Published on November 7th, 2013 | by gareth0
Aki Con 2013
By Lisa Heimbigner
Aki needs to be defined before it can be explained. Aki means two things: “fall” in Japanese, and Arts Knowledge Imagination. Aki Con convention is all about otaku nation, or lovers of manga (Japanese comic books) and anime (Japanese cartoons). Aki Con is focused on celebrating manga and anime lovers in autumn festival style fashion. Japan is big on hosting festivals, and so the organizers of Aki Con were attempting to capture some of that spirit in the Pacific Northwest.
The convention was crammed into the historic looking Hilton-Double Tree with high-school-drama-class-esque cutouts lining the walls. Walking room was minimal, mostly due to the poorly place registration desk and festival props, and the layout of the hotel made it hard to find the artist alley and vendor’s hall. The map in the back of the con guide was my only hope. Once you did find the artist alley you had to shuffle your way through four rooms that had no air conditioning or proper organization. The vendor’s hall fared better as there was enough room to comfortably roam around and take your time looking at merchandise.
Aki Con is all about cosplay. Aki Con gives cosplayers and anime lovers the opportunity to express their talents and passion for their favorite shows; it also gives con goers an opportunity to experience a little bit of everything. Whether showing off in a photo shoot, or playing out a few scenes from your favorite episode of the anime you are representing, cosplayers will be there and on full display. And there for the enjoyment of attendees was a room dedicated to watching random episodes of random anime, while across the hall there was a room devoted to quiet time and manga reading. There was even a hall setup for photo sessions in different environments, including Mario’s worldand a mystic garden.
The average age of the Aki Con attendee is about 17, meaning it feels like you stepped into a high school made of geeks with no supervision, and that high school is run by teenagers. The volunteers could be found dozing off in the rooms they were watching over while con-goers were running circles around other people not caring if they bumped into them.
Unless this con is moved to a bigger, better location they may have a hard time attracting more people to the con, and especially return visits from people like myself. There definitely other anime conventions in the Pacific Northwest that are run better and a more pleasant experience.
Photos courtesy of Western Washington photographer and fellow geek, Fearless Photoworks. Check out her other photos at https://www.facebook.com/FearlessPhotoworks.