Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The Fangirl Experience: Attending Colossalcon 2016, Part 1

This past weekend I went to Colossalcon, one of the largest anime conventions in the country. Lucky for me, it just so happens to be located in Kalahari, a waterpark in Sandusky, Ohio (I live in Ohio...YAY!). Now, truthfully, I’m not a convention veteran but, thankfully, I had friends (guardian angels, if you will) who showed me the glory of a full four day anime convention.

Because the con covers an entire weekend’s worth, I decided to break my post up into two parts. This first part will cover Thursday and Friday and the second part will include Saturday and Sunday.

Deadpool with the Master Sword and Keyblade!!

Most of my con memories were positive, lasting moments. Colossalcon is a safe place where fandoms (not just anime) can congregate and relate to one another. But in order to mention most things (not all things), I will limit my experiences to a mere three categories: the good, the bad, and the contastic (meaning events or experiences specifically encountered at cons in general). Although, be aware that I had many more memorable moments and lasting impressions.

The Good 

1) Friends 

If you are a geek, an anime convention is the perfect place to meet others with the same interests as you. It’s not everyday that anime, Disney, comic book, or video game fans are gathered in one place. That’s why it was so magical to see Kalahari taken over by said fans.

And sure, you have your own group of friends who are with you, but it’s insanely easy to make new ones. All you have to do is scope out your favorite character(s), say hi, freak out, and tell them all about how you love that particular fandom. From there, friendship is fairly easy.

Anyone a HaikyĆ«!! fan?

2) Photo shoots (Final Fantasy, YAY)

Cons are full of photo shoots (some fabulous and others...not so much). But I was able to attend one of the best ones on Friday--the Final Fantasy photo shoot. All characters included in the Final Fantasy series were invited to gather around to have their photos taken on a grassy piece of Calm Lands...I mean, grassy Farplane...I mean, grassy field.

Final Fantasy group photo

The photo shoot started off as all do: with a group photo.  Then, the one in charge of the shoot began listing off all the Final Fantasys in order, from One to Type-0. It was so well organized and wonderfully managed that it was such a pleasure to watch. *ahem* I may or may not have squealed when Final Fantasy VIIFinal Fantasy X and Final Fantasy XV were called to come forward. 

The "Final Fantasy XIV moment"

Next up were villains, heroes, and (finally) requests. There was actually one request where Shuyin (from FFX-2) came forward and all the Yunas and Rikkus beat him into the ground. Oh my gosh!! It was the best. Not to mention, there was a kawaii Final Fantasy XIV moment. All in all, great job for whoever put it all together. It was definitely a highlight of my trip.

Shuyin:  "I got this."

Shuyin:  "I don't got this!  I don't got this!!"

3. The Rave a.k.a. "Pizza Guy, You the Real MVP"

On Thursday, my friends and I decided to check out the rave, which is notorious for getting out of hand on Friday and Saturday but perfect for slow nights like Thursday. It was amazing and included techno music, flashing seizure-inducing lights, and lots of sweaty, costumed bodies pressed together. Usually, that can be a tad overwhelming, but it was actually fun, especially since there weren't as many people packed onto the dance floor as there could have been.

But what really made the rave wasn’t the thumping music or the sick dance moves (although, the dancing was pretty spectacular). No, it was the pizza guy! That’s right. The PIZZA GUY! He strut in, his pizza box in tow, and started dancing. So, of course a crowd of people began chanting, “Pizza, Pizza!!” and he went out onto the dance floor and proceeded to do so. Someone even jumped over pizza guy and was break dancing around him. Later, we found out that the pizza guy DID actually work at Dominoes, but he was off duty and decided to “cosplay” as a pizza man. (Sneaky!  He got into the con for free.)

The Bad
1) Not eating or sleeping

Colossal was exciting, eventful, and a really nice place for people to hang out. So, it’s only natural to go without food or sleep for the entire time you’re there. Thankfully, panels (and con life) ended at or around 3am, so everyone followed suit and went back to his or her hotel room after that. But it was actually pretty difficult to eat enough throughout the day. There was always something going on or someone to see. I’d rather skip lunch than miss seeing a friend I haven’t seen in a year or miss the chance to take a pic of my childhood. (Sailor Moon, Teen Titans, etc.)

Teen Titans...GO! Raven, Terra, and Starfire looked amazing.

That’s why it was all right. I learned (over the course of the con) that one should pack granola bars and water...oh yes, especially WATER! So, it wasn’t necessarily a “bad” thing to miss out on a few meals or mess up a sleep schedule. I DID eat and I DID sleep, it was just a little less of both, which was fine for what I was trading it for.

Roy and Riza forever! 

2) The Crowd 

The crowd, especially on Friday and Saturday, was INSANE! One had nowhere to park. You basically had to park in a field all the way across the lot to find (maybe) one parking spot after thirty minutes of scouting.

However, crowds also mean more people to meet, more cosplays to see, and much more excitement to be had.

The Studio Ghibli Gang

3) Lost Items

Yes...I lost my wallet on Friday. I think it was because I had a lot to carry in the evening and probably placed in on the ground while resting. Gosh, I was in shambles. My entire life was in there: driver’s license, cash, debit cards, Starbucks gift cards. Ugh, it was ugly. But fortunately for me, people are amazing.

I went to lost and found, located in con operations (a place one needs to know about if at a con), and asked the staff if they had found a pink wallet. Thank goodness they had it! And would you believe me if I told you all the cash was still in there? Jeez, it was glorious. My faith in humanity is restored.


1) The Wig Competition

On Thursday, there was a wig competition. What’s that, you ask? It’s a three hour competition for wig stylists.  They compete against one another for a chance to win money (like $300 worth) and prizes. Contestants are given a wig (same color, cut, length, etc.) and they have time to style it however they wish. It was sheer splendor to behold. The woman who ended up winning had created a Poison Ivy-steampunk hair style.

2) Fandom Culture

As mentioned above, a con is unique in the regard that it gathers all fandoms together into one place. Sure, technically, Colossalcon is an anime convention but, let’s be real, I still saw Halo characters, Zootopia characters, and Fairly OddParents characters. What’s special is that you can let your geekdom flag fly high. Plus, it also brings out the best in people. *sigh* People are so kind at cons.

Tracer from Overwatch that Irma from W.I.T.C.H.?!

3) The Art 

Thankfully, I was able to go to Artists’ Alley (a place for, you guessed it, artists to sell their work) and the Dealer’s Room (pricey but “official” merchandise). Artists’ Alley was astounding. Seriously, the amount of talent stuffed into that small space was amazing to behold. Sheesh, I think I almost fainted. I ended up getting a few prints and was able to speak to some talented individuals.

My Kingdom Hearts print from artist Kamaniki

All in all, my experience was beyond what I expected. This will not be a weekend I could forget, and I will definitely be back next year.

Of course I find Usagi and Chibiusa at the sweet shop.

Have you been to any conventions lately? Were you at ColossalCon 2016?


  1. Cool! I don't read anime but I love any occasion to put on a costume. Thanks for writing about this - it was fun to read!
    Jen @ YA Romantics

    1. Oh! Do you happen to play video games? There were other cosplays (related to Halo, Arrow, etc.) besides anime related ones.

      I know what you mean about wanting to put on a costume. I have this dream of eventually attending a masquerade.