Oh where do I start? Where do I even start when it comes to this convention? I guess the logical place would be at the start. But not the start of this year’s con, I mean the start of Comikaze in general.
Comikaze was first held in 2011. They boasted that this small family friendly convention would remain affordable and would strive to bring diversity to the convention by representing a variety of genres. It was fun. Sure, it had some issues being a new convention, but overall it was well done for a first go.
Then, the second year it was re-branded as “Stan Lee’s Comikaze” and thus begins the downfall of this young convention. The second year was disastrous. The preregistration line wrapped entirely around the convention center. Attendees were forced to wait more than two hours in the blazing sun, many of us in full costume. It was so hot that my boyfriends costume (made of thermoplastic) literally began to melt. Meanwhile, people who bought badges at the con walked right in. The excuse was given that they hadn’t anticipated the amount of attendees, but considering everyone there had PRE-REGISTERED I’m gonna call BS on that.
Similarly, I don’t understand the reason Comikaze is held on Halloween weekend. More than half of the people I usually see at these cons either don’t attend on Halloween, or opt out of the con all together!
As the prices rose year by year the quality of the con stayed consistent. When one issue was fixed another would appear. Still, I held out hope that one year soon this convention would get it’s act together and step up to be the awesome end-of-the-year con it was destined to be.
No such luck.
This year was, by far, THE WORST it has ever been. It even trumps year two. It started out fine. The drive over was relatively smooth and the parking very convenient. My friends and I suited up and headed into the South Hall. We were surprised to find it nearly empty aside from a few stray people looking just as lost as we felt. Where were the usual crowds? A helpful worker pointed us towards the opposite end of the convention center. For whatever reason, the con had not secured their usual spot in the large South Hall exhibition room. Instead, the convention attractions were unusually spread throughout the center, with the craft and cosplay section being banished to an obscure and hard to find room in the opposite hall from where the main convention was held. (I had to point more than one wayward cosplayer towards the hidden room.)
Day two was even worse. There was some other event in the area. Every parking garage had a sign out saying, “Pass/permit only”. My group circled around the convention center and found ourselves in a long line of equally frustrated drivers. The only close parking was in the range of $40-50 for the day. Eventually we found a place to park for a reasonable price at the cost of a decent walk to the con.
I don’t mind walk, it’s what I spend most of a convention doing. What I do mind is the constant street harassment. Even on Halloween when you would think people in costumes were the norm. I won’t repeat what was shouted at me (there is still come debate as to what it actually was) but it instantly put a damper on my mood. Some days I can laugh off stupid comments shouted by stupid people. But that day was not one of those days. I hadn’t even gotten into the convention and I already wanted to go home.
Something else about this year also stood out. There was a very heavy police presence peppered throughout the convention halls. It made me feel more nervous than safe. Were they anticipating something bad to happen? What was wrong with the usual con security?
For a few hours the convention was fun. Then it was break time. As usual, my friends and I brought some snacks with us. The South Hall was pretty much empty so we sat down on the steps along side a handful of others. A police officer soon came over and told us we couldn’t sit there. Fine, that’s alright. I could see how it would be a safety hazard even if no one was using the stairs. So we packed up and moved to a spot nearby, well out of the way of any foot traffic. A few minutes after that we were told we weren’t allowed to even be there! Why? There was no reason behind it. We weren’t hiding, we weren’t doing anything suspicious, we weren’t making a mess of any sort, or getting in the way. The only “real” seating in the convention hall is the tiny eating area upstairs that doesn’t seat more than 50. It was full, of course, so my party trekked outside and finally found a place to sit where no one would complain.
Overall the.. what’s a good word for it? The vibe? Yeah, the vibe. Overall the whole vibe of the con was negative. More people than normal were rude, I received more lewd comments spoken loudly behind my back, and for the first time I was disgusted by a costume I saw. Now I am all for tasteful nudity and wholly against any sort of slut shaming. But the people who chose to dress themselves the way they did need to realize that there are little kids at the convention and that these minors did not consent to seeing the exposed bodies of said cosplayers.
I didn’t even bother with Day 3. I was just done. I might be done permanently. I might never go back to this convention because my experiences have been so utterly negative. I have given this con every chance to redeem itself, but it might just be doomed.