Last weekend was the Zenkaikon anime convention held in Lancaster, PA from April 28-30, 2017. It is essentially my hometown con since it's only about 25 minutes away from my parents house. But, forget the guests, panels, events, cosplay, merchandise, etc. This weekend was all about the donuts. Chocolate covered maple bacon long john donuts to be exact!
I am of course kidding about this weekend being all about donuts, but they were a big highlight for me. Over the past few years I kept hearing various guests rave about these donuts but whenever I went down to the Lancaster Central Market on Saturday morning they would always be sold out. So this year I made it my mission to find a way to drag my sorry butt out of bed at the crack of dawn to get to the Central Market in the wee hours of the morning. And at last, when I got to Shady Maple's stand I was greeting by numerous strips of delicious bacon. I did the only natural thing, I bought two. And boy were they good. I don't know if I will try to do this every year (as I'm not much of a morning person), but they were definitely good. Unhealthy as hell, but damn good.
Anyways, let's get to the actual convention. This is the fifth year that Zenkaikon has been in Lancaster, and my fourth year attending it. They definitely had some standout guests invited this year with Steve Blum, Mary Elizabeth McGlynn, Ellen McLain, and John Patrick Lowrie. It's just a shame that Sonny Straight who was also scheduled to attend had to cancel at the last minute because of pneumonia. Throughout the weekend I attended as many of the guests' panels as I could and they were all very fun. Geek comedian Uncle Yo also made his return as he has been a staple of Zenkaikon for the past nine years.
And like most conventions, the cosplay Masquerade event is always one of the highlights for me. Recently I had missed the Masquerade events during the last two conventions that I went to this year, so there was no way I was going to miss it a third time in a row. And I was back with a vengeance not only recording it like I usually do but with a new camera that is capable of recording in 4K resolution at 60 frames per second. The resulting video is stunningly beautiful, I just wish that it didn't eat up my disk space like candy. There were definitely a lot of headaches and lessons learned as I went to process the video to upload it to YouTube (some of which means that I'll be having to spend more money upgrading my computer equipment), but it is something that I want to continue doing for Masquerade events at future cons.
Getting back to this year's Zenkaikon Masquerade, it was apparent from the start that things would be different this year compared to previous years as the event kicked off with a song and dance performance by Chuuni Haji, a Love Live dance group based out of Philadelphia. They were actually pretty good and it was a great way to set the tone for the rest of the night. Chuuni Haji later returned mid-way through the event with an encore performance too. This year the Masquerade had over 20 skits which is quite a lot for this con. They were overall pretty good. One thing that surprised me during the Masquerade was that in collaboration with the Manga Library they announced the winner of a Nintendo Switch raffle give-away which was pretty cool. Overall the Masquerade this year was a blast so I hope they keep it up for next year.
Overall this was a very good weekend for me. Lots of enjoyable guest panels, great cosplay to be seen, and heart-clogging donuts. I already can't wait for next year.
Click here for the hall cosplay photos that I took.
Click here for photos from the Overwatch cosplay photoshoot.
Click here for photos from the Fate/Type-Moon cosplay photoshoot.
Click here to go to my YouTube channel where I uploaded the videos that I recorded over the weekend. Videos include the Cowboy Bebop Panel, The Voice Actors Panel, Uncle Yo's Stand Up Comedy, Steve Blum and Mary Elizabeth McGlynn's Q&A panel, The Orange Box Power Hour featuring John Patrick Lowrie and Ellen McLain, and the Masquerade event.