Ichibancon was held the weekend of January 9 in the Embassy Suites in Concord, NC. It was their first year at the hotel and convention center and so it took many attendees some time to get used to the new space. There seemed to be some congestion during the day while tornado warnings and torrential downpours kept convention goers inside for most of the daylight hours. Even despite the poor weather, the spirits inside the hotel were not dampened at all.
There were some miscommunication issues with hotel security in regards to some of the late night events, but the convention handled them as best they could. There was issues of crowding along the artist alley area since it was located so closely to the main events room and many artists seemed displeased with the setup. The high traffic was difficult to handle when it blocked booths.
There were high moments during the convention. During the masquerade contest, which hosted a handful of entertaining skits and a large group of walk-ons, a very special moment occurred. The last walk-on of the evening ended up in a marriage proposal that shocked the audience and the bride-to-be. She of course agreed to the cheers of the full packed room of onlookers.
The convention hosted a very large game room. A far improvement over the corner cubicle that hosted only two game systems the first year of its existence five years ago. Various multi-player games filled a main events sized room, including a popular drumming game as well as many standard convention favorites. It was in this room that the convention's iconic blow up characters were housed. Mario and Luigi welcomed gamers into the room, while Kon from "Bleach" kept watch on another wall.
The otaku flea market is always a staple of the convention and once again, attendees got the chance to sell off their official merchandise that they no longer wanted. Lining the halls and also within a couple of the panel rooms were lightly used merchandise just waiting for a new home.
Ichibancon continues to grow with each year. There is no word yet as to the dates for next year, but keep watching their website at http://ichibancon.com/ for information.