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Archon St. Louis: And Why I’ll Only Do One Local Convention From Now On (Freewrite)

Note: This is a freewrite. This is an article without order or structure.

Disclaimer: To my fellow St. Louis weeaboos: This is not a jab towards the anime conventions Anime St. Louis (ASTL) and Anime Senpai.  Although people wouldn’t have to jab at these cons and go outside of the STL area for bigger and better cons if these two cons weren’t doing the same bullshit every year.  

(The jabs are coming in a future post.)

There’s something magical about older, fan-run local conventions.  I guess it’s because these conventions are run by fans who came from an era were conventions weren’t a place for popularity contest (through cosplay or otherwise). An era was being a nerd wasn’t mainstream or cool.  Fans came out to these events and cosplay because of their passion, love, and respect for nerd culture.

To me, this is why Archon St. Louis stands out as the dominant force in the St. Louis convention scene.  Plus, there’s the appeal of Archon allowing room parties and people to drink alcohol  (in the hotel area) without stuck-up straight edge weeaboos being mad; Unlike other local conventions (such as Anine St. Louis) that claim to be “Family-Friendly”, but you have cosplayers high on hard drugs at the rave, weebs getting wasted on the con floor because they can’t handle their liquor, and otakus having orgies at the main con hotel.

(We still remember that Homestuck orgy from an ASTL long since passed you sick fucks.)

But what is Archon? Archon is an internationally known sci-fi and fantasy convention (they carter to other media pop culture group, but Archon’s bread-and-butter is the sci-fi and fantasy side of the game).  Every year, Archon brings in world-renown figures hailing from the world of entertainment. Iconic figures such as George R.R. Martin (the first guest of Archon), Ray Bradbury, Billy West, and Phil LaMarr have graced Archon with their presence: bringing in thousands of their fans to their standing room only panels.

(Check their website I didn’t make that shit up)

Archon_Logo

Sure, you can see them at panels at the bigger conventions such as San Diego Comic Con or Dragon Con; but what makes Archon worth going is that personal experience of being with these guests at their panels of say 500-1000 people; as opposed to those larger conventions and being in a room with these icons with 3,000-5,000 nerds. Would you rather waste thousands and thousands of dollars at these gigantic, cramped conventions where the odds of you meeting these guests and have a short chat with them are lower than you fucking a fine cosplayer at your hotel room?

Or would you spend the time and money traveling to a smaller, more warm and welcoming conventions where you can spend an intimate time with the guests?

Now that I think about it, it’s funny how I use the words “warm” and “intimate” to describe the Archon experience.  Again, it does go back to how Archon is run by OG (original gangsta) nerds who came up in a time where nerds were bullied hardcore and weren’t welcome by normal society, but there’s that welcoming, warm vibe that surrounds Archon (because of what these guys went through).

Regardless of your nerdom (may it be anime, comics, sci-fi, movies, etc.), Archon welcomes everyone.    Nobody will come up to you and get in their feelings on how you’re cosplaying as an anime character at a Sci-Fi/Western media convention (can’t say the same for you weeaboos who love to get in ya feelings and go up to non-Eastern media cosplayers saying they don’t belong at anime cons).

Believe me; check out these pictures of a few non-Western (influenced) media cosplayers I took (while drunk and stoned so that’s why their pics are blurry):

sakura_cosplayer_my_bad_for_the_blurriness_I_was_drunk.jpg

monika_off_ddlc_cosplay.jpg

star_healer_i_dunno_which_one_sailor_moon_stars_was_goofy.jpg

You may be wondering (due to the title of this post) at this point why I am doing just one local convention from here on out?  It’s simple: Archon is much mellower and  lax compared to the anime conventions in the St. Louis area.  Wizard World St. Louis is an industry ran convention; meaning no freedom to go wild.

Anime St. Louis is “cool”, but larger conventions such as Anime Expo, Anime Central, and Anime Weekend Atlanta have better guests and have the funds to obtain guests directly from Japan. Anime Senpai just started their first year in 2018 and came from the remains of a few dead conventions that crashed, burned, and failed.

I have no hope for Anime Senpai lasting longer than five years at the most.

Archon has the longevity factor. It’s been around for nearly 45 years and each year they do something to make it better, bigger, and net new and old fans.  Unlike other conventions in our area, they don’t play around.  It’s a convention for everyone regardless of age and fandom.  Have a cosplay even if it’s not sci-fi or fantasy? They don’t care – bring it to Archon!  You will find people who enjoy it (if it’s not too obscure).

Archon is amazing and I love it.

‘What more can I say?
I wouldn’t be here today
If the old-school didn’t pave the way!’
-Brand Nubian

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What TO Do At Cons DJkillzone Feat. Yuki The Snowman (Text Version)

NOTE: This is the text version of the audio discussion between my friend DJ Killzown and myself on the same topic.  The link to the YouTube will be provide below.

