I’ve been going to Youmacon anime conventions since 2012, my first and only regular experience in Detroit, at the Renaissance Center and Cobo Center. Three years later, the main draw for me is still meeting the voice-actor celebrity guests. This year more than ever. Most of my 15 hours there was spent in line for autographs, photos, etc. I had time for one panel, “Women in Media.”
I’ve met most of this year’s celeb guests at previous conventions around the country, but since I’ve taken to trace-drawing pictures of anime characters for their voice actors to autograph, I wanted to meet them again. I was successful in getting all my drawings signed.
I found some time to wander the halls of the newly renovated Cobo Center to check out people’s cosplay outfits, and stop by the immense artists alley and vendors room.
I only recently watched the Ghibli film Spirited Away, which I loved. Adam Savage from Mythbusters cosplayed as No-Face at San Diego Comic Con a few years ago. He talked about offering gold candy, in character, and people refusing it because accepting gold from No-Face brings bad luck. It turns out Adam was avoiding a plot spoiler. Taking his gold actually results in something else. Like this fellow, I happily accepted this No-Face’s gold candy and took my chances!
Youmacon is traditionally scheduled around Halloween. The last couple years it included Halloween itself, which was cool. Many of the voice actors dressed in costume, joining us fans in cosplaying fun. I was dressed as Tyreese from The Walking Dead, but many probably thought I was a longshoreman carrying a hammer to work on a machine or something.
In addition to all his anime work, Vic is also producing new fan-made episodes of Star Trek, painstakingly created in the classic version from the 1960s. Vic plays Captain Kirk. With him in the show, Star Trek Continues, are his friends and fellow voice actors Todd Haberkorn as Mr. Spock and Chuck Huber as Dr. McCoy. Todd and Chuck were also at Youmacon and I was able to tell all three of my appreciation for their work making more Star Trek.
I drew a couple extra pictures as gifts, for Cristina and Tia. For Cristina, a drawing of Kyubey from Madoka Magica, a catlike creature with an offer too good to refuse (become a magical girl and fight witches in return for a wish).
For Tia, a drawing of Happy the Cat from Fairy Tail, as played by Crawford, a real cat.
Tia and I go way back, all the way to my first anime convention ever — the 2012 Youmacon. I’ve probably seen her the most at these conventions. If she’s appearing pretty much anywhere in Michigan, Ohio, or Indiana, I’m likely to be going to it. I’m not her biggest fan — that might be the guy I heard about from someone who said he was an eyewitness at another convention. The guy had a Happy the cat tattoo on his arm. Then he asked Tia to autograph it. Then he had her signature tattooed to his arm.
But I always get Tia’s autograph and photos with her (once in a suit of armor), ask questions at her panels, draw pictures for her, bid on items in her charity auction, and “like,” “favorite,” and otherwise interact with her on social media. This year at Youmacon, she called me by name at the Women in Media panel. I like to think she called me a snow bunny, on her Mizore picture autograph. She told her friends I’m her “con buddy,” with the drawings and everything. And she kissed me.
Far from suave and sophisticated, my face was fuzzy for my cosplay, and I might have cussed a bit in shock. Not very smooth at all — sorry! Anyway, Tia is a good person who works hard to make the world a better place. I hold her in the highest esteem, wish her the best in everything, and look forward to seeing her again when she stops by to visit the area. I have an idea for another drawing. Maybe something with Happy and Kyubey….
— Phil C