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Where Size Matters Not: Why Ikasucon Go-ers Love a Small Convention

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Photo credit: Sean Godfroy

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Written by: Communicator StaffJuly 17, 2013

When people talk about conventions, they tend to think of huge gatherings like Comic-Con in San Diego or Anime Expo in Los Angeles. What they usually don’t consider are small local events like Fort Wayne’s annual Ikasucon that bring fans together in the hundreds.

Like most Anime Conventions, Ikasucon attracted multitudes of geeks, nerds and diehard fans to not only attend, but to show up as their favorite characters. Whether it was the Avengers or Pokémon, Adventure Time or Final Fantasy, even Disney classics or obscure Japanese cult favorites, attendees could find just about anything walking through the halls.

Unlike the swarming masses and chaotic noise of a larger Con, Ikasucon has a much more personal feel to it. Megan Stoffer, an incoming IPFW freshman dressed as Loki from “The Avengers,” said, “It’s a lot smaller than most other cons I go to, but I really like how chill it is.”

Vendors, guest booths, and events are spread out and open with plenty of room for attendees to gather. Instead of pushing through crowds and clamoring for attention, a gentle one-at-a-time mentality seems to grip both Con-goers and guest stars.

“I’m on speaking terms with a lot of the actors here,” she added, “and they don’t mind if you just come up to them in the hall and talk to them…[at] a lot of the other Cons, they’re not nearly as approachable.” This year’s Ikasucon was Megan’s ninth convention overall, and the fifth time she’d attended Ikasucon itself.

“This is the home convention and my first Con, and this is where I meet all my friends, so I always come back no matter what,” she explained.

The people may be what bring her back, but Ikasucon offers plenty of other reasons to attend. During its 3-day-period, Fort Wayne’s local Con is host to a rave, a formal dance, anime music video contests, and anime-themed game shows.

Alongside parodies of “Deal or No Deal” and “Family Feud,” a particular favorite of attendees is the hilarious performance of “Whose Line is it Anime?” Whether guests caught the censored or uncensored versions, they were left breathless from laughter after each segment. It didn’t matter if Captain Canada was saving the world from Xbox-One or if Ace Ventura had stolen all the bacon to save Miss Piggy, the audience as well as some of the performers ended up rolling on the floor.

James Hatton, a web-comic designer of 10 years and convention guest star for 8, was invited for the first time this year to perform onstage at Ikasucon for the show. “I love conventions,” he said afterward. “You get to meet a lot of folks, the guests are always really friendly…[and] you get treated like a rock star for a couple of days.”

James says meeting all the different fans is what brings him back to each Con he visits, but he also loves showing up as a guest.
“I get to show them what I do. I get to make them laugh, I get to go onstage and do funny things,” he said.

This year’s Ikasucon might have ended, but it will return next year with the same energy and friendly spirit it always has. It might not have the size Comic-Con does, but it has the community that a larger Con doesn’t.

Story by: Sean Godfroy