AkaiCon Official Website: Www.akaicon.com
|When/Length||Usually held in August, this year Akaicon was held August 4, 2017 – August 6, 2017 / 3 Days|
|Place||Millennium Maxwell House Hotel, Nashville, TN|
|Cost||At the door, a weekend badge is $45, and single day badges range from $30-$20.|
|Hotels||The host hotel is the Millennium Maxwell House Hotel which consists of 10 floors, the top floor being used for main events. Unfortunately, the elevators are notorious for not working. A standard room is about $126 a night, and it doesn't tend to sell out during con weekends. If you need another place, however, the Fairfield Inn/Suites MetroCenter is very close and is nicer and understandably pricier.|
Company / event message for fans / attendees
“We strive to offer everyone a weekend getaway with people they consider family and friends! We want everyone to feel a togetherness with others in the community and that they are not alone. We will offer a place for all to come and be themselves, or someone else for the weekend. We are a family, a community, and we will do everything in our power to make sure your weekend is full of fun, laughs, excitement, and togetherness.”
What to Expect
Akaicon always has a theme that is reflected in their paneling and presentations, complete with a human and stuffed animal red panda mascot appropriately dressed. While a smaller con, they do well getting interesting guests from as far as California, Canada, and sometimes Japan. It's one of the first cons to go for unknown talent, so even if you don't know a guest before hand, you'll probably end up being a fan or at least recognizing their abilities. Sometimes panels may overlap, and the dealer's room doesn't have a huge variety, but it is a fun con with a safe and friendly atmosphere.
What to Bring in Order to Enjoy the Event
- Healthy Snacks – Conveniently, there is a Mcdonalds, Starbucks, Taco Bell, and Smoothie King located within walking distance, but if you have dietary restrictions or an aversion to fast food, you'll want to bring something from home.
- King blades/ LED Glow Sticks – Akaicon is starting to really get on the idol scene, last year bringing in idol groups and hosting an idol live with several different performers. Not only are King Blades important for enjoying lives, they double as fun props for the Saturday night dance.
- Camera – You'll want to be able to look back on impressive cosplays and the fun events held.
- Cash – While many vendors can take credit cards, sometimes the internet can be wonky and cash will be a safer bet.
- Water bottle/thermos – while there are tons of water dispensers around, it's always convenient to have your own supply!
- Comfortable shoes – The con itself isn't very big, but if the elevators malfunction, you may have to go up 10 flights of stairs if you want to get to main events!
What to do While There
Akaicon considers both guests and attendees family. If you particularly liked a guest from previous years that went over well with the con, keep your eyes open for them in later years! Professional cosplayer Phil Mizuno, fashion designer team Matt Lassiter and Vedetta Marie, and drag queen Venus Ann Serena are friendly and talented individuals that are fun to see again and again.
Panels are one of the main draws of Akaicon, and while some panels may be very similar, they also include some really out-there ones as well. Anime-inspired church, makeup, or exercise panels can be found every year. Whether it's guests being made to drink and draw, or con goers asked to eat increasingly spicy chicken, there should be something there you haven't seen before.
Club Rising Sun is the con's Saturday night Dance, and features different DJs offering the audience variety in their music. Usually, it goes on late at night and is a fun time for people to let loose with glow sticks and loud music
The Dealer's Room has pretty standard fare: anime merchandise, Japanese drinks and snacks, costumes/cosplay, cute accessories, fan shirts, video games etc. It's nice to take a look through there if you have some downtime between panels.
If you're 18 and older, Cosplay After Dark is an extremely entertaining event. More than just a strip show with cosplay (though there are some very talented people doing that) staff, guests, and con-goers come together to participate in a wild night. Some performers skits are funny more than sexy and some show off unique talents during this time. The family-friendly atmosphere disappears at this time and is replaced with sexy fun!
The 50% Dangerous Fashion Show is another pull for the con, not only because the designs are so attention-grabbing, but because the designers Matt and Vendetta Marie are such interesting characters. Not only can you expect to see styles that would be hard to find elsewhere, but also singing and dancing performances in between walks. The themes change every year but it is always a dynamic show.
Akaicon is less known for attendees’ cosplay and more known for its impressive cosplay guests. Guests like Phil Mizuno, Grey Cosplay, Coffee Cat Cosplay, and Kay Bear are extremely talented and bring several costumes to wow their audiences. Attendees, for the most part, stick to anime or manga characters as opposed to video game or western media characters. Akaicon's human mascot Jackie is herself a notable cosplayer, due to her many costume changes throughout the weekend. Every year she dons 3-6 costumes she wears based on that year's theme and the events hosted.
Many conventions can be described as fun or interesting or notable, but few have the family atmosphere that Akaicon has. One of the things that set it apart the most is how intimate the staff is with each other and how involved in the community they are. Many cons end up with complaints about rude staff or aggressive security, but Akaicon is known for its kind and caring staff. During opening and closing ceremonies, the staff speaks of their guests and attendees as family and that is reflected in the overall peaceful and happy environment of the convention. For those that might be intimidated by larger cons, dislike crowded venues, and enjoy a more intimate atmosphere than a busy one, Akaicon is well worth it.