It was kind of terrifying at first – then, largely impressive.
Atlanti-Con six welcomed all sorts of orcs, real-life embodiments of Japanese anime characters, superheroes, as well as more casual fans, as the sixth annual Sci-Fi convention played host to authors, actors, and various craft-makers in talks, workshops, and general fandom this past weekend.
This year’s festival saw outside draws like D.C. Douglas — voice actor for the Resident Evil video game franchise, and J.G. Hertzler, best known as Klingon General Martok in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and others host panels and talks about their experience in some aspect of the sci-fi industry.
However, as long time convention-goers Finn Maloney and her friends explained, the thing about the festival that draws them in the most as supporters is the merchandise.
Finn describes a typical day at Atlanti-Con as this: hanging out with her friends, walking around and collecting merchandise, and occasionally checking out a panel.
But as for merchandise, Atlanti-Con certainly had plenty of it.
One of the civic centre’s larger convention rooms was converted into housing local publishers, craft-makers, crochet doll-makers, comic vendors — people selling enough old video game cartridges to induce nostalgia in any kid from the 1980s or ’90s, who all sat behind tabletop displays of their goods, lining the walls of the hall and converging into the centre.
Alyssa Leahy, a first-time convention-goer, was helping her friend out as vendor at a table selling homemade stickers and prints, inspired by characters and worlds of popular anime.
Leahy says “I didn’t have any idea of what this would be like — I’m kind of overwhelmed with all the activities that are going on, but it’s actually incredible, and quite inspiring, as an artist, to see people take on another persona, or to dress up in their favourite character.”
She says she was impressed that Atlanti-Con turned out to be a cool meeting ground for people with the common interests of anime, sci-fi, tabletop and video gaming. The experience has, even as a first-time goer, convinced her to check out future sci-fi conventions – like Hali-Con, in Halifax, or the Sci-Fi on the Rock convention in St. John’s.