Zenkaikon X Has Come and Gone, But Will Not Be Forgotten
Zenkaikon is a multi-genre convention that was previously held in Philadelphia, PA, but that has moved to Lancaster, PA for the last four years because of it’s growing attendance.
This year they held their 10th convention and had some pretty amazing guests such as Vic Mignogna, Dante Basco, Richard Epcar, Ellyn Stern, and InterbangStudios. No Zenkaikon attendee could forget Uncle Yo, as the geek comedian and host has been going to Zenkaikon since the beginning of his career.
The guests took part in their own panels, answering questions and telling stories. All three of them got together to discuss their voice acting jobs, and answered questions given to them by fans. They had many stories to share, and even tips for those who want to get into voice acting. Like every year, the Zenkaikon staff put together some short scripts for the voice actors to act out as well.
Vic had his own Star Trek panel where he featured one of his newer episodes of Star Trek Continues, which he directed and starred in. He explained how his love for Star Trek that he’s had since he was a child fuels his will to keep the adventure going, and expressed to his fans that this project is purely made as a tribute to Star Trek.
In his other panel he answers questions, gives us some insight on his current voice acting jobs, and even sang his own written song for those there. The song, he says, was inspired by his character Edward Elric to the character’s brother Alphonse Elric.
Uncle Yo, like every year, brought joy to the fans with his stand up act. He later got raunchy as the host, and for the first time dancer, of Cosplay Burlesque, an event where cosplayers get on stage and strip down to practically nothing.
Uncle Yo started his career at Zenkaikon and comes back every year to what is his home con. Here you can see his joy through a selfie about how large Zenkaikon is growing.
— Uncle Yo (@UncleYo) April 2, 2016
If you’re looking for something for an older crowd, there is a large array of 18+ panels such as Let’s Dub a Hentai, Winning the War on Pants, Anime for Adults, How to Burlesque, Yaoi and Beyond, Dumb Ways to Die D&D Edition, and none other than Guests Against Humanity where some of the guests play an anime version of the infamous Cards Against Humanity card game.
Some of the fun, family friendly panels and events included Hidden Gems of Manga, Dante Basco’s voice panel called Rufio/Zuko Powerhouse, The Pokemon Game Show, Ballroom Dance Lessons and the Cosplay Ball, Open Karaoke, Crossplay Makeup Basics, Cosplay Dating Game (and the 18+ version), The Magic of Cosplay Display and Exhibit, AMV showdown, Steven Universe Keep Beach City Weird, the Ein Strife Concert, Sci-fi at Zenkaikon, Charity Auction, Furries!, and so on. There was around 224 panels, events, and anime being streamed through out the three days of the convention, more than enough to keep any geek busy.
There was even an amazing Vocaloid Fan Concert that mimics the Hatsune Miku Expo. Everyone calpped, sung along, and some even had some glow sticks. The projections sang some of the most well known songs from Vocaloid such as Echo, World’s End Dancehall, World Is Mine, Senbonzakura, and Shake It.
Just as great as the guests were the cosplayers. Like always there was an abundance of cosplayers from different anime, shows, movies, and games. There were so many amazing cosplays, whether they were bought or made, and it is always amazing to see the community come together to bask in their anime, manga, games, shows, movies, and all around geek loving glory.
When it comes to great cosplays this one takes the cake. This Uncle Iroh (Uncle Iroh Order of the White Lotus) is famous for his remarkable resemblance to the character. The fact the voice of Prince Zuko was at Zenkaikon this year makes his cosplay stand out more, and makes this picture one of my favorites from this year.
In many of the pictures you can see the background of the dealer’s hall/ artist alley, a big room specifically for all of your money splurging needs. There was merchandise such as Japanese snacks, plushies, keychains, action figures, cosplays, wigs, kimonos, manga, dvds, jewlery, Harry Potter wands, and of course fan art!
However, no matter what, an anime convention can not be complete without the show meetups where fans of a particular fandom meet to make new friends and take photo shoots.
Somewhat of a main attraction to any convention is the Masquerade, an event where skits and a cosplay runway ensues. This year ran smoothly like any other and was pure entertainment. From dances, a skit’s own tiny fashion show, and the Cosplay contest, this Zenkaikon Masquerade surely was a highlight of the weekend.
Watch one of the skits below, and while you wait a few moments for the curtain to rise do not skip too far ahead, as Uncle Yo sung a little song about Batman for us as we waited.
What could be better than bringing together fans and geeks alike? How about bringing together fans as an actual family. Proposals seem big at Zenkaikon as one happened at last year’s Masquerade, and it seems the tradition is going as two more fans are going to become husband and wife.
Don’t forget that while you’re at Zenkaikon you can always stop into the game room to play a ton of games! You could sit down and play practically every console there is, solo or with friends. You could even play Hatsune Miku: Project Diva or battle others on DDR.
— Chris Mautner (@cmautner) April 2, 2016
Making friends, feeling confident, having a place to call your own, and being able to be yourself is more than anyone can ask for, but you can find a home for all of that at Zenkaikon. I have been going to Zenkaikon for the past four years and never would I miss the coming ones. While it does not have a name as big as a convention like Otakon, it is more than enough for those looking for a fun weekend, and a place where you can be as big of a fan as you want and still be considered normal and welcomed.
Don’t forget to watch the CMV below to see more of the amazing cosplayers that were at Zenkaikon 2016!
You can also follow some fans Saturday at Zenkaikon where you get to see moreof the actual convention such as the venue and dealers room.