Ohayocon Celebrates 10th Year in 2010
Ohayocon 2010 brought thousands of anime fans to the Greater Columbus Convention Center for their tenth year. Ohayocon's tenth birthday was marked by numerous special guests, and two concerts on Saturday from Jonathan Coulton. Panels and normal scheduled events generally ran like clockwork, with the biggest delay being around an hour for setup in the music events room.
Each of the panel rooms had a sign indicating the panel to be in the room at that time, which was a nice touch and made finding specific panels easy. The schedule had a number of unique panels throughout the weekend. In one example, the Otaku Dating 101 panel, single con-goers were introduced to a quest log requiring them to try to say hello, and strike up a conversation if possible, to at least 10 others before they reconvened for Otaku Dating 201.
View pictures of Ohayocon 2010
Attendees biggest complaints centered around Saturday night's rave, which had over five hundred attendees waiting in line at any given time because of limited room capacity. Only five hundred people could be fit in the convention's musical events room at any one time, and attendees had to be cycled through to give more people an opportunity. Late night programming offered some relief, but they were also filled to capacity. The line outside the rave persisted long after late night programming had generally ended, and it was clear that there were plenty of attendees who would have enjoyed more later events.
The convention's video gaming room had the feeling that it had all been brought from home, indicating that it was either neglected in the budget or that the gaming staff neglected their budget. We expected we might see walls and walls of projectors with consoles and maybe even a few DDR machines as we had seen at the second largest convention we've attended, but we didn't. (I read something about a Rhythm room, did we miss something?)
Despite those issues, the convention was very well organized. Staff were able to keep halls and lines orderly without shouting, and moving around was easier than at many other conventions. The DJs were also highly praised for their music, and attendees raved about seeing Jonathan Coulton in concert. Ohayocon also brought together over two dozen voice actors, artists, writers, and others, with the con chair herself having attended nearly one hundred anime conventions as a guest. The staff were overall courteous and friendly as well. The concerts, guest panels, and masquerade all seemed to start without exceptional delay.
Although we noticed a lack of Carmeldansen and shouts of family guy references from attendees, we also found several engaged in their own creative activities. We found a game of Morton's List around the convention center info desk, and even a group playing games with a parachute in one of the lobbies.
As for the convention center, it could easily hold the convention for several years to come. Ohayocon had taken less than a fourth of the space in the convention center itself, with three massive exhibit halls left to other events that were happening that weekend. We were kind of surprised that none of them were used by the convention, because some very awesome events could have been held in them.
The Hyatt hotel was, as should be expected at their price, clean and well kept. And while we wish cons could arrange a checkout time that is after closing ceremonies, their 2pm checkout for Hyatt gold members is pretty generous. The hotel and convention center had it's own food court, which was well trafficked all weekend, a convenience not known at smaller conventions.
Ohayocon's strengths in organization, timeliness, and guests of honor highly outweigh any negatives. While attendees coming for the rave or gaming may have been disappointed by long lines or a smaller setup, the core of anime programming ran rather smoothly. Attendees had the opportunity to meet many of their favorite people, and nerd-out to one of the most famous geeky musicians on the internet. Ohayocon's tenth anniversary delivered everything you could expect from an anime convention, in an organized fashion. We look forward to 2011.