Two nouns you usually don’t place together in the same convention building is happening. Those two nouns are otakus and wrestlers at this year’s NatsuCon on July 22th-24th. NatsuCon is a Japanese culture convention held in Collinsville, IL at the Gateway Convention Center. The con has many guest appearances and actual wrestling matches. It is a very unique con with plenty to offer attendees
The biggest name of the guest appearances is Vic Mignogna, a multi-talented person for 15 plus years. He’s an actor, voice actor, musician, director, film graduate, and much more. He has voice acted in well over 300 anime and video games. Roles such as: Edward Elric in Fullmetal Alchemist, Broly in Dragonballz, Obito/Nagato in Naruto, Ikkaku in Bleach. Video games such as: Soul Calibur, Disgaea, Dynasty Warriors, Persona III and so much more. He also produces, stars, and directs a web-based, approved by CBS non-profit 1950’s Star Trek show. It is called Star Trek Continues, and at the con he has a screening of one of the episodes. As fans wait in line for his autograph those meeting him are welcomed with a giant smile and hug. Many of the fans are crying tears of joy or hyperventilating after meeting him. Mignogna even grants a fan’s wish and does a one act from said fan’s script. These are just some of the things that make him a great person and role- model.
As Mignogna does interviews he preaches against bullying, commends people to be different and unique.
He commends fans to work hard, because, “10% of talent and 90% of hard work is better than the reverse.”
These are just some of the reasons why he is respected in the business by fans and also his peers. Chuck Huber and Christopher Sabat also voice actors whom have worked with Mignogna rave about him and his genuine niceness personal and in business.
Dynamo Pro Wrestling a wrestling organization that centers around the Midwest, is a high flying, very entertaining show for all attendees. They have many matches going on daily at the con, ear ringing explosions and the smell of gunpowder from small pyrotechnics is in the air. The wrestlers can be seen walking the halls and their outfits blend well with the cosplayers here. Rick Story one of the organizers of NatsuCon even participated in a big match. Check out the video here NatsuCon Matches.
As you walk the halls at NatsuCon at every door there is an usher in different cosplay outfits. Domo is ushering in fans to catch the Jason Charles Miller live concert. Miller is a great musician, songwriter, and newly voice actor. As a voice actor he’s noted on titles as: Super Street Fighter 4, Street Fighter X Tekken, Ultra Street Fighter 4, and Code Geass. He has worked with all kinds of top artist such as Godhead, Marilyn Manson, Billy Ray Cyrus, Ben Moody and many more other people and projects. Here you can find some of his YouTube videos.
With the craze of Pokémon Go still in full force the convention was littered with Go fans running around outside the convention center. There were even a few Team Rocket members out there stealing Pokémon. The convention center served attendees from an on-hand café serving snacks, pizza, hotdogs, soda etc. The panels were abundant, from topics on how to be a YouTube sensation to Japanese folktales and myths. They even had a panel covering Tokusatsu, which isn’t touched much at anime conventions. Tokusatsu is basically live-action drama with a ton of special effects. In Japan the two biggest series are Super Sentai and Kamen Rider. They each have a different variation of the show every year, with different plots and characters. The American equivalent of those series is Power Rangers and the Masked Rider.
Most of the time at conventions Saturday is the busiest day and the biggest day. Therefore, for attendees that were 18+ after all the festivities, there is a huge rave party, glow in the dark, edm style. A spectacle to see, where attendees let out everything and just go for broke. It’s great fun and attendees are surrounded by like-minded people. The vendors room and artist alley are like those you see at all the anime conventions. More cosplay outfits you can buy, posters, t-shirts, props, swords. If you’re into K-pop there is a booth for that too, all the biggest names from Korea. Different about the artist alley is more and more homemade toys, plushies, dolls, and glassware that is anime themed. The organizers are already working on NatsuCon 2017 and for more info click here.