Tsubasacon is coming Oct. 5-7

September 29, 2018

Lauren Elisabeth, a Huntington native who lives in Toronto, is dressed as Eternal Sailor Moon.

West Virginia’s biggest anime and video game convention will be returning to the Big Sandy Arena Friday through Sunday, Oct. 5-7. The weekend-long event will offer a host of activities including gaming, discussion panels, shopping, a rock concert and a music video contest. The annual convention was established in Charleston in 2004 before moving to Huntington in 2006. This year’s convention will kick off on Friday morning at 11 a.m. for VIP guests and at noon for general admission. Activities will continue throughout the weekend until closing ceremonies on Sunday at 4 p.m.

Anime fans will get a chance to meet some of their favorite voice actors.

“We’ve got a good lineup of guests and we’ve added some new programming,” said David Richmond, vice chairman of Tsubasacon. “We have David Vincent, who is a pretty well-known voice actor. He’s voiced characters in anime series like ‘Hunter x Hunter,’ ‘JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure’ and ‘Kill la Kill.’ He is returning to this year’s convention. We will also have Paul St. Peter, mostly known for voicing Xemnas in the Kindom Hearts video games. He’s also done work for Naruto and Cowboy Bebop.

“Another guest is Jeannie Tirado, a voice actress and musician who is in the new Dragon Ball Z video game. Megan Shipman is a another voice actress who has worked on a variety of different shows for Funimation,” Richmond added.

“The Cosplay Masquerade is a very popular event and a staple of the convention. It’s a large-scale costume contest with cash prizes for the winners. There will be a lot of user-provided comedic skits. There will be a prize for best skit. There will be also be prizes for costumes based on complexity and originality. There are beginner, novice and expert categories,” Richmond said. “The judging is based on your skill level and what pieces you made from scratch and the pieces you bought. There is a craftsman award for people who made their costume from scratch. There will be awards for ‘Best In Show.’ ”

Video game enthusiasts will have plenty of options over the weekend. Tokyo Attack, a touring collection of imported Japanese arcade games, will have their own game room with a variety of 16 music and shooting games that guests can try free. Another touring group, Pachinko Fever, will bring a variety of imported Pachinko machines, a game similar to pinball. Local video game store Rare Drops will be hosting their own game room featuring a variety of current and classic video games. There will also be a section for mobile games including Monster Hunter, Mario Kart and Animal Crossing. There will be a section of the convention for pen-and-paper roleplaying games like Pathfinder and collectible card games like Magic the Gathering.

There will also be games for people looking for more physical activities. “One of the areas have expanded the foam weapons tournaments. We have some of the local amtguard groups. Amtguard is a kind of live-action roleplaying game. We thought it would be a good addition since our theme this year is roleplaying and fantasy.” Richmond explained. “They will be doing some fun stuff. We also have a Star Wars Group called the Imperial Legion that will do a lightsaber demonstration. People can learn how do lightsaber battle like in the movies. They can also learn how to buy and assemble their own lightsaber.”

Keeping with the fantasy theme will be performances by Mikey Mason, a comedian and self-proclaimed “geek rock” musician who will have concerts on Friday and Saturday evening. There will also be a formal masquerade ball on Friday night and a rave called Saturday Night Dance Dance.

“Greg Wicker will be returning this year. He hosts a series of anime themed game shows and they change each year. Hopefully Press Your Luck will be back,” Richmond said. “He also has an anime trivia game called 25 Million Yen Pyramid.”

There will be a wide variety of panel discussions at this year’s convention on a host of topics ranging from Saturday morning cartoons, to horror movies, to instructions on how to learn Japanese calligraphy, to martial arts demonstrations. Dallas-based Vitamin H Productions will give several presentations on Japanese cinema and mythology. They also will host the convention’s music video contest with the winner going on to compete in a national Anime Music Video League. Huntington-based Mako Gems Productions will host panels as well, including Fried Rice Feels, a fandom support group.

The dealers’ room in Big Sandy Arena will play host to dozens of vendors. Guests will be able to shop for posters, DVDs, books and imported Japanese snacks. There will be an artists alley where customers can shop for original artwork or commission new artwork.

Richmond says there will also be activities for people looking for some quiet time “We will have anime viewing rooms open all weekend. It is not just a nice place to view new anime but a nice place to decompress and relax as well. We also will have the Carolina Manga Library which is a nice place to get some quiet time.”

Admission to this year’s convention is $50 for a three-day pass. Individual day passes are also available. Children 10 and under will be admitted for free with a paying adult. As some panels and anime screenings contain adult content, guests over 18 years old will be given a special wristband. Guests who have registered in advance for the convention can pick up their passes on Thursday, Oct. 4 from 8 p.m. until 9 p.m. at the Big Sandy Arena. Convention hours will be from noon until 1 a.m. Friday, from 10 a.m. until 1 a.m. Saturday, and from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Sunday. For more information on the convention, visit https://www.tsubasacon.org/. For a full schedule of events, visit https://sites.grenadine.co/sites/tsubasacon/en/tsubasacon2018.

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