Sunday, November 9, 2014

Detroit media covers Youmacon

I'm in another "I can't be all DOOM all the time" mood, so for the Sunday collapse-related entertainment entry, I'm dispensing with the collapse and going directly for the entertainment, albeit one with a personal connection.

Youmacon, the major Detroit anime and video game convention, was held last weekend at Cobo Center.  I've never attended, but I know the person who organizes it, Morgan Kollin.  Eight years ago, my then-roommates were friends of his and he'd come over to visit.  I had an invitation to go in 2006, but I didn't feel up to it.  Even if I had, I had another engagement to go to that day and would have gone there, instead.  In retrospect, I should have gone.

At the time, Youmacon was just getting off the ground, but it's now a major entertainment event, one that the local media found worth covering.  I begin with WXYZ covering the last day of the convention with four clips during their Sunday morning broadcast.  They opened with an interview of Morgan.

Compare this interview with WDIV's segment from the morning of the first day--Youmacon 2014: Celebrating amine, video games--and WWJ's taped segment from the day before--WWJ-TV in Youmacon Anime Convention To Takeover Downtown Detroit (Video).  Unfortunately, the videos at those links won't embed here.  I think Morgan looks and sounds a lot less chipper than he did on Thursday.  I guess four days of running the convention took its toll.

Follow over the jump for more videos from WXYZ, along with coverage from the Detroit Free Press, WWJ-TV, CW50, The News Herald, and

WXYZ's coverage continued with one of the convention's special guests, Raj Ramayya, who composes music for anime and video games.

Next, interviews with some of the cosplaying convention attendees.

WXYZ concluded its coverage with an interview of one of the other convention guests, Tom Wayland, who directs the English dubbing for Pokemon.

In addition to the above clips, WXYZ posted a story to their website, Youmacon 2014 takes over Detroit and the Cobo Center.  It included this factoid about the convention that didn't make it on air.
Moore and Hunter said they each spent $125 for a four-day pass and budgeted additional money for souvenirs. Multiply that kind of spending by more than 14,000 and Youmacon becomes a nice economic shot in the arm for Detroit and its tourism industry. And, the event is attracting more than just locals.

“We have people coming in all the way from Australia, Sweden, France, Spain, England, everywhere,” said Kollin.
Yes, fans of Japanese pop culture are big business, as Avril Lavigne and Vox have discovered.  Also, see, this entry is about serious business after all, in this case, the promotion of tourism and conventions as part of the revival of Detroit.  Morgan even says as much in an interview with WWJ-TV.
“One of the key missions of Youmacon is to bring tourism to the region,” he said. “I have always lived in this region and I want to do everything I can to support it.”
Also, here is the impact of Youmacon compared to the North American International Auto Show, at least in terms of attendees.
In the ten years Youmacon has been held it has grown from over 1,000 attendees at the Troy Hilton, to filling all the conference rooms at the GM Renaissance Center and part of Cobo Center. More than 16,000 people from around the world are expected to attend the event. Kollin said it has grown so large that the entire Marriott Hotel at the Renaissance Center is booked for attendees.

In comparison, more than 5,000 journalists attend the press preview for the North American International Auto Show.
As I wrote, serious big business.

The Detroit Free Press also covered Youmacon: Youmacon brings Japanese characters, costumes to Detroit.  The article mostly concentrated on the cosplayers with some general information on the convention, but it did add one item about the special guests.
Celebrities attending included Johnny Yong Bosch, the second black ranger from the original "Power Rangers" series, and David Vincent, the voice of Marshall Law in the "Tekken" video game series and Fukusuke Hikyakuya in the "Naruto" TV series.
In addition, Youmacon, like all anime and comic conventions, is a great opportunity for photographers to put together image galleries, and several outlets did just that.  The Free Press was no exception with its gallery, Youmacon 2014.  Other media outlets with stories and galleries included The News Herald with a story and gallery, with a story and gallery, and CW50.  All of this is far more media coverage that I would have ever dreamed of when I was involved in the hobby from 2000-2006 and first met Morgan.  Congratulations to him and the rest of the Youmacon staff for making his event such a success.

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