Bishie Con: Yaoi in the Midwest
"A friend got me into it," was the most common answer at Bishie Con's "How I Got into Yaoi" panel this weekend. Bishie Con, the first Yaoi-focused convention in the midwest, drew around two hundred fans to St. Louis to participate in a Yaoi-filled weekend.
Nearly every convention event had it's own Yaoi theme, including Dumbledore's Coming Out Party, a Bishounen Date Auction, and the Crossplay Drag Show. Panels frequently focused on Yaoi-themes or boy-love series' such as Gravitation and Fruits Basket.
Several panels discussed the ins and outs of Yaoi writing and publication, including the Yaoi Press Industry Panel and the Q & A with Studio Kosen. During the Studio Kosen Q&A panel, Yamila Abraham, publisher of Yaoi Press, discussed the difficulties in publishing manga in the current market. She mentioned that bigger companies have also been hit by the economy, laying off employees and making it difficult for artists.
"They're focused on the big, World of Warcraft-sized stories that they don't have to promote," she said. She explained how Studio Kosen had an edge when getting into bookstores under big publishers, because booksellers could see they had already sold manga under the Yaoi Press label.
We ran one event at Bishie Con, Otaku Speed Dating, for MaiOtaku.com. Over thirty attendees signed up for the event, designed to let “Otaku” meet other anime fans. Each was matched with someone of their preferred gender(s) for eight four-minute rounds, while we served snacks and drinks during each round.
The convention also brought an announcement by the convention organizers, dubbed “Cosmic Eggroll” as they kept it secret before the convention. The announcement was the creation of an “Ecto-Con” Ghostbusters convention in 2011, which came with an introduction music video featuring scenes from the Ghostbusters movie.
Many attendees also got freebies during the convention, thanks to the convention and their guests. During closing ceremonies several items, including Yaoi manga and books, were given away to the audience, and attendees also won free stuff at panels such as the Yaoi Press Industry Panel.
Bishie Con 2009 drew together plenty of Yaoi fans from the St. Louis area to a weekend filled with Yaoi-entertainment. Attendees repeatedly asked for the convention to continue in 2010, and were clearly happy with the Yaoi offerings.