When someone says they are, or on the very least, have, gone via Amish country, primarily in both central Pennsylvania or japanese Ohio, they’re often going to discover and benefit from the huge, principally pristine countryside, take pleasure in Amish artisanal craft goods ranging from meals to house decorations, or to only straight-up gawk and stare on the technologically reserved individuals dwelling there (as a result of individuals may be quite rotten typically). But whenever you ask us what we’re doing in Amish nation, we’ll inform you we’re going there to an anime conference.
We could be weird like that typically.
Zenkaikon was again for an additional yr, at its very snug digs at the Lancaster Conference Middle for an additional yr of anime and recreation related enjoyable. Our crew was wanting forward to this con, and we made positive to take advantage of our time right here.
Thursday took me straight from work down by means of the gentle underbelly of Pennsylvania, remembering that the Pennsylvania Turnpike’s tolls have been an train in extortion and prices that can and do get raised on a whim. Not that I minded; the countryside going up by way of PA to Lancaster was far more pleasing to the eye than the multiple lanes of concrete and asphalt that had little of interest to take a look at, save for billboards describing simply how and why I’m going to hell (like I want any more reminders). The journey was in any other case uneventful and I acquired to the Marriott hooked up to the convention middle and shortly settled in.
The first thing I observed was there was fairly a bit of development happening at the lodge. For one, the little bar/diner/pub that’s often instantly to the left upon getting into was as an alternative shuffled off to the primary lodge’s foyer. The town had authorised almost $40 million in renovation and enlargement for the lodge, which meant one other tower for rooms and lodge area, while the bar would merely should make do till the renovations have been full. All the things I might discover concerning the renovations had the beginning point properly earlier than the start of the con, which I’m assuming means it’ll be completed by subsequent yr, or vital progress may have been made. Both method, they still had good alcohol and meals specials, which differed each day of the con. The $5 for a medium pizza on the bar was nice if you couldn’t eat sushi with the rest of your squad.
The pool was nonetheless there, as all the time, doing pool things, however all of the occasions I checked in on it, nobody else was there, the water wasn’t too warm, and the recent tub remained boarded over and forgotten. So not probably the most enjoyable time I’ve had at a lodge’s pool area.
Friday obtained off to a very good begin, even if the subject of the first panel made me giggle in derision and resignation. “Otaku Parenting: Methods to Share Your Fandom with Your Family” was a great informational panel about how you can introduce other members of your loved ones into your interests, be they younger or older than you. I, sadly, wouldn’t profit from this too much, as their coldness and anger have been partly what drew me to anime and to dive deeper into gaming in the first place (though that’s another story utterly). But nothing towards sharing with those that can be enthusiastic about hearing about your interests; in case you can bond with relations over some anime or recreation, good for you.
I made my method over to the panel “Nonetheless Dreaming: 20 Years of SEGA Dreamcast” shortly thereafter, seeing the way it was a system approach forward of its time, only to endure an ignoble, undeserved sluggish decline and fall into obscurity. It additionally served as a history lesson for the console, nothing that a number of the greater followers of the system didn’t know already, although the panelists identified how a few of the hottest and best-selling titles on the system came out in its first yr. Though it was fascinating to study concerning the different options of the system I didn’t realize it had. Too dangerous it went out the best way it did; it had so much more potential.
The subsequent panel I got here to was “Failed Americanized Anime.” Part of me immediately thought that it will be about “‘American’ Anime” despite the oxymoronic nature of such a phrase. However no. It was worse than that. It was about how different titles have been tailored for American audiences whatever the supply material. Now here, I might just sort “Saban Moon” and begin a brand new paragraph, but little did I do know that there were other titles made with Sailor Moon in thoughts. They usually have been far worse. Similar to there being four women who became (shoddy wanting) angels to battle evil. And there have been only four of them. Suffice to say, we have been all baffled by what we noticed. Oh, Youngsters Driving Robots…you never cease to amaze and stupefy.
I as soon as again fell in with Mr. Dunbar and his panel on “Samurai Stories.” It was an extended historical past of the samurai culture and class in Japan, as well as stories about individual samurai exploits, the exploits of the 47 Ronin, how Samurai are portrayed in pop culture, in addition to anecdotes about Yasuke, an African man from Mozambique who turned a samurai for Nobunaga. I’ve all the time been drawn to samurai stories like this, and it was a very fascinating panel to take a seat in on.
I used to be so glad I obtained to catch +2 Comedy’s rise up particular again, Noah Houlihan all the time puts on entertaining sets. His story about how he obtained concussed wrestling for CHIKARA, on the first collar-and-elbow tie-up at first of the match, worked the match to a end, then did a stand-up routine that he completely doesn’t keep in mind never fails to make me chuckle, along together with his different retinue of jokes and stories. Laura Prince was additionally entertaining, but what really acquired everyone going was the open Q&A on the end of the panel, the place we might ask whatever geek related query we might think of. After he introduced up how Pikachu talked within the Pokémon: I Choose You film, I advanced the idea that it was only a hallucination brought on by a nasty concussion…a lot to Noah’s chagrin.
