Something Fun in Nebraska - Anime Nebraskon 2010 Review
Nestled along the dividing line between endless farmlands, Anime Nebraskon is probably the most fun event to happen in Nebraska. And if you live in the area and haven't heard of it, I'm sorry to have to tell you that you haven't just missed an awesome convention. You've missed seven years of them.
View pictures from Anime Nebraskon 2010.
Anime Nebraskon started in 2004 at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. An anonymous wikipedia contributor, Toshi0Toshi, wrote that the convention initially began as a one-day anime club fundraising event with over 300 attendees. The convention has since bloomed as nearly 2,000 ninjas, pirates, anime characters, and a few regular people attended Anime Nebraskon 2010.
Friday afternoon started, as all conventions do, with registration. The pre-registration line, much longer than the at-the-door line, looked like it lasted less than an hour for most attendees. (Being much too impatient to wait in line, I spent some time taking photographs while the line dwindled to just a couple dozen by 6:00). Most conventions of similar size have far longer wait times – Anime Nebraskon has the benefit of an entire 4,000 square foot lobby primarily for registration.
I'm still waiting for conventions to have magical registration boxes that print, laminate, lanyard, and give you your badge all automatically. Obviously such a machine would need to be steam powered.
The same lobby area as registration also had a dedicated photoshoot area setup, new this year (as far as I recall), which is something few cons consider setting up on their own. It'd be perfect for taking pictures of Husker Ninja, Anime Nebraskon's ninja mascot. There were also at least two photo studios taking pictures in the dealer's room.
Husker Ninja isn't the only thing exclusive to Anime Nebraskon. This very welcoming convention (which had duck-taped a mob together which ran down the halls chanting “one of us” last year) also has it's own Bard, writing title songs like “Anime Nebraskon.”
Watch the Bard perform Console Gamer Girl
Key events from Anime Nebraskon included the cosplay masquerade, the formal ball, the rave, the date auction, the annual duct tape panel, and the evil art of being evil. The cosplay masquerade is better described with pictures, so click here.
The formal ball was a strong highlight of Friday afternoon, with it's exemplary instructional lessons beforehand. The date auction was also very entertaining – let's just say that for the first time, glitter looked manly (judging by the audience's reactions, of course).
This year's rave, the Nerdtron Dance Party: Pirates vs. Ninjas, was hosted by resident DJs of the local “Nerdtron Dance Party” group. I was quickly impressed with the familiar video-game theme rave music. The rave lighting was the best I had ever seen – a full rave club would have difficulty competing. Several attendees complained, however, about unfortunate power stoppages that brought Friday night's rave to a grinding halt four times in the first hour. Probably as a result of the same power issues, the bass also felt underwhelming – and being the only pirate in a sea of ninjas was discouraging. However, I did also hear an attendee say “this is the best rave ever,” and things picked up later, so I'm going to call it a mixed bag. I'd bet next year will be pretty flawless.
Panels ranged from interesting, to elaborate, to downright evil. Literally, as in the case of the Evil Art of Being Evil, as Keith Silverstein put a lot of thought into the various forces of evil. Nebraskon's guests this year included Keith, Tiffany Grant, Richard Townsend, Kim Pridemore, Jerry Jewell, and Eric Vale.
Nebraskon is also one of the cheapest conventions of it's high-caliber. Registration, beginning at $29, is less than most three-day conventions, and we managed to sneak into the convention center (/waterpark) hotel for less than $60 a night. There's also a Burger King less than a block away.
Anime Nebraskon is an anomaly; there's not supposed to be anything this much fun in Nebraska.