October 11, 2018

Chibicon 2018 – In the name of work I attend programs!

Hello dudes and dudettes!

Omg it's not a lens review!? xD Yep, I went to a con this past weekend and this summary is a tiny bit late but I've been running back and forth into hospital these past days and it's been really hectic. Fucking glorious to wake up into a pool of your own blood so yeah, haven't had time to even think about blogging tbh. And before anyone asks, yes I'm alive and it's nothing dangerous (hopefully).

So yeah, back on track. Chibicon it was, alright. It was held on 6th October in Oulu, which was a Saturday. Pohjankartano once again served as the con building and, as far as I know, it's one of the best places in Oulu to host a con!

Chibicon poster.
It just dawned on me that it was quite a while since I last attended a con, namely Närcon on summer. There was a lot of ifs and hows when it came to my Chibicon journey as the original plan was that I'd hitch a ride with Sacchan, but as luck would have it her car broke down mere days before the con – of course things can't go smoothly for us. :)) So yeah, there I was with no ride and I had applied to be a con worker like a week before the con and got accepted, so now I didn't want to be that one person who bails out last minute as it's kinda douchy once the schedules are set and the others are counting on you to show up. Literal panic. 
I tried to look for busses but for some reason they were expensive as ass and weirdly enough the train was cheaper. I was staring at the adult prices and ripping my hair out before I realized that hey, I am actually studying in Finland right now. So on Thursday before the con I walked into my school's office thingy and got a temporary paper proof that I'm studying (I don't have the student card thingy yet) and boom, cheaper train ticket granted!

My last minute plan was to leave for Oulu on Friday night and sleep over at Karri's place but turned out mom couldn't give me a ride to Kemi so late and so I had to take an early Saturday train instead, which meant no need for sleeping accommodation. I feel a bit sorry for Karri as he was really looking forward to having me there (he even cleaned!) but yeah, I'll take the times that works for mom as my poor ass is so broke that I have to save on everything that I can. ^^"

Chibicon entrance once the doors opened.
There was a massive line.
So I took the morning train to Oulu and I was there around 8 something, which turned out to be really early as once I got to Chibicon I quite literally only saw Urumi putting up their table and the security guys. I headed up to the third floor which was reserved for the staff only. I think I sat there for about an hour before I started hearing noises of other workers arriving and went back down to the first floor. I met up with some other con workers, got my badge and then they put me to work – cutting tickets for the main programs (cosplay competition, AMV competition, cosplay date etc) with a cutter. So I was sitting there cutting a lot of colorful papers until the con's doors officially opened and then I was free to roam around for a short moment before my first working shift started.

Con worker badge.
I was working as an "ohjelmavänkäri" or "salivänkäri" for the ceremony hall ("juhlasali") and the little stage in the main hall, which is a bit hard to translate but basically I was the person who watched so that the main programs (which were held in the ceremony hall) ran smoothly. My work tasks were to pay attention to the stage (if someone trips, needs help etc), make sure that the attendants sit in the right color-marked seats according to their seat tickets, watch so that no one is obnoxiously loud or rude and so on. Pretty basic stuff.

My first work task was to watch over the start of the K-POP Random Dance Game on the little scene. They didn't need any help when I introduced myself before the start and so I just sat in the audience and watched for about 15 minutes until it was clear that everything was running smoothly and then I left to the green room to go get something to eat.

Green room when the con had just opened.
I've been a con worker on most of the cons that I've attended lately and I think I'm getting to the point when it would feel weird to not be able to have access to the green room. xD Like it's so convenient to be able to just drop your stuff there, charge your devices and go grab something to eat whenever you feel like it. 

My next job was to watch over the AMV competition in the ceremony hall, which started at 12:00. I made my way there 15 minutes before start and then I was walking around the seats making sure that all the colored papers were stuck to the seat edges of each row, as they would drop down quite often as the tape didn't stick well to the surface of the seats. I was always sitting near the scene and just... watching. I'll admit I've never attended any AMV competition before as I just didn't have the interest (and I'm a lazy fuck, lmao) and so this was something new to me. I'm not sure if I've ever even watched an AMV before. xD I agree with most of the ones that won but there were some that I was not a fan of. *shrugs* I did notice a growing inspiration to make an AMV myself but I have no damn clue how so yeah, probably not gonna happen lol.

