Midorifest Review

Midorifest Review

Midorifest is the smaller, mid-year, two-day anime convention spun off of larger, sister convention, “Midoricon”. Located at Southern Ohio’s stunningly, beautiful Shawnee State Park Lodge, Midorifest is timed perfectly to celebrate the blooming foliage around the park.

midorifest1Especially the cherry blossoms! … and how many other anime conventions can boast its timing with Spring’s cherry blossoms? Midorifest is purposely kept small to generate a quaint, more family, feeling convention. With camp fires through the night and long park strolls. Midorifest is calm, light-hearted, and all around friendly to every one of their guests.

I sat down and chatted with Shannon Keely, one of the co-founders of Midorifest to ask her experience and hopes for Midorifest:

Question:  What made you want to organize a convention?

Answer: “My first convention was Ohayocon in 2007. After spending my teenage years in a very small Ohio town, I was so isolated in my interests that it was a mind-blowing experience to meet so many others I could hold a conversation with about even the most obscure manga and anime at the time. I was so in shock and enamored with anime cons that I was in tears when I left, excited to go to any convention within a 5 hour radius that year!… And I did.

A few years later and many conventions later, however, I sensed the culture had started to take a slow shift, gaining more recognition, and growing as a result. I wouldn’t necessarily say it was a bad thing, but I simply wanted something different. I wanted that magic from my first convention experience back. Now it was easier to find anime fans, but with that came expansion, and I really missed the communal feeling – the feeling of being among family.

So, when I met Rini Wooten in 2011, who is an avid fan of all the things in anime culture I am not so knowledgeable about, we made a perfect fit! We wanted the same things out of a convention. We wanted to give people the experience of truly living their fandoms for a weekend, of immersing themselves into their favorite fictional worlds. But most of all, we wanted to create a happy, peaceful environment that encourages togetherness, new bonds, and friendship. We will always stay a little on the smaller scale on purpose. Quality over quantity is a phrase I use a little too often, but it’s truly the basis of Midoricon’s (and MidoriFest’s) foundation.”

Question: How many years has Midorifest been running?

Answer: “Technically, this is the second year we have had a mid-year/.5 convention for Midoricon. We began to call it MidoriFest this year, and that’s the title that’ll stick for as long as Midoricon fans ask for the return of some mid-year fun. Midoricon itself will have its 4th birthday this year.”

Question:  What is your guesstimation of attendance numbers?

Answer: “Counting paying attendees, staff, artists and groups who helped to facilitate our programming and events, MidoriFest had roughly  200-250 bodies, about a quarter of Midoricon’s attendance last year.”

Question: What is the next con you will be running?

Answer: “Midoricon 2015! We’ll be returning to Maumee Bay State Park Lodge a bit east of Toledo, Ohio on September 25-27. Many of our unique events are returning, such as our Beach Party, Outdoor Rave (Lost Boys vs. Pirates themed), Live-Action Mario Kart and Live-Action Pokemon Snap. We’re excited to welcome the Ohio D20 Girls back to organize our Tabletop Gaming Room, and we’ll also have an Artist Alley, Panels, a Masquerade, Foam Weapon Battles, and much more! To check us out, go to www.midoricon.com, and be sure to follow us on facebook (facebook.com/midoricon) and twitter (twitter.com/midoricon)!


The biggest activity presented at Midorifest was the D20: Ghouls (http://d20ghouls.com/). Created and modified by D20 Girl and aspiring model, Basil Grows, D20 Ghouls is a spin-off from the popular Humans Vs Zombies. Specifically modified for convention play, D20 Ghouls uses the entire convention space, indoors and out. The basic plot is that everyone starts out as a human hunting zombies. However, there is a brood mother out to create zombies. Once a human is touched by the brood mother, they are then a zombie and must fight for the brood mother there-after. Both humans and zombies are given missions throughout the weekend to either fill their ranks or defeat the zombies.

midorihvz1 midorihvz2 midorihvz9aFor a more improved and more enjoyable game play, players used and modified Nerf guns in order to vanquish the horrible zombies and the plague they bring to con-goers. Along with these guns, (clean) socks are considered grenades. If a zombie gets shot by a Nerf dart or hit by a grenade, they are “stunned” for 30 minutes and cannot play again until that time is up. The only way around this time limit is to find the brood mother and have her heal you. By the end of the convention, D20: Ghouls had gotten very intense and exciting for all involved… and all standing by watching it.

midorihvz3 midorihvz4 midorihvz5 midorihvz6 midorihvz8 midorihvz9


To see some of Midorifest’s D20: Ghouls action, visit RyXia’s YouTube D20: Ghouls uploads:
– Midorifest 2015 Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HK6A6fW3c94


There was a very informative panel called “That’s So Kawaii: Japanese Street Fashion”, which talked about the various, fun fashions worn throughout Japan today. The panel covered everything from basic everyday wear, which doesn’t look much different than most American attire, to Lolita, which seems to be the Japanese fashion most known to the western world, as well as the most popular. Of course there is the kimono, which I am sure no one is too shocked to discover. A fashion I am personally fond of, and was pleasantly surprised to see the Japanese loving as well, is Rockabilly. Though it seems to be more extravagant and “over the top” in Japan than it is in America or Mexico (where it is also very popular). In the class, I found myself taking a liking to “Shironuri”. This is a mix of gothic lolita, with its frills and lace with a unique feature being that the face, is fully painted white. Unlike Geisha, whose face is simply masked in the white make-up, with Shironuri, the entire face, ears, neck, and sometimes even the hands are painted white. Giving the wearer a distinctly doll-like appearance with its lace dress and attire.


