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Anime and Gaming Convention, Cape Town.

I’ve been wanting to write another blog post essentially since the last one on Jan 12. Sitting here on Jan 28, I cannot believe how the time has flown. It is a very clichéd saying, I know, but life really has seemed to just grow wings and fly off into the romantic sunset leaving me behind to catch up. I’ve had a myriad of things on my mind lately. I’ve actually moved. For the first time ever, not with my parents but AWAY from them. In between all of the moving preparations and house renovations I’ve had many ideas for blog posts. Oddly enough, a post on moving hadn’t occurred to me until now but I am excited to share my experience so look out for a post on that in the near future.

That brings us to today. With all of these ideas in my head but being too busy with the house and having everything a mess I haven’t been able to compose myself to a point where I can take beautiful pictures or write without interruptions. However, I did not want to miss UCON. UCON is an anime and gaming convention run by Genshiken – a UCT Society. Having had an interest in cosplay for years I’ve always wanted to attend conventions, gatherings and the like but until now there has always been something in the way. Having attended UCON I decided to push all of my other post ideas aside and write about the convention while it is still fresh in my mind.

My only regret is that we only took the one photo. I apologise, as this post will then be very text-heavy. I think blogging is a wonderful way to document one’s experiences but I am so unused to walking around with a phone or camera in my hand. I’ve never been the girl that takes a lot of photos. I’ve always preferred to experience a moment than to record it. I also feel it is often rude to constantly have one’s phone in everyone’s faces. But I do wish I’d taken more photos of my experiences so as to enable myself to look back and reminisce. I feel there is a line to photo-taking in social situations but am certain it is essential.

Having seen UCON advertised for a while I had decided that nothing could stop me and I would find someone to go with me. My sister accepted my invitation and we concluded that we would attend UCON on the Saturday. We figured it might be more exciting on the first day of the convention. However, we both had a slow awakening on the day and decided, having the luxury of choice, that we would rather attend on Sunday.

I am starting to feel this weekend was meant to be slow as I had another slow start to the day. I was quite groggy this morning and it took a few hours to really start feeling properly awake. My boyfriend and I sat down on the couch and we watched the latest episode of Katana Maidens with breakfast. I was then startled by a call from my mother asking me if I had decided to give the convention a miss. Realising it was already 10:45 I assured her that we would definitely still be attending and that I would make arrangements with my sister.

I then spent the rest of my morning putting up curtain railings and cupboard shelving which I had to abandon when I realised it was 12pm and that my sister would be arriving shortly. After the fastest shower and skincare routine, my sister arrived later than expected and had a luxurious wait on my couch whilst I finished my hair and skipped makeup altogether. I believe we left by about 1pm and arrived at the convention at 1:45.

By this time, the cosplay that I desperately wanted to see was already finishing on the stage and the winners were being announced. However, I was glad to see that there were all types of cosplayers walking around. From highly accurate cosplays to more casual reinventions worn by people of all skin colours and body types. I feel like this is important in any cosplay community as it is crucial to realise that a character can be made your own and that ‘too big’ or ‘too small’, ‘not good enough’ and other negatives are unnecessary in cosplay. These tags only detract from the beautiful craftsmanship or the fun of the costume.

Having completely forgotten that there was a maid cafe, we went and found ourselves a table after an announcement that the food would be half price for the rest of the day. The decor was as expected for a student-run convention. However, the waitresses were all perfectly dressed in maid outfits and were all incredibly friendly. The menu was so cute! They definitely got the essence of ‘kawaii’ captured beautifully. You could see there was love put into it. The food, however, was disappointing. It was warmed up, shop-bought pastries. I was somewhat surprised as it’s not something you would expect from a cafe but it made sense since, as previously mentioned, this was a student-run convention. At the very least, they had a decent choice of drinks from hot chocolates to cooldrinks which could not disappoint. All in all, a maid cafe is still a fun experience whether the food is good or not.

Stomachs somewhat full, we ventured out onto the convention floor to peruse the wide variety of stalls. I never expected a Cape Town convention to have an artist alley but there was more than a whole row of the convention floor full of artists! I saw some incredible work in the artist alley. There was one artist who was particularly friendly. She had this stunning Nier: Automata piece which I was admiring. She asked me if I had played the game to which I exclaimed I would if I could afford it and so ensued a short conversation on computers interrupted by the arrival of other customers. Being someone that rarely gets the opportunity to interact with new people, I forgot to ask her name. But I did get her Instagram handle which I must remember to ask my sister to retrieve from her handbag. If I had the money I would definitely support her as her work is so good but if you can’t support an artist, share their work. I will add the artist’s handle in an edit once I get it.

Among the many stalls at the convention were jewellery stalls, collector’s items, manga and comics, and even homeware. I was particularly drawn to one stand that sold glasses that were engraved with anime characters or crests and such. I think something like that would be a magnificent addition to my kitchenware. I will certainly be keeping an eye out for her again. Otherwise there was another stall that had a gem shaped into a little polar bear. It was adorable and I want one on every table in my house – but that would be a stylistic disaster. Then of course I was drawn to all of the manga and comics that I could not afford. Oh if only one could have it all.

Having had enough of stall-perusing, I decided to buy a cupcake as a photo-prop so that we could take a half-decent photo before we left. My cupcake is as in the photo above. The cupcakes were sold in three different flavours. It was basically a sponge base with flavoured icing on top in coffee, vanilla or choc mint. This was R20 which felt quite overpriced for a cupcake. Then you had a choice of adding a topper (the piece with the design). This was an extra R5 and I thought that was quite reasonable. This topper was made of fondant. She had many different designs including the horde crest which I chose. There was also a Dota cupcake topper but I fail to remember the others. I was quite offended as when she handed it to me she said “if anyone asks just tell them it’s a ‘horde’ crest” with extra emphasis on ‘horde’ as if someone like me could never have even heard of World of Warcraft let alone played it since she was 8. But I kept my mouth shut. I was half too shocked to say anything and half felt it would be polite to just say nothing. I suppose it’s an easy mistake but thinking about it she could have at least asked if I played the game. Assumptions made an ass out of her today.

With cupcake in hand, we took my picture in the middle of the con floor. We had no idea where would be a good place to do it and so I just turned to my sister and asked her to take my picture right there. I am so unimpressed with the photo as the light is coming straight from above which makes for the most unflattering photo. But at least you could see the detail on the cupcake topper.

All in all I had a good time. I would definitely recommend stopping by at the next UCON if you have any interest in cosplay, anime or gaming. Actually, if you have any interest in geek-culture (movies, series etc) I would give it a go as the merchandise that is sold is of such a wide variety I am sure you would find something you to spark your interest. I would, however, suggest to get only a day pass and not a two day pass as I spent barely just over an hour there let alone two whole days and we were quite satisfied that we had seen everything. Take a look at the stage schedule and find the best time for you to go.

Perhaps I will see you at the next UCON! I am hoping that I will be able to learn to sew soon so that I can also join in cosplay. The next convention coming up that I know of is FanCon on 28-29 April. FanCon, I believe, is the biggest convention in Cape Town so I am unbelievably excited to attend and hope I can get a simple cosplay together by then.

Hope to see you there,

– Jade


A note on upcoming posts:

Being a makeup artist I naturally want to post more on makeup. With skin being our canvas, I am excited to write a post on skincare which will be coming shortly. Makeup posts will follow. As previously mentioned, I also want to post on my moving experience. If you have any suggestions or posts you would like from me, please let me know!

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