Youmacon 2019 Review: Adventures in Con Shenanigans

Hello you dashing nerds, you. This is Jason from Adventures in Random Roleplay. You may have seen me if you were at Youmacon 2019, which took place over Halloween weekend in Detroit’s TCF Center and the GM Renaissance Center. Year after year, Youmacon manages to impress, and 2019 was no different. As expected, the cosplay was on point, the Tabletop Gaming Library was larger than ever, and the artist’s alley was full of amazing creators. With that said, I’m signing off again until…

Wait, hold on. My editor is saying that submitting an article this small would be incredibly bad for my health. With that in mind, let’s talk about my highlights from this year’s Youmacon 2019!

Here’s What You Missed

Cosplay Photos

As already mentioned, the cosplay scene this weekend was excellent, so here are the links to our photo albums:

I’ll be honest with you right up front— you might be busy surfing through the cosplay albums, but I’m a sucker for good quality panels, no matter the con I’m attending. This year, Youmacon didn’t disappoint. After navigating the con floor and getting a chance to mingle with this year’s incredible cosplayers on Saturday, I have the pleasure of attending one very special panel indeed.

Menhera Fashion Panel

Designer Puvithel led the panel on Menhera fashion, which helped clarify some of the goals of the Menhera movement. Specifically, Menhera being primarily concerned with easy-to-wear clothing in order to raise accessibility for those with mental illness.

Magical Girl First Aid Dust Masks image 0
“Magical Girl First Aid Dust Masks” from Puvithel’s Etsy shop. Link >

Much of Menhera is concerned with cuteness with underlying illness, be it through medical bracelets or bandages. It helps raise awareness that being cute doesn’t mean that one is free of illness—mental or physical.  I also had a chance to visit Puvithel’s booth in the vendor hall where she sells her designs, Menhera, and otherwise. It was a great opportunity to see a style of fashion I knew very little about coming into the con this year. It’s excellent to see different styles get exposure like this at places like Youmacon.

Special Voice Acting Guests

I began Sunday with the Yuri Lowenthal and Tara Platt Q & A. If you aren’t familiar with Yuri and Tara, but have watched cartoons or played video games in the last 20 years, you actually are familiar with them and just don’t know it. From voicing the English dub of Sasuke and Temari in Naruto to voicing Peter Parker and Yuri Watanabe in Marvel’s Spider-Man for the PS4, you’ve probably heard their voices in something you love.

Special guests Tara Platt and Yuri Lowenthal.

If anything, this Q & A’s only negative was that it eventually had to end. Yuri and Tara, a real-life husband and wife duo, were hilarious and engaging, treating every question (and every person asking them) with kindness and respect. Be it talking about the genuine anxiety that comes with not knowing when you’ll get your voice acting gig, to talking about how to approach entering the voice acting business, they were an absolute pleasure. I cannot recommend enough catching a panel with these folks at any con you can. In the meantime, I also suggest checking out their TEDx Talk on using storytelling to navigate a crisis. It gives you a taste of what these great folks are all about.

Gaming as a Parent Panel

Once their panel was over, it was time to take the trip from the TCF Center to the Renaissance Center. Our next panel to visit was Gaming as a Parent presented by Bobby Brandi and Nicolas Bell. To be upfront, Bobby is a friend and former contributor to our website. As a parent, I was extremely interested in his presentation on the topic— it’s one we’re definitely familiar with, our oldest children being roughly the same age. After a good crowd gathered, the panel began. It was very interactive as both presenters engaged with the audience, taking questions on how to both make time to game WHILE being a parent, but also how to game with your children AS a parent. The audience asked questions covering infants and toddlers all the way up to pre-teens. Solutions ranged from engaging the youngest with distractions or the most basic of games and puzzles, all the way up to suggestions for board and roleplaying games best suited to new players, like the FATE RPG system. It was definitely a successful panel and I hope to see them present again.

An Artist of Legend

The final panel of note was with Fred Gallagher, the author and artist of Megatokyo. Megatokyo, for the uninitiated, is an American webcomic that’s been running for 19 years. Fred has been heavily influenced by manga, which shows in both the art style and the story writing in the series itself. While I expected this panel to overflowing, with how close it was in time to Closing Ceremonies, the audience was mostly trimmed down to fans of Megatokyo. The panelists were Fred, his son, and Thomas Knapp. Thomas adapted the game being played in the Megatokyo webcomic into its own series called Endgames. Fred is known to be famously self-disparaging and it was on full display during his panel. From poking fun at his panel’s time to a line of jokes about being comically inept with current technology after a fan suggested using current comic-reading apps to access Megatokyo kept the mood light.

There were several more serious questions about the effort it takes to maintain a webcomic for 19 years, as well as the legacy that comes with such a monumental task. Fred also discussed branching out into other projects. It seems there may yet come a day when he starts his project “Warmth” that Megatokyo was originally supposed to only be practice for. However, by his own admission, Fred has already rolled many ideas for new characters or projects into the ever-growing Megatokyo instead. Only time will tell.

And that, my friends, covers my most notable experiences at Youmacon. Did you attend? What were the highlights for you? Make sure to let us know in the comments below!

You can find more info on the convention for 2020 on the official website.

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Written by: Jason A. Clark

Writer, Salesman, Cartographer of The Weird Realms In My Head

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