Adventures at AMECON

Amecon 2012 drew to a close last Sunday evening after 3 days of entertainment, stories, events and general mayhem.

The event, which is the UK’s largest anime convention, is a fan-run event which has been running since 2004 featuring cosplay shows, panels, pub quizzes, parties, anime screenings, guests and more. Amecon also supported the Aid For Japan charity for this last event and helped to raise money for the organisation which seeks to help orphans from the 2011 Japanese Earthquake/Tsunami tragedy. This charity was set up by Akemi Solloway (already a well-known figure on the UK Japanese cultural scene) following the Japanese earthquake/tsunami tragedy last year. Akemi also attended Amecon to talk about the charity and Japanese culture in general. As a result, Amecon raised £2,886.77 for Aid For Japan.

J-Pop is becoming an increasingly popular element on the con scene as we reported during our interviews with the likes of Unicorn Table and Unshin at Ayacon last year. A panel discussing popular bands and themes was staged at Amecon on Friday and Mary Groutage (aka DJ Tasuki) hosted a panel looking at the Idol music scene on Saturday morning. This proved to be informative, engaging and absolutely hilarious. As well as a potted history of the Idol scene we were treated to a concise breakdown of the rise of groups such as Morning Musume as well as the complex organisation of AKB48 and its various subgroups.

The actual music events appeared to be a change in gear from previous conventions. For Amecon, J-Pop was more of a low profile affair. The evening music slots for Friday and Saturday were dominated by Hardcore setlists which drew some criticism. Although a good approach in terms of a broader appeal, allowing for two successive nights of the same appeared to be a definite misstep. Luckily, DJ Digi (from Cosplay Clubnights) did a wonderful setlist for the early part of the Saturday evening event which went down very well indeed.

J-Pop Go was also in attendance and took part in the J-Pop Lounge event staged on Sunday (as an alternative to the Cosplay Ball and AMV Disco) and which was brilliantly masterminded by Mary Groutage (aka DJ Tasuki). Although for a J-Pop-themed event it was surprising (ie not that surprising really!) which song was one of the most popular.

To make the event more inclusive, Mary had also prepared special J-Pop Quizzes where you could win tasty treats for the correct answers!

DJ Yamada made his triumphant return to the decks (after being unable to make the last J-Pop Go event). Who else could be relied on to pump out Rip Slyme’s ‘Super Shooter’ with such style? Meanwhile, in my guise as DJ genkiboi I was tackling not only my first convention DJ slot, but also my first time DJing from a laptop. The usual suspects managed to get people on the dance floor, such as ‘Carameldansen’ – and also a triumphant cheer for the Azumangah Daioh OP theme.

Finally, a nice set of visuals made up of a J-Pop Go popular artists slideshow and the K-On! Concert gave the J-Pop Lounge that slick eye candy that made the evening.

Well done to the Amecon team for staging the event. The next large scale convention will be Ayacon which is scheduled for August 2013.

Thanks to the Keele Uni crew and Edmon for their help with the J-Pop Lounge. Special Thanks to Mary Groutage for the organisation.