Ramencon 2015: Cosplay and Pokémon and Panels
Ramencon 2015 was held Sept. 18-20 at the Star Plaza Radisson in Merrillville, IN, and, as always, was a great time!
This year, I was pulling double duty – I ran a table in the Artist Alley and also ran four panels at the convention. Despite my busy schedule, I managed to get some pics of some fabulous cosplay, meet a lot of great people, and aid in the capture of some wild Pokemon who were hiding out at the con. Chris, the convention chair, had an idea that not only provided entertainment for con attendees, but also encouraged foot traffic through the artist and panel area of the convention. He hid stickers (non-damaging to walls) of Pokemon throughout the 2nd floor, and hid them very well.
Attendees who wished to play the Pokemon game would find the stickers and take a picture with their cell phone to document it. Knowing that the artists might know where an elusive Pokemon might be hiding encouraged attendees to interact, which I feel built rapport and increased browsing. Knowing that Pokemon might be in panel rooms also encouraged attendees to enter the panel rooms. People would enter, realize a panel was in progress, and sit down to wait, and then become involved with the panel. As a person running discussions, I was pretty happy about that!
On Friday afternoon, I ran a panel loosely based on my Anthropomorphizing the Mundane: Five Fictional Objects that Messed Us Up article that ran here at The Mary Sue. The panel was well-attended, and it was really interesting to me that so many people came to a panel designed to talk humorously about sad things. On Saturday evening, I ran its counterpart, a panel called Right in the Feels, focusing on sad animals rather than sad objects. When I brought up the slide with a picture of Artax from The Neverending Story, the whole audience groaned out loud. Imagine their reaction when I talked about Fry’s dog Seymour! The second half of the panel was just me calling on audience members to share their saddest, most tear-jerking moment from entertainment, and we were pretty much measuring the “success” of each person’s suggestion in the form of the anguish of others. The louder the cries, the “better” the suggestion! For all it sounds wretched, it was actually fun and a little bit cathartic. Instead of crying over the sadness, we were competing with each other for who could get the biggest response. I would definitely run those two panels again!
I also ran a panel about my favorite anime, GunxSword, which went really well. It was really just an intro to the show and some reasons that fans of the space western genre might enjoy it, and it turned out that my audience was evenly divided between fans of the show and people who wanted to know about it and were considering watching it, which was great. It had the smallest attendance of any of my panels, but the discussion was a lot more focused because of our smaller numbers.
Also of note: I would like to thank the staff of Ramencon for being helpful and understanding. In particular, several different staff members stepped in to help when I discovered that my laptop was a dinosaur and had no proper orifice in which to receive an HDMI cable. I sat there like a dork for a moment, poking the cable into a few holes clearly not designed to house it and then ran off to find help. Luckily, I was early, so I didn’t have to start late. When no suitable borrowable laptop was available, a staffer loaned me her personal laptop for my panels. I want to thank Doug, Jake, and Diana for being amazing, and Andrea for trusting me with her computer. You saved my bacon, lady!
In between panels, I spent most of my time in the Artist Alley, where I was able to get some pictures of some really wonderful cosplay:
Sara Goodwin has a B.A. in Classical Civilization and an M.A. in Library Science from Indiana University. Once she went on an archaeological dig and found awesome ancient stuff. Sara enjoys a smorgasbord of pan-nerd entertainment such as Renaissance faires, anime conventions, steampunk, and science fiction and fantasy conventions. In her free time, she writes things like fairy tale haiku, fantasy novels, and terrible poetry about being stalked by one-eyed opossums. In her other spare time, she sells nerdware as With a Grain of Salt Designs, Tweets, and Tumbls.
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