Finally, we’re getting to the bigger conventions now. TsunaCon is considered to be the part of the Dutch Big Three anime conventions, but there’s something interesting about the Big Three. While this is the shortest convention during only one day from 11:00 to 23:00, it is also considered the most popular of all three, which is quite surprising. You’d expect AnimeCon or AbunaiCon to be at least more successful since they last over the weekends. However, AnimeCon has lately been labelled as quite the elitist convention with high prices and unneeded high culture, so to say. On the opposite, AbunaiCon has been switching locations here and there, and now it’s in a position where people kind of get lost in the venue. I personally prefer AbunaiCon since it’s close and I can volunteer for the weekend, but let’s talk about TsunaCon right now.
Up until last year, I actually didn’t know what the Tsuna in TsunaCon actually stood for. I always assumed it had to do with either tuna (which would be pronounced as tsuna in Japanese), or an abbreviation of tsunami “tidal wave”. But it seems I was wrong all along, and it’s a bit more on the positive side, being the abbreviation of tsunagu “connection” instead. One of the mascot is still a reference to tuna, nevertheless. That aside, compared to all the other years they have now introduced a new ticket system with three levels, normal, silver, and gold. Normal would be the standard entry fee of 20 euros, but I opted for the silver ticket of 45 euros. This would grant me a “shorter waiting line” and a goodiebag with stuff like a T-shirt and TsunaCon merchandise. The T-shirt was nice, but I had expected more from the goodiebag other than just a poster, a button and a keychain. Oh, and the waiting line? Yeah… the normal ticket waiting line was shorter than the silver/gold waiting line. Good job there!
I’ll also vent my rage about the poster here since I’ll be over with it, because I’m very disappointed in how the Japanese characters and Korean hangeul are written. You can find the poster over here: [Image borrowed from avo-blog.nl]. But just look at how 黒執事、おでん and らめん (and 렌즈 for the Koreanists) are drawn… It doesn’t take a pro’s eye to see that there’s something off (don’t get me started on the cursive by the way). There’s actually more I’d like to complain about, but that’s sadly covered behind the info. I just want to highlight that artists should at least scavenge for information on how to do Chinese/Japanese/Korean calligraphy before drawing something like this. Yes, the anime references are cool, but the bad Japanese characters ruined the feeling for me.
Back to the actual event. This time my way of going through this day is different than the usual pattern. You might have noticed that the introductory picture is me together with a group instead of going solo like Kirito all the time. I’d like to introduce you to the Asia Committee (abbr. as Asiacie), which is part of a large gaming community located close to my university. While that community mainly focuses on board and card games, we keep ourselves busy with DDR events, Japanese anime and film screenings, and karaoke parties. Since our committee grew quite a lot over the years, its more obvious that we’d go to such conventions together as well. It’s really easy to spot me if you remember what I bought at GamepitCon! (hint: I like Luigi)
An event that I really like at this convention is the “Guess the Anime” tournament. Last time in 2013, I was second by just a few points, and I received an original Tsunacon figure for that (it’s actually quite neat too!). I also promised to battle it out once more with the winner this year, but alas, I ended up arriving too late at the convention once again…but this time it’s excusable since it was all group coordinated. The winner apparently got 4th this time, so perhaps I would’ve stood a chance. Then again, I haven’t been watching at all lately, since all of my time is consumed in either school or Dota 2. We did go to a Pokemon Quiz with all of us, but that one was more elimination based with A and B choices, which got boring really quickly.
This time, just like any other time, I tried to enter the Super Smash Bros. for Wii U tournament, only to find out you had to sign up prior to the event! Well, that sucks. I think that’s insane, but I guess it’s just that popular. Even the list for replacements if people would drop out was considered full. Not that I’d win, anyway. I don’t own the game, nor the console to begin with. Still, playing a Luigi that is actually powerful makes it so much better. Me and another guy from the Asiacie still wanted to play SSBU nonetheless, so we participated in this strange raffle system, where the top player of casual free-for-all matches would be entered in a raffle. At first it looked as if they’d draw 4 people to battle out who gets the prize, but I was mistaken. That only counted for the main prize, an amiibo; the other prizes were solely based on drawing. No luck.
In the afternoon, I ate a bento which was hand-made by a friend of mine. It’s very interesting to see a Dutch take on the Japanese cuisine. But there was so much, I couldn’t go through all of it sadly. With my stomach filled with food, I walk into the dealer room in hope for some sweet deals. My first round through the crowded halls bore me no fruit. My budget was also limited so I always prioritize the Bring and Buy section. Sadly, they didn’t have any Japanese magazines or something original that the dealer room usually doesn’t offer, such as non-localised materials. In my second round, I talked a bit to the perler dude and dudette as always, but I decided to refrain from buying something from them this time. What I did buy was this figure of Sinon from Sword Art Online. “But Chrouya, don’t you prefer to buy usable items instead of figures?” Correct, but when the pricetag was just 27 euros for a nice size and quality figure, I couldn’t refuse.
What does separate this convention from the smaller ones I went to in the beginning of the year is that this one has some high quality cosplays. I’ve added a small gallery of picture I’ve taken over the day. I also notice that I’m more focused on the gaming side of the convention, looking at my pictures of Smash, indie developers, people massively playing the new Monster Hunter for the 3DS (XL), and the fact that were was actually a tournament for Hisoutensoku (the 3rd fighting game in the Touhou Series, 12.3). And that pretty much sums up my activity for the day. We ended the day dining at a Chinese/Japanese restaurant, since the head of the committee will be leaving for Japan next month for his Masters. Meanwhile, it gets all the more busier for me as I have to take over his tasks when he’s gone. Busy, busy, busy.