HawaiiCon 2015: A Fireside Chat

Written by: Chris Kwock (@kwock) and Gina (@emismile45)

Chris: Hey G33ks, I’m gonna try something slightly different with this article. I have a surprise.

Gina: Oh, a surprise!

C: Shhhh. So annywayyyy I dragged my friend Gina aka Emi smile kicking and screaming to HawaiiCon totally against her will.

G: Yeah that doesn’t sound rapist at all. FELONY. Adult, I need an adult.

C: So I thought I’d have her share her experience as well as my own on this small chill convention on the Big Island. The convention was really small and chill. I liked how you could just wander around and just mingle with people. Even though I didn’t know what some of the guests looked like. It was mainly more actors and and it's a Sci-Fi convention.

G: I liked that they put the science into Sci-Fi. They had science panels based off of geeky topics, like superheroes and electromagnetic fields. I also really liked that they capped their attendance number to keep the atmosphere intimate.

C: I think that it’s capped at like 2000? Or 1200 something small like that. I think they also said that they sold out of tickets this past year. Majority of the panels were done by the guests.

G: The panels were really relaxed and I felt that you could ask them anything. Well, almost anything.

C: Yeah, the panel rooms were really small and had local feel.

G: A retro Hawaii feel. They were really yellow.

C: I really wish they had a bit more lighting on the main stage; it was at times a little dark. If they could change the weather that would be great. It was super-hot and humid.

G: At least they had a lot of water everywhere to drink. So they really took care of all their guests.

C: Who was your favorite guest? What did you think of the panels that Monika, Riki and Belle did?

G: Belle was my favorite. I think because she felt very real. She is very practical and very unapologetic about how the world of cosplay is currently.

C: Yeah I did like her more straight forward and down to earth feel that she exuded. There was a lot of people that attended their “Cosplay Isn’t Consent" panel. It was a nice panel to have even though everyone who went already knew that cosplay isn’t consent and it was kind of preaching to the choir.

G: It was funny to hear their experiences regarding the matter and how each of them dealt with it differently.

C: I did like how Monika’s response was just to--

G: Narrate everything.

C: Like everything that the person is doing that they shouldn’t.

G: “Your hand is on my butt”... “Now it is going up my hip”

C: There was actually a lot of Q&A during the panel which was nice that fans could ask lots of questions. Not all pertaining to "Cosplay Isn’t Consent" but they were open to answering any questions regardless.

G: Lots of the panels had Q&A sections.

C: About half of the panel time was spent Q&A.

G: I think that helped attendees feel that they got more out of the con because everything was more interactive.

C: I really liked that the guests just walked around and interacted with everyone. I felt that there wasn’t any real pressure to talk to them of make it short and sweet because there were a ton of people behind you waiting in line to get their turn to talk with them.  There were a lot of events that happened over the weekend. Things from cosplay contests, an after party hosted by Riki and Monika, there was a luau, and multiple other activities that you could do with guests for a fee.

G: Some people enjoy doing activities with the guests rather than just getting an autograph. Activities like snorkeling, zip lining, writing session, and even star gazing.

C: Some of the paid events ran from $25 to $275 depending on the activity and who you were rubbing elbows with.

G: I would consider the Night Manta Ray Snorkeling for $175.

G: Since there were a lot of extra paid events, if you opted not to do any of them there could be a large chunks of time that there wasn’t anything that you were interested in.

C: Though that’s kind of like all cons, there is always the potential there will be dead time with no panels that you want to see. I will say that since there were a small number of people that when panels were going on there weren’t that many people wandering around outside the rooms. Like the panels had that much of a draw that everyone went to something.

G: That is true that there is a chance that there will be nothing that interests you all the time, but the resort is also very secluded. There isn’t anything around except the beach.

C: Oh and the pool! It is hosted at a really fancy hotel which was 15-20 minutes away from the next nearest place to get food or even stay. We stayed 20 min away at Paniolo Greens.

G: The drive didn’t feel like 20 minutes because there was no traffic.

C: There wasn’t much of anything other than lava…not molten lava!

G: Lava fields and wild grass. It would make for some really cool photoshoots. We just didn’t have the time of planning for it. Next time!

C: Yeah we can drag some cosplayers there. I felt like there wasn’t a ton of cosplays at the convention.

G: I heard there were more cosplayers last year. The cosplay contest was impressive.

C: There were some good cosplays at the contest, and then there were some questionable ones with skits I just didn’t understand. I think that they should pre-screen their skits because I think if they knew what they were going to do and say some might not have made it onto stage. The things that they did or said were a bit more than PG-13 and there was a bunch of kids in the audience.

C: So next year!

G: Yeah I’m pre-registered already! I enjoyed it enough to pre-register for next year. The theme next year is Star Trek so I’m expecting more Sci-Fi.

C: I think it’s a fun con to attend! I want to turn it into a pool con!

G: Of course you do.

C: Things to think about for anyone planning to attend next year! Bring food, or be prepared to spend a lot of money for the hotel meals. I paid $15 for a burger, JUST the burger. It was a good burger I give you that…but still!

G: Having a rental car was definitely worth it. That way you can go sightseeing on your own during downtime. There is a lot of nature on the Big Island.

C: I kind of wish we had more time to do the sightseeing part. Maybe next year! Extend our time there and see and photo all the scenic beauty.

G: Bottom line is that this is a vacation con for both the attendees and the guests.