Banzaicon was held this past weekend in Columbia, South Carolina. The convention was hosted by Nostalgiaconventions.com, the same group that runs Ichibancon (Charlotte, NC), Anime Triad Con (Winston-salem, NC), Anime Southeast (Tennessee), and ColossalCon (Ohio).
The convention competed with not only Oktoberfest but also an R.Kelly concert and various business conferences throughout the weekend. All of which were occurring around the scenic Marriot Columbia, which was the host hotel. Held within the lobby area of the hotel, Banzaicon saw a modest turnout for its first year. Even despite the busy area, that didn't stop convention goers from enjoying the nice areas outside for pictures, or traveling the halls of the hotel.
Guests included well known voice actors Vic Mignogna and Tiffany Grant among others. Grant could be seen throughout the weekend, wandering the halls of the convention and taking part in events with the other attendees.
Friday's main event was the formal ball, which saw cosplayers come out in their finest of garb to enjoy a night of dancing. Sunday was the Otaku flea market and manga exchange, which allowed fans to sell off old merchandise that they no longer wished to have in their collection. Many came to trade manga or buy goods at a discounted price from their fellow anime fans.
Saturday's big event was the costume contest which saw a fair amount of entries for its first year. Contestants ranged from video games, to anime, to American tv shows. The top winner in each division was awarded free registration to one of the weekends of Ichibancon in January. Runner ups got ten dollars that they could spend in the dealer's room. Winning cosplays of each category were:
- Best Beginner: group from Avatar
- Best Advanced: Telma from Legend of Zelda
- Best Masters: Yue from Cardcaptor Sakura
Homestuck was the predominant cosplay over the weekend with large groups seen throughout the convention. There were also panels discussing the web comic.Other major cosplays seen were Naruto and Avatar as well as a fair amount of Vocaloid costumes.
For more information on Banzaicon, visit their website at: http://banzaicon.com