of them. This leads me to believe that when people dance enough glowsticks just grow from them. I personally just went to the dance looking for a cute girl but after 15 minutes of I noticed that every girl there was being vigilantly guarded by at least two dudes, but at that point convention sleep deprivation had lowered my hibitions enough that I was able to enjoy dancing despite being pretty terrible at it.
Overall? Youmacon lived up to being a Party con like I was told to expect. And I’ll make sure to show up next year. Being able to watch Live Action Mario Party was worth half the ticket price, and next year I’ll be better prepared and bring all my friends in a bus. But with the maze of a venue and all night events, I was pretty close to passing out by the end of the convention so this isn’t the best convention for people new to Con Life. And after dark there were a lot of tipsy people wandering around. I really got the vibe from the convention that Youmacon is like what Conbravo will be in a few more years, and this makes a lot of sense since my friend and Youmacon enthusiast Christina is one of the major organizers for Conbravo.
-Michael Ryan, November 11, 2011