Waicon 2009

Last week, I went to an anime convention called “Waicon 2009” held in Perth, Western Australia. Despite the fact that I am passionate about anime, this was actually the first time I had been to a local anime convention. (^^;)

Previously, I have been to some anime events in Japan such as Comic Market 73, World Hobby Festival, and Jump Festa, so I really wasn’t sure if it was worth going to a local anime convention. Now that I’ve been to one, I can say for sure that it was definately worth going to. I had a really good time at the convention. I wasn’t really expecting much from it, but it was suprisingly professionally run, despite being an amateur run convention and turned out to be one of the best weekends I’ve had in a while.

Waicon was held in the Perth Convention Center. As I often pass this building on my way to work from the bus port, it’s actually a place I know quite well.

convention center outside

Given that I didn’t really know many other people in Perth that shared an interest in Anime, I decided to make 50 Otaku business cards to give out during the convention to help me socialise and increase the number of local anime-liking friends.  I actually came up with the idea about midnight the night before when I was about to sleep. (^^;)

At first, I had a pretty boring design, but slowly I managed to keep adjusting it until I ended up with a nice design that I liked. As I like collecting figures, I decided on using a figure picture as the background image and put my blog details and email address.

Over the two days, I managed to hand out 32 of the cards. I am hoping that those people do find the time to check out my blog. If you are one of those people, please leave a comment and say hi. (^_-)

otaku cards otaku card

For the first day, I woke up early and arrived at the grounds at about 2 hours before the official opening time. There were already a small number of people lining up, but it wasn’t a particularly a long queue. As there wasn’t any queue near the registration desk, it didn’t take long at all to buy a weekend pass and to sign up to PANIC, the anime club that hosted the event.

Despite there being only a few people waiting around, there were already more people in cosplay outfits than I had initially imagined.

registration deskregistration desk angle 

 waicon banner lucky star queue

late registrants 

The weekend pass cost me $45AU. At first I thought the entrance fees were rather excessive, but now that I look back at it all, it really was quite cheap given that I really enjoyed myself over the two days full of entertainment.

As the opening time of the convention approached, the number of people arriving increased, and the queue started to look more like the queues I was used to in Japan. The registration desk itself was quite packed.

stalls cosplay shop video gamescheap figures 2 cheap figuresart boothshall middle toward entrance hall inner

When the convention opened, all the early people attended the opening ceremony. Essentially they introduced the event and encouraged everyone to take this opportunity to socialize with each other.

When the opening ceremony finished, I went around to check out the stalls selling anime related goods. My first priority was the “Empire Toys” stall. Empire Toys is the main anime store in Perth, and at the convention, their stall sold cheap figures and manga. As I like to collect figures, the figures they had on sale were the main attraction for me.  As a result, I ended up buying 18 figures in one go in the first few minutes into the convention. (^_^;)

Given that the figures were sold at only $25AU each, it was extremely cheap. One of the staff members from the store who recognised me even gave me a huge $50AU discount because of my large purchase. Thanks Empire Toys! In the end, I spent about $375AU on figures there. I only bought the figures that suited my tastes, and fortunately for me, that meant almost one of each of all of the figures. The figures were extremely high quality and all of them are originals imported from Japan. I don’t know how exactly they got reduced to such low prices, but from experience, each of those figures would normally cost about $70-$100AU each.

Apart from figures, I also bought quite a few art prints, posters and sketches. I too would like to be able to draw awesome pictures like these artists, so I figured if I had some of their original artwork and displayed them in my room, it would help motivate me to draw more and improve. At the moment, I am thinking about how to display them and even thinking of framing one or two.

 pencil art colour art 4 large posters 4 posters

After all my shopping, I went to some anime-related panels and workshops. They had a huge number available, but the ones that I could make it to were the “Bootleg panel”, “Fan fiction panel”, “How to draw manga workshop” and the “Gundam workshop”. As some were hosted simutaneously, I couldn’t attend everything I wanted to go to, but regardless, I had a great time and was quite satisfied with the ones I went to.

gundam workshop

The cosplay at the convention was quite interesting. I have seen cosplay in Japan at the Comic Market and Jump Festa events before, but somehow, the Aussie cosplay has a somewhat different feel to it. It seems that one of the main motivators for cosplayers here is the Cosplay competition. Many people dress up in cosplay to compete by performing various skits and plays in front of an audience, entertaining the fans and having fun. I have to admit that the cosplay competition was the main highlight of the convention. It was fantastic.