In the photo, Carrie is wearing the Japanese fashion, Decora. With Decora, you layer clothing, wear bright colors, little make-up and what make-up you do wear is bright, with lots of glitter. Keep the hair exciting and accessorize, accessorize, accessorize!! When you think you’ve added enough accessories… add more! The main point of this attire is confidence. The goal is to shine as bright as your accessories. The more confidently you express yourself while wearing Decora, the better you will look.

The panelist for “That’s So Kawaii” was Carrie Fulk Vaughn. Carrie is an aspiring author with published works in various publications (http://www.carriefulkvaughn.com). I got the chance to sit down and talk to Carrie about her writing and blossoming career:

Question: Tell me a little bit about Carrie Vaughn?

Answer: I’m not sure what there is to know. I’m a writer, published author and gamer geek.

Question: When did you know you were supposed to be a writer?

Answer: I think second grade when my teacher wanted to add me to the young writer’s program. It stuck with me after that.

Question: What goals and aspirations do you have as a writer?

Answer: I want to be a new York Times best selling author, but I doubt that will happen. As for now, I’m happy just selling a few books.

Question:  Do you have any published works? Please share some of their titles.

Answer: I have two novellas “The Layover” and “With Proper Maintenance“. I’ve been published in anthologies as well. I should have another short in a few months called “Dimitri’s Walk“.

Question: To date, how many conventions have you held and assisted panels for? Name some of the conventions please? As well as some of the panels?

Answer: I have never really been a panelist save for talking about psychic vampirism at the Columbus Witches Ball a few years ago. Outside of that, I’ve recently offered panels at Midorifest about role playing games and Japanese street fashion.

Question: What inspired you to write about Japanese Street Fashion?

Answer: My friend Caitlin is in Japan teaching English and she takes awesome photos. She had photos of street fashion, so when the article came up for the D20 magazine, I jumped.

Question: Do you have any upcoming conventions you will be paneling at? Convention? Panel(s) title(s)?

Answer: I will be presenting on playing role playing games at Marcon. I may also be presenting at Midoricon for my street fashion panel.


For a small convention, Midorifest had a very active table-top game room. Among the list of games available for rent were Settlers of Catan, Apples to Apples, Munchkin, Tanto Cuore, Risk, Guillotine, Love Letters, Pit, Cabo, and several decks of playing cards. There were games scheduled for group participation throughout the weekend. However, the fantastic weather kept most people outside. Late night role playing games offered were World of Darkness, Hunter the Vigil, and Vampire the Masquerade.

midorimtg1Midorifest’s table-top game room also hosted two Magic the Gathering tournaments. The format for the first tournament was “pre-made”. Players were handed a deck made by one of the judges. That player then had two minutes to look through the deck and to shuffle it to their comfort level. They then played an opponent for a best out of three rounds. The second tournament was an EDH/Commander tournament. In EDH, players choose a legendary creature to be their “commander” and then build a 99 card deck around that commander. All cards must share the color(s) of the commander. First place winners for both tournaments were presented with loot consisting of a hand cross stitched dice bag with the MtG colors on it, a set of dice, counters, and a box of 300 random cards. Both winners chose to donate their cards to the children’s hospital one of the competitors works at.

midorigames2At Midnight, Cards Against Humanity hit the table and all those attending turned it into a quaint, but mischievous party. Partaking in coffee, energy drinks, cheese, and crackers, late night gamers laughed and joked till their tummies ached and eyes drooped. The table-top game room at Midorifest stayed open well past 5am with Magic the Gathering filling tables until a few players past out AT the table. When asked if they would rather go back to their room to sleep, they clutched their cards and demanded they were awake and ready for more. That’s the spirit fellow Magic player!!midoricosplay2
midoricosplay1Midorifest is one of those cons that attracts con goers looking for a relaxed, friendly convention over the large, crowded, and sometimes overwhelming cons. It is something of a vacation con so to speak. If the beauty of the convention doesn’t take your breath away, the location certainly will. If you, or if you know of friends who have never been to a convention, Midorifest is the perfect first convention. On the same note, if you, or someone you know wants to attend a convention, but really hates large crowds, again, Midorifest is perfect. Be warned though, this con will spoil you!!