Ichibancon 10 was another great experience in Concord, NC. I attended the convention for most of Saturday. My panel on traveling to Japan kicked off the day at 10 a.m. I was impressed with the friendly and helpful volunteer staff that got the room ready. There was a dedicated technician for Events 2 all day. The room was huge and could hold up to 180 people. It was quite an upgrade from the previous year. Thank you to everyone who attended my panel and for asking great questions. My goal is to always have people walk away with the basic knowledge and information to plan their own amazing adventure.
I attended other panels throughout the day including Best Beatdowns in Boruto/Naruto! by cyberkaiser. It was a panel on the differences between fighting and action scenes, character development, and a little history about ninjutsu. He hosted an impressive 8 panels throughout the weekend. I recommend attending one of his panels at a future convention.
One of the most well-attended panels was Beyond Sushi: Japanese Recipes for the American Otaku. The host covered simple recipes for karaage, port cutlet, and udon dishes along with where to buy ingredients. She did a great job explaining each step and ingredient to the audience. Japanese cookbooks sometimes do a poor job showing what ingredients are called in English and where to purchase them.
The most audience engaging panel I attended was Japanese Class with Kohei. The panel was hosted by Kohei, an aspiring singer and composer living in New York City. He was very energetic and encouraged attendees to try pronouncing various phrases in Japanese. At the end of the panel, he did a small singing performance.
The Japanese arcade room had even more games and offerings this year. A few new notable games were present including Time Crisis 5. I never saw an arcade cabinet unattended throughout Saturday. The back of the room was full of console games. Most of the stations were fighting games available across multiple consoles. They held a number of fighting game tournaments over the weekend.
The convention had a fair amount of voice actors and other guests. The most notable voice actors in attendance were Steve Blum and Vic Mignoga. Blum is famous for his role as Spike Spiegel in Cowboy Bebop and Wolverine across multiple animated X-Men shows. Mignoga voice acted popular characters like Edward Elric in Fullmetal Alchemist and Eld Gin in Attack on Titan.
While I did not attend the main event or the late night glow stick parties, I saw they very popular. There were some amazing costumes people wore on Saturday. One of my favorite outfits was a gentlemen dressed as Kefka from Final Fantasy VI. There were dozens of attendees dressed as characters from popular shows like Naruto and My Hero Academia. I encourage anyone in the Charlotte area with an interest in Japanese culture or anime to attend Ichibancon in 2020.