This past Labor Day weekend I got to attend my second three-day Kumoricon. As last year, the con was held in the Hilton hotel in downtown Portland.
The largest complaint most congoers had about last year’s con was that there wasn’t enough space in the Hilton for everyone. While the lobby is fairly large, most of the space is taken up by couches, chairs, tables, plants, and a huge staircase. Last year, while my friends and I tried to pause for a moment in the lobby, we were instantly told by con staff to keep moving. This year, however, the lobby wasn’t overcrowded. This was possibly due to Kumoricon capping their badge sales at 3500 badges this year, avoiding the huge amount of congoers that swarmed the hotel last year.
While most problems were solved this year, the main thing I noticed was that there seemed to be no staff communication. While in line to finish my registration, a staffer came up to me and my friends and told us we were on the wrong side of the line, and to follow him to the front so we could get out of the line of people who hasn’t registered at all. But once we got there, a second staffer told the first one that he was wrong, and that we had to get back in line. And while we were finishing registration, there seemed to be a variety of ways that staff handled your badge. On mine, they gave me a silver stick and wrote “Y” in pen, which I assume means “Youth.” On other badges, some people only had a letter, some only had a sticker, and others didn’t have anything. I also heard stories of people being pointed in the wrong directions by staff.
The weather at the con was surprisingly nice. Last year’s Kumoricon was dominated by clouds and random sprinkles of rain, but this year was blue skies with minimal clouds.
The second day of the con, for me, was dominated by the Cosplay Contest. On Saturday night I had to attend a pre-meeting that took half an hour, Sunday morning required me to be at the con at 8 am (even though we didn’t actually start until 8:15), costume judging at 1, and I had to be backstage at 3:30. And, somehow, my friend Haley and I won in our section! I also had three other friends who won at the contest.
While winning the contest and getting bragging rights is enough of a prize for me, I was also told that I would be receiving a custom plaque and a “goodie bag” of things donated by sponsers. Later that night I found out that instead I would be getting a plaque and 10 “Kumorikash” that I could use to buy stuff from a room of various gifts. The next day, when Haley and I went to get our prizes, we found that the choices were extremely bad. Posters from series I didn’t know, a random statue-thing, the second volume of unheard American manga, magazine inserts that seemed to be ripped out of magazines, and otk socks. Both Haley and I picked the socks, which are extremely warm and long and were donated by Sock Dreams.
On another note, judging seemed a bit… Off. For the winners of Best Novice Adult Group, the prize went to two Mokonas who’s costumes seemed to be made of a hoopskirt and fabric. Please note that the other Adult Notice group was a Zelda: Twilight Princess group that involved hand-painted designs and full-body makeup. This seems ridiculous, especially because the winners were also staff, and seemed to be friends with the judge.
Other than some contest stuff and non-con madness, Kumoricon 2010 was far better than 2009. For 2011, the con will be moving to the Hilton and Red Lion hotels in Vancouver, Washington. I think that having two hotels as well as more parks and various things close to the con will be a great change, even if the drive will be 30 minutes longer. I will definitely be attending next year.