Yesterday, I went to Ohayocon 2013 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center with my best friend Aaron. Ohayocon is a Japanese anime and pop culture convention that lasts from Jan 18-20. But, we didn’t stay a whole day. Nevertheless, it was a chance for me to suit up as Iron Man once again (Recycling my Halloween costume!) and meet new people, and pick up a few souvenirs. I think the best part was just people watching. Costumes from videogames, animes, (Many of which we didn’t recognize.) American comics, TV shows…the whole place felt a little surreal as if we had stepped into a videogame…a dream come true for me!
The main floor had plenty of space, and elevators, and I saw quite a few people in wheelchairs, costumed and not. Everyone was very friendly. Within 5 minutes two girls already wanted pictures with us. I was pretty popular in that costume! But, Aaron joked that he got to take the pictures so he had fun to! Really, for me, it was a chance to hang out, and look at costumes, talk about comics and sci-fi, (I even met a much better version of Iron Man and had to take that picture of us together.) and buy some cool things like a Japanese anime Star Trek graphic novel (a.k.a. Manga!) and a classic anime DVD: Space Adventure Cobra!
On the 3rd floor dealer’s floor it was crowded. It was a bit like a people jam, as opposed to a traffic jam, with costumed characters slowly moving in waves inch by inch from Dealer Table to Dealer Table. I had to watch out for people in tall costumes, or with masks that might’ve kept them from seeing me! I almost ran over The Stay Puft Marshmellow Man! Without Aaron as my guide (always in front!), I probably would’ve gotten trampled, or at least ran over people! And of course we met more people who wanted a picture with me. At least, since Aaron wasn’t costumed, I think it was me. For my first anime convention, I must’ve looked well-prepared! Very cool when you get to dress up as a hero, and be recognized as such, and the wheelchair doesn’t even matter!
The salesmen and saleswomen were very nice, and were also fellow enthusiasts! I took some pictures posing with some merchandise on the Dealer Floor: A wizard staff, and a nice wide-brimmed fedora that reminded me of Tom Baker’s “4th Doctor” hat in Doctor Who. I saw a lot of things from Doctor Who, actually. Basically, if it involved fantasy/sci-fi; I saw it. I think I’m still recovering from the excitement of my new Star Trek Manga! (Which came with a nice poster, for a nice souvenir!) Finally, we went back up to the main floor and had a break, watching all the costumes go by. On our way out, we saw a couple dressed as Ryu and Chun Li from Street Fighter II!
The convention was about the most fun I’ve had this year! The good thing about the convention was (for me.) that the wheelchair didn’t matter, and for the day, I was Iron Man! (Well, Mark VI at least. That Mark VII Iron Man was a very impressive costume!) And there was enough room on the main floor that, if I needed a break, Aaron and I could just go back up and chat. The Convention Center itself is huge, and actually hosted two events that day: This and America's Got Talent Try-Outs. So, we had plenty of space from the Dealer’s Floor, (2 floors!) and accessibility aside from the crowded areas!
I had a fantastic time! One for the Ages! I didn’t hardly think about the accessibility issues; except for taking notes, and trying not running folks over, of course. I got to talk comics, and animation, and be with my best friend and be Iron Man! What could be better? Definitely something I’d encourage people with disabilities to come check out: I loved it!