By James Robert Shaw (The Wind up Geek)
When at a weekend convention, such as Tsukino-Con, if there is one thing I learned this year it is to take a freakin’ vacation in 2015. Working eight hours days across town and then hopping two long bus rides to make it in time for the last two hours of convention is a bit of a whirlwind. There is no time to relax and unwind from the trip, no time to chat to the con goers, no time to browse the tables of our dealers and talented artists and no time to truly appreciate the final day of a great con such as this.
On reflection, 2014 was a record-breaking one in terms of attendance for Tsukino. And I can understand why. It is a very active con and there is always something for the fans to enjoy. The University of Victoria (UVic) is the perfect setting for such a con, everything from food to transportation is within reach. With the growth in attendees over the last year, someone suggested the con should move off campus. To them I say “nay!”
From the facilities available in Victoria, UVic is the perfect place for such a con. No other place can house such an event that looks busy but still feels open and free. And besides, UVic benefits from the money spent on their campus and enrolled students get in for free. Why ruin such a good thing?
I arrived one hour before closing ceremonies. With the dealers and artists neatly packing away their wares, that meant it was time for one last panel. And I made sure it was one of the best of the con. Many of you may know I have loved Japanese culture for most of my life, but did you know I appreciate Kabuki theatre? I’ve never watched Kabuki live but what influenced me was seeing a puppet production of The Monkey King as a child. I know it is not the same thing as Kabuki but it intrigued me enough to learn more of Japanese theatre in general. That’s why “Kabuki Theatre in Anime” was the perfect panel to end the day with.
Hosted by Ryan Caron of Vancouver‘s Synaptic Chaos Theatre comedy troupe, we explored the influence traditional and modern Kabuki has on Japanese animation. I’m not fully aware of what qualifications Ryan has in Kabuki, but he has a history of directing Kabuki dance. He is an excellent teacher and his passion for the art came out in his presentation. I only wish he had more than the 50 minutes scheduled to explore more of Kabuki’s history.
It was time for the final act of the day, or should I say the final bow. It was the last hour where lucky people who managed to get seats (that’s me) could sit back and watch the final goodbyes from the guests of honour and and at the same time con attendees could show their appreciation to the staff for a job well done. And how smoothly it ran this year. I enjoy a good con where the only hard decision I have to make is which activity to take part in first. We can thank the large group of volunteers for that. Like a fan at Woodstock I would take off my shirt but I’m sure it would confuse con-goers as to who I was cosplaying.
During the final hour the stage would be taken by such guests as voice actors John Michael Tatum and Terri Doty. They performed as a comedy double act and received many laughs. British Columbia based voice actor Takahata101 joined in the fun. It is from him we learned lip balm will make you sexually aroused. But the biggest surprise of the final day was Canadian voice artist Tracey Moore. Tracey has a long list of credits that includes the title character of George Shrinks, Cheer and Share Bear in Nelvana‘s Care Bears, various characters in Brian Jacques’ Redwall series and the title character of DiC’s Sailor Moon. Tracey received a warm welcome from the audience. In her talk she expressed her wonderful thoughts on the con and hoped that she may become a guest again in the near future.
Although we had guests of honor, the stars were the con’s event staff. a young con-goer passed out from a medical condition during the closing ceremonies. It took seconds for the emergency response team (ERT) to rush in and take control of the situation. Adam Park, one of the organizers of Tsukino Con asked everyone to remain quiet and to remain seated. But he didn’t need to, the audience watched the event unfold. With an oxygen mask attached, a groggy yet conscious con fan was escorted out by the convention’s ERT. The whole room erupted in applause and cheers.
It wasn’t the end of the closing ceremonies but it seemed fitting. The incident expressed the general politeness, helpfulness and friendliness of the con over the past three days. The fun one could have at a convention is just one part of what makes a con like this worthwhile. And for this con, it definitely was worthwhile. We can thank not only UVic and the guests of honour but the perfectly capable and eager staff as well. Without them, there is no convention.
Let’s do this again next year. Only this time, I’ll be taking time off from work.