Ikkicon is an anime and pop-culture convention held annually in downtown Austin, Texas. This three day convention ran its seventh year during the end of year, December 28th through the 30th. The area is located in the historic and entertainment district along with the full experience of the night life, 6th Street. Our team of photographers figured it would be a great idea to do coverage for a post-end of the world anime convention in celebration of ending the year (and surviving the apocalypse). This was made possible thanks to Richard Bui by granting us the opportunity of reporting this event.
Walking into the convention for the first time was surprising as I didn’t expect so many people to attend the first day. Areas such as the dealer’s room, artist alley, general booths, and game room were set up right that very morning. Most of the convention activities were located between the 4th and 6th floors while the fastest ways to get to either floors was by walking on the escalators, which were turned off for safety reasons.
There were some rather unique cosplays out on the convention floor though it felt like most of the eccentric cosplayers didn’t stay around for too long due to how fast the days went. I never expected to lose that many opportunities to meet such talented artists in such a handful of hours. Of course, there were plenty of enthusiastic cosplayers and costumers who filled the halls of the con and that truly made the Ikkicon experience lively and inviting.
Fellow con coverage photographer Oliver Le, owner of the Facebook page Lemon-ikon Photography, helped introduce me to local photographers such as Mel, Angelwing, and Filmshooter Photography. I had a pleasurable time hanging around with them while also running into talented contributors to the cosplay community like MLZ Studios, LeeWay Imaging, Cosplay in America, and Crunchy Ramen Productions.
With the attendance of the masquerade, Oliver Le helped conclude the cosplay contest and had a few comments to state:
“Staff photographers were in and out of main events during and even before rehearsal to dial in the stage lighting, we worked for about an hour with a light meter to get it right to one spot (we couldn’t get anymore than that), and I set some strobes to fill it in for myself. Staff and press photographers were given priority seating in and ahead of the VIP sections. I and another staffer managed to be RIGHT on the edge of the stage. Walk-ons went from Novice Division to the Masters Division for the $1000 grand prize. Unfortunately, I had to bail when the skits started to pick up some slack at the overloaded free photo booths outside, but the winners of the Masters Division was that Steampunk Mr Freeze and Poison Ivy.”
Ikkicon had a convention environment that was vibrant, friendly, and full. As a busy photographer who enjoys the unique and fast paced crowds of cosplayers, I personally don’t feel this is the kind of convention I would attend annually. Although I still had plenty of good moments and met many great people, it felt as if the variety of attendees were lacking and made me question if this was really an anime convention or just a simple cosplay gathering.
Overall, compared to last year, the convention has improved very much by returning to its previous location, Hilton Austin. Stop by and visit if you are looking for a con that can party out at night, enjoy the urban city of Austin, and have a general simple but entertaing crowd. If I were to come back, it would definitely be for the hustle and bustle of the great city of Austin the most.