PortCon Maine is New England's oldest anime and gaming convention, held annually in southern Maine. The fan-based convention's organizers are committed to maintaining a relaxed, small-convention atmosphere which focuses on promoting socialization among attendees, guests, artists, and performers.
In it's eleventh year, PortCon Maine 2012 enjoyed it's second season as a multi-genre convention and chose an apocalyptic theme to reflect on the "2012" End of Days myth. They humorously incorporated this theme with Portal-style warnings and tips on surviving the apocalypse throughout their program guide and around the con. This year, more diverse panel programming covered everything from how to defeat zombies to talks on Joss Wheedon, Adventure Time, Disney, and Doctor Who. However, old anime and video game mainstays remained, including a fantastic panel on the evolution of the Final Fantasy series. Guests included comic magician Brian Brushwood in addition to voice actors Kyle Herbert and Joel McDonald, and events included a cosplay parade, boffing tournament, Anime Unscripted, and Extreme Geek. A completely revamped garage sale setup greatly improved efficiency and sales for con attendees trying to make some extra cash, while a change in setup for the main events tent - having the stage on the long, rather than the short side - made for much better seating and viewing for the crowd. The tent still could have benefited from better ventilation, however; even when it was comfortable outside it was often very hot inside. As always, PortCon does a lot with a little, making it a very enjoyable small-town convention.
Sketch and I drove up to PortCon Thursday night and Friday morning Sketch got up early to check our stuff into the Garage Sale. I was surprised when he returned to the room only ten minutes later. Unlike last year, where each item had to be checked individually by the staff and then piled onto the table wherever the seller could find space, this time around the staff just took the box of items and took care of it themselves. This was so much easier for everyone and not only made drop-off quicker, but prevented the sellers from getting in the way of regular dealer’s room patrons. That task done, I got into my revamped Lebreau costume from Final Fantasy XIII for the day. Sketch did a small shoot with me in the swimming pool area, which was hotter than hell but the photos came out fantastic. We then attended Sketch's ever-popular prop building panel where he got a lot of really good questions. EllyStar and I tried to stump him by asking how to make Tidus’ sword look like it actually had water inside it without being too heavy to carry, but he had an answer.
After lunch I checked out the revamped Garage Sale setup. It was night and day from last year; gone were the random piles being picked over and tossed around by attendees. Instead, all items were organized by genre and displayed in such a way that almost everything was visible and being pushed to sell. I was thrilled that they’d improved it so much and that if there was something I’d put up for sale and someone wanted to buy it, they could find it. That evening Sketch, EllyStar, Brian Brushwood, and Jekka all performed in Anime Unscripted, and it was one of the funniest shows in a while. Sketch, portraying an Apple devotee, accidentally flung his iPhone off the stage, and after he discovered it still worked, he ad-libbed “Praise Jobs!” which the crowd ate up and became the catch phrase of the night. Brian was the last presenter for slideshow roulette, and for his final slide, PatD put up a photo of Brian’s head on a rainbow unicorn and when it showed up on the screen the magician...and the entire audience… just about died in tears of laughter.
Saturday I went to Charles’ "Chocobos Ate My Baby" panel, which was excellent. He gave wonderful insights on the series and touched upon several things I didn’t know. After the discussion, Sketch took photos of EllyStar and I’s Luka and Miku kimono outfits from Vocaloid: Project DIVA on the red bridge outside the hotel. That afternoon, the three of us judged the masquerade performances, which turned out to be quite difficult as there were only a handful of skits this year. The vast majority of entrants only did walk-ons and were already judged for craftsmanship. It was disappointing as it gave the audience so little to be entertained by and us so few entrants to choose from when giving awards. Next year more of you need to enter skits! That night I put on my new Tomoyo outfit from Tsubasa and attended Brian Brushwood’s show. The sky looked like it was ready for a full-blown thunderstorm, but held itself at bay long enough for Brian to get in his entire performance. After dinner we attended Jeni’s annual Rule 34 Panel, which was a hilarious way to end the night.
Sunday I wore my Rise costume from Persona 4 and checked out Stardust’s Aging Cosplayer panel, which is always interesting. We also interviewed Ruben, AKA Movie Phone Guy, for the podcast as he is our number one fan. Sketch did a great job with the interview and Reu got a kick out of it. Sketch and I then packed up our unsold stuff from the garage sale and checked out. Almost all of my stuff sold, and the few things that didn’t I just tossed out. Sketch sold a lot of stuff as well, including all of the light up hula hoops! Everything packed away, we said our goodbyes and headed home, another successful PortCon behind us.