Connichiwa 2012 Review
The panels are Connichiwa 2012 were exceptional. From fitness panels to Aftercon's own Asians in America and Anime Singled Out, the attendees were able to satisfy their every curiousity. There were awesome hentai panels 18+ at night as well. Electric Lady and JouninK ran a photography panel instructing how to take better cosplay photos and also how to pose as a cosplayer. If panels were not to your satisfaction, there was a video room for you to watch some anime too. The gaming room can keep anyone occupied as AZHP does an excellent job hosting the room. There were fighting games and first person shooters for people to play. Although these aren't really panels, the autograph sessions were a great way to meet the 4 voice actors that attended the convention. Monical Rial, Colleen Clinkenbeard, Kyle Hebert and Mike MacFarland sat out in the lobby and signed many autographs for the attendees.
The cosplay masquerade was as big as ever for Connichiwa. Even when it was held inside the giant tent, people were standing in the back watching the show. Cosplays included ponies, pirates, Vocaloid, Final Fantasy characters, etc. The skits included dances and musicals. It seems dances are a popular choice for this year. Hosted by Kyle Hebert, the masquerade was exceptionally entertaining. The One Piece musical won the skit award and Electric Lady's Bad Girl outfit from No More Heroes won best craftsmanship. As the convention is looking into moving into a bigger venue, there should be more room next year in the masquerade. They will need it as their attendance grows!
Team Kissu, Arizona's premier cosplay cafe, ran a Persona 4 cafe. Included in the cafe were cosplayers such as Luluko, Dahowbitt, and even Gackto as Yousuke. Each round, cosplayers would act like their designated character and interact with the guests. This included drinking tea, eating cakes, and joking around. There would be a rotation so everyone would get to sit with their characters. If you missed Team Kissu, be sure to catch them at Saboten Con for their Sailor Moon cafe.
Other highlights of the convention include the photobooth by Toshi Yamioka who took awesome shots for the cosplayers. The booth was in the middle of the lobby and easily accessible. One night, there was also a swap meet for anyone looking to sell or trade their anime goodies. This year's convention was an improvement of last year's convention where a majority of the programming were cancel. It looks like this year, the staff were on cue when it came to programming, security and organization. Connichiwa 2012 is the best year the convention has had. The guests, panels, masquerade, cosplay, attendance, etc. points to a convention well done and will surely be better next year. For now, the next convention in Arizona is Saboten Con. Then Anime Kaigi is in November with Taiyou Con in January. Then, we can all go back to the convention down south in Tucson called Connichiwa and enjoy ourselves!