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Con Report: ConnectiCon 2012

2012.07.15

While our Mighty Miss Mei was away romancing San Diego Comic Con, Hazard and I decided to check out an event a little closer to home: ConnectiCon 2012 in Hartford, Connecticut.  This con welcomes fans of many different persuasions, creating a wonderful mix of attendees of all ages and backgrounds.  We drove up early Saturday morning with our friends Chad and Joe, and while Hazard opted out of cosplaying for the day, I jumped at the chance to wear a new costume.

After securing our badges, we took a quick walk around the Dealers Room and Artist Alley.  Hazard and I both tried on a pair of the hot new item popping up at all the cons: Necomimi Brainwave Cat Ears.  They were surprisingly comfortable!  For those of you who haven’t encountered these yet, Necomimi are motorized ears that move on your head in response to brainwave activity.  They perk up, droop, and even wiggle!  At close to $100 (or more) each, I don’t think Hazard or I will be investing in a pair anytime soon, but trying them on was fun.

Hazard in Necomimi

Hazard dons a pair of Necomimi.

ConnectiCon’s Dealers Room seemed considerably downsized this year, which created some overcrowding problems in the alleys between booths.  The web comic tables were squirreled away inside the Dealers Room area, with the Artist Alley skirting the perimeter; it felt like this arrangement created a lot of problems with people lingering at booths and backing up foot traffic.  Spreading the whole area out just a little bit more might have solved (or at least reduced the impact of) these issues.

Since we had no meet-ups or shoots to go to, Hazard and I were actually able to go to a few panels!  We enjoyed the Lolita 101 panel, run by the charming Christina (Lolita and blogger who maintains and writes the Lolita fashion and research blog Ramble Rori).

Lolita 101 Hosts

Christina (on the right) and her co-host for the Lolita 101 Panel.

I’ve followed and (occasionally) participated in Lolita fashion for about four years now, and I have Christina’s wonderful blog to thank for guiding me through the many ins and outs of the world of frills and bows.  Her panel provided a solid introduction to the history of Lolita fashion, the current major brands, and a few of the most important basics.  In addition to being a knowledgeable and classy Lolita, Christina’s cheerful demeanor makes her a fun panelist and a great asset to all folks interested in Lolita fashion.  She and her co-host did a fantastic job, and we hope to see more of her panels in the future.

The other panel we attended was titled “How Meta Destroyed the Anime Industry,” and was a very thought-provoking look at the past and current states of animation studios and licensing companies (mostly the former).  Panelist Scott Spaziani (the blogger behind Otaku in Review) presented evidence of the rise of self-reference within anime with interesting and entertaining commentary.  If this sounds appealing to you, check out Scott’s blog, where you can find (among many other insightful pieces) a copy of “How Meta Destroyed the Anime Industry” panel at ConnectiCon 2011.

As always, friends were an enormous part of the convention for us.  We met up with Kate and Kenae of Center of the Universe Cosplay, who are fantastic cosplayers and equally fabulous folks.  Kate was debuting her Korra (Legend of Korra) cosplay:

Korra and Bolin

Kate as Korra (left) and Kelsey as Bolin.  Pabu as himself.

We ran into her again at the Avatar: The Last Airbender/Legend of Korra meet-up and photo shoot, where Hazard was able to snap a lovely shot of her representing her water tribe:

Water Tribe

I also had the honor of being photographed by Peeple’s Photography for Dr. Grymm Laboratories’ upcoming book 1000 Incredible Cosplay and Costume Ideas.  Whether or not my costume is selected to be featured, it was very flattering to be photographed.  Check out the book-in-progress; it’s certain to be a fabulously filled with beautiful costumes!

Hazard and I decided that we should probably take a few photos ourselves, so we wandered around outside long enough to take a couple of nice shots.  The weather was beautiful but it was quite hot (especially with so many layers on), but it was worth it!

Lelouch in Wonderland

Lelouch in Wonderland!

Lelouch in Wonderland

It pays to applique!  Check out Mei’s tutorial for an easy how-to for applique beginners.

This costume is Lelouch Lamperouge’s crazy new getup from the new Code Geass OVA, Nunnally in Wonderland, which comes out on July 27th of this year.  I’d intended to debut it at Otakon (in time with the actual release!) but finished it a little early: just in time for ConnectiCon!

