Eirtakon 2011

Eirtakon: It's all just fun and games! He is NOT cosplaying by the way, he simply has a cat plushie on top of his head.

This year, for the first time, I attended Eirtakon, an anime and manga convention in Dublin, Ireland. It ran from Friday 11th of November until Sunday 13th of November. I had already bought my ticket months beforehand, receiving with it a free Eirtakon t-shirt. My crazy anime-filled weekend started on Friday. When I first arrived, Registration was not open yet, and I had no idea what to expect. I had never been to an anime convention, or any convention for that matter. Still, I had my timetable all prepared beforehand and I started by going in to the Random Surprise Screening and settled in front of the second half of the Macross movie, 'Do you Remember Love?'. I didn't stay for the end however, because I couldn't take the ridiculous love triangle anymore, so I walked around the Helix, familiarising myself for when the true convention started. I played a little in the games room, watched a few people play Modern Warfare 3, and tried my luck at the Fair-takon. I was very good at the bowling, a little bit bad at the Naruto Shuriken throwing, and quite good at the chopsticks skills table which required me transferring marbles from one bowl to another using only chopsticks (My record was 15). I also raced twice, coming in first place the first time and second place the second time. Quite ironic isn't it? I went home at eight, as there wasn't much else to do that hadn't already been done.

The design of my t-shirt

Saturday was a lot more hectic. I started by going to the Trader's Hall and swooned over every single cute thing in the entire hall. I swooned a lot. I also cracked and bought a t-shirt made by Genki Gear. I couldn't resist it! I had some time to kill before the first panel, so I went to the manga library and re-read my favorite chapters of Fruits Basket.
The first panel I went to was a Con Survival Guide. I was very pleased with myself when I saw that I was in the 'normal con-goer' category of different con-goers, and that I had respected all the do's and dont's right from the ballpark. I must be a natural rookie. After boosting my ego, I wandered around again until settling down in the theatre for the Cosplay Masqerade. I filmed it in its entirety, so please check it out if you haven't already. All of the costumes are great and unique.
I wandered around in the Trader's Hall again, this time spending more time around the Artist's Alley, but I had soon done a complete 360, so I dropped in to the Dragonball-Z Abridged Marathon and laughed my ass off along with the rest of the people in the room. I stayed on in the theatre for the Murder Mystery, but I found that the chairs/benches in the theatre aren't very comfortable, so I went for a walk around the entire convention, passing through the Trader's Hall, into the games room, and taking a look at the people who were playing at the Fair-takon which was now offering prizes, but was also charging for go's. I got tired of walking so I went in early to the Cosplay Blind Date, found a convient spot for filming and enjoying in general the event, and ate my lunch until the show started.

This costume was handmade completely out of cardboard and other household items. Amazing, right?!

For some reason, everything at Eirtakon was delayed, and so I had to wait an additional forty minutes before anything started. When it eventually did start, however, I had a great time, and couldn't help but think of Shrek when everyone was shouting for the chooser to pick Contestant Number 1/2/3. Most people had their hands up in the air indicating the number they were shouting.
Once over, I dropped in to the 'Special Event to be announced' and found that it was Anime Karaoke, and I stayed to listen to a few songs until taking another tour through the games room and going back to the Theatre to what had become my 'spot' for the Eirtafortunes. On the way in however, I met some people I had seen on Friday at the Fair-takon, and being on friendly terms, I sat with them in the third row. Sitting through the Eirtafortunes had been defeaning, so I settled in a quiet spot to eat a little. I dropped in to the Rockband tournament, and then went to the J-Monster Panel, which, surprisingly enough, started on time. It was half ten when I decided to go home. The panel was interesting, it was about Godzilla in general, but I had had a very long day, so I went home and dropped into bed immediately.

Sunday was yet another hectic day. There were so many things going on that I didn't get to see everything I wanted to. As with Saturday, I first started off in the Traders Hall, and I bought a bit more than a t-shirt... I bought a handmade mini top-hat from the Artists Alley, an amazingly cute and soft cat plushie, and a Kuroshitsuji pocket watch. I am both extremely proud of myself and very ashamed.

For some reason I completely freaked out when I saw No-Face from Spirited Away...

After my impulse buying, I dropped in to watch some screenings, I am not sure what I was watching but it was a live action. I didn't watch it until the end, instead, I went to see the Cosplay Skits. I wanted to go to the Maid Café straight afterwards, but with all the delay, the café wasn't open yet. Instead, I went to the see Liam O'Brien's panel, which was more of a Q&A for his fans. For those who may not know who Liam O'Brien is, he is a voice actor for English anime dubs. I had never heard of him before, which is understandable, since I only ever watch subbed. Even so, the panel was fun and interesting, and by its end, the Maid Café was open. I got a tea and felt a little torn about the service. The service was great, but it was very strange to have a stranger bow to you when giving you a cup of tea. It was also uplifting, and makes you feel superior. I'm not sure that's really a good thing though. I wanted to catch the end of the Japanese Ghost Stories panel, which was in an another building, but when I got there a staffer told me it had been cut short. So I walked all the way back to the main building and walked around a little, passing through the Trader's Hall again, before finally going back to the Maid Café for a last cup of tea. Since my next thing to do was the Photography Workshop and it was in the same place as the Café, I just stayed put for a while.

The Final Moment.

The photography workshop was more like people who like photography gathering together to talk about photography. There was a studio set up with lights and a white background though, and after talking with each other, we got on to taking studio worthy fashion pictures. Our models were ourselves. The workshop was run by the official Eirtakon photographer, Kieran Broderick. It ran on much longer than originally intended, so I didn't get to see the AMV competition entries I wanted to see, but I am not too bothered by my missing them. I did leave my fellow photographers to get my 'spot' in the theatre to see the Closing Ceremony, and the Taiko Drums performance that came with it though. The Taiko Drums were amazing: three women were creating these amazing rhythms, and with so much energy. They performed three 'pieces', and by the end, almost an hour later, they were dripping with sweat. After the Taiko drums came all the winners for various art and gaming competitions held over the weekend. The entire convention ended at half seven, and as soon as it ended, the officials from the Helix literally threw everyone out. Once everybody was out of the building, the doors were locked mere seconds after. However, people hovered outside for a while, and I have the pride of being the only one to have the final picture of most of the con-goers. The group picture started with someone taking their friends, and people who wanted to play a prank jumped into the shot, and once other people saw a big group, they all just gathered together and posed for my camera.
As a conclusion, I loved this convention and would recommend it to anyone who loves anime/manga/japan. To see all the photos I took of the weekend, click here. To see the videos, click here.

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