There was a small con that started in the campus of the University of South Carolina (Columbia SC) back in 2009. It was a rainy day, but a handful of people hung out in the Grisham house I celebrate their shared love in anime,
The next two years Nashicon found itself in the Russell House on campus. With gorgeous scenery surrounding it and a more con friendly layout, this seemed the perfect venue for a college-founded convention.
However, last year marked a big move for the convention. Moving further downtown the convention grabbed the Columbia Metropolitan Center. This is a convention that’s certainly aging well! I missed the 2012 convention due to other convention obligations, but I was very impressed with this years convention.
Venue: I was probably more so impressed with the venue then anything else. It is rather spacious with two levels and a popular, outdoor area. The venue is also very close to several places to eat which was something the convention suffered from in the past. Considering the demographic of the convention (definitely an 18 and under crowd), there was mostly bars which in unsure if they were even allowed in. Cosplay photoshoot locations were few in number with most just utilizing the outdoor area which had a gazebo, rows of short shrubbery, and several other patches of grass with trees for backgrounds. Panel rooms and the dealers room were quite spacious however Artist Alley would get crowded at points in the day.
Gaming Room: Because I am self proclaimed professional in the gaming industry (claiming it!), I did check out the gaming room but was quite disappointed. Last time I attended Nashicon I was very impressed with the variety of games. This year I felt that half the room was Smash Brothers. I did like the they had Dance Dance Dance Revolution and a bit of nostalgia with N64s hooked up to older televisions.
Dealer’s Room: The room has certainly grown, but it still a small dealer’s room. This is a small con, however. I was able to snag my new 5th anniversary Yoko from Gurren Lagann figure which was the highlight of my day.
Panels: Sadly, there weren’t really any panels that my group was interested in. This is often the problem I find with anime conventions. Catered to younger crowds, it gets harder for adults to really find a reason to stay a the convention more then a few hours. This really pushes me to start doing panels at anime conventions again.
All in all, Nashicon was a fun little jaunt on a Saturday afternoon. I am glad to see a South Carolina convention steadily growing and turning into a legitimate venture for anime fans from all over the Carolina’s. Nashicon is well run and organized with a friendly staff. The con goers and cosplayers were friendly for the most part although I ran into a few with sour attitudes. The convention could benefit from more interesting panels and an updated game room, but the experience is pleasant nonetheless. The venue is spectacular and gives the convention much room to grow without over growing it in a few years.