One of NorCal's summer cosplay attractions is Kin-Yoobi Con (KYC for short), a local-sized con located in the southern reaches of the East Bay. Having been attending since 2009 after a mention of the con from a friend led me to attend on a whim, I've seen it grown fairly dramatically: It started as a simple one-day con at a college campus, expanded to two days in 2010, and now sees home in a hotel, just like many other cons. This is KYC's first year at the Hilton, which means there's going to be some bumps here and there.
First, let's be honest. KYC didn't necessarily move to the Hilton because of its size. As some of you may recall, last year there was an issue with security. Specifically, some attendees, like those doing photoshoots, were being forced by security away from outdoor areas of the Chabot College campus back into the cafeteria area where the con was being held at. This sat poorly with attendees, myself included, and staff, hence the move to the hotel.
Fortunately, some of the conveniences KYC had during its Chabot run stuck around for its Hilton reboot. Parking is once again free, although provided by the hotel rather than the convention, and the con still uses the full two days, instead of the last day being a "half day" like most cons' last days. Also, instead of the entire con grounds being badge-only, only actual con space like the main programming room and the dealer's halls require badges, so it's possible to "no-badge" this con.
There are a few things I don't like about the new venue. At Chabot's cafeteria, everything is all in one big room--main events, artist booths, dealer's booths, and gaming (though on the balcony overseeing the cafeteria). With the hotel, everything is spread out and in their own rooms--no more catching some on-stage action while hanging out with the artists, for instance. It is a bit more convenient in some ways, such as less loud noises while shopping, but I like the more open atmosphere of the old venue. Also, because of everything being spread out, the con feels like there are less people in attendance, though on Saturday this was mostly due to the con conflicting with the NorCal gathering taking place on the other side of the Bay.
As far as fandoms go, Homestuck, the current major trend in the con and cosplay scene, was quite the thing at the con. Most HS fans crowded up in the entrance lobby's furniture to hang out, rather than being totally spread out.
I also observed a number of Inazuma Eleven cosplayers, and a few Vocaloids. As far as my main fandoms go, Persona was nearly off-radar, with G as Teddie and me as Minato holding up the fort, and Touhou had a little representation--Max as Yukari, Alex as Suwako, and me as Reimu--a joke that, while mostly dead amongst my cosplay friends, remains a thing amongst a few of my close friends. Finally, I caught wind of a few lolitas, which was nice. At any rate, I saw a lot of awesome outfits--a sharp contrast to my first attendance of KYC when most of the cosplays I saw had a lot of room for improvement.
Dealer's Halls were okay. Artist kata was running a booth with Touhou and Persona stuffs. Someone else sold Madoka and Persona merch, but I was in no shape to afford any of it. She was a fun person to talk to about stuff, though.
Gaming room = fighting games, so I didn't really pay much attention. I was hoping to use one of the Wiis for my copy of Rhythm Heaven Fever, but I chose not to even ask the players using the Wiis for SSBB, out of politeness.
Outside of the convention space, affordable food was very much within reach, just across the street. Various shops included Starbucks, Subway, a couple Vietnamese places, FoodMaxx, and Carl's Jr.
Finally, KYC had an outdoor section, for carnival games, music, and the swap meet. I didn't stick around for either for long though.
Day 1 went by fairly slowly. As mentioned, this was also the same day of one of Oscar and Becca's NorCal seasonal gatherings, so attendance was hurt a little bit.
I arrived around 12 PM, having picked up roommates Jaidin and Alex. Check-in wasn't until 3 PM, so we just left our stuff in the car.
Notably, I saw a fair number of FMA cosplayers, only understanding why once I remembered that KYC's Guest of Honor this year was Vic Mignogna.
