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Midwest Media Expo Review
Midwest Media Expo 2015
It’s April 10th 2015 and you find yourself at the GM Center in downtown Detroit Michigan. Strolling through the main entrance of the auto manufacturer’s display building, you notice people from all walks of life dressed as their favorite movie, video game, or anime character. It’s time for the second annual Midwest Media Expo!
Midwest Media Expo is the second largest entertainment convention that Detroit hosts, next to Youmacon (You can check out my Youmacon review here). Though only in its second year, M2X has brought in over three thousand guests each day of the convention from April 10th through April 12th.
This year is very special as Midwest Media Expo hosted the World Cosplay Summit National Finals, where the winner would travel to Japan to represent the United States in the International World Cosplay Summit. The World Cosplay Summit was launched in 2003 by Japanese television station TV Aichi to promote the international exchange of the Japanese youth culture of manga and anime. The championship debuted in 2005 and has been held annually since, with participants hailing from countries like Japan, the United States, Brazil, France, Italy, and more. 2015 will mark the event’s 13th occurrence.
My crew of Z-is-Eternal (Photographer) and AugieDoge were able to access plenty of panels, and their opinions will be reflected also within this article. We were able to attend not only the World Cosplay Summit National Finals, but the roast of special guest Jon St. John, the voice of Duke Nukem himself.
Since this convention is still very young there weren’t as many panels and events that you would see at such other cons as Anime North or San Diego Comic Con, but that doesn’t hold M2X back at all. Aside from the World Cosplay Summit Finals and the Roast of Jon St. John, the convention hosted a Deadpool Café, Autograph signings from special guests, and a variety of musical concerts.
I’m going to of course start with the Deadpool Café, as I’m sure you are very interested in learning about just from the name. The café’s location is at the Marriott’s “42 Degree Restaurant” which is set aside form the rest of the hotel, surrounded by large panes of glass overlooking the Detroit River that displays a beautiful horizon of Canada. With a purchased ticket to the café you receive a lunch of chimichangas served to you by different variations of Deadpool. Of course no Deadpool café would be complete without some hijinks by the crazy Mr. Wade Wilson, and this is completely true for this event. Multiple Deadpool Cosplayers play pranks, tell jokes, and even have small entertaining fights in between making sure your belly is full from that wonder snack he can’t get enough of.
Now of you are a night owl like myself you try to find things to occupy yourself while your friends slumber. For me I love video games, and wouldn’t you know that M2X just so happens to have a 24 hour arcade setup beginning Friday afternoon running straight through to Sunday afternoon. The video game area is the size of a large ballroom that you would find at any large conference center. Inside there are rows of systems setup to play for free. They have every console system from Atari to PS4 and have setup about twenty PCs, all of which are LAN together respectively.
Aside from the console systems there are also arcade games. Now these aren’t the games that you are used to here in the USA, These are all imports from Japan. Yes I have to have someone translate the instructions on a lot of these games before I dove into them. One game that I can’t get out of my head was called “Flip the Table” and that is exactly all you do. There are different environments to choose from, everything from a typical school classroom to a large room filled with people playing Chess. You are shown a table in a first person point of view, if you are in a classroom as I was, you are the teacher facing your class of little hellions that are on your last nerve. The kids are not listening and throwing paper airplanes around the room. You slam hard on the desk and your anger meter rises. After slamming down a couple times you physically flip the small table that is attached to the game. The table flips up and slams back down, but the screen shows you a graphic of the table flying through the class. Everything in the path of the table gets hit, knocking it down or throwing it into something else. Depending on how much damage you cause, you points grow. I ended up hitting all the children with either the table itself or debris from other objects in the room ricocheting into them. This kept me entertained for a couple hours.
Say you are a more musically inclined individual and would like to have your aural senses tingle. Well Midwest Media Expo also caters to you. With such wonderful artists as the Harp Twins Camille and Kennerly, Time Crash, and Steam Powered Giraffe. I could only attend one event as I was working most of the convention, but I was lucky enough to attend the very talented Harp Twins performance. These ladies were probably the nicest that I have met in my years of going to conventions and treat all of their fans with the utmost respect. They play rock and metal with concert grand harps, which is just mind-blowing. After playing their beautiful performance they invited all that attended to meet with them and sign autographs. Alongside their wonderful manager, they would joke and bring smiles to everyone that they met. I strongly encourage everyone to listen and support them so that they can broaden their influence to even more conventions.
Now let’s talk about the special guests themselves. Each and every guest that I interacted with was amazing. Each had a set time slot to meet and sign autographs for con goers completely free. These included Jon St. John, David Eddings, Ellen McLain, John Patrick, The Harp Twins, The Channel Awesome crew, and Steam Powered Giraffe. Not only would these guest lead their own panels and concerts, but they could be found all around the convention having conversations and playing games with Cosplayers. I met and became friends with a couple professional Cosplayers as well. HaruVamp, Kawaii Besu, and Sara Dela Pena.These ladies were always in Cosplay and couldn’t have been any nicer to the con-goers for private photoshoots. You could even find Jon St. John with David Eddings at the bar striking up video game talk to the masses. My personal experience with Jon and David were amazing. When I had my day off Jon bought me a drink and we hung out for a couple hours, and David sat with me and a couple friends after he bought my buddy a drink.
While speaking with Jon St. John, he told me that the only reason he takes time out to come to these things is because of the people. He said that there is no greater feeling than to be wanted so bad to come to these conventions by his fans. You can definitely see how much fun he has just by the lack of sleep he gets when he attends. The best part is that you could feel how genuine he really was. I was personally touched when he told me how grateful he was for me and our staff. After Jon gave me a hug he said we are now friends and he would have been disappointed if I didn’t take a picture with him.
No convention would be complete without a wonderful place to eat, and this one has the best place, pending you’re not lactose intolerant. Welcome to the GM Center food court, where you will find the most amazing noodle eatery. I present you with Sweet Lorraine’s Fabulous Mac n’ Cheez! Since we got to Detroit a full day early I was able to dine here on multiple occasions. Their menu is filled with the best mac n’ cheese ideas ever. Each one of my meals included some sort of bacon and vegi combo that left me not only satisfied, but also extremely full. I actually was unable to completely finish a meal in a single sitting. You are given a menu filled with many variations of mac n’ cheese, but also are given many options to add other ingredients to the already large menu selection. If you are able to attend a convention here, or are a guest to this Marriott, please do yourself a favor and have a bowl full of awesomeness.
Even though this is one of the smaller conventions that I have attended, I must say this is by far my favorite. With all the access I got, and the new friends I made I am truly grateful. I want to thank all of the people that made this possible.
Special thanks to The Green Room Private Security (Our leader Joe Pusateri, Henn, LeFort, and Moose)
Convention Staff (Verneita DeVille, Sara Smith, Cherise Lorenz)
All of the Special Guests
Anime Kiosk for the opportunity to report on this convention
Finally, the man that made not only M2X but also Youmacon possible, Morgan Kollin. I thank you sir for the countless hours of dedication to bring all of these wonderful people together.
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