In its second year at The Plaza Resort and Spa on Daytona Beach, very little to dislike about UmiCon. While not terribly big (yet), the location was great, the guests were fun, and even if there wasn’t a panel to your liking, there was the beach a few feet away.
I arrived Saturday morning, missing the masquerade on Friday, and stayed overnight at the hotel for Sunday’s activities. For $89, you get a beachside view, two queen size beds, and my favorite part, two free drink tickets. Saturday night’s entertainment were concerts by The Cog Is Dead, Rhythm Bastard and S.S. Hanami, and a burlesque show put on my Skill Focus Burlesque.
For the most part, the con was at a manageable size for its second year. The one HUGE rookie mistake, though, is that there weren’t any schedules outside of their respective panel rooms, just one big one over by the registration desk. It might sound like a nitpick, considering the relatively small size of the convention, but really, it’s important to catch the interests of passers-by. It’s the little things that you only notice when they’re gone. It’s nothing against the convention itself, but it’s an easy problem to solve.
I didn’t see any panels, save for one, the Quinton Flynn X-Rated 18+ Panel. Basically, Quinton Flynn, voice actor who is probably best known for playing Raiden in the Metal Gear Solid series, as well as Axel in the Kingdom Hearts series, got an hour so to answer questions from the audience, and do celebrity impressions, but then fellow guests Todd Haberkorn (Death the Kid from Soul Eater and Keroro from Sgt. Frog), and John Swasey (Salvador from Bordelands 2 and Lord Death from Soul Eater) joined in, and it didn’t “devolve” into “madness”, it “evolved” into “happiness”, because all three men just went nuts. Goes with the territory, but it was nice to see the guests at a con actually enjoy themselves and each other’s work, as opposed to just being there.
All in all, it was a fun weekend, and I hope to get invited back next year. A couple quick hits of note:
-Free 30-Card Starter decks for Magic The Gathering were being given out in the tabletop room, so people can learn how to play. I scored a couple of them, and me and the other people working the dealer’s room had a mini-Magic Tourney. Great for passing the time during times when there wasn’t much traffic.
-If you haven’t been listing to Welcome To Night Vale, you should be. It’s a podcast that takes place in the town of Night Vale, a little desert town where every conspiracy theory is absolutely true. Each episode takes place in the form of a news broadcast by a man called Cecil, anchor for the local radio station. It’s well written, funny, and only 20 minutes long. This way, you know why there are a bunch of people wearing sweater vests, and have third eyes painted on their foreheads (a supposed headcanon for Cecil).
-One of the more impressive cosplays was an 8-foot tall Gypsy Danger from the movie Pacific Rim, made mostly out of cardboard and duct tape. He was kind enough to show me the ins and outs of how it worked, and immediately we started brainstorming on a full 2-man version.