Waking Up and Travel
Moving into this weekend of Emerald City Comic-Con worried me. Especially since I’ve spent the majority of my weekends sleeping instead of being active. Ok, I walk Nala every Saturday morning for three miles or so when it’s not raining or I wasn’t sick with Covid but after that I would just take a nap. Not really the most exciting or hopeful way for me to feel about myself to not only go somewhere where there are like minded people, but seeing if I have any energy to actually do it. As you can tell from this post I did it. It was a lot easier than I thought it would be.
So I woke up at 6:30 in the morning and started my preparations. Besides the usual stuff of getting dressed and eating a quick breakfast, I printed out my ticket just in case I needed it, made lunch, quickly read through any panels I might be interested in and just decided to wing it, and then decided to go. It was a day of a lot of traveling. Part of it was driving to the light rail station (which I stopped at the bank first to make a small withdrawal) and then taking the light rail into Seattle. Something which takes up about an hour and ten minutes for both modes of transportation.
The trip itself was pretty easy. I’ve memorized the route a bit more to the light rail station than I did before and traffic itself was pretty smooth. Then I got to see the beautiful scenery of the nice trees on the way there alongside some city structures where not all of it looks good. But once again, it was pretty smooth. Even getting my ticket at the arch at the older convention center was simple as well as the walk to the new convention center. Both are only a few blocks away from Westlake Center. Despite the rain, it was a pretty easy walk all things considered.
The Atmosphere of Emerald City Comic-Con
Walking into the shiny Seattle Convention Center: Summit Building at 9:30 am in which the convention itself opens at 10 am,I got my first taste of the atmosphere that I would experience throughout my stay at the convention center itself. It was really comfy and friendly. Clearly, we were a bunch of nerds that were there to just hang out with each other with all of our similar interests. I had some easy talks with people in line waiting for Artist Alley to open. Then it continued with nice interactions all the way around it no matter where I went.
Then that adds so much wonder and atmosphere to the other fans out there as more people move into the convention itself throughout the day. That being all sorts of people put in cosplay all the way through it with people everywhere. I’m glad that everyone was in high spirits because the whole thing was wall to wall people everywhere. You want to get to another floor after exiting a panel room? Better add five minutes to travel time because people move so weirdly and non linearly like all crowds. Same when walking around the artist alley or exhibition hall searching for something to purchase.
Which in general was fine too because there were a lot of good people watching to be had. If there is a place for people to watch, it’s a convention with passionate nerds and that means passionate people who create some cosplay there too. Some wonderful bits everywhere from anime like Naruto, My Hero Academia, Spy X Family, Chainsaw Man, and so many aspects of popular culture from so many pieces of video games. Or some other things at play there too like different colored R2-D2 robots moving around the convention center or people walking around with signs in front of crowds to advertise their special event at ECCC.
Which plays into the line aspect of Emerald City Comic-Con because there are so many lines everywhere. I’m really glad I brought my own food to eat for lunch because otherwise I would have to exit the convention and go somewhere to eat (like Pike’s Place Market for example) which would have been good, or I would wait in line for food in an ever growing line. Not to mention that there are some things that I couldn’t get into because the line was too long. The 501st’ Star Wars Experience’ line was way too long every time I tried to get it. It was tiring and while I am not the Star Wars fan I used to be, I wanted to see it and missed so much.
To wrap up the whole experience of the hallways before making the transition to panels, Emerald City Comic-con follows a lot of the usual stereotypes that you would expect for Seattle. As in, it was pretty progressive over all. Seattle itself is not the same that it used to be after 2016 due to a number of reasons, but when you throw a bunch of nerds into a new, shiny building you can get the idea of it being there. As in, it’s very open and inclusive for everyone. Something that you want to see at a convention where people should be able to be themselves or even become someone else for a number of days before going back to work a job that allows them to go to these convention spaces in the first place. I love that so much.
The Panels I Visited
This year, I decided to do something strange compared to what I usually do. That is, not decide on what panels that I go to and just find something interesting to check out. Sometimes, that means making a panel late in an already full room so I didn’t even take the opportunity at all. Other times I arrived maybe 5 minutes late to a panel, but there was plenty of time and plenty of room to sit down and have my own space. Yet other times, I arrived at the perfect time to a panel and just sat down to enjoy what was available. Once again, the culture of this city kind of leaked in and in some cases, so did the stereotypical kind of culture from Tumblr’s fandom ages ago that was still alive in some people (the fun not dramatic kind) and that was fun.
