Ohayocon: The Roaring ‘20s

Our Cosplay Adventure

The+theme+photo+from+Ohayocon.org+for+the+2020+convention+showing+the+%22Roaring+%2720s.%22+

ohayocon.org

The theme photo from Ohayocon.org for the 2020 convention showing the “Roaring ’20s.”

Keldon Bowling, Shaylee Marshall, and Mikhail R. Smith

 

Have you ever wanted to experience a cosplay convention? Have you ever wanted to try to cosplay? Have you ever seen videos of larger conventions, like the San Diego Comic-Con, and wish there were something closer to attend? The good news is in: Ohio has their own circuit of conventions that you can attend!

Why are these relevant to Shawnee Students? 

Just while checking in, we found a recent Shawnee State Graduate working the convention. We found several more graduates attending the convention and even found out that some students had presented their games at Ohayocon and similar conventions in the past! Plus, it seemed pretty fun to attend and see all of the cosplays people worked so hard on creating.

List of Ohio Cons 

Ohayocon (Columbus, OH) (January 9-12, 2020) Ohayocon.org

Zipcon (Akron, OH) (February 15, 2020) Zipcon.weebly.com

Buckeye Comic Con (Columbus, OH) (March 1, 2020) www.facebook.com/Buckeye-Comic-Con-1917494808540660/

Cincy-Con (Hamilton, OH) (March 6-8, 2020) Cincycon.org

Wizard World Comic Con (Cleveland, OH) (March 6-8, 2020) Wizardworld.com

Fantasticon (Toledo, OH) (March 14-15, 2020) Fantasticon.net

Ice and Fire Con (MT. Sterling, OH) (April 23-26, 2020) Iceandfirecon.com

Colossalcon (Sandusky, OH) (June 4-7, 2020) Colossalcon.com

Trotcon (Columbus, OH) (July 17-19, 2020) Trotcon.net

Buckeye Comic Con (Columbus, OH) (July 19, 2020) Harpercomics.net

Matsuricon (Columbus, OH) (August 14-16, 2020) Matsuricon.org

The History of Cosplay 

Cosplay has been around far longer than than people may realize. According to The Artifice, the art of cosplay (formerly referred to as “costuming”) began in the late 1930’s in North America. Guests were to dress appropriate for various events, leading to awards for the best costume. This then took a turn in Japan, where conventions for popular shows in the 1980’s had avid fans dressing up as their favorite characters, leading to the term “cosplay” to be coined. Since then, numerous conventions have popped up through the years consisting of every fandom possible to imagine, with thousands attending to cosplay as their favorite characters.

Cosplay is Not Consent

Consent is important in many different aspects of a convention. Cosplay is considered to be for the individual, not for anyone else, and consent is taken very seriously in many aspects of the con. This is something to keep in mind if you are considering attending a convention in the future. 

You should never touch or grab a cosplayer without consent. No matter how they are dressed, you need to ask for permission. They could be in a bikini, or a full furry suit, but consent still matters.

Consent is also important for pictures. There is no need to try and sneak a photo or selfie. Most cosplayers don’t mind to have their picture taken. Just ask! There are many public photo shoots centered around different fandoms, but you can even ask for a picture or selfie from someone you’re passing in the hall.

Cosplay Basics

You do not need to be a pro or even cosplay a well known fandom to participate. All cosplays are welcome, stemming from movies, comics, anime, and popular games. Many cosplayers who attended Ohayocon created their cosplay outfits themselves from hours and even days of hard work. Other than the rule of consent, there is also a rule for all cosplayers to be dressed in a proper manner.  To be fair, no one is allowed to have nipples or genitals exposed. Even if it is a shirtless cosplay, nipples must be covered no matter the gender. Band-aids and pasties are a must! 

Theres also the consideration of prop check. While people take so much time to build their props, they must be examined by staff in certain cases for safety. This include guns of any sort and larger props. There are more guidelines specific to Ohayocon on their website, and we recommend you check them out before you move into trying to build your own prop only to find out you used materials that weren’t allowed.