There was a lot ado about nothing on Friday after that, except for sometimes wandering across the recreation rooms and taking footage of different peoples’ cosplays. Saturday was off to a a lot better start, as I acquired to participate in the “Gameshow IMPOSSIBRU!” panel placed on by the all the time entertaining Manly Battleships troupe. The primary “spherical” was simply them enjoying random opening themes to anime, cartoons, what have you from the 80s until now. Whoever obtained a guess right acquired a bit of sweet; these can be essential for the rest of the present. I was one of many prime earners, if you’ll, having gotten some quite obscure themes right, which stunned and delighted the panelists. The highest four winners received to behave as captains for ¼ of the viewers, every, for the ultimate round, the place you had to write down the answers to the 10 themes they might play. And while different captains opted for some relatively uninspired group names, I went with the straightforward “city identify—nickname” format that had benefitted sports activities for as long as anybody might keep in mind. And thus, the Lancaster Fightin’ Amish have been born. One of many panelists thought this was among the best names he ever heard. I entered into a Three-way tie, solely to lose on tiebreakers and only get a shirt out of the deal. Not dangerous, although the winner acquired comped subsequent yr’s badge, which was unimaginable for them.
By the best way, have been you picturing a Fightin’ Irish emblem but with an Amish man as an alternative of a leprechaun? Good, because that was what I was going for.
And while we’re as regards to Amish nation, I might be remiss if I failed to mention my exploits in and across the metropolis. The mornings have been spent wandering over to the nearby Farmers’ Market for breakfast and searching. The holy grail of breakfast pastries, the Maple Bacon Donuts of Shady Maple Bakery, have been ripe for the pickings, as was the individual (read: pint) milk bottles that appear to be shrunken down gallon milk jugs, with all their scrumptious flavors. That was simply through the morning. A very good bit of Saturday afternoon was spent wandering around Lancaster, exploring numerous small outlets in out-of-the-way locales, together with the Dragonfly and the Rabbit coffee home. Whereas we have been idling in a close-by courtyard, we stumbled upon the Lancaster Pickle Firm, and whereas I’m not a fan of pickles, I adopted certainly one of our associates inside principally to get out of the chilly winds. Although they did produce other delights reminiscent of flavored pretzel items and coated pretzel balls, which I didn’t hesitate to select up after making an attempt a sample. All in all, excellent stuff. That is the perfect part about small-town cons whenever you’re not at the con itself, exploring the town and discovering little hole-in-the-wall locations like this.
I helped film an interview with Monica Rial for the location, and it went over properly despite some technical issues. After that, it was on to “Pokémon: The Unique Darkish Journey.” While I’m all the time one to go to a Pokémon panel no matter what it might be about (often), I had some reservations on how this may just be an (over)analysis of each single grimdark, edgy, or otherwise needlessly imply or nasty copypasta concerning the Pokémon universe…particularly once I and most other longtime followers are sick and uninterested in listening to about them. No, this was about analyzing the PokéDex and seeing simply how these talents and traits of varied Pokémon would work in the event that they have been taken to their logical conclusion. Now that I sort it as I recount the panel, I have a sense at the very least one fanfic was written exploring this very same state of affairs.
The rest of Saturday night time was spent somewhat slowly, with a couple of of us chilling in the room, having the occasional drink, and watching the Food Network…either getting concepts or just riffing on no matter was enjoying. The finale to the weekend came at Midday with the Cosplay Pro Wrestling panel in the primary corridor, which I all the time look ahead to. The cardboard as all the time was very entertaining, with the spotlight of the day going to Killmonger by accident making Robin eat complete shit when he made him fly utterly out of the ring off a turnbuckle powerbomb. Noah’s Giovanni was a guffawing, ham-fisted assclown as all the time, which is infinitely fulfilling. However the actual swerve came when über-heel Luigi reconciled with Mario and gave method to the Bullet Bill Membership. I wasn’t positive if that they had merchandise available only for starting that angle, however I might’ve been all over it. And I sometimes spend little to no money on con merch anymore. Thankfully, Tee-Public is your hookup in that regard.
All that was left for me was to go away, having packed up within the early morning hours and gotten the whole lot squared away so I might loosen up, enjoy the final panel, and never have to worry about anything; just get in the automotive and go. The only main bump in the street got here from having to wait over half an hour at a PA Turnpike relaxation cease for the cooks to finish making my order. And it wasn’t even that crowded both. One more reason to keep away from PA’s toll roads, if you’ll. Apart from the outrageous costs, anyhow.
Finally, Zenkaikon was a hit for me in addition to the convention itself. It was all the time vigorous, there was all the time one thing to do, and I do take pleasure in my treks out into Lancaster through the day. There hasn’t been anything to actually deter me from coming to the town or the con in all of the journeys I’ve made out there, and I don’t see that development changing any time quickly. And with the approaching renovations to the lodge coming, I can’t wait to see how the conference grows together with it.
And I still keep that that “Saban Moon” tape ought to’ve stayed in that storage locker.
from your personal website.