Ohayocon 2016 A Scientific Experiment in Otaku Culture

Over the last decade Columbus, Ohio, has played host to local Anime Convention Ohayocon. Ohayocon is a three-day anime convention held during various dates during the months of January and February. The first Ohayocon was held in the Sheraton Airport Hotel in 2001. Three years later, Ohayocon would find its home at the Hyatt Regency Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio, where it has remained with annual occurrence.

Each year Ohayocon has a different theme with 2016’s theme focusing on Science and scientific experimentation. With science being the focus of Ohayocon 2016, panels focused on the scientific factors behind voice acting and technology in video games and anime industry. Panels varied anywhere between voice acting workshops, to casual conversation with special guests, and even included talking about popular video games and anime.

Ohayocon 2016’s theme of Science may have been chosen do to the disrupting occurrence of construction during the convention dates however that did not stop guests from having fun. Rooms were shifted around in order to hold all the events planned for that weekend, however due to this shift, guest panelists were late to events, rooms were too small for events, and convention staff were on edge. Guests of the convention had a variety of activities to choose from. Between panels, photo shoots, a video game den, late night dances, and a table top game area, there was always something attendees could do.  During Ohayocon 2016, a League of Legends tournament was held over the three-day time with participants receiving prizes based off of the outcome.

This years special guests were Samantha Inoue-Harte, Shin Kurokawa, Greg Ayres, Emily Dejesus, Bill Rodgers, John Swasey, Jessica Calvello, Rob Mungle, Dino Andrade, Greg Houser, Joe Digiorgi, Carli Mosier, Chuck Huber, David Matranga, Brett Weaver, Veronica Taylor, David Williams, Charles Dunbar, and Jessica con Braun.

Samantha Inoue-Harte has voiced ISIS in DC Universe Online, characters in World of Warcraft, and the Chocobo and cactaur in Final Fantasy Unlimited . Shin Kurokawa is a producer, translator and developer who co-founded AnimEigo, the company that brought Lupin III, Vampire Princess, and Macross to America. Greg Ayres best known for voicing Guido from Dragon Ball Z, Roy from Unlimited Saga, Shinji Naruse from Lux-Pain, Sho from Fairy Tail, Ganta from Deadman Wonderland, & Kaoru from Ouran High School Host Club. Most recently he has voiced Nagisa Hazuki from Free! Eternal Summer and Doug from Gangsta.

Emily DeJesus is a writer, editor, designer, and manager at Studiocapsule; she has worked with Marvel to develop animated content. Bill Rodgers is best known for being the voice of Brock from Pokemon and Lucario in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. John Swasey voiced Salvador in Borderlands 2, Spinner in Death Parade, Chad Adkins in Gangsta, the Undertake in Black Butler, Dordoria in Dragonball Z, Lord Death in Soul Eater, and Crocodile in One Piece. Jessica Calvello is best known for her voice of Excel in the Excel Saga, Nanael in Queen’s Blade, and Hange Zoe in Attack on Titan; she is also the voice of Yamato Nadeshiko in Street Fighter V.

Each guest brought their own special panel to the convention. Bill Rogers and Greg Houser returned to host a three-day voice acting workshop that focused on determining a characters personality with little information and how to do English dubbing over previously recorded anime.  The final panel that we attended was one hosted by Dino Andrade about creating character voices for video games and animation. Dino Andrade, voice of The Scarecrow in Batman Arkham Asylum and Gnomes in World of Warcraft, stated that for video game auditions most voice actors have to go into the auditions blind and do cold reads. Cold reads involve seeing the script only at the audition and having to determine how the character should be read.  In order to determine different characters the body needs to be broken down into eight different regions.

The first region is the Top of the Head; this region is used to make the fairy godmother voice and goes upward. The second region is the eyes which is used to do the children’s narrator voice. The third region is the nose; it is the nasal area through the nose, it is the voice used to do squiduards voice. The fourth Region is the adenoids, this region sounds like a stuffy noise voice and makes the individual sound like keeune reeves; it is the nerd voice, surfer voice or stoner voice. The fifth region is the mouth; mouth region sounds like Robert merle, rubbery, shake the face, or as if the user has cotton mouth. The sixth region come from the throat, when used correctly it makes the individual sound like a pirate. The seventh region is the chest region; it is the area where the hero voice or authority figure comes from. The voice is made by putting a hand on the chest and bellowing out. The eighth and final region is the abdomen region which is used to create the villain voice; it is used more as a growl like voice.

During an interview with one Ohayocon attendee, she stated that Ohayocon 2016 will hold an extra special place in her heart. When asked why that was she state that it was because she had gotten engaged.

“The night before the convention started, my boyfriend surprised me by showing up and purposing. I had no idea but I discovered that my friends, boss, and best friends parents were in on it and helped plan it.”

When asked what else she enjoyed from the convention she said,

“Besides the proposal, me and my friends had a lot of fun with the scavenger hunt and enjoyed the Accio Potterheads panel the most because I love Harry Potter.

Who was your favorite guest of honor?

“I really didn’t see any of the guests… We needed Emily for a scavenger hunt and she was a great sport about it! That was awesome.”

Did you buy anything at the convention and if so, why?

“I did get a couple of things from the Dealer’s Room
A bunny plush. For my older brother’s gf who I’m super close with.
3 fuzzy plush hearts. 1 pink and 2 purple. They are hella cute.
A Harry Potter necklace for a future-in-law because we’re HP soul mates.
I wanted to get a Sword Art Online wall scroll, but didn’t see the one I wanted. A specific one of Asuna and Kirito. As a keepsake since the fiance and I couple cosplayed them.
I also wanted a little Asuna charm since I collect the charms of people I cosplay!”

Even with construction, Ohayocon 2016 was an enjoyable time.  A large variety of panels and activities made it so there was always something to do and made for a memorable time. If you are in the city of Columbus or in the Ohio Area than Ohayocon is a great way to spend three days during the month of January.

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