Youmacon 2014 Convention Recap | Fanboys Anonymous

Youmacon 2014 Convention Recap

Posted by Stephen Wago Monday, November 3, 2014
For those who're unaware, Youmacon is easily Michigan's largest anime convention. It's found in the downtown area of Detroit, and its content is spread between the General Motors Renaissance Center and Cobo Hall. It was once a relatively small convention, but now in its 10th year has continued to grow. Last year the numbers tallied up to approximately 15,000. Based on how many hotels were booked up and the amount traffic in the People Movers, I can only imagine that those numbers have risen.

Youmacon Logo Download

Opening Ceremonies

The convention is spread throughout four days. The first is a free day for the public to check out as the attendees get set up, which is pretty much all that we used the Thursday for. The following Friday myself and my wife/co-host of Addicted to Anime attended the opening ceremonies. Having been to Youmacon several different times, I joked "we'll probably start half an hour late." Of course, in typical Youmacon fashion, that really was the case due to what appeared to be technical difficulties on stage.

Johnny Yong Bosch Character List
However, once we got around to start time, everything was a lot of fun. The MC of the ceremonies happened to be very charismatic, witty, and downright funny. He made the whole experience very enjoyable. We were introduced to a variety of different panelists and guests who would be attending the convention such as Johnny Yong Bosch, the voice actor of many, many popular anime characters such as Ichigo from Bleach, all the way to the bulk of the Team Four Star cast who create parodies of Dragonball Z, among other anime.

Each guest had plenty of interaction with the audience, from throwing random prosthetic hands and candies to bantering back and forth. We even had a bit of a random concert from the voice actor of Light Yagami, who was dressed as one of the Beatles. Needless to say, they delivered on the goods. My only critique being that the introductions of guests went on a little too long, to the point that half the crowd emptied out. In fairness to them, though, they had a huge lineup this time.

Dealers Room & Artist Alley

Following the opening ceremonies, we went ahead and made the 10-minute walk over to Cobo Hall. (For people interested in going, do yourself a favor and just take the People Mover, it was cold as hell!) One of the most fun parts of a convention is checking out the variety of different things in person that you normally only find online or not at all.

Youmacon Badge Discount Code
The dealers room and artist alley were kept in the same large room and split into two groups, although you couldn't tell too much because they kinda just blended into one this year. I would only imagine that would benefit artist alley with more exposure and put some ice on the burn procured from the fact that many of those who had a table were more than dissatisfied with the organization and treatment they received.

I can't say that anything blew me away this year; the leather works shop was really cool and had a variety of different stuff, such as leather book cases with Zelda/Dr. Who logos etched on them. For the most part, however, the entire room consisted of plushies and t-shirt designs that had been ripped off the Internet. It was a nice set up, but I wish there had been a few more things for me to gawk at and be tempted to purchase. I'm not trying to be overly negative, what was there was most certainly well crafted, but if you've been to Youmacon in the past few years, you've probably already seen the good majority of what's there. On the plus side, the dealers room did offer plenty of opportunities to snap pictures of cosplayers.

Arcade/Video Games/Tabletop Gaming

Pokemon X & Y Rom Download  3DSIf you're a fan of hanging out with your fellow gamers and having a good time, then Youmacon has got you covered, with games new and old. Besides, let's face it, it's fun as a hell watching someone trying to play Dance-Dance Revolution while dressed as a Disney princess.

Whether your game is Magic The Gathering, Pokémon or something else, you'll find someone to have a blast with playing via a table top or on a screen.

On a side note, kudos to whomever set up a little store in the center of the arcade named "Pokemon Center." The amount of Pokémon plushies, pocky, and ramune there were an Otaku's wet dream.

Death Note Mafia

Death Note Episode Youtube Download
A cool experience, and I must admit one of my favorite experiences of the convention, was the Death Note Mafia game. For those who've never played Mafia before, each character is given an identity such as killer, investigator, civilian, and so on. From there, the killer or killers work together to eliminate everyone while the rest try to identify them. This takes place through a turn-based system and is a lot of fun.

