The first hot breeze of summer also ushered in A-Kon 23, a Dallas based convention aimed at lovers of anime culture, J-Pop, manga, and oddly enough, My Little Pony wings. Technically, A-Kon 23 officially began on Friday, June 1st, but that didn’t stop us from having four hours set aside on Thursday to host our first Speed Dating panel of the weekend! If you don’t like long diatribes recounting every detail, you could head over to the IHOGeek.com YouTube channel and check it out there. But keep in mind that, as is the case with most of my humor, some videos there are NSFW. You have been warned!
So, without further ado, let myself and ladyvader99 explore Thursday!
Thursday is generally an empty time at the Con, filled with people in pajamas lugging their elaborate cosplays to various hotel rooms, but here and there you may catch a glimpse a sprightly dance circle happening or the telltale line showing that registration is now open. Ladyvader99 (Leia) arrived promptly at 7pm that night in order to prepare for the 8pm panel and to her delight, the room was already half full of willing participants! Preparation ran smoothly as did check in for each participant, even with the absence of killerrqueen (Kimmie), as I was lost on the one way streets of Dallas for over two hours before dejectedly heading home. Numerous emails detailed travel issues from several panel attendees who had pre-registered, unfortunately leaving the room 70% male. However, this minor hiccup was rectified with shorter dates so the ladies could rotate through all of their prospective gents. Thursday’s Speed Dating panel ended on a high note as almost everyone that night made a match!
Friday started early and as the crowd had nearly doubled, fighting the entire way to our booth on the first floor of Artist Alley was no small feat. As we had no panel scheduled so that Leia could concentrate on Thursday’s match ups, most of Friday was spent talking to passersby about Saturday’s Speed Dating panel and selling tickets for our prize giveaway in the hopes of helping fund Speed Dating and cover general convention expenses, with the Grand Prizes including a PlayStation Vita and Diablo III!
Finally situated at our booth, we encountered everything from a cosplaying tentacled man, (Editor’s Note: killerrqueen would like to point out that she believes the proper term is ‘betentacled.’ You know, like bespectacled.) another man who had no cash but serenaded us sweetly for a giveaway ticket, met up with Rob of GeekLink, and ogled several cosplayers that made us squeal with fangirl joy.
It was all too soon that the night wound down, yet the floor started pulsating with the bass beats of the Ayabe and Oz concert starting, which was our cue to pack up our booth and head upstairs to catch the end of Freeborn’s panel and the Team Four Star 18+ panel. Though Leia ended up having to leave before the TFS panel started, I eagerly stayed for the duration of the panel and was left enthralled for the entire 3 hours, with my cheeks burning from laughing so hard. As an impromptu autograph session was set up by A-Kon staff after the panel, I made the decision to be a fangirl first and not abuse my press pass, waiting half an hour before I finally hopped in the line after it slowed down and got autographs from Lanipator, KaiserNeko and Takahata101 (which are now keeping my car’s Star Wars air freshener company) before asking to set up an interview for the following evening.
Saturday… was kind of a mess at times. Work kept both myself and Leia from attending the first part of the day and both arrived sometime after six. After setting up our booth for roughly an hour and answering many more questions about Saturday night’s impending speed dating panel, we decided to head upstairs to set up early. We were not expecting a line of over 250 people, nor were we expecting an already full panel room twenty minutes before the panel began. Lack of communication in regards to the “pre-registration” nature of our panel set the panel back an entire hour, leaving the FORTY FIVE couples to try and navigate their way through a two minute dating session, a steep hike from the imbalance on Thursday. As the panel came to an end, we decided to host an impromptu mixer of our own with Loyal KNG and GeekLink at our Artist Alley booth immediately following and the turnout was quite nice. Watching people get to know each other better and sharing their opinions with us was great. A quick peek into the rave was all that was needed before Leia called it a night.
It was at this point in the evening that I noticed just how long our speed dating panel ran and I realized that I had missed my previously scheduled time slot with TeamFourStar. However, in a stroke of rare good fortune as I went on the prowl for more photos of cosplayers, I accidentally stumbled into TeamFourStar’s KaiserNeko and Takahata101 standing in line for the rave like a couple of normal dudes and taking photos with the fans that recognized them. Not wanting to seem pushy as an excuse for being incredibly shy, I had just decided to leave them be when none other than Takahata101 approached ME about rescheduling their interview. Internally squealing in delight and after picking my jaw up from the ground and remembering how to speak like a real person, plans were fixed and the night was left on an exciting note!
Sunday is usually quiet and almost desolate as people are passed out everywhere from the previous night’s shenanigans and the drawing for the raffle was surprisingly done with about 10 people hanging around our booth. Unfortunately, this drawing was at the same time as the private Q&A session with action star Tak Sakaguchi. So while Leia cried on the inside, she smiled and took pictures of the winners which can be seen in the slideshow below.
Though Leia got up at the crack of dawn, I took a much needed sleep-in all morning, waking up just early enough to buy some cupcakes and head out to the Con mid afternoon. The TeamFourStar autograph session was slated to end around 3:30, but with a longer line than any other booth on the first floor, it ended up lasting for almost another two hours. And that’s with the line eventually being capped. While waiting, I slipped behind their autograph booth to snag some photos and deliver cupcakes and afterwards finally managed to have a single hour to myself to enjoy the Con as a participant, snagging a Megan Lara “Zelda Nouveau” tee from the WeLoveFine.com booth and scoring a few beautiful Avatar: The Last Airbender prints as well. As Artist Alley began to close for the final time, I made my way back to the TeamFourStar autograph booth and my patience was rewarded as I was allowed to accompany them back to their hotel room and finally ask a few questions. (Editor’s Note: I cannot stress enough how nice, polite and overall awesome the TFS guys were as they humbly explained their beginnings and expressed gratitude for the overwhelming fan support seen at A-Kon 23. Having a conversation with them was like shooting the shit with any one of my friends at home, and I was amazed by how down to earth everyone was. I believe I can safely say that this was one of my favorite interviews to date.)
All in all, this was a fantastically FUN convention and we can’t wait to attend again next year. If you have any fun A-Kon 23 stories, post them in the comments below or send us a Tweet @IHOGeek! Until then, be sure to take a peek at all our pictures on Facebook and keep an eye on our YouTube channel for the upcoming TeamFourStar interview!
Kimmie Britt is a Red Lantern in the making and better known by her intergalactic smuggler alias, killerrqueen. Pint sized and full of sarcasm, when this hardcore gaming addict and metal music fiend is not hanging out with her puppy BFF, the aptly named Luke Skywalker, you can usually find her yelling in front of some form of electronic. From acting to designing to video editing, Kimmie has a wide range of tools in her arsenal and is never afraid to use them. As if that isn’t cool enough, Kimmie is the co-founder and head of badassness at IHOGeek.com, Media Manager and gamer model for Charisma + 2, and also a budding Khaleesi. Me nem nessa.