I checked in with my roommates Jaidin, Alex, and DaKree around 3 (Michael didn't chime in until much later), but notably, we had some difficulty locating our room. Our room was in the 22xx block, and we spent some 20 minutes on the 2nd floor of the lobby building trying to find our room, only to find out that we had to take a fairly convoluted path to get to our room. Once we found our way, we put our stuff down and recuperated for a little bit, with me grabbing a bite out of my bag. I did enjoy my roommates' company; always nice to have roommates to have fun conversations with instead of people that I don't bother to talk to.
I went back down and got an autograph and a photo with Vic around 3:30 PM, having declined an opportunity back at Sac-Anime because I forgot my box of Persona 3 Portable at home.
The infamous dating auction was scheduled to be at 8, but due to presumed scheduling problems, it didn't start until around 9 PM.
You can easily tell the male-to-female ratio by the number of bids each entry was getting. One guy got around an $80 bid, but for the most part it was girls raking in the large bids.
I went up, and no one bid on me, presumably either due to the quality of my "reasons to date me" speech or because I went too early when everyone is banking their cash for later entries. Much to my disappointment, DaKree got skipped over, especially considering his infamous routine from last year.
Since I had a room as mentioned, I thought to check out the nightlife. There's the rave, and I typically don't attend con raves unless a DJ I know is playing.
I picked up some of my roommates from the rave, one of which happened to be hung over, and took them back to the room.
There wasn't anything else to do at this point. Most of us were still awake, so we had some bedside chatter, and eventually passed out.
I was aiming to wake up around 9:30 AM, but Jaidin got up around 6 so she could eat breakfast and get ready for the Homestuck panel.
On the plus side, this meant more time to get ready (especially since I was going to be in crossplay), as well as to get in a round or two of V-V for STGT 2012, the then-current round of which was ending at 9 PM that day. Max came over to my room, having not been able to attend yesterday.
Alex helped untangle my Reimu wig, and she and Max were nice enough to help me with my makeup. I really liked how it turned out; this is not something I get to do often <3 Thank you so much!
Around 10, we went to put our stuff in my car, so we wouldn't have to deal with as much packing when we checked out at 12.
Then Alex, Max, Nick, and I went for lunch at The Heart Cafe, which was across the street and a half a block down. Milk tea was good, food was kinda meh and I didn't finish it.
Mostly I just wandered around, which happens at every con anyway. Sometimes I'd lounge by, ironically enough, the "Homestuck corner", either to play DS2 or attempt to nap, but prevent myself from doing so--because of the way my skirt was pinned, I was worried the safety pins were going to snap.
I also went to Starbucks with some of my friends, and only then did I notice a distinct lack of trashcans, both inside the store and outside in the patio area, hence why all the cups were in the condiment trash chute.
The cosplay cafe was at 5 PM, but I skipped out due to long lines. I came back around 6:30 PM when there were less people. It was $3, which was quite affordable. Mostly, we got drinks, a snack, and played games with the maids, notably Apples to Apples. Although the event wasn't very big, it was fun, and it helped that I knew most of the maids. I also got to meet a fellow Touhou fan, which is always good.
Not much else happened so I decided to check out Vic's panel for the hell of it. Stuck around for a few questions, asked him a question about Junpei, and took off about 20 minutes later.
Some of my carpool crew needed to leave around 9, so I started gathering everyone riding with me in the Business Room in the lobby. Cristina Vee got to make a last-hour appearance, so I got a photo with her~
Once everyone was gathered, we left the con, I drove everyone back, changed back into muggle clothes, and fell asleep for a good 14 hours.
KYC's Hilton reboot was a different experience from past runs, for better or for worse. It being a small con, it has this nice, communal feel to it, despite being a little too spread out for its size this year. The important part was, I got to spend time with friends, amend a previously-broken friendship, and cosplay Reimu for the second time.
On a scale of 1 to 6 (because I don't like five-point scales)...
- Venue: 4/6
- Hotel room: 4/6
- Community/Friends: 4/6
- Food availability: 5/6
- Dealer's/Artist's Rooms: 3/6
- Gaming Room: 2/6
- Events: 3/6
- OVERALL: 4/6