Matsuricon is one of the conventions I go to a lot. In fact, I’ve gone to this event without fail since 2016 and the number of times I’ve attended this convention is second only to Lexington Toy and Comic Con. So it’s clear I’ve been waiting for this event to return, but with the return of this event, I went in with a number of questions. What will this event be like after the hiatus? What effect did Covid have on the event? What will return and what will be left out? I got answers to all of these as I enjoyed my weekend and I’m really excited to break down my thoughts.
First I’ll start with panels. Matsuricon regularly impresses with a wide variety of guest and attendee ran panels. In fact, this is one of the few events where I’m actually eager to see a panel list. While I rarely make an effort to do a lot of panels at most of the events I go to Matsuricon is one of the few exceptions and this time was no different. Not only did it have panels like you would expect like q and a events with the guests, but it also had a cards against humanity event, escape room, concerts, fan discussions, and the list goes on. The activities offered at this convention are really diverse and entertaining. There were some hiccups this year as quite a few panels had to cancel for various reasons. The event still had plenty of stuff to do but there were enough cancellations to be noticeable. I won’t say anything more on the matter as I’m sure they all canceled for a good reason and there was still plenty to do overall, but I did miss going to the improv comedy show that I love going here. I also loved how Matsuricon had an event at a place called Otherworld, an interactive art exhibit. Now I went to Otherworld on a random trip to Columbus one time and it’s so much fun but to be able to do this while in cosplay sounds amazing. I almost went but starting at 10PM Saturday was a bit later than I wanted to go after a busy day.
Of course, the guests were amazing as it’s always been one of the motivators behind my attendance here. With the Plus Up badge my wife and I had an easy time getting autographs at the badge-exclusive autograph session and wound up getting all the signatures, we were after in less than an hour which included Fire Emblem, My Hero Academia, Seven Deadly Sins, Violet Evergarden and Bofuri. Plus Matsuricon has a policy where the first item signed is free, with some exceptions, so we only wound up buying one autograph so an incredible guest list with autograph sessions that are budget friendly is a great thing. Plus some of the money saved justified paying for the VIP passes along with the other perks such as the T-Shirt and line skipping. I do have a couple of other notes to make though. While I didn’t attend any of the other autograph sessions my friend did and said the man who refers to himself as “Line Daddy” was not there. Now I’m not sure if he didn’t show up for the entire event but I hope this isn’t a sign that he isn’t coming back because in my mind he really is the standard for staff in any kind of line management capacity. He’s just that good at it. I also loved how the guests had more time to sign autographs at their tables in the dealers. While there were no free signatures here it meant that if you couldn’t get any of the free autograph sessions it was still very easy to get an autograph from them where as in previous years that proved to be a difficult task. This was a welcomed changed for sure.
Shopping was a lot of fun too but I’ve always considered this one of the weaker areas of the convention as the vendors area is on the smaller side. That’s not to say that it wasn’t fun to shop there as the room had plenty of space and there was a wide variety to pick from. It was a fun experience but if any area really needs to expand I suggest more vendors. It’s one of those situations where I’m not dissatified with what they had I just think with as well organized and as successful as the event is we are at a point where we could see improvement here. In our case we found fun stuff to buy but didn’t spend a lot of time here because of that.
In 2019 Matsuricon started the ribbon game and it’s something I just really enjoy doing. Ribbons were everywhere this year and I managed to rack up a very nice collection, it was a ton of fun collecting them. I got to meet all kinds of awesome attendees, vendors, and staff that were handing them out and it’s really a great way to meet other people at the convention. The con even offered a pin to let people know you were handing out ribbons but I do recommend making it a bit more colorful because I found this pin a bit hard to notice.
The only other thing I noticed was the arcade and the mobile app did not come back this year. Now from what I hard this is due to budget issues brought on by the pandemic so I’m very empathetic to this. I love the games they have in the arcade and the app is extremely handy and honestly needs to come back next year if possible. It was a bit more difficult to keep track of the schedule using the excel spreadsheet where as the app just made it so easy.
Overall I can’t tell you how happy I am that Matsuricon is back. It’s one of my favorite conventions and most of the stuff I loved about this event returned and I’m hoping the rest are on their way basck in 2023. I’m already making plans to go next year and hoping to go for the entire event so I can collect more Ribbions and do more of everything this convention has to offer. Welcome back Matusricon I really did miss you.