Marielle Genovesi- Staff Writer
This past weekend, Hunt Union saw its rooms filled with SUNY Oneonta alumni, professors and students, as well as various locally and widely known artists and guests all in attendance for Alotacon III: Revenge of the Fist! A convention which returned to Oneonta for its third consecutive year, hosted by the Japanese Anime and Media Club.
For those of you who do not know, an “A-LOT-A-CON” is a convention that brings together the worlds of Anime, Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Video Gaming for a fun filled and sometimes costumed experience.
This year, Alotacon was more jam-packed with events than year previous, as event coordinator and founder, Jared Townsend proudly told The State Times, “This year it was two days long, and we did an extra day because we had a lot more programs scheduled and a bigger variety.” What Jared is talking about are the relatively well-known guests who attended the event, such as Mike Pollock (of no relation to Jackson Pollock, although an artist of a different kind) who is known as one of New York’s premier animation voice-over actors, and most popularly recognized as the voice of Dr. Eggman in Sonic Boom and the Sonic The Hedgehog video games. Pollock began his panel by playing a number of clips from a variety of his jobs, whether it be commercials for the ordinary object or voices of cartoon characters. Following this, Pollock described what it is like being a freelance voice-actor, and what the past 20 years of voice acting has taught him.
He says, “as an actor I’m constantly auditioning, so my favorite job is always my next job.” Pollock then delved into the ins-and-outs of the business, discussing his lack of recognition in public by face, or what he does when he is forced to take a sick day, or he humorously held the microphone to Dr. Eggman toys so the audience could hear his voice coming from the plush figure.
Other Guests and panelists included Karl “Uncle Yo” Custer, the Northeast’s premiere geek-specific comedian who has appeared at over 100 anime conventions. He is also well known for running the YouTube fantasy sitcom “Dungeon Crawlers” that just finished its first season. Another face in attendance was a panelist more locally known as the “Anime Anthropologist” Charles Dunbar actually received his Masters in Sociocultural Anthropology, but he is interested in a variety of things, such as mythology, sacred practice, Time Lord physiology, folklore and fandom. During his panel Dunbar presented on the “Yokai,” female monsters of Japanese myths. Dunbar not only went through the various Yokai that exist, but told the stories of these female monsters with a captivating tone, engrossing the audience in stories of these vengeful and often vicious female monsters.
In addition to various panelists, the convention also included crafts, games and artists. The newly formed SUNY Oneonta eSports Club, dressed in costume or cosplay, hosted a panel on Saturday to introduce conference attendees to the world of eSports, or multiplayer video gaming. In addition to this, there was a costume contest, of which Japanese and Anime Club e-board member and SUNY Oneonta sophomore Alana Romanelli won, dressed in a self made costume as Asuka Langely Soryu. In regards to the convention as a whole, Romanelli said “it’s really exciting, I love going to conventions, I went to Comic Con in October and it was amazing.” So it seems for those who enjoy going to comic related conventions, that SUNY Oneonta’s was one filled with events.
In addition to games and contests, there were artists and vendors in the convention’s appropriately named “Artist’s Alley,” which hosted artists selling merchandise such as plush toys, cosplay costumes, anime videos, comic art, novels and jewelry. One artist duo, brother and sister Caitlin and Paul Weinell, talked with The State Times about their newly named chainmail jewelry business, Wolf and Lion Jewelry. Paul Weinell explained that his interest in making chainmail jewelry began as early as sixth grade, when he and a friend put together armor made of cardboard and duct tape, and that his interest only grew from then on. Today, Weinell, along with his recently apprenticed sister, create all kinds of jewelry made of tiny aluminum chain links. Weinell says that the pieces can take anywhere from three to around six hours or more. In fact, Weinell wore a chainmail shirt he made himself, which he said took at least 60 hours of time to complete.
All together, it seems that Alotacon III: Revenge of the Fist! was a success, although Jared Townsend cited certain wishes for the future of the event following his graduation this May, like that it “grow in attendance and the event is more well publicized, or more widely known.” But at last, Townsend summed it up by saying, “we had a very good event,” and I guess not much more could be hoped for, besides an event more fun filled and action packed event in the spring of 2016.