Tekko 2018 Field Report & Cosplay Photos

Summary of Event

The early spring weather was once again like a yo-yo with measurable snowfall on April 2 and then peaking near 70 during the week before falling into the 40s and 30s for the convention. Tekko is the premiere event sponsored by the Pittsburgh Japanese Culture Society and is one of the fastest-growing anime and Japanese pop culture festivals in America. The convention brought in 9,751 fans in this its 16th year. The United States has larger conventions, like Otakon or AnimeExpo, but Tekko is one of the best organized. The Pittsburgh Japanese Cultural Society has an uncanny ability to bring in big-name talent, especially voice actors like Luci Christian, Bryce Papenbrook, Monica Rail and Vic Mignogna. The panels are very diverse, touching on topics like culture, history, fashion and simple fun.

Official Website: http://www.teamtekko.us/

Basic Info

Location The convention is held at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center along the Allegheny River in Downtown Pittsburgh, USA.
131-199 10th St, Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Established 2002
Length of event April 5th-8th
Place Length of Event
April 5th-8th

How much does it cost? General Admission covers all the days of the convention and is $50.
Hotels & Transportation You just need to get to Pittsburgh. The convention center is located near the train station and the bus stations. The event reserves blocks of hotel rooms at a discount if you book early enough, for example The DoubleTree by Hilton is located at 1 Bigelow Square, right in the heart of Downtown Pittsburgh, making it one of the most convenient options for travelling back and forth from Tekko 2018. If you’re willing to pay a premium you can stay in an even more convenient location, the Weston Hotel which is attached to the convention center by a skyway. The city has a lot of other hotels in the downtown area and in the suburbs. The cost of parking in the city is expensive, so if you stay in the suburbs plan on spending $15-20 for per day for parking.

To Enjoy Oneself

You need comfortable shoes. The convention center is big and spread out but you usually can manage to make it from one end to the other (e.g. from the dealers’ room to the main stage) in about five minutes. We recommend bringing snacks or a bento, there’s plenty of space to find a spot to picnic inside the convention center. If you don’t mind just drinking water it’s freely available at water fountains and water stations. You are encouraged to visit the restaurants downtown, one of our personal favorites is a meatball joint located on Penn Ave. If you like tacos and beer, Condado is about a block away. Bill’s in the Westin (attached to the convention center) has some amazing burgers. Tekko has also worked out a show-your-badge campaign in the city giving you a discount at many restaurants when you show your Tekko badge. You can even sit down to your meal in costume and they won’t mind.

What to do Day by Day…

April 6th (Thursday)

Tekko continues their tradition of starting the convention off with a movie night with a screening of Mary and The Witches Flower. The film is from Hiromasa Yonebayashi, the animator behind many Studio Ghibli classics like “Spirited Away.” The gaming room will also be open if you want to try out some of the games like Onitama, Star Realms, Go, Mahjong, Kingdominos and Star Realms Hunter.

April 7th (Friday)

You can start your morning at 10 am with a panel on Cosplaying Disabilities and Abnormalities the tips and tricks for pattern-making and altering for simulating medical conditions. If you like cats, try Neko Mania Cat Culture in Japan. The Neko Maina panel will let you explore the folklore of cats in Japan, tell you how to visit the “cat islands,” as well as the shrines dedicated to cats that have been elevated to godhood. You’ve also probably noticed that according to anime and manga there are a lot of vampires in Japan. A panel called Vampires Go To Japan attempts to explain all that. The AVMs get going at 11 am so if you’re interested in watching some clever mash ups of music and anime. You go to cons? If you want to have your own panel, check out the How to Build a Better Panel, panel. You can find a nice way to spend the evening with Joan of Arc Was a Magical Girl!? And Other Anime Anachronisms. We know you don’t need sleep so you can spend some time at the last panel of the day that starts at 1 am with Is It Wrong to Pick Up Girls at an Anime Panel? (18+) a panel that delves into the different types of romances portrayed across the world of anime.

April 8th (Saturday)

We start the morning with a sentimental journey watching some romantic AVMs. You can start educating yourself with the basics of learning the Korean writing system called Hangeul between 10 and 11 am. The panel of experts will even give you a chance to practice a few phrases of your newly acquired Korean. Do you like to roleplay (and not the 18+ kind)? You can stop by the game center all day and take a turn rolling your polyhedral die in some of the ongoing RPGs in the game room. You have the chance to educate yourself on some more Japanese history in a panel titled the Romance of the Three Kingdoms. You will delve into the world of warriors like Ikki-Tousen and Soten Koro as expert Richard Shaffer explains the real history behind the Dynasty Warriors in the Total War series. We’d admit that the highlight of any con is the masquerade. You can find your seat in the vast auditorium for musical numbers, skits, standup acts and beautifully crafted costumes. You are also given the chance to get an up-close look at some historic Japanese weapons from an expert in 16th century Japanese combat, Dan Coglan.

April 9th (Sunday)

Your morning can start off with a little shock-value as the AVM showcase presents the 18+ videos that are bound to be filled with language, sex and violence. A panel on Subs versus Dubs starts at 10 am. You want to act? In Acting 101 with Monica Rial the voice actor lends her professional advice to anyone interested in learning more about what it takes to break into the business. If you want to end your convention on a high note take a seat in the AVM theater for the AVM Sing-A-Long complete with karaoke subtitles.

Cosplay (Photos)

Final Thoughts

We continually go to conventions because of the amazing convention community. You never feel as welcome as you do when you’re surrounded by a collection of cosplayers. You always have the opportunity to learn, discuss your opinions, and make new friends at conventions.

We continue to go to Tekko because it is one of the best organized conventions on the east coast of the United States. The atmosphere is even more friendly than most, probably because of its size. You never feel crushed by a wave of humanity moving down the hallway and you’ll almost never be turned away from the panel you want to see because its full. The hotel and dining options are pretty good, too, for those of us on a budget. You should start to make your plans for Pittsburgh next year to enjoy a fantastic weekend.

Zeke Changuris


Author: Zeke Changuris

I’m a journalist, writer, photographer, video producer, social media manager and above all a storyteller. I’m located on the east coast of the United States but travel the world with the love of my life. I’ve been a nerd since birth with a love of history and science. I fell in love with anime, watching ROBOTECH and Venus Wars in the 80s when our only source was secondhand VHS dubs. A crazy new thing called the internet changed that, giving me access to new and amazing anime every day. I love to write for work and pleasure. I’m living the dream of every kid, getting paid to watch anime and loving every subtitled line.

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