Youmacon, the largest anime convention in Michigan and the 10th largest anime convention in North America, returns to Detroit Nov. 2-5. This year the event will be held at the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center and Cobo Hall. The name of the convention comes from the Japanese term for ghost or demon.
When the convention began in 2005, it attracted about 1,000 visitors. However, it has grown in popularity, filling the entire Marriott hotel and attracting more than 16,000 visitors in 2016.
The annual convention focuses on Japanese animation, called “anime,” and gaming. Attendees commenting on social media say that Youmacon is “so much fun” and that they feel “at home” there, bonding with others who share their interests.
Each year, the event features music videos, a vending area and an “Artists Alley,” a masquerade ball that benefits a different charity each year, discussion panels, gaming tournaments, karaoke, video gaming, live music, and more. Youmacon 2017 will also feature a singing competition called YoumaIdol, patterned after the “American Idol” television show, and a performance by Illuminair Entertainment, a circus performance troupe from Toronto.
The majority of attendees dress as their favorite anime characters, an activity called “cosplay,” short for “costume play,” so there are many people-watching opportunities at Youmacon as well.
Each year, the convention also features a number of special guests. This year, special guests include American voice actor and musician Nathan Sharp, who writes music about anime and video games, and cartoonist Randy Milholland. YouTube personality and videogame reviewer Mark “Cornshaq” Davis will also make an appearance, as will pop punk musician Kieran Strange and voice actor Todd Haberkorn. Billy West, an American voice actor known for doing voices on Ren and Stimpy and Futurama will also attend as a special guest.
All-weekend passes are $65, while day passes range from $25-35. A full line-up of activities and special guests is available at the convention’s website, http://www.youmacon.com.
~Sarah Rigg is a freelance writer and editor in southeast Michigan. You may reach her at email@example.com.