Report written by Katrina C.
Alright, review time! This time I’m covering ShadoCon 2013 which was held in Tampa, Florida this passed weekend, and I want to start off by saying that for a convention that’s only in its fourth year, they were able to get some pretty amazing guests.
Another big name that you might not recognize at first is Dante Basco. Before going to the convention I only knew he had done the voice of Prince Zuko in Avatar: The Last Airbender, and later Iroh in the sequel series The Legend of Korra. It wasn’t until speaking to Chibi that I learned he acted in the role of Rufio, leader of the Lost Boys in the movie Hook. I was stunned at how many people were there to see him for that role specifically.
Cherami Leigh was the only female anime guest at this convention and probably one of the sweetest, nicest people anyone can ever meet. Though I am not so much a fan of her work, (not because I don’t like her voice, but I haven’t watched or played a single thing she’s had a part in), I did feel the need to hug her before I left, just to show my appreciation for her. Cherami, for those who don’t know, plays Lucy from Fairy Tail, Patty from Soul Eater, and Asuna Yuuki in Sword Art Online alongside….
Bryce Papenbrook, who plays the part of Rin in the same series. Now, I am a complete an utter fangirl for Kyle and Gohan’s voice, but Bryce was my rain reason for being there. Rin from Blue Exorcist and Masaomi Kida from Durarara!! are just two more names he can put under his belt, and while I am a huge fan of his work as Kida, my fangirl moment came from his work as Zidane Tribal in Final Fantasy: Dissdia and its predecessor Duodecim.
Now, if the names weren’t enough to psyche you up for this con, this probably wasn’t the best con for you. Artist Alley was confined to a small room upstairs above the panel rooms. While I did buy several things from various sellers there, there weren’t any tables that really jumped out at me. It was a very ordinary Artist Alley.
The Dealer’s Room was very much the same thing. There wasn’t much variety to be had, especially to a fan of older animes. I walked away with well over 100$ worth of merchandise from the huge blow-up tent outside the center, but about half of that was spent on the one rare find I had (X-1999 hardcover art book. Be jealous. I know you are).
Crowd control wasn’t terrible and there was minimal yelling of staff members trying to organize messy lines. Upstairs where the video rooms and Artist Alley were located were the hardest areas to navigate. This could have also been because the signing panels were up there at the end of the hall as well.
The location was beautiful, though I doubt ShadoCon will be able to get the security deposit back from the Grand Hyatt. Valet parking was available, as well as two bars, one inside in the lobby, the other outside, set up nicely by the pool/fountain and just a small walk to the snack bar, which had several white clothed tables to accommodate. Beyond the pool and bars was a wooden pathway that led you on a nature walk. I didn’t go on this venture, but I watched several groups go and come back, and it seemed like a great place for photo shoots. For those photographers out there reading this, keep that in mind for the next time you’re in the area.
Going back to what I said about the security deposit: please, for the love of God if you have a prop and sharp pointy thing on your cosplay be careful NOT TO SCRAPE THEM ACROSS GLASS DOORS. The doors leading outside were absolutely trashed in a matter of hours. Please be courteous, readers.
Lastly, a quick review of the people of the con. The staff, for the most part, was very well organized and efficient. My only issue was first thing Saturday morning, when we went to register they didn’t have our names on their papers. I urge anyone who reads this later to please make sure you print out the confirmation papers when you purchase your pass in advance because it saved our asses.
As for the cosplayers, there wasn’t much of a variety, but I can understand why I suppose. A large portion of the groups were Attack on Titan cosplayers, followed by lots of Homestuck mixed with a pinch of Dragonball Z, Avatar: The Last Airbender, and My Little Pony. I was very happy to see such minimal Naruto and Bleach this time around. Thankfully that phase is over.
Overall guests were amazing, merch was only so-so, and the people are just like any other convention: some you love, some you want to back hand across the face with a buster sword.