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Ai-Kon 2016: Highlights

Ai-Kon is the pinnacle of my Winnipeg summer cosplaying and this year’s event was no different. However, this year I was able to take in some of the experience beyond the cosplaying. Here are my highlights from Ai-Kon 2016.

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Cosplay

For obvious reasons, cosplay is a huge draw for me for any event. I had just come back fresh from my RTX adventures and it appears that many Ai-Kon attendees got word of some of the craziness that occurred in Austin. It was an absolute pleasure to experience the excitement from some of the attendees who were looking forward to seeing my Arcade Miss Fortune cosplay in the flesh.

But all I could see was that, as this convention has grown and developed over the years, so has the caliber of cosplaying. People really brought their A game and it was truly admirable to see the quality, the construction, and attention to detail. As with every year, the cosplay contest was clearly a big draw for many and offered some of the best prizes to date, including a sewing machine, gift cards, and cosplay building materials.13726751_495995493924738_405386302234840387_n

Anime and Panels

If cosplay isn’t really your thing, Ai-Kon is predominantly about anime and there are theatres galore on site running anime at all hours of the day. I managed to catch a big of Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust, which has been a long-standing favorite of mine. But, for many, it also allowed an opportunity to check out other shows you may not have known about or wasn’t sure if you would like it. And, as an added bonus, it’s a great opportunity to rest your feet.

You can also check out a variety of panels, covering subjects of cosplay building, Q&As with special guests, lifestyle, or entertainment. If you prefer more adult language and some suggestive content, the 18+ panels are always a big draw. But make sure you’ve got your ID handy.

Marketplace

It never fails that conventions offer great opportunities to buy hard to find or specialty merchandise you may not know exists or may have trouble acquiring. This year, the marketplace was in the new expanded area of the convention centre, offering attendees a taste of what’s to come for future events. The market, artist area, and clubs were all in the same room, which I think worked great as there was regularly a good flow of traffic, offered equal exposure to everyone with a table. My lucky find for this event was a Dragonair plushie.

All things considered, this is a very condensed summary of the event as a whole much like my RTX experience. If you’re ever in Winnipeg during the summer, go check out Ai-Kon. It’s an excellent local event which is growing every year and keeps a regular slot on my convention schedule.

J. Tanooki is a Contributor for aybonline.com. She has been a lover of cosplay for over 10 years and regularly works on new and exciting cosplay projects. She actively posts about her cosplay plans, progress, and random shenanigans on her Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram. Her opinion is her own. 

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