A-Kon, the annual summer convention catering to Dallas' anime, Asian-culture and geek aficionados, will be returning for its 24th year this weekend at the Hilton Anatole.
As with Dallas Comic Con, we have compiled a A-to-Z guide to all things A-Kon to give a rundown of the festivities, events and sights for those in and out of the fandom alike.
See also: The Costumed Fans at A-Kon 2012
Anime and Anime Accessories For those who don't know Akira from Dragon Ball Z, anime is animation from Japan. You know, the cartoons where the characters have the giant eyes and tiny mouths? Those who need to catch up can retreat to the multiple viewing rooms to watch a plethora of shows, ranging from news releases to old-school classics, throughout the entire weekend.
Blowing Away the (Virtual) Competition A-Kon isn't just for anime fans. Where would it be without its annual gaming tournaments? Be sure to check out the competition for Call of Duty, Street Fighter and other tournament staples on site.
Cosplay Shows and Contests
So you've been slaving over the sewing machine for the last six months for your costume and are wanna show off? Show that your Goku is better than all the other Goku costumes at the cosplay contest on Saturday, starting at 8 p.m. Be sure to sign up in advance.
Dealers In All Geeky Goods A-Kon's dealer room has always been a vast sea of geeky goods at (somewhat) reasonable prices. Be sure to bring plenty of cash to buy that limited Japanese-only release of that figurine you've had your eye on.
Exist Trace Concert Japan always has interesting takes on things from the West. Take musical guest Exist Trace and their take on death metal. The all-female visual kei band will be performing Friday night.
FANS Conference It turns out that someone out there may have figured out what makes fanboys (and girls) tick after all these long years. New this year, the FANS conference is a series of academic discussions on fandoms and new media. Keynotes will be given by fandom expert and author Helen McCarthy.
Giving Back The Anime Military Association will be fundraising throughout the convention weekend. Proceeds to the group help fund events and supplies for anime fans enlisted in all branches of military service.
Hilton Anatole A-Kon has grown over the last 24 years, and the Sheraton was starting to feel a bit cramped. This year, A-Kon has moved into swankier digs as they have make the transition into the 350,000-square-foot Hilton Anatole. Finally, a little breathing room away from the con funk.
Insomnia For those night owls attending the convention, A-Kon has many events and screenings throughout the early morning hours if you're too geeked out to sleep. For late information, check out their full schedule, here.
J-horror and Japanese grindhouse Ever since The Ring I haven't been able to watch a movie on my VCR out of fear of whatever eldritch horror might pop out at me. For fans of Japanese horror, A-Kon will be showing a marathon of Asia's best grindhouse horror movies starting at midnight on Friday.
Katie Tiedrich, Creator of Awkward Zombie Have you ever played a video game and thought to yourself, "Self, how would any of this work in real life?" Katie Tiedrich has, and she wrote a webcomic about all the little things in gaming that just plain don't make sense in reality. No actual zombies were harmed in the creation of this panel.
Laughing at Your Inner Geek It's all right to laugh at the little things that come with being a geek. Trust me, they are laughable. If you need proof, check out the late-night geek-comedy shows throughout the weekend.
Mignogna, Vic Vic Mignogna is the voice behind Edward Elric in Fullmetal Alchemist among other voice-acting roles he's done over the past decade. You'll either know him from that or from the screaming mob of fangirls (and boys) following behind him. NSDP in Concert Japanese rock band NSDP will be making their mainland U.S. debut Friday night. All right, they have performed in Hawaii before and Shue, the drummer, has performed with Brian Setzer and the Stray Cats. Those don't count.
Origami Cranes If you need a moment's reprieve from the insanity that is A-Kon, feel free to grab a piece of paper and learn how to make an origami swan or hat. I am sure it will make your Goku cosplay much better.
Pocky The chocolate-coated biscuit treat has been a source of sustenance for many generations of anime geeks. No con would be the same without it.
Qin Dynasty Art From the Crow Collection Take a moment to see the replica Qin Dynasty terracotta soldiers on display from the Crow Collection of Asian Art. Many other Asian artworks from the collection, ranging from paintings to jade, are also on display throughout the hotel. It is worth a look.
Rocky Horror Picture Show Shadowcast By Los Bastardos What can be better than the campy goodness of The Rocky Horror Picture Show at midnight? Bring in Los Bastardos, one of Dallas's oldest shadowcasting groups to play out all the scenes alongside the big screen. Plus, you can get the chance to cosplay as Dr. Frank N Furter.
Soap For the sweet love of God, bring it and use it daily. Your fellow con-goers will thank you for it.
Tokusatsu: Japanese Superheroes and Giant Monsters For fans of Japanese sci-fi of the '60s and '70s and all of its campy goodness, Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine and Monster Attack Team will be holding panels on everything from Godzilla and Gamera to Ultraman and the Power Rangers. Meet Hugo Award-winning artist Bob Eggleton and August Ragone, author of Eiji Tsuburaya: Master of Monsters.
Don't mind him, he's just excited for the movie premiere.Catherine Downes
U.S. Premiere of Fairy Tale: Phoenix Princess
The U.S. premiere of Fairy Tale: Phoenix Princess will be on Saturday at 10 a.m. in subtitled format. For those who miss the premiere, there will be a second showing on Sunday at 2 p.m.
Voice Actors Share Their Craft (And Make Silly Voices) Did you catch it last year when voice actor Kyle Hebert started narrating the con as an episode of Dragon Ball Z? Who knows what wacky high jinks (and voices) he and the other voice over artists will be up to this year? Be sure to catch the voice-over panels to see all the shenanigans.
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Writing Tips, Tricks, and Advice from the Pros For the fans who just can't get past writer's block on their latest fanfic, guest writers will be at con to share stories and advice of how they deal with the plights of a modern writer. Be sure to catch Nebula Award winning authors Elizabeth Moon and Esther Friesner, Rachel Caine, creator of the Morganville Vampires series and others throughout the weekend.
Xenophilia Noun. A fondness for foreign things, people, or customs. Enough said.
Younger guests are welcome at the convention, but must be accompanied by an adult. Guests between the ages of 6 and 12 have reduced ticket prices, while guests younger than 5 are free.
Check the weapons and prop rules before con.Catherine Downes
This is how much tolerance staff have for people breaking the rules. Know the limits.When in doubt, check some of the rules in the convention guide, or on A-Kon's website.