Reflections from an Anime Convention: Kumori Con 2016

written by Nox Meriil (@peculiartrash)

I attended my first convention at 12 years old. Young and eager, the anime and cosplay world amazed me at every turn. It was all so new and exciting, and I had a whole new world and community to explore in which everything, to my 12 year old brain, seemed larger than life: amazing cosplayers, contests, dances, traveling, hotels, new friends,  and more anime merch than I had ever seen. Kumoricon 2009, my first convention, was a doorway into a new world that I got hooked on instantly.

Now, seven years later, that world has naturally become much smaller. As with all things, you grow to see the ups and downs and everything that was once wondrous becomes fairly normal. I had a few years after moving up to Seattle where I didn’t have many cosplay friends, and thus didn’t do it very often. I continued to attend conventions, Sakura Con, Geek Girl Con, ECCC, Aki-Con (never again), but never went back to Kumoricon. That is, not until this year. After seven years, I was finally able to go back to the first con I ever went to, now as a much more seasoned cosplayer, and as press as well! The con had changed locations several times since then and was completely new, but back in Portland, and I was so ready. It was my first out-of-state planned convention I’d gone to since I’d become old enough to travel alone, so I was psyched to go, stay out late, and enjoy seeing the con world from a different perspective than before.

We bused down late Thursday night and stayed with some friends to save money. I was a little bummed I missed Thursday registration, but nevertheless it was a good time. We watched Yuri!!! on Ice and got an okay amount of sleep (at least better than the day before which left me only with 3 hours since I was up so late completing cosplay), and met up with friends at the hotel the next morning. We didn’t make it into con until around 1pm but the vibe was still sleepy and relaxed, everyone arriving slowly after work or school or travel.

Friday’s itinerary was to spend most of the day as season finale Shizuo and Izaya from Durarara, which was a blast despite the cheap fake blood I bought making my face go numb (always test your makeup before con!). The dealers hall was so exciting this year and I, like usual, spent my money almost exclusively in the artist’s alley. It’s always so exciting to support independent artists and talk about things you mutually enjoy. Some good friends of mine were vending this year as well! About $50 in Yuri!!! On Ice merch later, we went to change in order to attend the Haikyuu Pajama Party that I was organizing. There were to be several Haikyuu panels that night not accepted this year, and so a little meet up was the next best thing. However “little” ended up not being the case. Almost twice as many people showed than had responded to the Facebook event, due to people spreading the word throughout con, and the turnout was great! I organized several sleepover games such as charades, truth or dare, and Cards Against Humanity as Hinata Shouyou. The Haikyuu community is hands down one of the best communities I’ve ever been a part of and it was a great time with many new friends made.

Saturday was also a blast. I started the day at a decent time as the main character of Love Stage, once I had layered foundation over the rash on my face from the fake blood. (Seriously, test your make-up. That was the lesson I learned this con). We took some photos in the autumn leaves and hung out in the hallways for awhile so I could take photos of some of my favorite cosplayers I saw that day. Later, we changed into Welcome to Hell (an animated short on YouTube) and it was the best decision we made that day. The reactions we got to our group were so wonderful and everyone was so sweet and excited! Sometimes cosplaying from a small fandom can be the best time ever because everyone into it is so passionate about the content. 

I had to take a little break from my group to go take photos of the Galaxxxy fashion show. Galaxxxy is my favorite Japanese fashion brand right now, known for mixing bright colors and bit of an edgier aesthetic, so I was ecstatic to see that they were coming to Kumoricon. The fashion show was brilliant and I bought a keychain from their pop-up shop in the vendor's hall.

Dressed up as Victor from Yuri!!! on Ice, I went to Kumoricon ball that night. The Jack Frost cosplayer DaCatMatt made the night with their mistletoe topped staff. Unfortunately while we were at the ball, my best friend got a brief case of con flu and we had to cancel our halloween party. It turned out alright, though, and I went to the rave with one other friend in our trashy rave designs for Welcome to Hell and hung out in the convention hallways until two in the morning.

Sunday came much too soon. We ditched our cosplay plans for that day to do Welcome to Hell again and it was so worth it. The interactions we had were wonderful and so much fun. 

During this con I had the realization that my 12 year old self would be in awe of the cosplayer I am today. Between being con press, running events, and taking awesome photos, I know I’m really getting close to where I want to be as a cosplayer and member of the community. I know in the future I’d love to run more panels and get more and more involved in the communities! Thank you Kumoricon for helping the eager 12 year old come out in me again and for helping to once again enchant me with my love of this community.