After photos, we bumped into some more friends: Kevin and his girlfriend Katlyn, better known as The Cosplay Mechanic.  She had entered the Hall Costume Contest with her remarkable Kingdom Hearts II cosplay; she went on to take the Advanced Craftsmanship trophy home!

The Cosplay Mechanic

The Cosplay Mechanic and her mechanics.

This is a great example of how pictures really can’t capture some costumes.  Both the outfit and the prop light up, and the prop has multiple motorized, moving parts.  She definitely earned that trophy!

Speaking of trophies and exceptional cosplays, Hazard, Chad, Joe and I made sure we got good seats for the Masquerade.  Overall, the Masquerade was pretty good; there were a number of clever and entertaining skits and some lovely costumes.  Additionally, ConnectiCon screens and awards the winning FMVs during its Masquerade (though this was the first year they screened them between skits, instead of during judging), which mix things up well.  Sadly, the emceeing between skits sometimes seemed forced, and the time wasted during the little in-betweens resulted in the Masquerade running over almost half an hour.  If the staff needs something between skits or groups of skits, screening FMVs seems like a better option.

After the Masquerade, we went to grab dinner and drinks with Kate and Kenae!  This was the first time I’d really gotten to sit down and talk with them, and I’m so glad we did.  The drinks were delicious (especially Kate’s “Nuts and Berries cocktail,” which I’ll have to order next time), and the conversation was unparalleled.  I’m so glad this kind of downtime has become a regular part of our conventions.

Ladies in Cosplay

Two fancy ladies in their fancy cosplay.

We had to leave soon after finishing dinner, but drove home chatting about how much fun we’d had, how great the company was, and how we’d all like to return again next year.

Hazard and Emmacchi

Emmacchi and Hazard say goodbye to ConnectiCon 2012.

Since Hazard opted to go cosplay-less, we were able to do something we don’t usually do: document some of the wonderful cosplayers we saw!  Here are a few of the highlights we’d like to showcase:

The Mario Party Group

The Mario Party Group!  Their Masquerade skit earned a lot of laughs.

Xiaolin Showdown!

Chase Young and Jack Spicer from Xiaolin Showdown!  (Trivia Fact: Jack Spicer is secretly on Emmacchi’s Dream Cosplay List.)

Gaston!

That Man Among Men, Gaston!  These four were our favorite Disney cosplayers from the weekend.

Fushigi Yuugi

A blast from the past: Tasuki, Miaka and Nuriko from our beloved Fushigi Yuugi!  These three also performed a cute skit in the Masquerade.

Euphy and Lulu

This lovely Euphemia was (sadly) one of the only other Geass cosplayers that day.  She had all the charm of the actual character, and it was a pleasure meeting her!

Legend of Adorable

Legend of Korra, more like Legend of Adorable!  By far our favorite cosplayers we encountered.

And that was ConnectiCon 2012 for East Blue!

Conclusions:

Emmacchi: As always, friends proved a big part of my convention experience at ConnectiCon this year.  Overall, the convention was really enjoyable.  I loved being able to actually get into the panels I wanted to go to, and the skits at the Masquerade were lots of fun.  I wish there’d been more actual Masquerade at the Masquerade, and less time spent emceeing it.  My only other complaint is how small and crowded the Dealers Room/Artist Alley was; I would have spent a lot more time browsing if it hadn’t been so stuffed with people!  That said, I had a great time and would enjoy returning for Saturday next year.

Hazard: I had a lot of fun at ConnectiCon! It was a nice, medium-sized convention. We had tons of fun at the masquerade and hanging out with friends. The panels that we attended were interesting and well organized. The dealer’s room was a bit small for the size of the convention, but they combined it with the Artist Alley which was convenient. I liked the layout of the lobby of the Connecticut Convention Center. It allowed for a lot of people to move around and made it easy to find all the panel rooms. I enjoyed the masquerade with the exception of the skits the presenters were putting on as filler. I did like how they used the winners of the FMV contest to fill time between skits and for judging. Overall, I thought it was a fun con and would probably go back if I could get registered for a little cheaper.

 

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