This year marked the 10th anniversary of Kumoricon, and we here at Cosplay Photographers had the opportunity to visit the convention and give you a taste of what this convention is like. Named after the cloudy weather that pervades all northwest conventions (Kumori is the Japanese word for “cloudy”), Kumoricon is a more intimate convention that brings together local otaku with a more grass-roots feel.
This year’s Kumoricon returned to the Red Lion and Hilton hotels in Vancouver, WA. For starters, all of the vending areas are hosted at Red Lion, which includes artist alley as well as vendor hall. Separated from other activities the convention offers at the Hilton hotel 3-4 blocks away, the Red Lion seems to be quite ideal for convention attendees who prefer to stay at a quieter location when it’s time for sleep.
Being a small-to-medium sized convention (~5000 attendees), the convention occupied two floors at the Hilton and offered many activities such as panels, karaoke, workshop, photo booth, gaming, dancing, and many others. Extending from the two hotels and the roads in between, most attendees end up hanging out at the park right across the street from the Hilton hotel.
One of the very first things we noticed about the attendees is that many of them are teenagers, and the atmosphere definitely speaks loudly of said culture, a kind of vibrant and youthful feeling that is less noticeable at other conventions. Perhaps it is also part of the atmosphere, the convention as a whole gives a very casual and relaxed feel. The cosplays attendees wear also seem to reflect quite truthfully to the feeling and the environment where comfort and mobility trump complexity.
I arrived just shortly before noon on the 2nd day of the convention, and since Kumoricon’s first day was Saturday, we may have missed out on a lot of the fun stuff the convention brought forth this year. In spite of that, I proceeded to enjoy the con as I would at any other. One of the first things that popped out at me was how “far apart” the two hotels were. Being one who doesn’t walk much, I grumbled about how I had to walk 3-4 blocks just to get from the hotel room (at Red Lion) to where all the activities seem to happen, which would be the Hilton hotel and the park across from it.
It was quite easy to explore the convention itself though. The layout was so simple and straightforward, one didn’t really need to consult a map to figure out where things were, unlike some of the bigger cons. After spending a few hours exploring the conventions and surrounding areas, doing a few photo shoots, as well as hanging out with and meeting new friends, it was already time for the dances. Being exhausted from covering PAX Prime the previous two days, I was moving quite slowly and didn’t cover as much as I wanted to about Kumoricon. However, being able to cover a portion of the dance was quite an experience. It was actually quite enjoyable, from a photography point of view.
One panel I did end up attending was the photography panel hosted by Brian Ewell, who I just met the day prior and invited us (my friends Jeremy and Ben from Open Your Eyes Visuals, and myself) to participate. As much as everyone seemed to be super exhausted from the previous two days, the panel was very relaxing and interesting, with Tom Good as the other presenter.
Due to scheduling issues, we had to leave the convention early and were unable to attend the closing ceremony, but from a personal perspective, this was a super relaxing convention, one attribute that I didn’t think a convention this size could achieve easily, and I can certainly see myself attending this convention again next year.