Welcome to another review by your friendly anime con reviewers Anime Power Level. We would like to thank Sonny Strait (Krillin in DBZ) for giving us an awesome sound byte for our podcast 😀
Once a year Detroit, Michigan’s downtown turns into a haven of cosplayers, silly shenanigans and congoers from the whole country to celebrate the arrival of Youmacon. Youmacon is one of the fastest growing anime conventions conveniently located between the East Coast and the Midwest area of the country housed under The COBO Hall and the Renaissance Center Marriot of Detroit Michigan. It attracts more than 10 thousand people each year and as more people hear about it the more it will expand. This will be our third year attending Youmacon; each and every time we have enjoyed our time there. Highlights of the year include the very popular 24 hour game room, the expanded dealer room, and the high quality and enjoyable panels. We will also discuss a few minor nuisances that made our time at Youmacon a little less enjoyable but still did not distract us from the whole legendary experience that is Youmacon.
Video Game Room
The signature highlight of Youmacon is its massive video game room that runs 24 hours from start to finish of the convention. This year it was apparent that they wanted their con guests to enjoy their video game room as early as possible and if you were one of the lucky ones to be there Thursday night, you had access to all the game room had to offer without a badge. Thanks Youmacon, for the awesome free Thursday night gaming. Lesson be learned to all other conventions in the area if you want to run a successful video game room take a look at what Youmacon is doing and try to replicate it. Congoers had a huge selection to choose from. From PC gaming to the latest console, video games all connected to form huge LAN parties. Old school gamers had a wide variety of games to choose from, going all the way back to NES duck hunt to PS1 classics. The arcade cabinets were provided by Benami and they do an amazing job at bringing the fun to their game rooms. Classic arcade pinballs, DJMax Technika, Beatmania, and Dance Dance Revolution machines were all present and accounted for. Looking for a challenge or wanted to prove that you’re the very best? Youmacon had you covered with multiple tournaments going around the clock; genres included fighting games, first player shooters, and PC games. One of our favorite parts of the game room was the popular Battletech pods which simulate the experience of actually sitting in a cockpit of a huge mech machine and have an 8-10 player death match.
Over the past three years that we have attended Youmacon we have seen a radical change in the dealer room. Back in 2011 the dealer room was 3-4 panel rooms put together stuffed with the vendors and a couple of artist alley tables here and there. Now it fills up the whole COBO center main hall, there were aisles and aisles of geek merchandise as far as the eye can see: anime, video game, sci–fi, steam punk, card games, figures, and raver gear all under one roof. Check our gallery for a more detailed look of how massive the dealer room was. Although there was a ton of merchandise to choose from and different vendors selling, we felt that Youmacon needs bigger sponsor booths. This year we missed seeing the huge Funanimation booth that gave out promotional material and goodie bags for all the con goers. What was a little unsettling was the amount of empty aisles that we came upon by the artist alley. We hope to see all them filled up next year with wonderful and talented artists.
Panels, Masquerade, Concert/Rave
On Friday night, our evening highlight was the concert in the main hall of the Renaissance Center. Three bands took the stage and stole the night. Random Gibberish was the first band to take the stage and although they had a very catchy song towards the end of the end of their set, most of their act was tedious and uninteresting. Loverin Tamburin was the foreign guest band for this year’s Youmacon. Fans of the Disgaea series were in for a treat as they performed the Disgae’s theme as their second song. The main event which was Steam Powered Giraffe was full of energy and good music, they sure do know how to put on a good show and move the audience. The highlights from this year’s panels include the video game voice actor panel. This panel included notable voice actors from popular series and video games such as Sarah Natochenny (voice of Ash Ketchum in Pokemon), Michelle Knotz (voice of Jesse in Pokemon), Sonny Strait (Krillin in DBZ) to the voice of Claptrap from Borderlands 2 (David Eddings). We had an amazing time listening to their industry stories and even took in a tip or two about starting out your own voice acting career, with everyone emphasizing: “If you want to do voice acting you need to get into acting”. Staples from bigger conventions were there like Whose line is it anime?! and Anime Jeopardy. Anime Jeopardy had an interesting method for choosing their contestants; contestants had to toss bean bags at the worst anime villains the first bean bag to reach the villain responded to the question. Whose line is it anime was your usual improv of mini skits and hilarious scenarios that the actors got into. For all the night owls, there were plenty of 18+ panels to choose from. From Hentai voiceovers to the ever popular Mario party 18+ after dark edition and the ever popular high energy rave which featured a DJs from all over the country and moved the crowd all night long. We did have some issues with reaching some of the panels after night, we were sent back and forth only to find out that the panel we wanted to see had been cancelled last minute and nobody had any information until we brought it up. Technical problems also prevented us from seeing the Evangelion 3.33 Sub Premier. The Masquerade is the biggest highlight to any convention. It gives you the opportunity to see the best cosplayers of the convention and watch some well written skits. This year’s Masquerade did not disappoint, the MC was very entertaining. The only disappointing thing was the shortage of skits, however they were top notch this year.
The only major concern we had this year with Youmacon were the sitting arrangements into panels for press. Volunteers that are in charge of the lines for panels often questioned why we had to sit in the front. When you go as press to conventions you have the ability to enter the panel room a few minutes early. That gives us a chance to talk to the people running the panel and be able to get front row seats to take good pictures and not be in way of people when we constantly get up. The majority of the panels we went to, the volunteers by the door did not recognize our press privileges and saw us as regular con goers that didn’t pay. Every year we have attended Youmacon they have surprised us and raised the bar for every convention in the Midwest area. With its amazing 24 hour game room, to their wildly entertaining, and sometimes informative panels, you can’t go wrong by attending.
Signing off, your friendly neighborhood con review team