MomoCon Rising: The becoming Atlanta anime and gaming convention courts a brand new, younger fandom

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MomoCon proven right here in 2015 has viewed its attendance skyrocket during the past six years from about 12,000 to greater than 30,000.

photo by way of Paul Abellcourtesy of MomoCon

On a muggy late spring day, a group situs judi online of women sit in a circle simply backyard the doorway to the Georgia World Congress center. unfriendly-legged and calm, they glance down at their telephones and clean their smart pleated skirts. A younger man wearing a billowing purple cape and an eye patch techniques them and cracks a sheepish grin as he asks if he can pick a picture.

In a blink, their demeanor fully changes as they bounce to their ft and strike a gaggle pose—they’re the spitting image of the Sailor Senshi, the protagonists of the hit eastern anime collection Sailor Moon.

It’s a scene that played out over and over right through the weekend: From may also 25 via 27, the GWCC became home to MomoCon, an all-a while conference for all issues anime, gaming, cosplay, and geek lifestyle. Now in its 14th 12 months, the Atlanta fest all started as a small adventure on the campus of Georgia Tech and has considering that blossomed into an incredible gathering, with attendance on par with big-identify fan conventions like Atlanta’s own Dragon Con. “Momo” ability “peach” in eastern, a punny nod to the conference’s origins. MomoCon 2017 generated an estimated $20 million in financial undertaking for Atlanta, and this year’s experience expected to be even bigger.

The MomoCon convention ground in 2017

photograph by way of Christopher Stuckeycourtesy of MomoCon

At 10 a.m. on Friday—just an hour after the initiate of the first full day of the conference—a stupid roar already hums within the air of the GWCC, as a few thousand costumed attendees throng the leading hall.

The conference core is awash in technicolor, with fanatics decked out in specified and crowd pleasing costumes. merchants and gaming tables cram the leading hall, with panels and discussion businesses filling out the GWCC’s many assembly rooms. Two of the periods on present on Friday have been “Voice appearing for Video games” and “functional Cosplay Design.”

In a convention room overlooking the bustling convention floor, MomoCon founders and co-chairs Jess Merriman and Chris Stuckey smash down the numbers: MomoCon is expected to draw 35.”000 attendees this year up from 30,000 in 2017. That marks a large boost over the eight,500 visitors who attended when MomoCon rebranded as a paid experience in 2012. MomoCon hails itself as one of the most fastest-starting to be fan conventions within the country.

“We’ve had the opportunity to find a very good niche, connect with an viewers, and then grow with that viewers,” Stuckey says. “I suppose these have been the keys to our success: be aware-of-mouth, and filling a gap that could no longer be filled in any other case.”

whereas Merriman and Stuckey are actually gratified to peer the convention grow at this sort of fast clip, they say they’re now not surprised. They’ve considered so a whole lot demand for activities catering to anime and gaming fandom that success of MomoCon was in fact a query of “when,” no longer “if.”

“Atlanta has an astonishingly first rate conference scene—and cosplay scene in particular,” Merriman explains. “And there’s in reality been a pent-up demand for this kind of experience in the video video games house. Having a lot of gaming alternate options and eSports, plus predominant developers and studios having a presence right here—the response we get to gaming is always unbelievable.”

Cosplay contest winners at MomoCon 2017

graphic by means of Miguel A. Paramocourtesy of MomoCon

MomoCon shaped an professional partnership with Atlanta’s biggest fandom conference, Dragon Con, in 2016. both conventions share components, hardware, and personnel, all with the aim of making the two signature activities for the booming fandom scene in the Southeast.

however regardless of the formal partnership, Merriman and Stucky vow that MomoCon will keep the entertaining identification that sets it other than its sister conference. the place Dragon Con, which drew greater than eighty.”000 attendees closing 12 months, favors a base-style and unhealthy-fandom approach, MomoCon will proceed to court docket the all-a long time anime and gaming crowd.

“Dragon Con does a lot of issues that we don’t do—puppetry, awards showcases, accepted pop-cultural panels—whereas we’re very very concentrated on animation, gaming, and comics,” Merriman says.

Which illuminates an extra critical difference between both: demographics. the place Dragon Con’s viewers skews older 35+, MomoCon is almost a decade more youthful, with an average age of 26 up from 17 when it first launched in 2005.

And whereas sci-fi and fantasy Dragon Con’s stock-in-alternate have a long time of history to drawn on, anime and gaming are highly more recent fandoms, having burst into world recognition generally in the late 80s and early 90s. Thanks, in no small half, to the jap government’s ‘Cool Japan’ lobbying campaign.

“one of the stuff Dragon Con makes a speciality of has an extended history and an older viewers,” Stuckey says. “And that viewers has stuck with Dragon Con and attended yr after 12 months, just like our audience sticks with MomoCon.”

For many years, fanatics who came of age with superstar Wars, Lord of the Rings, and DC and marvel comics have been the arbiters of geek subculture. however now, a more youthful generation that reduce its teeth on Cowboy Bebop and the Sony playstation is making itself heard. If fantasy and sci-fi had been the lingua franca of fandoms past, anime and video games may be the touchstones of this new generation.

“What we’ve created is an atmosphere where you will also be your self, let go, and revel in the adventure of being around different individuals who share your passions,” Stuckey says. “if you’re a gamer or an anime fan, here’s a chance so you might meet other individuals who share your pursuits, and make new friendships and experiences—ones with a purpose to closing a whole lot longer than the convention itself.”

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