What is a Con?

A con is a convention for either a specific or broad range of fandoms including television shows, comic books, anime, video games, and much more. These cons allow for attendees to have the option to dress as their favorite character and have the opportunity to meet other cosplayers and interact in the fandom. Ohayocon specifically is a convention for comic books, anime, video games, and other popular Japanese characters. At this event, hundreds of cosplayers are seen dressed up and are handing out ribbons for attendees to stick onto their passes. Those who attend are also encouraged to visit panels of voice characters and producers, vendors who are selling their own artwork, arcades full of free gaming systems to play, and other events such as a dance or show. Each con varies on how long they are open, but most often these are weekend long events with different activities each day.

Often times there are special guest, such as industry speakers or established cosplayers who will attend and host a panel or autograph session!

What can you Find at Ohayocon?

You can find assorted panels, photo shoots, merchandise, autograph sessions, and so much more! Here is a link to the schedule from this year’s con for further insight:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1A6vrfXkfJyz5VyCrJV6B4Tf0PhL5_TnT2SdPVh8zDI4/edit#gid=1570080856

The schedule changes each year based on what people are able to provide. You can submit panels and photoshoots for consideration.

The Ribbon Game

At different business events or other types of conventions, attendees may receive a ribbon that has something like “Sponsor” or “Panelist” to attach to their badge. This idea was taken into a spin with the ribbon game. At different conventions, people take the time to make ribbons with phrases and pictures relating to different fandoms and memes and bring them to the conventions to distribute. At this point, it becomes a collection game. A “gotta catch ‘em all” scenario where attendees are searching for all the different ribbons.

The ribbon game is relatively new to Ohayocon. It’s a simple little game where con-goers can track down badge ribbons across the convention during the weekend. To obtain ribbons, one might not have to do anything other than ask. On the other hand, you may be asked to complete a task, answer a question, or you may have to buy something if they are a vendor. The ribbons attach to the badge you receive as an attendee, and each ribbon can be attached to the ones you have gathered. It becomes a bit of a challenge to see how many ribbons an attendee may collect.

Beyond just collecting the ribbons, there can be valuable insight to obtaining the ribbons from different individuals. You get to possibly learn why they chose to create that ribbon, why that stood out to them or why it was important, and it drives attendees to interact with someone new!

Accessibility at a Convention

In terms of accessibility at a convention, this can be a worry for anyone with a disability who has never attended a con before. However, there is no need to worry! Ohayocon was excellent for their welcoming of anyone to attend, providing ASL translators on stage for each event. They also have contact services on their website for anyone needing wheelchair accessibility prior to the event. The statement on their website says, “The Accessibility Services team accommodates your needs at Ohayocon.”

Dealer’s Room and Artist Alley

The Dealers Room is a giant center in the convention where several vendors sell everything from beautifully crafted kimonos, comic books, stuffed animals, and art. It can be a bit overwhelming to see for any newcomer, however, there is no chance for boredom here! There are also areas in the dealers room for henna, beverages and food. A small section in the Dealer’s Room is known as Artist Alley, where a select few artists are chosen to present and sell their artwork. Some have paintings and drawings, others have designs they have created on various items such as pillows,  blankets, hats, dolls, and jewelry. Needless to say, for anyone who attends Ohayocon, do not forget your wallet!

Large Events

Formal Ball

The formal ball was an event on Friday, lasting two hours, that allowed attendees to dance in a more traditional sense. A screen at the front of the room displayed a certain dance while people on the floor performed. There were instructional panels earlier in the day that taught a few of the dances for the ball. This event did require a formal dress code, though attendees could still dress up their cosplay to meet those requirements.

Electronic Dance

Both Friday and Saturday night, Ohayocon hosted a dance where the DJ played electronic dance music (EDM) with bright colorful lights. Many people attended these dances wearing glow sticks, light up ears, and glowing masks to get in on the  fun. All ages can attend the dance, there was even a young child being cheered on in the center of the dance floor for his moves! With the dance going from 10:30 PM until 2:00 AM both days, it was a great way to end the night.

