Eirtaku in the Wild: Rainy Days
It might be raining like it’s December, but with four major conventions all happening over the summer who cares abut the weather? Mark is on hand to steer you through these muddy months.
Listen up! Where were you, when the mighty Q-Con was on? If you weren’t there, you missed out and I can only feel sorry for you. As far as I’m concerned, Q-Con is the big daddy of conventions in Ireland and a lesson in how to do things right. 19 years going and stronger than ever.
Q-Con is a bit of a different beast than a purely anime convention, of course. It was originally a gaming convention and started to incorporate anime 8, maybe 9 years ago (someone will have to correct me on that!), and in recent times that has taken off like a rocket. I was last at Q-Con in 2010 and by a vague estimate, I’d say about 30% of the attendees that year were there for the anime side of things. This year it must easily have been a 50-50 split. Between the cosplay competitions, special events like Anime Blockbuster and a weekend-long screening schedule, there’s a careful balance going on at Q-Con that they seem to get right every year.
What I admire about Q-Con is its constant evolution. Not content with booking out the entirety of the students union, they expanded to an adjacent building solely for tabletop gaming and have plans to take over more buildings next year. I get the feeling that in ten years the whole of Queen’s University will be taken over for Q-Con. The way I see it if you’re not evolving and expanding, responding to your attendee’s wants and pushing boundaries then you’re barking up the wrong tree. It’s always a good idea to start totally fresh every year, building from the ground up and avoiding rehashing the previous year’s convention as much as possible. I figure Q-Con think along the same lines and it shows in the variety and quality of everything they do.
With that in mind I’m very excited by some of the new ideas and directions coming out of the Eirtakon committee this year. This is the time of the year when ideas become plans and thoughts become reality, and there are a lot of cool new ideas floating around right now. I think a fair portion of the venue layout will be totally reworked over the coming months to accommodate for the increased number of events and activities. I can see this year being more diverse than ever, encompassing a more cultural bent as well as expanded gaming areas and better use of The Space and The Theatre rooms. It will be a lot of work but everyone is up for it.
Watch out for a lot of announcements over the coming weeks from Eirtakon – guests, traders, a new website, competitions and plenty more in the pipeline almost ready for action. Our Social Media Officer Chris has been working hard on the new site the last few weeks and it looks quite fantastic, I can’t wait to see it launched. The current website, while certainly functional, is getting quite old looking and the information layout has always been a bit messy. The new design takes care of that and an improved pre-reg system sorts out a big current headache we have.
Back in Dublin, some of you may have been lucky enough to grab tickets for the premiere of Children Who Chase Lost Voices at the Lighthouse Cinema, which had a special appearance by the film’s director Makoto Shinkai. I was somehow distracted and didn’t book myself a ticket in time, but from what I heard everyone had a great time and Makoto Shinkai was a pleasure to have in Ireland. Who knows, maybe it’s the start of regularly inviting anime directors to Ireland for premieres? I don’t know if it will happen but I would absolutely love to see it.
Speaking of Dublin, things are hotting up with ArcadeCon and Nom-Con having both announced their timetables in the last few days. You can check out ArcadeCon’s here, and Nom-Con’s here. Both look, well, excellent. I’m still waiting to see the screening schedules but there’s clearly plenty to see and do at both conventions. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to attend both conventions, and let’s not forget about Brocon in Limerick in a few weeks, but I’ll certainly try my best and I encourage everyone else to as well! If you can only afford one, check out both timetables and see which tickles your fancy most.
So as you can tell it’s pretty busy in the anime community in Ireland right now – we’ve just had the mighty Q-Con and with Brocon, ArcadeCon and Nom-Con all happening over the next few weeks there’s little time to breathe from one event to another. Eirtakon is kicking into full swing and before we know it November will be upon us. It’s also been a year since I started writing Eirtaku in the Wild! A bit scary and a bit crazy but that’s how it goes!
Until next time,