Youmacon has another successful year

Mike Evey of Ferndale dresses as No Face. (David Coates / The Detroit News)

Well, I was working on another geeky project over the weekend, so I wasn’t able to make it to Youmacon this year over at the Ren Cen.

We sent photographer David Coates to the con, and he set up a photo gallery of his shots. This one of No Face from Hayao Miyazaki’s “Spirited Away” is one of my favorites of the group this year.

Longtime Geek Watch (and the old Anime Watch) reader Patty Hammond was kind enough to send her thoughts and impressions. Thanks, Patty! And now I turn it over to her:

My first con memory was driving down Jefferson Avenue to park and I saw three girls in costume, and there were several of the business people around turning around and staring.

I talked with some other attendees later in the day when we were searching for an ATM, and they said they tried to ask directions of those in suits, because they thought that these were fellow attendees dressed in cosplay instead of people dressed in business attire. Unlike me, they were not used to people dressed in suits, huh?

Registration on Friday was very busy with lots of people waiting over an hour to register.  Pre-reg was busy on Thursday, based on what I was told by other attendees who picked up their badges early.  On Friday when I went to pick up our passes, the line for pre-reg was hard to find because of the crowd, but was not busy at all on Friday when found.  Comments from many of the attendees said that registration seemed to be smoother this year than last year.

Opening Ceremonies were well attended.  The emcee was great; he was funny and came up with one liners at the spur of the moment as the event unfolded.  However, each of the guests that came up on stage had a hard time seeing the audience because of powerful lights. It also made taking pictures of them hard, as well.

The dealer room was huge and always crowded.  My husband spent much of his time here.  Between the two of us, we found quite a bit to buy.  We scored lots of great merchandise, including cels and figures.

We also spent a lot of time in artists alley.  There were some artists that we’ve bought from before, and there were many new artists, as well.  There was always something new being created with all the commissions.

My husband and I did not attend any panels or events on Saturday because of work conflicts, but we were there when they began lining up for the masquerade.  The line started forming about 4 p.m. and many were anticipating a great show.

I was able to attend a few panels on Sunday, including the a prayer service led by Funimation voice actors Vic Mignogna, Caitlin Glass and Tia Ballard  I am religious, and it was great that the con offered this opportunity for those that may have missed regular services, which I did.

They also were part of a live reading later that afternoon.  They, along with fellow voice actors Christopher Robin Miller and Tom Wayland, did a live reading of two different stories.  The first was an old-time radio show, “Flash Gordon.”  They did not have enough players, so they asked three gentlemen from the audience to come up and fill out the cast.  One of these gentlemen told me he was an inspiring voice actor and this was a great opportunity to work with real voice actors.  The second story was the 20th anniversary of “Sandman,” and along with the reading they projected the comic on the screens.  It was a great experience.

I also Attended the Jon St. John panel.  He voiced Duke Nukem.  Two interesting facts came up during the panel:

The Duke Nukem Voice was created by starting with Dirty Harry, but then taking that voice deeper since Duke was much more buff than Harry.

The sayings that Duke Nukem used in the game were written by two women.  I have to admit, when I heard all those sayings when my husband played that game, I would never have thought that a woman wrote those.

The Potter Puppet Pals show was held on Sunday, as well.  It was very well attended, standing room only, even though it did not start on time (over and hour after it was originally scheduled).  I caught the first half of the show, and it was very well done.

There were always long lines for the video gaming, especially when a tournament was about to start.  There was also quite a bit of table top gaming as well, but of course not as popular as the video gaming.

There was lots of cosplay with a variety of characters, from the usual anime characters from “Bleach,” “Naruto,” “Dragonball Z,” “Sailor Moon” and “One Piece,” to the usual gaming characters from “Final Fantasy” and “Kingdom Hearts” to some unusual, like the Mad Doctor from “Robot Chicken”!

Next year’s con is scheduled for Nov. 1-4, 2012, and will be held not only at the RenCen, but some events, activities, etc. will take place at Cobo Center, as well.  I am very curious to see how this will work, especially if the People Mover is shut down due to the city’s funding issues.

Lots of guest signing opportunities, including some voice actors telling fans to stop them wherever they spot them or holding special unscheduled signing sessions to help make sure everyone received the autograph they wanted.

My husband and I did hear a few complaints while we were wandering around.  Those that purchased Platinum badges were upset because of the lack of signage that would explain which line was for which type of badge holder.  The elevators were another source of complaint.  Many panels and events started late because they were waiting for people who were waiting for elevators.

Eric again: And there you have it, one fan to lots of others. Thanks again, Patty!

Eric Henrickson is a Detroit News copy editor who has also been writing about comic books, video games and anime for The News for more than 10 years. His favorite bit of geek cred so far: appearing in an online "Star Trek" fan series.