20th Anniversary Roast

For the 20th anniversary of Ohayocon, their comedy roast was made special for 2020. They had brought in all previous hosts of the roast to join in on the fun, and those who could not attend sent in videos roasting the attendees who were present. All in good fun, it was definitely an event that filled the room with laughter from the hosts poking fun at one another.

Drag Show

Always a good time, the drag show at Ohayocon was one not to be forgotten. With professional and local drag queens attending the event to dance and show off, many con-goers had the chance to participate in the drag race as well. With several amazing performances, there was a contest at the end for the overall winner. This was decided solely from audience cheers, to make an anticipating event.

Cosplay Expo

What would Ohayocon be without their cosplay expo? This is the event to attend, where cosplayers can sign up to go on stage and preset their costumes through songs, dances, acting out scenes, or even showing some magic tricks. After seeing all of the participants, there are then contests for the cosplayers for the chance to win the title of best costume or presentation. An interesting factor to this particular event is the showcasing of cosplayers who personally created their own costumes, some of which were quite impressive, taking them months to prepare!

Tea Time With Deadpool

There were several events and panels at Ohayocon that had an age restriction on them. Tea Time with Deadpool was one of these. This panel was hosted by a traveling Marvel comedy group. Even though tea time with Deadpool was most definitely  18+, they ended with a speech about mental health issues. They were very upbeat about encouraging people to seek help and not suffer alone, a very refreshing end to the panel that once again made the convention all the more welcoming.

Who Attends a Con?

Many different people attend a Con. There is no age limit on enjoying a convention. The adviser of the paper was even chased down by a young girl, probably around the age of five or six and dressed as Princess Ana from “Frozen”, who recognized the Adviser’s cosplay and wanted a picture with her!

While there is no age limit to enjoy it, let it be noted there are certain restrictions one must abide by. Anyone under the age of 13 must be supervised by a parent or legal guardian. According to the website, “Ohayocon is geared toward a 14+ audience with some late-night sprinklings of 18+ and 21+ restricted events.” They do check your ID at any age restricted event, so make sure you have it with you!

The Experience of a First Time Con-Goer

For the first time ever attending Ohayocon, or any type of Con, I had no idea what to expect going into it. I was really surprised at how much fun I had throughout the entire experience. One of the first activities we ventured into was trying out some of the multitude of games they had set up for people to enjoy. There was an entire room set up specifically for virtual reality consoles, another new experience for me, as well as other rooms set up for arcade games, table-top games, and even tournament areas for different console games. All of which were free for all the attendees to have fun with! We also got to adventure around the giant venders area they had set up. Once you get past the overwhelming feeling of so many people perusing through the stands, it is amazing to see all that the vendors had to offer. There were so many different knick-knacks for almost every kind of fandom spanning from Naruto to Hello Kitty. One of the greatest aspects of this area of the con was being able to experience some amazing artists in what they called Artist Alley who were displaying and selling their original works of art. As we moved throughout the weekend we were able to attend some extremely entertaining events such as an annual Roast of some esteemed Ohayocon attendees, a Cosplay Expo where cosplayers were able to compete to see who would be crowned the best of the best, and an Electronic Dance at the end of each night just to name a few. Overall, I’m grateful Ohayocon was the first con I was able to experience. Not only did the cosplayers display some amazing costumes coming in all shapes and forms, one of my favorites being a few of the characters from from the 2019 movie Midsommar, but they were also accepting to all the newbies like us. Needless to say it is definitely an experience I won’t be forgetting anytime soon, and hope that sometime in the future I’ll be able to take part in it again, preferably in cosplay the next time.

For further information about Ohayocon and to register to attend future events, visit their website Ohayocon.org or their Facebook page to see how other participants enjoyed their time at the con and how you can too!

 

If you attended Ohayocon, we would love to hear about your experiences and see any photos you may have taken. Feel free to post them below in the comments!