 

Conventions are a wonderful place to have fun and let loose with fellow nerds.  However,   conventions can also be overwhelming for newcomers,  lacking knowledge on  what to do. So, out of the kindness of my heart (and because I need to clean  my public image), here are a few things to do at conventions!

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Panels

Lost-Girl-Panel_MG_7829
Wanna learn interesting tidbits  and facts about your favorite series, gain knowledge that’ll set you apart from your peers, or learn more about your favorite voice actor or creator? Go to a panel!  Usually, conventions will have four types of panels: Fan, Interactive Industry, and Guest.

Fan panels are run by passionate and all-knowing fans of a series, sharing their expert knowledge to others fans and newcomers alike.

Interactive panels are panels in which you can partake in the action and/or have an hands on experience in relation to the subject.  Examples include sake tasting, sewing tutorials, murder-mystery solving, cooking anime inspired foods, and hypnotism panels.

Industry panels are run by industry guests such as Funimation or Viz Media. Industry panels will host series reveals, news on upcoming projects, and the industry hosts will answer your questions about what’s currently going on in the industry.    Sometimes, industry guests will reveal get exclusive news  andcontent about a project first at their panels before the rest of the world get the information.

Finally,   guest panels.  Guest panels are of course hosted by the guests of honor. It’s worth your time going to one as you can learn about your favorite voice actor on a more personal,  learn how they got their start, and even learn how they feel about their co-workers that they normally wouldn’t say in front of their face (did you know that a lot of America voice actors hate Vic Mignogna?).

 

Meet Guests

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Me with Ryukishi07 (creator of the When They Cry  series). Anime Centraol 2014

One of the best experiences of a convention is meeting your idol and having them autograph their materials for you! To start,  learn when and where the guest(s) that you want to see are hosting panels and  autograph sessions and attend them.  Did they make your favorite manga?  Get that shit sign.  Are they a voice actor you really love? Get your DVD signed by them!  Do you want to know how your favorite voice actor got their start?  Go to their panel! Be aware that  popular gusests tend to have a long waiting period for autographs sessions. Be sure to have  fully charged cell phone or a book to read on standby while you wait!

Cosplay/Fandom Meets
wtc_cosplayers

Higurashi and Umineko cosplay meet
Met new friends within you fandom and show off your cool (or trash) cosplay!!   You can find information on meet ups in the program booklet or on the convention social media and website. Showcase your cosplay or just chill and kick with fellow fans and make new connections.

Dealers Room/Hall

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1/8th of the mammoth-sized dealer’s hall of Comiket.  Yes. 1/8th.  Imagine the full  hall.

The dealers room is a hall or room full of offical merchandise, fanmade items, wigs, cosplay materials, etc.  They’re open all weekend but it’s  best to wait until Sunday for the best deals and discounts on products, as merchants want to reduce the amount of items they have to take back home Sunday or Monday.

Game Room

nerds_playing_smash_bros
Scrubs playing a wannabe fighting game.

 

Play video games here with other cons goers (or be that one asshole who hog ups the console all day because you couldn’t even make friends at an convention) Setups can range from the old school, current games, arcades, or a mixture of all three. Tournaments (such as Street Fighter, Project Diva, Mario Kart. etc.) are often held here, so you should try to join in a tournament if you’re confident in your skills.

Make Connections
Relax! You’re with like-minded people!  Cons  are a great place to make new friends and networks that can last for life (or a few years until some petty drama comes up and ruin your friendship)!   You are all here for a common passion and love.  By networking and befriending fellow comic book nerds, weeaboos and otaku alike, you will build a network that can help you find and learn about more conventions in the area and other cool nerd shit outside of cons.   Who know what new connections can lead you in the world of convetions.

For you bloggers, vloggers, etc –  make sure that you have a business card if you’re networking with others in your field (thanks for that DJ Kill Zone)

 

Cosplay

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Dress up as your favorite character and join the cosplay gatherings and meet.  Take pics taken of you in your  cosplay, never to find them online!  Cosplay is a wonderful hobby that will bring joy and new people into your life!  At least do one cosplay in your life if your curious about it!
That wraps up my “What do do at cons” post!  I’ll hope our tips will help you enjoy the con!

IMAGE SOURCES:

Lost Girl Panel:
http://www.mcmbuzz.com/blog/2013/10/29/disguises-surprises-and-cross-over-ideas-lost-girl-panel-at-mcm-comic-con-london/

Comiket Picture:
http://www.bigshinyrobot.com/31516/lets-go-to-the-ultra-con-introducing-comiket/

Game room:
http://agamersescape.com/post/107228508851/winter-sacanime-2015-review