After three long years, Matsurikon is finally back! It’s one of Ohio’s premier anime conventions, so we were delighted to return to Columbus for a fresh dose of focused nerdy fun. Let’s see what we found at Matsuricon 2022!
|when it installed||April 2006|
|event length||Aug 12-14; Three days, Thursday nights with pre-registration|
|location/location||Hyatt Regency Columbus and Columbus Convention Center – Columbus, OH|
|cost||A pass for the entire weekend costs $70 at the door, but pre-registration prices go as low as $51 and individual day passes are also available.|
|hotel||The Hyatt Regency, Hilton, Crowne Plaza, and Drury Inn & Suites are all connected to the convention center, providing easy access to con facilities. Matsurikon offers a room block at the Hyatt, although it quickly sells out. There are also several other hotels within a five-minute walk.|
|Event messages for attendees||Matsuricon aims to promote cultural awareness of Japanese pop culture through related events, special guest speakers and cultural presentations.|
covid policy First and foremost, let’s talk about Matsuricon’s COVID safety policy. With over 5000 people arriving, it is important to limit the spread of the disease, so the Con requires that each attendee present a vaccination card or a recent negative COVID test to receive their badge. Masks are not required when walking in the hall, but are applied within any enclosed space such as a panel room or dealer hall. About 2/3 people wore their masks even when it was not needed, so we were glad that everyone was taking the situation seriously.
chill vibes – This convention is huge for those who have trouble with crowds. It’s so big that there’s so much to do in all three days, but not so cluttered with people that you feel like you’re in someone’s way forever. There are no other events running at the same time (at least there weren’t this year or 2019), so you can relax and have fun without worrying about looking awkward from uninformed passersby. There’s also a specially designated “chill room” in case you need to step away from it a bit. It’s about as low-stress environment as it could be at a big anime convention.
external phone battery – If you’re going to be walking around a convention center all day, you’ll probably drain your phone’s battery significantly. That goes double for Matsurikon, as they didn’t have a paper schedule to hand this year. Hopefully the printouts will be back next year so we don’t have to worry about our phone running out of battery.
ID, vaccination card and mask – As mentioned earlier, be sure to bring your vaccination card and/or recent negative test, as well as some masks to wear while traveling. Another thing people often forget is an official ID (such as a driver’s license), which you need both to pick up your badge and to go to any 18+ panel. Forgetting little things like this can lead to a headache at the worst possible time, so double-check that they’re on your packing list!
breakfast – The Columbus Convention Center has its own food court with lots of different affordable options (like a really good gyro place), but it can get crowded at peak meal times and the cons can be pretty exhausting, so bring some granola bars A good idea or trail mix to keep up your strength. If you need to fill your stock as well, there is a small convenience store within the building.
Dealer Hall, Artist’s Alley, and Tana’s Night Market – For us, our favorite attraction at any anime convention is the Dealer Hall. Such an amazing merchant to stare at all the shojo! We were particularly impressed by the artist’s alley section, which was filled with all kinds of creative pieces: stained glass, perfumes, omori charms, prints with holographic detailing, and more. A separate area opened just after 5:00 p.m. called Tana Night Market, with other independent artist booths (including some adorable pastel jewelry) and a used cosplay consignment store. Overall, a great variety of options for the discerning anime merch collector!
panels – Naturally, Matsurikon also had a variety of panels. The standout for us was the Fruits Basket AMA event featuring Aaron Dismuk (Hero in the original and Kakaru in the remake), Ceran Strange (young Ayam in the remake), and Jerry Jewel (Kyo in both versions). His unique take on Fruits Basket and voice acting business has garnered some great buzz, especially when he talks about his favorite moments on the show. Aaron Dismuk’s choice of “classy” (his words) was the way Haru proved his two-tone hair was natural. It was definitely a highlight for us as well!
music program – This year was attended by two musical guests: Caleb Hiles and Professor Shaye. Hiles is best known for his high-energy covers of anime and Disney songs on YouTube, while Shagyu is a chiptune and electronica legend in the nerd community. Voice actor and composer Siren Strange also attended Professor Shaye’s dance party, performing a set with him for the first time in six years! With Friday night crowds and several karaoke opportunities, this con had a lot for music lovers.
Idol Showcase – Speaking of music, sometimes wandering the halls aimlessly will lead you to something great that you wouldn’t find otherwise. Closer to the grand staircase in the middle of the convention center, we found a showcase concert of local amateur idol groups. Some sang on their own, while others performed choreographed routines on background tracks. Audience members even brought their own pens to amuse their friends! It was very nutritious and sweet.
You simply can’t have an anime convention without cosplay, and Matsurikon attendees didn’t disappoint with their enthusiasm for their favorite characters. As you might expect, the two most popular series were Genshin Impact and Demon Slayer; And while many of these costumes were bought because of their complexity, it was still heartwarming to see how excited fans were to see each other.
Pokémon also made a strong showing with classic characters like Team Rocket and newcomers like Warden of Legends Arceus. One inventive fan even dressed up as a professor and handed out starter Pokémon cards to the asker.
We also participated in a special event called the Friday Night Cosplay Fashion Show, a short competition for cosplay that is outside the scope of regular masquerade. This included fan creations such as Bosset, characters from non-Japanese properties such as Critical Roll and My Little Pony, and original designs such as a Magical Girl mogul. Masquerade judges ran the program and presented awards for “Best Description Work” and “Best Creative Vision”. It has grown tremendously since its inception several years ago, with a variety of costumes and so much creativity on display!
Matsurikon’s first year after the pandemic lockdown was not without a few hiccups, but overall it was an amazing experience and everyone was happy to see their old friends again. We are looking forward to next year!
Did you attend Matsuricon 2022? Or even if not, what did you find most exciting? Tell us in the comments, and thanks so much for reading!