By: Mystie Dragonfly
2015 was Shumatsucon’s debut year. After having a water main break a week before go-time in it’s originally planned venue, Shumatsucon had to scramble to find a new venue within days. The beautiful and luxurious Nationwide Hotel & Conference Center graciously accepted the convention with open arms upgrading the already quaint con to one that left it’s participants feeling as if they were all a community rather than just people coming to a con. After its bumpy start, Shumatsucon proceeded in a seemingly smooth manner. Even getting to see some of the behind the scenes of this con, I could tell that the con organizer and his team worked well together and was able to give a beautiful con without too many hitches. For a first year convention, they had a fantastic turn out.
I think one of the biggest aspects of this con that stood out to myself was its friendliness. The way it felt like a small community where best friends happened to have been in the same place at the same time. The glowing smiles and the spontaneous hugs that happened throughout the hallways, panels, game rooms and the pub were heartwarming to witness as well as participate in. If one person didn’t know the other, that was quickly rectified and new friendships were sparked throughout.
In a simple interview with the convention’s head organizer, Matt Geisen:
Question: What made you want to organize a convention?
Answer: It started as a conversation between myself, Mitch (co-chair), and Jen (AA head). We talked for a couple hours about what makes us think a con is good, and what makes one bad. After a little while we got into the really finite details, and thought “Well we could do this.” And then next thing I knew it was just happening.
Question: How do you feel your first year went?
Answer: I’d say very well. There were only a few hiccups, but overall everyone seemed happy with everything and they all had fun, which is what’s important.
Question: Will you be doing Shumatsucon again next year?
Answer: Yes, absolutely.
Question: What is your estimation of attendance numbers?
Answer: We had 545 people total.
The first panel I attended was, something very different than I have ever seen exhibited at any of the conventions I have been attending: A presentation by the “Anime Ballroom Orchestra” out of Cleveland, Ohio. As an avid classical music lover, I was delighted to see something of this natre at a con full of geeks. This simple orchestra was made up of six very talented musicians. They entertained con-goers with themes from Harry Potter, Zelda, Super Mario Brothers, Lord of the Rings, and various animes.
Walking the halls, some pieces of art on display caught my eye. Art that I see regularly…. every Friday night to be exact. Shumatsucon’s special guest artist was Columbus, Ohio based artist, “Steve Prescott”. Steve is one of the many talented artists who receive commissions from Wizards of the Coast to produce work for their Magic the Gathering collection of over 25,000 cards. Any avid Magic the Gathering player has seen this man’s art many times. Steve’s work appears on cards such as “Chorus of the Tide”, “Death Frenzy”, “Enlisted Wurm”, “Gurruk’s Horde”, “Parallel Lives”, and many, many more. Along with Magic the Gathering, Steve produced works for the now out of print World of Warcraft trading card game. If you are interested in learning more about Steve Prescott, you can visit his website: http://www.rottface.com/ or follow his blog: http://prescottartblog.blogspot.com/.
Another panel I attended which I found unique was a Martial Arts panel. It started out with a simple demonstration of Hapkido (a Korean martial art that focuses on the pressure points and use of kicks and punches rather than relying on weapons). They showed simple moves one could use to protect themselves in unexpected situations. Almost a self defence info course. The instructor had everyone giggling, but it was clear he knew what he was talking about, doing, and instructing. After this section of the demonstration, the Dragon Phoenix Wushu Team from Ohio State University entertained guests with a performance of their abilities. Their head instructor, “Sen Gao” (the gentleman in the white shirt and holding the swords), has been practicing since he was 6 years old.
I am not sure if it was the convention being small or the halls being a bit tighter, but Shumatsucon had what seemed to be an over abundance of Lolita wondering around. For those unaware what Lolita is, it is a fashion trend that has arisen from Japan in the last few years which focuses on an modern form of Victorian-Gothic wear. With lace, bonnets, victorianesque shoes, and crinoline to give their garments a “cupcake” shape. The emphases on Lolita is “cute”. The cuter, the better. Lolita is extremely feminine and plays up all the pretty aspects of femininity.
At Shumatsucon, the D20 Girls Project was represented on both the Ohio front as well as the Michigan front!! We were most pleasantly surprised to have Kat and Simone from Michigan introduce themselves. We ended up getting to spend time with them and learn what each other had in store for our states.
Of course Shumatsucon also had it’s share of raves, gaming, and cosplay. The table top game rooms were set up in comfortable rooms that resembled a dining room in an old victorian style home. On a china hutch were displayed many games convention goers could rent to play. Games such as Ticket to Ride, Settlers of Catan, Cards Against Humanity, Flux, Firefly, Apples to Apples, Dixit, and Munchkin. The computer gaming was set up in a sun room type location. Most people were playing Mario Kart. There were two raves. One on Friday evening and another on Saturday.
The cosplay at this con were exquisite. You would never have thought it was the first year of this convention when seeing how much work had been put into the cosplays of the patrons. I caught some shots of only a handful of the hard worked and talented cosplays of this con.
One last thing, and possibly my favorite special little thing, were the “Smile Tokens”. There was a group wandering around the convention called the Shiumatsu Smile Squad. One each card was written, “If you, or someone you know, is feeling blue, and needs a friend, a hug, or someone to listen, send us a text and we’ll try to help!”. After which there was a phone number with the word “smile” as part of the numbers.
As you can tell, I enjoyed Shumatsucon immensely. I highly suggest people consider adding this Shumatsucon to their lists of Anime conventions to attend every February.