After a hiatus lasting several years, DaiCon returned to the UC Davis campus. Anime fans from around the area came in to mingle, shop, cosplay, and generally have a good time. The one-day event brought in a fine crowd, with plenty of programming to keep attendees entertained.
DaiCon itself took a small area of the UC Davis campus, but it was sufficient for the panel rooms and events. (Although it did result in at least a few confused campus tours as potential students walked by crowds of costumed con-goers.) After a quick and easy check-in, attendees could wander around and see what the con had to offer.
Scattered around the campus were several photo op spots, where cosplayers could go and get pictures that utilized the many scenic locations at the university. Attendees were given a map at check-in that pointed them towards each of the spots, so they could easily find their way there.
While it didn’t have a full dealer’s hall, the convention still had a few vendors with booths set up. This was primarily for local businesses, but with game stores and Vite Ramen selling their goods, it was still quite appropriate for the crowd.
The artist alley was significantly larger, featuring a room filled with local artists. There was a nice variety of works on display, ranging from illustrations to mousepads to hand-knit decorations. For a small con, it was a well-sized artist alley.
Outside the buildings, DaiCon had invited several food trucks. This was great, as it let attendees get a good meal without having to go off campus or find an on-campus cafeteria. There were some good options available, including Rita’s Italian Ice for dessert, so no one left the con hungry.
While the gaming options were a little limited, they were still good ones. The video gaming room featured a few consoles set up, and competitions ran throughout the day. There was also a room for card games, featuring tournaments for games like Yu-Gi-Oh and Magic: The Gathering. One thing it offered that many cons don’t was tabletop miniatures painting, where attendees could sit outside and paint free Warhammer miniatures. Free minis is always a plus.
While outside, attendees could also enjoy musical performances. There were four different performers or groups, including the Video Game Orchestra, so even those just relaxing outside could appreciate the show.
And of course, we can’t forget the panels. There were three different panel rooms, featuring panels and discussions like Convention War Stories, Cooking in Anime, and “A Thematic Analysis of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, Parts 1-6.” Perhaps the biggest panel was the Cosplay Wrestling Federation, which saw competing cosplayers face off in professional wrestling-style promos and smack talk to fight for the glory of victory. The final match saw Bucky Barnes, the Winter Soldier, against Tommy Wisseau of “The Room,” with Tommy claiming victory.
DaiCon also managed to bring in two voice actor guests. Bill Rogers, who voices Brock in “Pokemon,” and Robbie Daymond, known for roles like Tuxedo Mask in the more recent “Sailor Moon” dub and Mumen Rider in “One Punch Man.” After their Q&A panels, the actors set up to sign autographs for eager attendees. They were great guests for the convention, and fans were more than happy to meet them.
Overall, DaiCon’s return was off to a great start. It was a fun day filled with plenty of activities, and everything went quite smoothly. While there’s room to grow again, it was a fun show all around, and the passion for anime and conventions that its staff brought to the show shined through in everything.