Akumakon 2020 Post-con Report

Akumakon 2020, which took place this year between 17-19 January, is an annual not-for-profit convention celebrating anime, manga and Japanese culture based in Galway, Ireland. 

Run by students from the National University of Ireland Galway, the event takes place at NUI Galway, and spans a weekend in January. Akumakon 2020 marked the 10th year this event has taken place (having been established in 2011 by the Anime and Manga Society of NUIG), and has grown consistently each year, with Akumakon 2020 garnering over 1000 attendees across the three days.

Every year, Akumakon attracts people of all ages from across Ireland and beyond. The event is always packed with panels, trade halls, special events, screenings, and special guests with Akumakon 2020 being no different.

With each consecutive year introducing something new, below is just a taste of what Akumakon 2020 had in store:

  • Japanese events, such as yukata fittings and origami workshops.
  • Panels and workshops provided by the various special guests and by members of the anime community. This year’s panels included a D&D character workshop, a pre-convention preparation guide with their cosplay guest Florencia Sofen and a special look into the Best Boys of Anime “Hot Crossed Boys” presented by members of the Akumakon 2020 committee.
  • Signings, meet and greets, and photo opportunities with Akumakon’s special guests.
  • Screenings of popular anime series and movies, like Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba and Konosuba: God’s Blessing on this Wonderful World!
  • A Japanese cafe run by the Wa Cafe serving authentic Japanese food.
  • A trade hall with traders from around Ireland and Europe, with merchandise from anime, manga, video games, and comic books.
  • An Artist’s Alley, full of artists from around Ireland with their original drawings, posters, and prints.
  • Art competitions.
  • A charity auction.
  • Video game tournaments.
  • Card game tournaments.
  • A cosplay skits talent competition.

Through their Charity Auction, Akumakon raises much-needed funds each year for charities both in Ireland and Japan. This year Akumakon raised funds for both the NPO Animators Supporters and Teach Solais, which are the same charities from last year. At their charity auction alone, they were able to raise over €3000. The team at Akumakon felt that these charities were extremely deserving their continued support as both these charities provide unique sources of support for animators starting up in Japan, and for LGBT+ people all throughout the west of Ireland, respectively.

This year Akumakon’s special guest list included American voice actor Aaron Dismuke, an adaptive writer and director known for lead roles in anime such as Fruits Basket, Fullmetal Alchemist, Deadman Wonderland and the Devil is a Part-Timer.

Another special guest this year was voice actress Sarah Wiedenheft who has appeared in multiple well-known anime like Dragon Ball Super, Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid, Black Clover, Tokyo Ghoul and My Hero Academia. Others included on their guest list this year were acclaimed Japanese animation director Yutaku Yamamoto and popular European cosplayer Florencia.

Also in attendance at Akumakon 2020 was resident guest Masako X of TeamFourStar, a voice actor featured in many popular fan-dubbed anime on YouTube, such as the Dragonball Z Abridged series.

Anime and manga has been growing increasingly popular in recent years, with more and more people discovering Japanese culture as a result. Akumakon 2020 provided these fans, new and old, an event where they can meet like-minded people and experience a celebration of not only the media and art of anime and manga but of the wonderfully vibrant Japanese culture as a whole.

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