As I was driving “Up North” this evening I was thinking, “Didn’t I just do this?” and my body is still sore from the Labor Day Bridge walk. Thankfully this weekend won’t be so stressful as I am in Traverse City at the Northern Michigan Anime Convention at the Great Wolf Lodge.
Its not the first time I have been here as I had some dear friends bring their kids here for a couple nights a while back and I came up and played in the water park with them so I know how much fun it is.
The setting is reminiscent of Colossal Con down in Sandusky, Ohio but on a smaller scale. On the other hand, the hearts are big and the smiles are friendly here. They also have a special going where if you bring your kid for the convention, the parents are free. I have seen “Kids eat free” at restaurants but have never seen “parents enter free” at a convention so I was pretty impressed.
As I write this it is 3:30 a.m. and things are just shutting down for a few hours.
Having arrived later in the evening Masquerade Ball was already over and I just went to Con Ops, picked up my badge and got a tour of the facility before going on to Richard Epcar’s Bloopers panel. Richard is best known for voicing many characters in Anime and video games including Ghost in the Shell, Kingdom Hearts, Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo, Digimon, the Heroes of Might and Magic series (some of my favorite video games!) and, well, dozens of others.
Richard had hours worth of blooper clips from Anime he has worked on that included simple mistakes where the speaker forgot their lines and just mumbled to where they just adlibbed or totally muffed their lines and everyone else just followed suit. The final analysis? The panel was hilarious and Richard clearly enjoyed his presention as much as the audience did (some of the video had strong language so not for children, however it was from 11 p.m. until 1 a.m. so, as Craig Fergusson once put it, the children shouldn’t be up then anyhow!)
After the panel I had the chance to chat with Richard and while we chatted it nagged at the corner of my mind that I had seen him before so after he wandered off to bed I looked him up in IMDB and saw that he was in a number of TV shows I used to watch including Matlock, Amazing stories, Highway to Heaven, Knight Rider, Moonlighting, V, Cheers, and others.
For Saturday they had lots of fun planned in addition to the videos that are playing all weekend, there was Richard Epcar’s Q and A from noon to 2, The Mad Hatter Tea Party from 2 to 4, Cosplay Arena (also from noon to 2) Anime Truth or Dare from 2 to 4.
Stefanie Shall ran her How to Make Your Own Plushie mascot.
Later in the evening there was a swimsuit Contest, the Anime Dating Game, a concert by the band Year 200x, and some people may have even taken advantage of the large arcade and a water park with slides and all sorts of other fun stuff!
Sunday, in addition to the water park, videos, gaming, and panels, the Cosplay, Masquerade, and skits will be from 2 to 4 p.m. and cosplayers and costume lovers won’t want to miss that!
All that is just $20/person for a single day or $30/person for the weekend and if you bring your kid, you get in free! So if you are in Northern Michigan and walked the bridge last weekend and need a nice, relaxing, fun time, come on over to the Great Wolf Lodge in Traverse City, meet Richard Epcar, watch some videos, catch the concert, and the masquerade all for about the price of a movie ticket, popcorn, and pop!
Below are a few photos from the con but for a few hundred more check out my Photo Galleries of the Northern Michigan Anime Convention!