Over the weekend, I paid a visit to the Hilton hotel on Poydras to take in Mechacon Weekend 2014, New Orleans’ largest anime convention. This was the fourth year I had gone to the convention, and as usual, it was a blast.
After a quick lunch at Drago’s, I made my way to the dealer’s room where all sorts of anime related merchandise was available. Seriously, look at all this stuff:
However, I lost track of time while I was in the room, as I so often do, and missed out of most the panels for the first afternoon. I later returned to the hotel for the convention’s opening ceremonies and formal and semiformal dinner, where all of the convention guests were introduced. The entertainment featured a stage performance by a local brass band called Browncoat Brass, who played music from various popular anime and video games such as Cowboy Bebop, The Legend of Zelda and Super Mario Brothers. The staff also showcased one of their new features, their maid and host club.
I spent more time in the panel rooms on Saturday. The first one I went to was a table reading session with the main cast of the Teen Titans animated series. After holding auditions and selecting two people from the audience, they reenacted a full episode from the show (“Stranded”, the eighth episode in the fourth season). There was a signing session immediately after the panel. I got autographs from Tara Strong (who voiced Raven) and Hynden Walch (Starfire).
The next panel was a “State of the Animation Industry” commentary with Steve Yun from Harmony Gold (the studio behind Robotech), New Generation Pictures, Inc. vice president and co-owner Jonathan Klein and Greg Weisman, the creator of Gargoyles. Most of the audience’s questions were for Weisman, as he was probably the biggest name in the room.
Saturday’s final panel for me was a Q & A session on my favorite anime series, Neon Genesis Evangelion, with Spike Spencer and Tiffany Grant, the English voices of Shinji and Asuka, respectively, in the show. I was a little hesitant to attend because I have not yet seen the third Rebuild movie yet and I was fearful of spoilers. Fortunately, nothing too important was revealed, as Spencer and Grant talked about their experiences first dubbing the series in the late 90s and the ongoing Rebuild of Evangelion movie tetralogy.
The big event on Sunday was the cosplay chess match. The people dressed up as characters were split into two teams (in this case, Team Loki and Team Stark) and assigned the role of pieces on a large chessboard while the leader of each team called out their moves. When one piece was ordered to take out an opponent, everyone else would clear out and let the two cosplayers battle it out, resulting in some very hilarious scenes.
What I always enjoy most about any anime convention is the photo opportunities with all of the cosplayers. There seems to be a running cosplay theme each year at Mechacon. Two years ago it was Madoka Magica and last year was Attack on Titan. The theme this year was no surprise.
This has become the summer of Sailor Moon with recent news that Viz Media rescuing the license for the series as well as a new series (Sailor Moon Crystal) currently airing in Japan to commemorate its twentieth anniversary (though Crystal is finally airing after two years of delays, so it’s really the 22nd anniversary).
I had a difficult time picking out which costume I liked the most, but I think I would have to give it to Soul Eater’s Excalibur.
Mechacon is a very fun way to spend a weekend. Even if anime isn’t your thing, it’s still worth checking out. You never know what you might see there. It’s scheduled next year for the weekend of July 17th so make sure you miss it this time.