Next up was the cosplay date. Same thing again, make sure that the colored papers have not fallen off and go ask if the program holders need help. They told me that they do not need me at all and so I pissed off and went to check the con and eat as my free time was otherwise really limited. I had more work hours than the 4 that I had been told, why is it always me?

Einesburgeri hell yess! :DD
All con workers were promised one warm dish (either hamburger or vegan/vegetarian options) and while I half expected something cheapo I was not expecting like the cheapest plastic-packaged burger from the store. xD Literally bread and beef only and not even actual beef but chicken-pork mix beef. There was cheese, ketchup and dressing to put on before microing it and I think that's about it? Felt a bit... dry. At least by the time I got to eat, I'll admit I was not among the first ones as I had so many work shifts with no breaks between. It was still okay but even the McDonald's euron juusto would have been better, lmao. And I don't even like McDonald's.

Chibicon main hall.
Chibicon cafeteria area.
Chibicon was a bit lacking in terms of activities. There was no video game room, no karaoke room, no rhythm game room, no drawing room... barely anything else than the programs, some panels and meetups, an anime room, Artist's Alley and some merchandise sellers and other con's booths. As a visitor I would have been bored really fast and probably thought that the 10€ entrance fee (at the door, advance tickets were cheaper) was a bit steep.

Merchandise sellers were pretty much only Urumi (not that I expected much more from a small con in northern Finland). Urumi is always a welcome sight as they sell legit stuff but my ass is so broke right now that I can rarely afford to buy anything and most times I know I can get the same thing for cheaper if I buy it online myself. I do like looking at all the cute and pretty stuff though! Window shopping is always fun, heheh.

No con without the obligatory sweets.
Happy to see Digimon and Monster Hunter getting some love!
There was a lot of Pokémon this time..
... and I mean it.
MonHun figurines!
I think these Kyogre, Groudon and Rayquaza straps were new?
Did I say there was a lot of Pokémon? xD
Don't forget the Ginga doggos!
Omg, Ōkami merch!
Shame it was too expensive for me.. for noodle stoppers at least.
I did not bother to go check out the anime room because honestly, I don't understand why you'd pay to get inside a con just to watch anime that you can do at home for free (and you can watch any show you like)? It never made sense to me, I'd rather use that limited time to explore and hang with friends and basically anything else except watch anime. xD 

I did not cosplay, I was considering it briefly but I've been so exhausted from all the hospital visits that I didn't feel like I had the energy to bother. And most cosplays that I would have wanted to wear needs some altering anyway. I noticed though that it seemed that a majority of the congoers went casual – I didn't see all that many cosplayers from what I can remember and now I'm not counting the "peruukkicossaajat". I did not feel like I missed out on something because I went casual, I'm actually happy I did, lmao.

Lip sync battle. Yes, that cosplayer performed the original
Pokémon opening in Finnish and was the funniest performance
because of a joke that ran through the whole program.
14:00 it was time for the lip sync battle in the ceremony hall. I had no idea what it was before this but as it was my job I had to stay for the duration of the program. It dawned on me quickly that it's like a light-hearted song contest... except that you don't sing. The premise is basically that you have two contestants (often cosplayers) who pick a song, that fits the character somehow, and then perform it and the winner is the one who gets more noise and cheers from the audience. This is the kind of shit on which you need to have excellent stage charisma, creativity and dance/choreography skills to pull off well, otherwise it turns really stale and cringy fast. I'll admit it was entertaining overall but I think it suffered a bit from a lack of participants and cancellations.

After the lip sync ended it was time for the main program of pretty much any anime convention – the cosplay competition. It started at 15:00 and this time I noticed two guys sitting on "wrong seats" as I saw that they had green tickets but were sitting on blue seats. I went up and they said that they were photographers and that's why they had sat on seats so far in the front, despite having middle row seat tickets. I didn't feel a need to ask them to move to their right places as, by the time the competition started, there were still many seats empty as the hall was big.

