The Onicon anime convention for this year was held in Galveston, Texas on the weekend of October 19th. While I have attended an anime convention before, it was quite a long time ago. I was in high school and a friend’s sister was organizing Kamikazecon. Turns out she was short handed on
free labor volunteers and enlisted us to run a live action anime adaptation room. My friend and I ended up suffering through two hours of live action Sailor Moon every day of the convention, and when our shift’s were over, we’d just wander around downtown Houston instead of the actual convention we were allowed to attend for free. Anyway, this was my first time ever attending an anime convention as a guest, so I made it a point to show up on Saturday for the cosplay showcase.
Of course, the actual show case was the highlite of the evening, so the day time was pretty much an exercise in wandering around a hotel. Every inch of Galveston’s convention center was packed with people dressed as their favorite…. whatever they wanted. I would say anime character, but with steam punk costumes, fur suits and pony people, it was much more of a fantastic display of imagination by the costumed attendees.
There were also a variety of Question and Answer panel rooms scattered throughout. Most of the rooms were filled with English anime voice actors, but I somehow managed to accidentally attend Rikki Simons’s panel right as it opened (I nearly fangasm’d. I’m not sure if guys can do that). Best known as the voice of GIR on the ill fated cartoon show, Invader Zim, he’s been a particularly influential force in shaping the pan-aged direction of modern American animation. Rikki was major fun during the QA session, but it did get kind of depressing when he returned every other question with an answer reminding his fans that Invader Zim got canceled and Nickelodeon probably won’t bring it back.
Eventually I did make my way to the Cosplay show room. Before it was opened to general admission, the cosplayers had to undergo a bit of a pre-judging. The contestants were evaluated on how much creative liberty was taken with the accuracy of their costumes, how much of it was hand crafted and, of course, a little bit of backstory on their respective choices. The duo above were kind of funny by how mismatched their heights were for their characters. The big knight dude had huge blocks in his costume’s shoes and the blonde guy was still as tall as he was. Really though, gotta respect how well they pulled it off.
Another criteria the cosplayers were judged on was the quality of their garments. Most cosplayers make their entire wardrobe themselves, so the level of skill displayed can vary anywhere from some serious, professional tailors to that one guy who staples selections of Mom’s tablecloths together. This portion of the judging was handled by the two pictured above. Of course they would look fantastic. Jury of your peers, you know.
In total there were well over 100 entrants into the contest, so it took a while for the prejudging to finish up. When it did finish, the normal attendees of the convention were allowed to enter the convention auditorium. Once seated, they along with the judges got to sit back and enjoy the show.
The lights go down and the parade begins. Each cosplayer has 30 seconds on stage to show off their costume (preferably in character) and just try to be as cool/sexy/cute as possible. Ewan McGregor just had to sneak on stage to reprise his role as Obi-wan like the cheater he is though.
In was a fun evening and I’ll definitely make it a point to check out the next convention in my area. I’d like to thank Steve that helped coordinate and host the cosplay event for letting me get up front and take pictures (even though I wasn’t official press staff for the convention). Below I’ve attached all the photos from the day for you to browse at leisure. If you’re pictured in any of them, drop me a line so I can hook you up with a high-res copy or a print!