Thousands set sail for Columbus as Matsuricon closes out summer for animé fans

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While the nearest “high seas” are about a thousand miles to the east, the eleventh annual Matsuricon, a weekend-long convention that celebrates the best in Japanese pop culture, brought thousands of would-be pirates and adventurers to downtown Columbus, for a three-day pirate-themed extravaganza to close out the summer for the Ohio convention season.

The Greater Columbus Convention Center saw nearly 5,000 attendees come out to have fun, show off their awesome cosplays and rub elbows with some of the animé industry’s finest. In honor of the pirate theme, Matsuricon brought out some of the stars of the English adaptation of the popular Funimation animated series, “One Piece,” including Collen Clinkenbeard, Mike McFarland, and Brina Palencia. Other names included Richard Epcar, who is directing the newest addition to the “Lupin the 3rd” anime series, but also reprises his role of Lupin’s right-hand partner, Daisuke Jigen. Richard shared his thoughts on coming to Columbus and getting to meet all the excited fans of Matsuricon. “I had a great time at Matsuricon!  The staff and crew were wonderful and the fans were terrific. I had a blast there, and I hope they did too!

General Hux and Kylo Ren. Photo courtesy of Bodatheyoda Photography.

General Hux and Kylo Ren. Photo courtesy of Bodatheyoda Photography.

Along with the traditional panels, shopping and dancing at the annual d, dozens also put their best cosplay foot forward in the annual Matsuricon masquerade contest. While there were many costumes that left the audience’s jaws on the floor, one group stole the show at this year’s event. Chelsey Cosplay and Elendriel, dressed as Kylo Ren and General Hux from the recent “Star Wars” movie, “Episode VII: The Force Awakens,” won Matsuricon’s Best Craftmanship Award in the Journeyman category. Chelsey shared her thoughts on winning with her friend.”The competition was outstanding this year, there were so many amazing costumes we were up against. We were honored to have been chosen for the best craftsmanship award within our Journeyman category!! I knew we worked super hard on our costumes but was so surprised!! It was a great way to end the con for sure!”

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Along with the masquerade, two nights of off-the-wall raves, and hundred of panels to attend, Matsuricon also set up an area for those who want a little piece and quiet. The Carolina Manga Library, a traveling library that visits half a dozen conventions a year, brings hundreds of manga, fiction, and art books so attendees and sit down, relax and enjoy a good book amidst the hustle and bustle of the con. The library’s proprietor, Laura Mehaffey, believes that having a manga library at a convention gives the attendee the chance to relax but still be a part of the con. “It’s the best place for a convention goer to relax and detox for a few minutes, while still participating what the convention’s about. Enjoying a lot of what their favorite show started out as, so it’s a great place to come in and just chill.”

While this year’s Matsuricon has sailed off into history, the 2017 installment will surely have its’ own civil war-like battle, as Matsuricon pits two titans of animé against each other in Matsuricon: Mecha vs. Magical Girls. You can choose your side (or at least start making plans for next year’s event) by visiting the Matsuricon website. Be sure to check out our gallery of some of our favorite moments from the con, courtesy of Little Professor Productions.

Matsuricon ’16 Gallery – Presented by Little Professor Productions