This past weekend I attended an event that some have never heard of, and others anticipate as a chance to reunite with friends and fans that share the same passion. That event was Bakuretsucon 2012 in Colchester, VT. Bakurestsu means something like “burst” or “exploding,” and con is short for convention. Some use Bakucon for short!
What is it? This is Vermont’s only anime convention. This convention allows fans of Japanese culture, anime, manga, and gaming to unite and celebrate their hobbies. These conventions occur throughout the USA and the world!
Art & Merchandise
The main hallway outside the panel rooms is set up as Artist’s Alley where artists can set up a table to sell their unique art. I saw many beautiful drawings, jewelry, knitted dolls, pins, etched glasses, and more!
Visiting artists also compete in an art competition where they complete and submit one piece of art during the convention. As they finish the art is put on display in Artist’s Ally and on the last day a prize is given to the most popular.
Panels & Games
Throughout the three-day convention panels are hosted by special guests, including anime voice actors and artists, covering a variety of topics. Fans can also submit panel ideas and can host one themselves. Panels can be informative with Q&A interaction, a game, or even a mix of both.
This year just a few of the informative panels I attended were focused on Japanese folk-lore in anime, how to make bento lunches, how to identify bootlegged items, and one where a group of us analysed great AMVs (fan-made anime music videos).
There were several panels that were games designed for all or some of the audience to participate in. The Iron Cosplay panel pits a few teams against each other as they attempt to create one cosplay outfit from scratch for one member of the team in only an hour.
I attended the Yankee Battle Auction which allowed those participating (for only $2) to choose a blind item (in a bag) or steal an item from someone who had already chosen a bag and revealed their item. Of course that didn’t mean someone else couldn’t then steal from you!
Another popular event at Bakucon is the Anime Dating Game, which is an improv game where the contestant cannot see the 3 bachelors/bachelorettes and must blindly choose one based on answers to sometimes strange questions. Of course all the participants are in cosplay and so are playing as their characters! It is hilarious to watch.
Every year at Bakucon there is an area set aside for table top gaming. There is also always a video game room set up with several systems and games. Tournaments are held throughout the convention.
Another important facet of anime conventions is cosplay. Many fans dress up as characters from their favorite anime/manga/game etc, and most make their costumes themselves! Sometimes a group will work together to have themed costumes from the same anime.
Perhaps the most anticipated part of Bakucon is the cosplay contest where those who have created their own costumes go on stage to show off what they’ve done, sometimes acting out a little skit or dance by themselves or with a group.
This contest was followed by a charity auction where great items were auctioned off to the crowd with the funds going to an animal rescue organization. I believe the most expensive item was an autographed binder that went for $350!
This is only a glimpse into this event, much more goes on than I can describe! This year’s convention attracted over 400 visitors! Maybe next year you will be going to check it out?