Out of the people that attended the convention, it seemed that almost half the people attending dressed up as one of their favorite characters. I was suprised at how passionate the attendees were about the anime they liked. As for me, It makes me feel that I have a way to go before I’d join in, but I did feel that I was missing out in the fun. (^o^)

Anyways, during the weekend, I took quite a few photos of the cosplayers. I decided to put them up on Flickr for everyone to check it all out. Not all my photos turned out very well, but I cleaned up and uploaded what I could. To view the images, click on the image below and if you like, leave a few comments and tell me what you think.

Also if anyone sees themselves in one of the photos and doesn’t want it to be online, please let me know.

cosplay photosClick the image above to view the cosplay photos

After the convention finished, I was pretty tired from a lack of sleep. Since I wanted to make the Otaku cards, I ended up sleeping late, and I also woke early both of the days to get in early a the event.

I spent a bit of time after the convention organising the figures I had bought and looking for a place to store them all as well as taking photos of my shopping. Apart from that, I spent a while copying my photos to my computer, cleaning up some of the photos, tagging them and preparing this article.

I found this first experience at a local anime convention a very enjoyable experience. I suggest any other people who haven’t been before to definitely give Waicon a shot.

   day 1 shoppingnew figures 2
Anime related goods bought at Waicon

By the way, this year the number of attendees was over 3000 people! Apparently that is over twice the number of last year. It defintely makes me feel a lot better to know that there is a large number of anime fans in Perth. (^_^)

Comments (10)

Blair HurleyFebruary 5th, 2009 at 6:28 am

Yo yo yo! This is Auron from the Con! Such a comprehensive post! You also have an amazing blog! You should definitely check out mine, although mine’s more focused on poetry and story-telling and stuff.

I’m glad my friend found your card!

TimFebruary 5th, 2009 at 10:31 am

Hey! Nice to hear from you again. Thanks for checking out my blog!

I checked out your blog. It’s really great. You’re good at creative writing. How long does it take you to make one of those poems or stories for your post? I’ll add your site to my watch list.

It was nice meeting you at Waicon. I had a lot of fun, and thanks for the photo!
Your cosplay rocked. You should put a photo of it on your blog.

Blair HurleyFebruary 5th, 2009 at 9:43 pm

Haha perhaps I will! Yes, yes I will!

I’m going to put you on my Links on my blog – is that okay?

TimFebruary 6th, 2009 at 9:22 am

Sure, feel free to link to my blog. I’ll do the same for yours 😀

SanseleFebruary 25th, 2009 at 6:05 pm

Hi! I was the Maka cosplayer from Day One. Really like the photo you too of me. ;D

TimFebruary 26th, 2009 at 7:36 pm

Thanks for checking out my blog!
I really liked your cosplay and your entry into the cosplay competition.
Your’s was the first one wasn’t it. I actually have a video of it. I’ll send it to your email address.

RachelNovember 7th, 2009 at 1:37 pm

I remember you Tim! I went to the pencafe and got one of your cards :3 I think I also helped you with your drawings too and styling the hair (or may have been other person XD) I was also at waicon how awsome~ we should catch up again 😀

TimNovember 10th, 2009 at 10:57 pm

Oh! cool!
Yeah if you are still going to pencafe definitely meet up with me there.. otherwise, the next Waicon should be coming up soon, so we could catch up then.
What a coincidence that we had met. 😀

When we meet up, I’d like to check out your manga.

VixenNovember 12th, 2009 at 6:12 pm

I’m thinking of going to the waicon in 2010. it will be my first convention, and i have absolutely no idea what to expect.
I would like to know when the opening time was for when you went so i can figure out when i should arrive. also roughly what time does it close.
if you could Email me this info and any additional info that might be helpful it would be greatly appreciated.
email me at: vixen.vctrsa@yahoo.com.au

RachelNovember 22nd, 2009 at 11:05 pm

wow thankyou very much~! ^_^ I hope we can meet up too, I did send an email to pencafe asking if they were still open but never got a reply from them so I dunno maybe the’ve shut down or something? Anyway hopefully I’ll be able to see you soon~ ^_____^

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