Ichiban Con 2014 Review
Ichibancon was my first convention of the year, as I am sure it was for many other attendees. Ichibancon is held in the Embassy Suites Concord during the second week of January in Concord, North Carolina. Racking up about 3500 attendees (an impressive 500 more than last year), the 5th year of Ichibancon has seen tremendous growth. The verdict? I would definitely go back to this convention next year.
The Embassy Suites Concord is connected to the Concord Convention Center and conveniently located across the street from Concord Mills Mall. This means that anyone who is staying in the hotel can go straight downstairs to the convention, and have food right across the street. The Fairy Tail Podcast crew this year was lucky enough to stay in a suite in the main hotel. The beds were very comfortable and the rooms were large. The hotel staff was also nothing but nice to us.
Ichibancon, for being a small convention, managed to snag many big name Funimation guests including J. Michael Tatum, Vic Mignogna, Jad Saxton, Cherami Leigh, and Chuck Huber. This was very exciting for us because well. . . some of those names you might recognize as voice actors for Fairy Tail. The guests had panels and autograph sessions and were seen around the convention spending time with their fans or going about their own ways.
As for the panels- I thought the panel selection was very broad and selected very well by the staff. There was something for everyone. Whether you like Homestuck, Vocaloid, Attack on Titan, Ponies, or just about anything else, there was probably a panel on it. The Funimation industry panels were also incredible and very entertaining.
Our two panels (Naruto and Fairy Tail) had a very good turn out as well. We talked about the anime (dubbed and subbed) and the manga in great length. The audience participation was very enthusiastic and we always love to see fans of the show so engaged in a panel.
The highlight of the convention for me was the large game room that was open pretty much all hours. They had all kinds of games including tetris attack, DDR, pump it up, street fighter, rock band, and so so much more. I remember sweating my clothes off playing DDR for at least an hour with my friends. I hope they keep this game room for next year as well!
All in all, this was a very wonderful first Ichibancon for me. I would love to attend again next year and hopefully host more panels. I look forward to seeing everyone there!