Friday March 31, 2006
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Second Momocon proves successful

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Photo courtesy Momocon

Featuring one of the coolest mascots in the history of cool mascots, Momocon, now in its second year, continues to succeed as a con.

By Nathan Garcia Contributing Writer

While most of Tech’s student population was leaving campus for Spring Break, another group of people were congregating for the second annual anime and game convention known as Momocon. Run by the Anime O-tekku student organization, Momocon played host for a number of events and saw over 1,750 participants during the weekend of March 18, more than twice the number of attendees as last year. I am a moderate anime enthusiast, but the main draws of this convention for me were the video game events.

The dealers’ room, which had to be moved from last year’s location due to its popularity, offered all sorts of anime paraphernalia and costume accessories and was immensely popular. Several panels were held on subjects ranging from webcomics to video games to gender stereotypes in pop culture. The Music Listening Room was used as the J-pop Lounge where attendees could relax in an environment enjoyed by many Tech students but tailored for this event by playing popular Japanese music.

The game rooms allowed con-goers to engage in some friendly competition whether of the board, card, electronic or musical variety, and there were tournaments held for some of the more popular games like Halo 2, Super Smash Bros. Melee and Soul Caliber 3, all with cash prizes. One event in particular, the Decathlon, was hyped more than usual. Entrants would play 10 games spanning more than 20 years and five consoles, and rank would be determined based on how well each participant performed in each game.

Anime-showing rooms played the newest series from Japan and even older stuff that still hasn’t lost its appeal. The curiously named “Chaotic Bad Raptor” room showed fan-made AMVs or Anime Music Videos featuring a few how-to sessions on how to edit video as well as the latest and greatest releases. I generally find most of them to be somewhat boring, but they can be fun.

Highlights included a cross between the game NBA Jam and an anime entitled "Slam Dunk", complete with announcer sound bites and an hour-long compilation of short, comedic videos with audio sources ranging from Rick James, the Dave Chapelle skit about Rick James, Jack Black, Tiny Tim, Starship and even Triumph the Insult Comic Dog. Seeing Fist Of The North Star synched up with Queen’s “Another One Bites The Dust” was more amusing than it should’ve been.

On the more artistic side, there were both formal and informal “cosplay” (an amalgam of “costume” and “play”) contests. Cosplay is so popular that several people wear specially designed outfits of their favorite characters for conventions like this even if they don’t compete in a contest. While some characters are more common than others and the quality of the costumes range widely, a well-represented character can even elicit responses from people who aren’t familiar with said character. The Artists’ Alley featured many talented artists from the area selling original artwork, fan art and commissioned works.

While most of these events can be found at similar conventions, the head of the convention, Jessica Frame, prided Momocon’s having a tsukimi. “The tsukimi went very well,” Frame said. This is a traditional Japanese moon viewing ceremony held at the vernal equinox. It was done Saturday night since it was the most convenient time closest to the equinox.

Afterwards, Frame, also the president of Anime O-tekku, was very satisfied with the results. “We had a lot less trouble than expected,” she said.

Reportedly there were few problems with theft from dealers and other convention attendees and no hassles with weapons, which may have been used as a costume accessory. Frame was a little concerned about how smoothly the tournaments would run, since almost all of them had large turnouts.

The construction on the Student Center stairs, which started over that same weekend, likely caused the most inconvenience at the convention. “We understand the Student Center has a contract so there wasn’t much they could do about the stairs,” Frame said. However, she was thankful for the help other campus services offered. “I’m grateful for the help from the Student Center, specifically the MLR.”

Frame seems very optimistic about the future of Momocon, but she says that the biggest concern will be space. The first year the convention was able to fit in the Student Center, but this year they had to expand into the Instructional Center.

She also wants to get more of Tech’s student body involved, and organizations like the Electronic Software Producers and Pride Alliance have accepted in the past. “We’re looking to work with other student organizations in the future,” Frame said.