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Review of Buffalo’s Ryu-Kon
After speaking with my wonderful friend and photographer Z-is-Eternal, he mentioned to me of a local anime convention named Ryu-Kon less than a twenty minute drive from my house. Of course knowing how much I love going to conventions, he convinced me to contact the runners of it to see about attending on short notice. Through my emails with Dylan I could identify how nice of a person he was right away. Not only did he supply tickets on such short notice for Z and myself, but he also gave me complimentary passes for my little girl to join us.
Since I had an extremely busy weekend ahead of me, I could only attend the Friday night events. Ryu-Kon ran from July 10th through July 12th at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center located in downtown Buffalo, NY. Every year Ryu-Kon has an overall theme, this year’s theme was Fantasy. Yes it seems like a very broad theme, but it worked out very well. In the past the convention took place in a small hotel (the Comfort Suites Downtown), but this year they stepped up their venue to bring more attendance.
Walking into the convention center for an anime convention seemed strange to me since I’ve been there in the past for other events like the five mile Turkey Trot and the Buffalo Half-Marathon , but I was still excited. As soon as you arrived at the entrance they have their check-in tables set up. Across from that is a replica of the 1967 Chevy Impala used in the show Supernatural. The trunk of the vehicle was popped open and had prop weapons and costumes to be handled for pictures.
My first impression of the convention was about what I expected. It’s a very small convention still growing in a large venue. So yes I think they were a little understaffed, but I believe that they did a pretty good job giving everyone something they liked. Since I had my little girl with me for her second ever convention, I pretty much let her lead the way to see what she wanted to do. First on the list was to check out the “Minecraft LARP”. It was pretty much what you would think, a medium sized ballroom filled with cardboard created minecraft objects and people building things. They had everything from the different types of blocks, to mincraft pickaxes, all the way to replica minecraft pigs. I found this very interesting especially since I had a child that could enjoy this room with all the other children that were there.
After leaving the Minecraft room we decided to get some dinner. Across from the entrance of the convention center is a small dining area. We of course ate the overpriced pizza and had some pretty tasty blue and red juice drinks while waiting for Z to meet us. Once our group completed its team up, we ventured over to a room 106B for an Intro to Ballroom Dancing class. Yes you heard me right, I was kinda interested in seeing what it was all about, and my little one wanted to dance, so we went. To my surprise, this was my favorite part of Ryu-Kon. The room was filled with at least thirty con goers wanting to learn to dance along with ten instructors happy to teach them. I was extremely happy to be there learning this artistic skill and to share it with my girl. The group that performs the dancing class and leads the Fantasy Ball is called “Ballroom and Beyond”
Since it was starting to get a little late I skipped the Fantasy Ball, but was told that the Ballroom Dancing prior to it was filled a bit more, and headed for the main ballroom. Inside was a small gaming area setup of about ten laptops that were LAN together and had a group playing Artemus. It seemed simple enough, but could use more for future cons. There was also an area that had physical games that you could win prizes. They were games that you had to throw a ball and get it into a hole, or shoot a dart some pins to knock down. I was witnessed to taking candy home after my little lady won one of the games.
The most impressive area in the main ballroom was the full size stage. Ryu-Kon was able to secure dancers to perform gymnastic routines and singers that bellowed out beautiful music. The finale of the convention for me was the “Marvel vs. Capcom Collection Live Action Show”. On the stage came cosplayers that truly looked the part of playable characters from the Marvel vs. Capcom games. They started out with individual fights that were choreographed fairly well and ended with an all-out brawl versus Galactus.
Just like other conventions this one also has an artist ally that you can apply for to display your own homemade items as well as a swag area that houses many other unique trinkets for purchase. This is where I met UsagiNoSenshi a professional cosplayer and artist herself. You can find her work here, and she was nice enough to gift my children some hand-made little bunnies. Aside from her cosplay work, Usagi also is a cosplay contest judge for not only this convention, but also Midwest Media Expo. I stepped into the vender (swag) area only once just to check it out, and was taken back by how many venders where actually in there. Since this con is still growing there were many more tables than I thought there would be.
My final thoughts on this convention are as follows; if this is your first or one of your first conventions, you will not be sorry you came. There are a variety of activities for all ages (including a kid fun zone for coloring and a manga library) and it’s located in safe and medium size venue. The event is understaffed as I have stated before, and of course they are all by volunteer so some people backed out last minute. In fact Z-is-Eternal ended up being the photographer as theirs unfortunately couldn’t make it. Their event schedule needs some buffing up, which will happen when more people are able to attend, but for now it’s pretty good for the volume of guests. Lastly this is still a very young convention with tons of potential. I had a great time, there are plenty of activities to keep everyone there occupied, and it’s only a matter of time before Ryu-Kon becomes just as well-known as Buffalo Comic Con.
More photos of the convention can be found here, as well as the other conventions that we as L.E.F. attend.