So, as you know we, the NG team, made our second (hopefully now to be annual) trip to Eirtakon. The venue was once again the globally renowned Croke Park, a sure sign that the convention is still going from strength to strength. I’m sorry to say we still haven’t learned our lesson from previous conventions, and made our way on the 7am bus from Belfast (some of us a little more alive than others). Journey complete, we arrived at the venue, wondering how on earth they could top the events of last year. We weren’t disappointed.
As you can see from our previous article (from Dave) we have already offered up a run down of the event. In this article, however, I am focusing on the highlights of the con, personal as they may be… So, as always, if anyone has anything to add, or disagree with, please feel free do so in the comments bar below.
As any con-goer will understand, I entered the con a little dazed and confused as, like any good con there was a lot going on. So, having completed the customary tour of our surroundings, we decided the best course of action was to start the con with a panel (and boy, do I love a good panel).
The panel we decided on was a testament to the best fight sequences in anime history, headed by the enthusiastic Niall Flanagan and, since I’m a fan of unnecessary violence, this came to be the first of my highlights. On offer were a number of scenes from a wealth of classic anime (some even older than my good self). the selection was fantastic and even led to many the audible responses from their audience (myself included). I left the panel with with a large number of animes added to my ‘to watch’ list, including one called ‘Ben-To’ which premise is a number of avid bento lovers battling it out for half price bento (what can I say, I love sushi). So, with my blood now pumping and a new found love for fighting, talking dogs (yes you read that right) I made my way to what transpired to be my next highlight, Fairtakon.
For those of you that have never graced the Eirtakon doors, Fairtakon is essentially what it says on the tin, (crowd friendly) funfair games. However, unlike the standard rubber ducks and goldfish, these games had a much nerdier twist. Now, it just so happened that one of our number had arrived at the con with an additional motive, to find the perfect Birthday present for her brother and, like any good nerd,we, the NG crew, love a good quest Having glanced over the stalls, including one displaying a laser etched Batman clock (my purse strings trembled), we happened upon the Fairtakon stand and, wouldn’t you know, the perfect present (a Zelda character plushie) stood before us, a rare talisman, amongst a throng of, similarly appealing prizes. The ticket on its chest read ’50’ and our goal was clear… We would unite as a team and collect the 50 tickets needed to collect this prize (cue Gladiators/ Crystal Maze theme tune).
Now, in my mind, we climbed treacherous mountains, air-bended our way through huge fleets, felled mighty obstacles and demonstrated dexterity worthy of a master samurai. However, in reality, we raised a marble over (brilliantly crafted) Zelda themed puzzle walls, launched air balls at paper boats, played skittles and picked up marbles with chopsticks but, as you probably know by now, I’m a fan and avid user of the artistic licence and, it must be said that the quest, and the fun of it all may have led me to believe I was accomplishing mightier feats than I was, in reality. In the end, we completed our mission and strutted up to the table to collect our prize and I then walked away with yet another highlight under my belt.
Finally, there was on more highlight that stood out amongst a wealth of frivolity and excitement and this was the masquerade. Like any good cosplay convention a masquerade is one of its main events and this one really lived up to its billing. The cosplay on show was even better than what was on display last year (pictures of which can be found amongst our many platforms). However, although the parade and entries were undoubtedly a highlight it was what happened between the end of the parade and the winners’ presentation, that really stood out for me.
If you’ve been to a masquerade competition before then you will know that there’s usually an awkward section between the parade ending and the judge’s verdict. The audience twiddles their thumbs, some cosplayers twiddle their claws and usually there’s an internal war as to whether a mad dash to the toilet is worth the risk of losing your seat. However, all of this was avoided when ‘Back Streets Back’ blasted out over the MC and Batman, and a throng of other competitors, took the stage. Now, be advised readers, I have seen and experienced a great number of things but nothing, and I mean nothing, could have prepared me for seeing Batman do the macarena (of which shaky footage can be released on demand). Also, just when I thought my inner nerd could take no more, the stage parted and (holy rusted metal !) a dance-off ensued. The participants? Batman and the Joker (cue my fan-girl screams).
So yes, it probably goes without saying that Eirtakon 2014 was a massive success. I will admit, however, that we only managed to stay for the Saturday events so, hopefully next year, we’ll stay for the entirety, making my 2015 highlights all the better.
21st-23rd November 2014, Dublin (Ireland)
Eirtakon is the largest and longest-running anime and manga convention in Ireland, held every year by the DCU Anime & Manga Society.
Eirtakon features extravagant cosplay events; exclusive anime screenings; special guests from Europe, the USA and beyond; engaging panels and workshops; video, card and board gaming;specialist traders from the UK and Europe; and a general love of Japanese culture.
Check out the official site for more information and for when tickets go on sale for Eirtakon 2015.