Columbia, South Carolina has a lot of wonderful events that come to the area, but a fan favorite of cosplayers and families alike is Nashicon. The atmosphere is always welcoming, but definitely favors the anime side of things, which is to be expected at an anime convention.
This was Nashicon’s tenth year and there were some new and exciting changes, as well as some familiar events that provided a fun time for all ages.\
The first thing many cosplayers do when going to a con is sign up for the Cosplay Contest. Normally Nashicon’s contest is held only on Saturday and focuses on Japanese influences with some western influenced cosplays as well. This year the contest director Morgan Skye came up with a new idea to help make more people feel included. The contest was split between Saturday and Sunday with Saturday being all cosplays that came from a Japanese medium and Sunday being western mediums and even original character designs. Most conventions, especially the larger ones do not allow for original character designs, so this was very exciting for some of our cosplayers! Sadly they did not get as many contestants as they would have liked and there was a little bit of confusion with the new style, but it was exciting to try this new approach to the normal contest.
Artist’s Alley is always a fan favorite, as it is filled with many different artists who all have something special to share. There were many returning artists and some new, but the best part was that it was split between the two levels of the convention center. This allowed for more artists and more space between them, allowing the patrons of Nashicon to give more attention to all the artists there. The dealer’s room, which is another favorite, got a new and bigger space as well this year. There were many dealers with all sorts of different treasures for people to discover as they walked through. In this room there was also a concession area with two large screen TVs showing anime, and plenty of tables for people to relax, grab a bite and enjoy a show.
The Carolina Manga Library made its return this year and they are always wonderful to have. This year they held a raffle to raise money so they can continue to bring their amazing library to many more conventions. The grand prize winner won a Nintendo Switch and the raffle helped raise $1500! They also brought tablets with subscriptions to Crunchyroll Manga so that readers could have more options and they had a wall-scroll lottery for everyone as well.
Other events that the convention had that are always fan favorites were the panels, guest autographs and pictures, the cosplay dating game, cosplay chess, the rave, and a ball. The con holds these events every year and they usually have wonderful turnouts and this year was no exception.
Let's talk about the staff of Nashicon for a second. They are some of the most kind and helpful people I have had the pleasure of meeting. I have become close friends with some of the staff members and even the ones I do not know are wonderful. They take the time to stop and help anyone who needs it even if it means taking time from a task they need to get done. They make sure everything runs smoothly and efficiently, and if there are any hiccups they handle them quickly and professionally.
In short Nashicon is a well-run and fun convention, especially if you are an anime fan. If you are not a big fan of anime, Nashicon may not be the best convention for you. If you enjoy anime though or even if you just like spending time with great people and old friends, then I recommend you check out Nashicon when it returns to Columbia, SC on March 23-25, 2018.
~~Amy Moon is a cosplayer for The Fandames Initiative. She is married with a beautiful one year old daughter and lives in Charleston, SC. She has been writing for almost a decade and is currently working on a few books and also enjoys reading whenever she gets the opportunity. Above photos by Wackedkid47 Photography. You can meet The Fan Dames this July at Raleigh Supercon!