This year I went to C2E2 for the first time. After having attended several conventions as a cosplayer for the last two and a half years I can tell you that this one most definitely set itself apart from the others. Thursday morning I got up at 4:30 in the morning to catch a train to Chicago after deciding that driving in Chicago wasn’t an experience I wanted. If you’ve never traveled by passenger train you should try it! It was absolutely more comfortable than any bus or flight I’ve ever been on. After five hours (with lots of in-between stops) I found myself standing outside of Union Station. This is where the hype sets in. I’ve made it to Chicago, with all of my things in one piece. Tomorrow is convention day!
Friday morning I got up early enough to make sure my cosplay came together. As a cosplayer you have to accept that conventions will involve little sleep. Most of the time you can easily spend more time getting ready than you actually did sleeping depending on the cosplay (thankfully none of mine were that time consuming this weekend.) My longest prep time all weekend was this day. Totaling two hours to get all the hair, makeup , and clothes on and together.
Before I knew it, here we were walking into the convention center! I spent most of Friday just trying to go through the entire dealer’s room. This is generally the best day to purchase anything you can’t live without because they’ll actually have it in stock. I made almost all of my purchases this day. What parts of my day I didn’t spend exploring the giant dealer’s room I spent exploring the convention center. If you’ve never been to the Chicago convention center (Mccormick Place), it has several levels and is split into different sides. Lots to see by itself, not including all of the cosplayers to look at and admire!
Friday night brought on the lobby party. This is one of the most fun experiences I’ve had at a convention party, but everyone put on white t-shirts and we proceeded to write all over each other. The idea was not to know what was being written on you until you got back to your hotel room that night or the next morning. We wrote funny things, inappropriate things, encouraging things, compliments, cool pictures (I personally just drew cats on people). If you can think of it, it was probably on someone’s shirt. I had the opportunity to meet so many friendly, amazing people just from this activity alone!
Saturday morning comes around faster than it seems possible! We’re already one third of the way through this convention. You can tell that everyone is pretty tired from Friday night’s shenanigans, but excited to begin a new day. The one thing I want to draw the most attention this weekend to was how aware the C2E2 staff was. As a cosplayer, I’m familiar with most staff at many conventions thinking I’m a nuisance. Acting as if “because I put on a costume before I came that I must’ve
agreed to give up some amount of my rights to respect or dignity as a person. I no longer deserve to be treated with respect and I’m just in the way clogging the hallways.” The C2E2 staff was nothing like this! It was made very clear and apparent that cosplay is not consent and that cosplayers, too, deserve to feel safe. It was refreshing to see staff that were involved in the experience, for everyone not just cosplayers. Another thing I really enjoyed about this convention is there was a DJ placed in the middle of everything. All weekend, he played fun music keeping the atmosphere upbeat and going, regardless of how tired we were. A lot of times during the day they even played dance music, throwing out prizes to those who got involved regardless of their age, it was a fun way to keep the mood upbeat and moving through the day.
Saturday I didn’t see much of the convention. I spent most of my day getting stopped for pictures, but the overwhelming amount of love, encouragement, and compliments was so heartwarming. This, by far, is the busiest day convention-wise; it’s also the day that everyone pulls out the cosplays they spent the most work on, which means there were so many cools things to see. I discovered Yo Kai Watch, a game that is very popular in Japan and is making its way to the states. Seemingly compared to Pokemon, this game can be played on your DS and has lots of tokens you can collect with characters on them that interact with the game (We were given a sample to keep!). All of
the characters are a ghost with their own story and through an app on your phone you can see what their story is, and what their general hobby is (in other words, how they spend their time in the afterlife). I also got to witness a game of Quidditch, which was a blast to watch! I also found time to give blood during the busiest day of the convention. It did take up over an hour of my day, but they paid me for my time with this awesome t-shirt (below and to the right), and I saved three lives!
Saturday night brought the c2e2 after party. Reading Rocks hosted by with Reading with Pictures. To give you some background on Reading With Pictures, it’s a non-profit organization that facilitates the use of comics in the
classroom in order to promote literacy and the visual arts. This event included four super fun nerdy bands (including a Harry Potter punk band that made my night), a cosplay contest, and lots of good company! I left the party with absolutely no voice from shouting over the music, but with another fun experience I’m not bound to forget.
Sunday morning brought a lot of tiredness. We got to the convention late due to some mishaps, but in good moods. The day started out with a Disney photo shoot, and a Star Wars shoot while finishing up any last minute purchases from the dealer’s room. This is a time of saying goodbyes, to some people you’ll see again next week, and some you may not see again until next year. We spent most of the day finding friends, giving hugs, saying goodbyes, and taking it all in one last time. This day is always the saddest day of the convention for me because even though I’m dead tired I don’t want it to end. Next year, my goal is to actually get to make panels, instead of making plans to go to them and then getting stuck in the hallway talking or taking pictures. Despite the fact I missed out on that this year I absolutely would not change a minute of my experience this weekend. Ever considered going to C2E2? It’s one I would strongly recommend and would say that even though I was so overwhelmed by it, it’s probably moved to the top of my list of favorite conventions!
Below I’ve attached the swag I picked up that wasn’t included above, in case you were curious and some photos from the convention! (I wish I had more of the awesome cosplayers, because there were so many, but none of my outfits really had pockets to keep a picture taking device)
Featured image: Saturday C2E2 in front of the letters in the main lobby.