My favorite panel that I went to was Twisted Toonz where voice actors basically go through a script of some kind of movie but did some improv with voices for specific characters. This time, they went through the Little Mermaid and the cast itself was David Hayter, Jennifer Hale, Robin Dawes, and Dee Bradley Baker. Some really talented people who are very funny and didn’t just voice these characters but also improved a little bit by putting the characters they inhabited change the scripts a little bit. So the experience was just pure fun and that was so worth it. Not to mention I got to see the main stage of this convention center and so beautiful. Especially the ceiling.
The rest of the panels were ones that I would kind of expect only to happen at this convention perhaps. One was a focus on the current situation with the X-Men comic run and the question of how just deleting characters’ traumas and disabilities was such a problem without exploring it more. This one was a bit more free flowing in a way that felt natural but we also had the moderator show up a few minutes late too. The other one was a lot more what you would expect from educator people running a panel (especially since they are lawyers from harvard) and it was focused on the different sorts of positive, negative, and moderate power exchanges from Star Wars. It was very interesting and I feel like I learned a lot in such an interesting way
Lastly was the Battle of Tropes panel that was two small groups of two authors being given tropes two different tropes by the audience and having to argue why the one they randomly chose would win. So it was generally a lot of fun to watch these authors whose names escape me go through this because these are people who play with those tropes when writing their novels. Was an excellent experience that provided some more open mindedness then I was expecting. I mean, this was obviously for advertising these writers and to have fun at the same time so it was pretty genius. Also helps that this panel was generally full too with an active audience who were also getting into the whole experience too. Such a fun time all around.
Artist Alley and Exhibition Hall
I’m not going to lie, this time I didn’t spend as much time in the Exhibition Hall at all. I went in before I went home so I ended up just going to the Bandai Namco area and then a small visit to the Studio Ghibli area right next to it. Those were just right next to the door that I entered and made that experience easy for me to handle without seeing anything else on that floor. This was also at that time period where it was getting impossible to move around too so I didn’t want to see what else was being advertised at that time. So I bought an RX-78-2 convention exclusive figure at a Gundam Aerial HG Gunpla set. That was enough for me.
The Artist Alley was huge though. There were some typical sorts of things you would expect to see regarding art prints that were waifu bait. Some were nice, but I didn’t have as much interest. But then there were some cool sorts of etching designs, mechanical designs that I need to buy from online because some of them were not even there, classic anime prints that are so cool, pretty cute and classic sorts of art, and some pretty innovative stuff that I didn’t expect to see anywhere too. I got a Seattle based Cyberpunk graphic novel, Trigun poster, a Godzilla mouse pad, and a few classic sci fi books from the book store.
There were other things in that Artist Alley floor too like dnd related things, artists that I didn’t purchase anything from but get their business cards to check out online, and a lot of books that looked good but were beyond my budget to acquire unfortunately. It really was the creator focused area of the whole place and it was excellent all around there. It was also really nice to see lots and lots of people supporting these artists and writers. Some are working professionally and want to go out of it by themselves to sell what they want to while others might be doing this to survive. Others might be doing it for fun. There is a lot of complexity that comes from the situation at large here and I hope it goes well for everyone involved.
Concluding Thoughts and 2022 vs 2023
One day was enough for me honestly. I can see how some people can go all four days by spending their time at a hotel after the convention day to unwind. I don’t have that luxury for one day because I have to spend an hour plus to travel there and then the same to go back. But the experience itself is so good. The positive vibes, the guests, and just people wanting to show what they love and enjoy what they want to enjoy. So I felt all of that from the people lining the walls, dressing themselves up to be their favorite character and show so many more people that, and it was so much fun. Tiring, but just pure fun in a way that you can’t get that sort of experience from anywhere else.
Compared to last Emerald City Comic-Con, this felt like the experience that I expected to have. Sure, I went to Sunday last time compared to Saturday this time but this convention was sold out and last time wasn’t because it occurred in August. A month that is so different because it takes place in March during the beginning of the convention season. I kind of felt that from the two experiences because 2022 felt so empty compared to this one where it felt like it was firing on all cylinders. More cosplay, more weird and random events, more people, more anime than ever before too. I saw Emerald city at its best and while I eventually got exhausted, I loved it. Not that 2022 was because it wasn’t but I wanted to see this happen in the first place.
So I can’t wait until 2024 now. Can’t wait to spend my one day in Seattle in March once again.