Eirtaku in the Wild: Akumakon 2012
Akumakon – the first anime con of the 2012. Mark was on hand to review it for Drop-D, and pass of a few surprise announcements while he was at it.
Folks! It’s been a while since we chimed in and I hope you’re as revitalised as I am. We have a few plans being put into the pipeline and recently we had Akumakon, Ireland’s first anime or gaming convention of 2012! Luckily, I was on hand to check it out and if you missed it, well, where were you?
Akumakon has the snazzy distinction of being the first anime convention of the year in the UK and Ireland, and is the second in Europe behind Desucon in Finland! On top of that, it’s in Galway, and I really, really like Galway. People are sick of hearing how much I like Galway whenever it’s mentioned, so best not to get me started. Akumakon is in its second year and has made a big step up – there was a visible increase in the level of organisation compared to last year (by that I mean everyone seemed less stressed), there was a good array of talks and events on and the traders hall was filled out. Everyone was in a great mood and it was fantastic to see so many people from all over the country making their way to Galway for this. I don’t know about numbers but to me it definitely felt bigger than 2011.
An unexpected highlight for me was the Saturday night festivities. I was aware of the events that would be on but until they were happening it didn’t really occur to me how great they’d be. I caught the burlesque show and the fire breathing so I unfortunately missed out on the Yu-Gi-Oh! drinking game and possibly one or two other events, but I think I made the right sacrifice – both shows went off perfectly and for me really made the convention. Wa Café catered the whole weekend and every time I eat there I’m convinced they might just be the best Japanese restaurant in the country. I had to leave around 1pm on Sunday so unfortunately missed out on an impromptu dance class and the closing ceremony, but I was left with the impression of an enthusiastic committee doing some great work. If you missed it this year, put it in your diary for 2013, you won’t be disappointed.
I do need to leave a quick note for you all, and it’s not a nice one. Replay Games were trading at Akumakon and they were blatantly selling bootleg anime DVDs and figurines. This is the kind of dirt that’s played a part in so many anime distribution companies going to the wall over the past few years; if you see Replay Games or any trader at any anime convention selling knockoff goods, inform a committee member! I’ve seen Replay Games try this act before and it looks like they haven’t changed. Avoid.
On a somewhat related note, I’m sure many of you heard that Bandai Entertainment over in America is effectively shutting up shop and will no longer be producing or distributing any physical media. Given their track record of releasing some of the best anime of the last 20 years (including Cowboy Bebop and The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya), it’s a huge blow and leaves a gulf in the market that shows no immediate signs of being filled. Luckily their existing anime back catalogue will continue to be manufactured until the licenses expire, however if you were keeping up with the Gurren Lagann manga… oh well! It’s another sad tale in physical distribution.
But hey, let’s look to the future! There’s a surprise that’s burning its way through my skull and wants to shout it out over the rooftops, but I’ve promised myself and others that I’ll keep shut. Suffice to say I’ll fill you all in next time but keep an eye out on the Eirtakon (and Nom-Con! Or am I giving away too much?) Facebook page for a fantastic announcement very soon.
There’s been a small bit of work going on at camp Eirtakon recently. Behind the scenes we’ve been looking into guests, getting the new committee member settled in and confirming the venue for this year. Work is starting soon on new events, booking guests, taking feedback from 2011 onboard and the dozens of other tasks that make up a convention.
On a public level, we have just launched our early bird pre-reg! For €25 you can grab a weekend pass and a t-shirt. The early bird will be open until the end of May when it switches to general pre-reg for €30 with a t-shirt. On the door prices will be €30 for a weekend and €20 for a day pass. So we’ve nudged the prices up a little bit but the things we can do with the extra income will make your head spin, I promise!
Alright! Keep your eyes open on the anime channels for one hell of an announcement real soon – it could be the highlight of the year. I shall say no more!