Elizabethtown College will soon hold the popular Japanese culture-related convention known as Jaycon. March 31 and April 1 will mark the three-year anniversary of Jaycon, which will be hosted by Etown’s Anime Club. The convention will feature a variety of events for different interests, including panels, a rave, anime screenings, a game room, a dealer’s room, an artist’s alley, the famed cosplay chess, stand-up comedy and other exciting features with a famous headliner, Kevin Bolk.
The word “cosplay” is a combination of the words costume and play. People who participate usually dress as their favorite character from popular culture. The term usually refers to people dressing up as a character based from Japanese anime or more American-themed characters such as the Joker from DC Comics. Anime refers to Japanese animation, available in the original Japanese language with subtitles (aka sub) or in dubbed English (aka dub).
Jaycon’s events will be held throughout the campus, using the Hoover Center for Business; Esbenshade in the Masters Center for Science, Mathematics and Engineering; Gibble Auditorium and Atrium, the KĀV in the Brossman Commons; and the M&M Mars Room, located in Leffler Chapel.
Some of the anime screenings to be aired are as follows, “Origins: Spirits of the Past,” “Sailor Moon: Black Dream Hole;” “Inuyasha: Swords of an Honorable Ruler;” “Trigun;” and “Cowboy Bebop: Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” (18+). They will be shown in Hoover 213 and open to the public unless otherwise noted.
One popular event at Jaycon is cosplay chess. The game is similar to regular chess, but the cosplayers are the chess pieces. “What we liken it to is wizard’s chess in Harry Potter, except anime-style,” explained sophomore Kate McMahan, Anime Club secretary and Jaycon 2012 artist and conbook coordinator. There are two players or “masters” who direct their cosplaying chess pieces and when one chess piece moves in on the opposing chess piece, they perform a short battle. The cosplayer who has been moved in on acts out their death and is then dragged off of the chess board. Auditions are to be held beforehand. The event will be held in the M&M Mars room from 11:30 a.m.-1p.m. Spectators are welcome to watch the game unfold.
Another form of entertainment comes from the stand-up comedy of Cosplay Comedian Joe, whose act consists of comedy and anime music videos (AMV), including his famous “Halftime ‘04” AMV. His panel is for the 18 and older crowd; wristbands can be obtained when registering and picking up badges at the Jaycon registration table.
An additional stand-up comic returning this year is Derek Williams. His comic routine is sure to please everyone with his gamer, comic and anime-related jokes. Williams’ panel is open to everyone aged 14 years and older.
Later, the KĀV will be thumping hard with loud and energetic music on Saturday night with two local DJs performing. DJ Ashre Finix is from downtown Harrisburg and specializes in electro and dubstep music. He describes himself as “always bringing a high amount of energy and enthusiasm.” DJ Ashre Finix remixes anime and video game music, representing Brookwood Entertainment.
DJ Disassembler will be returning for his second year at Jaycon to keep audiences’ hearts pumping fast with his electronic music, which he creates with “Nintendo Game Boys running Nanoloop and LSDJ, and a PSP running PiggyTracker.” Disassembler uses his influence from various genres to craft heavy bass-lines and continuously improves his techniques to provide the best experience for audiences.
Jaycon’s biggest guest and headliner of this year is Kevin Bolk, also known as “K-bo.” Bolk is a freelance cartoonist and illustrator from Baltimore, Md., who is famous for his work through Nickelodeon, Tokyopop, Udon Entertainment, Blind Ferret Entertainment and Voices For. K-bo currently creates parody web comics as part of Interrobang Studios’ Pot Luck Comics. His work includes “It Sucks to be Weegie,” “Ensign Sue Must Die!,” an auto-biographical comic called “I’m My Own Mascot” and others. He also designed the badges for this year’s Jaycon. They can be viewed on the Interrobang Studios website.
A few of the panels that will be featured at the campus convention are the favored Anime Dating Game, Final Fantasy 2.0, Saturday Morning (And After School) Cartoons in the 80s and 90s, Japanese Lolita Fashion: An Introduction, An Introduction to Asian Ball-Jointed Dolls, Con Etiquette and Convention Q & A. There are more panels to be a part of at Jaycon, including a couple of discussion-themed ones, workshops that feature a “how-to” on making artist’s characters come to life—featuring headliner Kevin Bolk and an anime-style model United Nations. Convention Q & A will be for otaku, everyone curious about going to a convention and easing parents’ concerns about taking their children to them. The panel will be hosted by Etown sophomore Alex Yastishock.
In the evening, the panels reserved for those 18 years and older will be opened. The featured panels are the Cosplay Comedian Joe AMV Hour, LGTBQ in Japan and Of Duelists and Drunkards. LGTBQ (Lesbian, Gay, Transgender, Bisexual and Questioning) in Japan is a panel discussing the treatment of Japanese people who identify in any of these categories. The focus will be on how the community is portrayed in various media, pop culture (including yaoi and yuri) and how it is compared to the rest of the world. Of Duelists and Drunkards panel encourages the discussion of interesting convention experiences and any other wacky tales that attendees wish to share.
The dealer’s room will have a total of 12 vendors who will be selling goods. Kevin Bolk will sell Interrobang Studios merchandise. Three Cat Kitchen, a small bakery based out of the Philadelphia area, will be selling baked goods. Others include Dark Renka (DeviantArt artist), Foxx Weavers, Miyu Mart (Japanese imported merchandise), Alex’s Second Hand Animu and Mango (various manga and figurines), and Coconut Cosplay (cosplay merchandise).
Jaycon will take place this Saturday and Sunday and Etown students can still register online. Etown students will not have to pay the $10 fee, but must have a valid form of college identification. Those who want to obtain an 18-years-old and up wristband must have a valid government issued form of identification such as a driver’s license. Everyone is welcome to attend. For more information, check out Jaycon’s website at jaycon.weebly.com/index.html.
“We’re really very, very, grateful to the College that they let us do this and realize that it’s a big deal, and we try to be as careful and adhere to college rules as much as we can,” McMahan said.
“Even if you really don’t know what this stuff is, it’s fun to just come so you can get an idea about it and a lot of times you can find something there that you’ll love. I feel there is a little something there for everyone,” Dawkins said.