Noel: Your convention kohais are back with another one! This month we visited the peaceful little city of Lancaster, Pennsylvania to attend Zenkaikon, a three-day multi-genre convention!
Some quick bits about Zenkaikon:
Costs to attend: $25-$100 depending on time of purchase and days selected
Attendance: 5,438 in 2015
Origins: Started in 2006 by the merger of two previous conventions (Zentrancon + Kosaikon) ; currently held in the Lancaster County Convention Center
Lobby of the Marriot attached to the Convention Center
We arrived around noon on Friday, eager to check out an already buzzing convention. A huge plus we were looking forward to with this convention versus our previous one was the fact that everything was under one roof, no going out into the cold for us!
We also managed to score a last minute hotel room that opened up a couple blocks away, nothing beats going to a con and NOT sleeping in a car!
One of the first things we do when we start our con adventures is walk around the entire venue to get familiarized, aka pretty much trying to find out where the DDR machine is. Zenkaikon’s convention center was surprisingly large and easy to navigate!
Friday had quite a few events worth checking out, most notably the ‘Cosplay Masquerade’ and ‘Cosplay Burlesque’. Both took place at night, so we did what we did best til then - take pictures.
Oh and I also attempted to do this :
(spoiler alert: I gave up - great that they had this though!)
Sophie Hatter x Wizard Howl
Saber’s Noble Phantasm is showing (hehe)
Baroness Angelina Dalles-Burnett AKA Madam Red
Greed, Sloth, Envy - Ban, King , Diane
Giovanni with his fellow minions
Zenkaikon 2016 Guidebook
Other side said “Moe Maid Squad” 98% sure
After taking all these pictures, meeting up with friends (who were all volunteers at the convention) and grabbing a bite nearby (you’ll be delighted to know the food is affordable!) - night arrived rather swiftly.
First up was the elegant Cosplay Masquerade, just like Katsucon, entry is only allowed to those dressed in appropriate, formal attire.
Such elegance, much dance
A little line dancing never hurts!
Gurls just wanna have fun!
After the lovely little ball came the most amazing event I’ve ever been to at a convention - the Cosplay Burlesque! UNFORTUNATELY, we couldn’t take photos due to legal reasons so please accept our intensely descriptive words:
It. Was. Glorious. Everything you could imagine happening happened, only way sexier. We had Kylo and Poe from Star Wars strip and give each other lapdances, Nemo swimming around in naughty clothing, a HUNTER from BLOODBORNE- I know I said I’d use words but this sums up the entire experience perfectly:
Omar: On top of what Noel stated above my favorite part was when both host of the show ( dressed up as Hinata and Kageyama from Haikyuu) put on the most purposely awkward yet delectable show. Hinata wanting Kageyama-senpai to “notice” him striped from Karasuno volleyball team to Sohoku cycling club uniform and then topping that off with the Iwatobi swim club uniform (if it can be called a uniform), we left there with a new outlook on life.
Noel: Yeah, it was truly amazing. After that whole ordeal, we needed to cool off by heading to the Rave Dance. As usual, shiny, light-up clothing covered attendees and high BPM music was the norm.
These shoes are always popular at raves
Squad turned up that night!
At this point in time, I was about to pass out due to my body feeling like it was going to implode. I’m blaming the Burlesque. So we headed to our hotel somewhat early to rest for the next con-filled day.
Omar: We were looking forward to Saturday since that’s usually the most packed day, so we hit the Con with full excitement.
In the name of the Moon
A wild Korosensei!
A split-second Ghibli meet feat an amazing Sophie!!
Atem, the one true PHAROAH
Oh come on
As the afternoon rolled around we had one event that we knew we must attend, The Moe Maid Cafe!
Located in what seemed to be a small house attached inside the hotel, it felt like a small get-away from the madness of the con. Instantly we were greeted by a colorful maid cast full of familiar qualities you’d find in Anime ranging from stern but kind hearted, shy and quiet to straight up just adorable.
The Harem begins
Besides the maids and the cute little show they put on we were engulfed in the atmosphere of sweet drinks, tasty snacks as well as good company and some games to keep conversations going.
This was harder then it seemed.
Delicious Apple Pie and Sweet Tea, the Cornerstone of any nutritional breakfast!
(left to right) Maid RoRo and Maid Yumi
The kawaii ladies just before we left <3
Though our time was short we needed to resume our journey and bid the maids a farewell
As the Con progressed, there was a name that we kept hearing: “Artemis”. As Noel mentioned, we had some friends who were volunteering and they decided to sign us up for what is basically you and your crew of friends sitting at the “bridge” of the space ship Artemis. Captain, Helm, Science, Communication, Engineering, and Weapon Control are the positions you get to choose from, each with its own computer station and let’s just say each presents its own set of fun challenges. After beating the game (by beating I mean we survived the onslaught of attacks and managed not to completely destroy the ship) we headed down to what we normally do on a Saturday night at a con.
Unlike some of the other Raveswe’ve been to, we heard a familiar sound this time around and behold there was The Contro1freak up on the stage moving the crowd just like he did at the GBX: Anime Meets Nightlife event that GoBoiano threw at a swank club in NYC.
The Set up
Nature is a wonderful thing
Love is a beautiful thing
All in all it was a good saturday
Noel: Sure enough, the last day was upon us. As usual, Sunday had the shortest agenda; most notable of which was a pretty great performance from the band Eien Strife! Dubbed as a ‘Cosplay Adventure Concert’ - Eien Strife was all about hitting the chords attendees know and love with a concert packed with Anime, Video Game and Sci-fi references.
The crowd begins to gather
Visuals were never dull
Called up a fan and brought out the staff for a sing-a-long
And with that another great convention wraps up and joins the halls of history!
Noel: Zenkaikon was an amazing convention! Being bigger than our last convention , it was a welcome sight to see so many attendees enjoying every aspect of this three day con. Also being in Lancaster, you could tell that this convention meant a lot for con-goers in Pennsylvania; having opportunities to shine as a cosplayer/photographer/artist is hard enough considering cons in the NorthEast U.S. are few and far between. Also, a huge shoutout goes to the staff/volunteers for this convention - I honestly don’t think I’ve seen a convention run quite as smoothly as this to be honest! Definitely a con worth checking out <3
Omar: If you’re looking for a Con with a good sense of community and appreciation for both attendees and volunteers then look towards Zenkaikon. With an array of activities to always keep you moving and exploring, the convenience of having it in a centralized location which is simple to navigate, and the type of crowd Zenkaikon has gradually built over time makes it overall one of the most peaceful Cons I have attended to date.
Noel is a supporting character in the live action adaptation of Nichijou.
Omar was introduced to anime in the early 2000's when unbeknownst to him, he downloaded his first hentai. Raised on the odd and weird he enjoys nearly all genres, both in animation and video games.