Cosplay competition.
But yeah, the cosplay competition. I haven't attended it in years and a wave of nostalgy hit me. I should probably participate again but I have such crippling stage fear that I always come up with reasons not to. Most bigger cons also require a performance nowadays so I guess I'm stuck to the small cons that still run the "lavajuoksu" style, lol. Basically make a pose on scene and walk away style. Maybe someday...

All cosplay competitors.
The ones who placed.
It was pretty easy to guess who would get a prize while the competition was running and my picks were mostly right in the end, haha. Congratulations to all the winners!

The last program that I worked on was the FFFight in the main hall stage. It was hosted by Team Yli Ysitonnia (Team Over Ninethousand) and they were really funny! This was were laughs were had. Before start I finally got to feel helpful, namely fetch them a computer from somewhere so that they could get the music to the show. It was a bit last-minute as I had to wait for a person to show up but it all worked out after a slight delay. 
I've watched Final Fantasy Fights before and know the deal, it's this kind of silly fighting show in FF style between any congoer who wants to (playfully) beat someone else into a pulp. The main point is to entertain the audience and the winner is once again determined by who gets the most noise from the audience. My favorite fighter was the dabbing "jonne" (suomalaiset tietävät) with the cap, dunno what his name was but he looked like such a typical memelord jonne and I think he knew it. xD

Between my short breaks I had time to explore the con. It's your typical Pohjankartano convention except that Chibicon didn't have a lot to do, as mentioned earlier. There was the Matsucon kirppis, a second-hand booth ran by Matsucon were congoers could leave their stuff for sale. It was mainly manga. 

Second-hand booth.
My favorite thing at the convention was the Artist's Alley. For some reason it was held in a classroom on the second floor and it was a bit... crammed at times. I don't really get it why it had to be on the second floor as there was nothing else there except for the anime room and the lecture/panel/meetup rooms and most people spent time on the first floor. There was a fair amount of empty space on the first floor so I don't see why AA wasn't placed there together with Urumi, the second-hand shop and the con booths? More visitors, more visibility, more space. *shrugs* The classroom worked okay but in my opinion it felt a bit like a wasted opportunity to not have the artists downstairs. :/

View of Artist's Alley.
MCrafts table. A lot of nice stuff!
I bought some Pokémon stuff from the table above for both myself, Frozen Angel and Firith. The seller was really nice and we talked a bit too. All my Chibicon purchases were from AA, I like to support fellow artists. I've considered selling stuff on AA too but I don't know if I'll ever actually do it as I'm so lazy, lmao. Would be cool though!

When the con was on its final minutes I was up in the green room packing my stuff. Karri shows up suddenly and oh boy I haven't seen him in ages! I took my stuff, left my badge and said goodbyes and headed out to town with him. We had a lot of fun, went to a bar to have a drink as we had some time to kill before my train would arrive. We talked about all kinds of things: movies, martial arts etc. Time went by really fast and it was sad to leave him so early, I hope we can go to Skecon together!

~~~~~

Chibicon was okay overall. Nothing special but I had my share of fun and despite traveling alone I actually surprise-bumped into Sacchan once! Seemingly she took the bus. Except for Karri and her I didn't run into any familiar faces – not like I would have had much time to socialize during the con anyway. Chibicon would have been a lot better if it had more activity rooms as I know that some people I spoke to afterwards (who didn't/couldn't attend the con despite being interested) said things like "glad I didn't pay 10€ if there wasn't even a [insert activity] room there" so yeah, says a lot. I can't deny that the price tag seemed hefty for the lack of content. I'm glad I went as a worker as that kept me busy at all times and I got to participate in programs that I would otherwise not have attended, which gave me a lot of renewed interest in participating in stuff in the future!

All in all I'm glad that the north gets these kind of geeky events and Chibicon did well with what they had. It's definitely a "hang with friends" type of con and beginner-friendly. As a one-day con it works with the content it had and I'd continue attending Chibicon in the future as well.

Thanks for reading!

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