We are freshly returned from Zenkaikon 2017, and hope that all of you had a weekend as awesome as we did. If you are familiar with us then you know that Zenkaikon is our favorite convention of the year and this year just reaffirmed all the reasons that we love this convention.
Zenkaikon is incredibly well organized. The staff is amazing. Many of them are veterans in their position and as a result the whole convention is very polished, even when there are the inevitable glitches, they keep right on running. A perfect example of this is their no-show policy for panelists. If panelists fail to check in or cancel, instead of canceling, the programming staff contacts panelists who are confirmed onsite in order to run replacement panels. It is a good policy that keeps the schedule full and interesting.
We went to a great many people and saw some great panels. A few were held by panelists/panel groups we already know and are fans of, namely The Manly Battleships, Children Driving Robots, and Charles Dunbar. They held many panels which were delightful as usual (particularly CDR’s “1980’s Cartoons are still EPIC” panel for Yosei, she’s a big 80’s cartoon fan). The “Let’s Talk About Cosplay Bullying” Panel was good. The discussion was interesting, although a more formal presentation would have been nice too. No preference, just an interesting discussion. The introduction to conventions panel that was held at 9:30 Friday morning was pretty great. The presenters were super sweet and pleasant and great ambassadors in terms of the convention circuit.
There was a great panel “Gender Studies for Otaku” that was super delightful. The presenter was a historian and examines gender in the near east in ancient cultures. It was fantastic. Unlike many panels of it’s type, it did not denigrate the culture or medium that attendees are there to celebrate. The musical guests were particularly enjoyable at Zenkaikon 2017 as well. Zenkaikon has a history of fun and unique musical guests, but this year’s was definitely one of the best. The Slants, for anyone who is not familiar, are an dance-rock group from Portland, Oregon. Their music is wonderful (go check it out) and they also hold some really fun panels. They are probably one of the most involved musical guests a convention could have. They ran panels on touring Japan and food they have tried from around the world. Got some new viewing recommendations from a few panels too.
The only panel that was at all disappointing was the 1980’s anime panel. Some of this may have been due to AV issues that the panelists had, but it was also due to an overall lacklust discussion of why the presenter picked the shoes that he did and a lack of cohesion.
The LARP was on point as always. Kamille would give up pretty much any other convention or event of the year as long as he got to attend Zenkaikon and go to their LARP. It’s just that amazing.
But, we really want to thank EVERYONE who came to any of our panels. Especially those of you who came to our 9:30 AM panel on and Sunday. We know it is not easy to drag yourself out of bed to make it an early panel. And for everyone who stayed until 5:00 Sunday in order to see Kamille’s Berserk panel. It was a labor of love. Overall we had a great time. If you have not made it to Zenkaikon, we highly recommend it. It’s definitely worth checking out due to the organization of the staff and energy of the other attendees. Especially if you like a little anime with your science fiction or a little science fiction with your anime. What’s your favorite convention?
See you soon.