This year marks the first of the DCC Anime Edition, and my first time attending any of the Dublin Comic Con events. It is a convention that I have heard much about over the years but have always failed to attend due to one reason or another. There was plenty of space in the chosen venue, with access to two floors for both trading halls, ‘Artist Alley’ and guest signings. The third and fourth floor offered plenty of space to sit down, relax and most importantly, remember to eat. The space certainly surprised me, as after attending a number of different cons over the years, this layout was impressive in comparison! The food and pricing were good also. The plastic cup filled with different flavours of mini donuts was most enjoyable.
DCC is famed for its variety of guests each year, with 2018 being no exception. Their new event was unveiled this year and had all the enjoyment and favourites from their main August show, but with a greater focus on anime. Voice actor guests included D.C. Douglas (Albert Wesker: Resident Evil), Eric Stuart (Brock: Pokémon) and Kira Buckland (2B: Nier Automata). The title guest for the event had to be Canadian-born voice actor and voice of many of our childhoods, Tara Strong. She can be found providing her vocal talents in Rugrats, Powerpuff Girls, Hello Kitty, Drawn Together, Teen Titans and My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic amongst many others. There are few shows from my childhood that she didn’t appear in at least once! She was a thrill to meet for all adults who grew up listening to her characters, and also it was lovely to see many of the younger generation making their way into her panel and getting a picture taken with Princess Twilight herself during the photo opportunities.
Apart from voice actors, attendees had the opportunity to meet two very popular TV characters from now and thirty years ago. Fans of The Walking Dead were delighted to meet Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) in real life, and for those who are more into sci-fi, Lt. Commander Data (Brent Spiner) from Star Trek: The Next Generation was also there. I passed many fans for each guest throughout my time at the con. Each were delighted to meet their heroes and there were some great vibes around the place.
Tara Strong’s panel was packed out, and I count myself lucky to have even gotten in the room for this talk. She answered questions regarding her career and characters she has portrayed over the years, and fans also got to participate in the panel. This included questions on how best to get into the world of voice acting, to character requests describing what they have done in Ireland so far, to one young girls question on who Tara’s favourite pony is.
There were a variety of panels throughout the weekend, with each guest having a panel either on Saturday or Sunday. One of the most unusual, and what turned out to be the most interesting panel, was one about dinosaurs. To give it a full title, Dinosaurs At The Movies: The Sequel, hosted by Google certified palaeontologist, Sean Markey. Sadly, I only caught that last twenty mins of, but it was highly informative about how to learn more online.
All the Irish conventions I have been to also love doing their bit for charity, with Dublin Comic Con being no exception. Having walked through the main door to the trade hall, I was amazed to meet two gorgeous, hi-vis wearing dogs. Calm and collected, they strode around their table unfazed by the flow of people. These fine dogs are from the Irish Guide Dogs and have been attending this event for the past six continuous years. With a stall full of information, merchandise and furry ambassadors, what is there not to love?
There was also a variety of stalls, selling plushies, props, Japanese and American food, anime merch, etc. There was even a stall that sold Viking Drinking Horns (https://vikingdrinkinghorns.com). This was definitely an unusual addition to the trade hall, but it certainly caught my attention. Although there were some stalls that sold the odd anime DVD or Blu-Ray, I was disappointed not to see any of the UK’s anime and Asian film distributors e.g. Manga Entertainment UK, Anime Limited, Animatsu, MVM Entertainment or Third Window Films. Going from my past experience of attending MCM shows in London, having panels hosted by these distributors in the trade hall makes the event even more special; for example, being able to get into full-blown discussions with the distributors and buying their merch in person, instead of online. This is something I hope the organisers of DCC will keep in mind for future shows.
The figures of the event were released a few days ago, showing a footfall of 6,000 attendees. This is a fantastic achievement and even with a venue of this size, it did not feel at all claustrophobic. There was plenty of space to take a breather, sit down and unwind. There were also some amazing cosplays over the weekend, and many an excited face. I even spotted a Raven cosplayer, emerging after her photoshoot with Tara Strong, grinning and shaking from excitement. It’s days like this that take the stress of everyday life away and you revert back to being a carefree child again (a child who has very possibly spent all their rent money on plushies and pocky).
One particular stall in the Artist Alley section caught my attention. Sin Props (https://www.facebook.com/SinProps) had made their own Infinity Gauntlet and were allowing interested customers to try it on for size. Witnessing a few people try on the custom piece, it indeed does fit like a glove. It certainly was a steal, being advertised at just €75. I honestly thought this item would have been priced at double the amount. This gauntlet was only a small example of what the Artist Alley had on over the Easter weekend.
It was an eventful weekend and a convention well worth visiting in the future. You can check out all my photos from the event on my Facebook page (https://tinyurl.com/yc4vyyzx).
In the words of Bubbles from the original Powerpuff Girls, it was certainly a “hardcore” weekend. I will be back again next year and maybe even for the big August event!