When you think of convention you think about large convention centers filled wall to wall with nerd oriented merchandise and cosplayers dressed in your favorite or sometime even unknown anime characters running around getting stopped every 5 seconds to get their pictures taken. Now imagine all of that shrunken down to at least a 1/4 of the size. That is the experience felt in the first year of Con Jikan.
Conjikan behaved like any other local convention I’ve attended over the last year. There were a handful of panels for those interested, a local maid cafe for people looking to be entertained, a gaming room to get the competitive juices flowing, a vendors hall for anyone looking to add to their already impressive collection of god knows what, and of course the one thing every convention needs, cosplayers.
One thing that really worked to Con Jikans benifit was the familiarity to the space and how everything was laid out. Being a student at UNM where the convention was being held made it a lot easier to know where everything is and where I would be able to find it if I needed to ask. Now I can’t speak personally for anyone who may not be familiar with the UNM Sub but the organization for the event felt fairly tight which is impressive when you consider how many things can go wrong at conventions.
The one disappointing thing I would say about Con Jikan is the lack of a unique factor that grabs my attention. Being that I’ve only been working the convention circuit for less than a year now I’m already aching for some kind of variety. As a photographer I feel like I’m constantly seeing the same faces in the same outfits at every convention and I wish there was something different that I haven’t seen before. It also doesn’t help that this was an anime and video game convention when I find that my paradigm of nerdom falls in line with more of the western comics and film. There isn’t anything inherently wrong with this it’s just incredibly limiting to the opportunities of what can be seen at the convention.
Some may be concerned with the overall size of the event, however I don’t believe that being a small convention should be held against it. 1) Because it’s the first year of the convention that is being run by a small group of enthusiast and 2) there is certain level of intimacy when you have a much smaller group. Suddenly it doesn’t feel like the guest are being put behind a glass wall between them and their fans and you get to interact with them more closely.
Over all Con Jikan can be considered a success being that it is such a small convention and has such a small but dedicated crew behind it. As it continues to grow in the future the changes I would like to see is more outreach to sponsors, fans and other parts of the community of Albuquerque. Having a small local convention is great but you have to be diverse in order to set yourself apart from being just another convention and that’s something that I feel a young convention can accomplish.