As it happens, the game works very well with Death Note characters, such as Light Yagami being a killer or "Kira" and L Lawliet playing the role of an investigator. The game brings out the personality of a quiet bunch and gets them yelling and pointing their accusations across the table.

Speak No Creepypasta

Creepypasta is one of the dark corners of the Internet, a site that comes up with theories about innocent parts of your childhood and destroys them. It also contains dark stories, concepts, and a lot of material that's meant to make you terrified. As this con takes place around Halloween, it was fitting that someone made a Creepypasta panel.
Creepypasta Deleted Archive
They had a variety of different stories that made people squeamish or downright terrified. Some led to different variations of stories such as "The Minute Game" that had people huddling up to me in fear (seriously). The tone of the panelists and the lighting helped set the mood, I'm sure.

Generally the entire delivery of this panel was amazing and so much fun!

It finished with random audience members playing "Slenderman" while the audience watched and cheered/panicked on. The ending was most satisfying, when a Slenderman cosplayer proceeded to sneak around and scare the gamer as she was attacked by Slenderman in game.

Team Four Star 18+ Panel

Team Fourstar Hellsing Abridged Youtube Download
I can't really explain what question in the Q&A led to this...
Easily the most popular panel from my perspective was the ever-popular Team Four Star. The cast is always a barrel of laughs and continued with their yearly tradition of posting their Hellsing Abridged episodes for the Youmacon audience to see before YouTube.
As far as the episode went, it wasn't their best, but by no means was it bad. I think what may had detracted from my enjoyment of some of the video was that the entire audience filled the room, yet there was but one poorly lit screen on the right hand side…

That said, the audience laughing along helped me get past that, and I'm very much looking forward to seeing it once it's uploaded. Alexander Anderson's and Sir Integra's voice actors were definitely the stars.

The Q & A began, and hilarity ensued between the charismatic panelists and bizarre audience as they made requests that ranged from a rock, paper, scissors match to questions about their sex lives.
When it was all said and done, everyone went home happy, because they revealed an Abridged Final Fantasy coming in 2015. Granted, I couldn't see which Final Fantasy because of the shitty screen, but I'm sure more details will be released.

Biggest Improvement Needed

Youmacon Scheduel Download
Many dedicated fans waited up to 2-3 hours for panels.
Fewer platinum badges! I feel bad for those who got stuck or didn't even get to attend some of their favorite panels. Now I can appreciate that if you pay more, then you should by all means receive more. However, they should limit that luxury more. Youmacon lifted its limits on the badges to a higher amount due to the high demand, but personally I've found that it's only hurt several people's experiences more than it's helped.

People who weren't platinum were often not able to attend panels, and those with platinum passes often felt they were not getting the full value because there were so many people there. I think this needs to be addressed for 2015.

Biggest Improvement of 2014

I think that Youmacon's move last year to split the convention between the Renaissance Center and Cobo Hall was brilliant. I've heard few to any complaints about the organization of this year's experience, and I have to echo the exact same thing.

Joe Louis Fight Record
The Joe Louis Statue In Cobo Hall
Every time I found myself lost while searching for a panel, the staff could point me in the right direction or to someone who would be able to. The Youmacon and Cobo staff worked very well hand in hand, and I'd like to just express what an excellent improvement this was from previous years they've done. I can only hope to see it get even better from here!

All in all, if you were on the fence about attending Youmacon 2015, I can say with great confidence that you should attend. Like all conventions it has its flaws, but unlike many it makes great strides in trying to better them.

Make sure to check back to Fanboys Anonymous as we upload the best cosplays of Youmacon. Until then, feel free to leave me your feedback on Youmacon as well as any thoughts or questions.

Check out our podcast Addicted to Anime, which is live on Mega Powers Radio monthly and available on demand here at Fanboys Anonymous, iTunes and Stitcher Radio.
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