San Japan X marked the 10 year anniversary of the annual Japanese culture and anime convention held in San Antonio, Texas. I have never attended this con before but it was recommended, so I decided I should go check it out. Unfortunately the aftermath of hurricane Harvey meant many parts of Houston were still suffering with the effects of massive flooding. This made me wonder if I would even be able to get out of Houston to attend the convention at all. Spoiler Alert! I made it.
I was definitely undecided for a couple of days, not even sure if I should attempt to get there. Finally, waking up Saturday morning I made the decision to take a quick break from Houston and all that was going on there, and headed out to San Antonio to check out San Japan convention. Since my daughter joined me for the last trip to San Antonio, this time my son joined me as his interest in anime has been increasing lately. We got a little bit of a late start, so it was already afternoon when we arrived in San Antonio, but we were still very anxious to check out the con and see everything that was going on.
After we parked the car, we headed to the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, but it turned out that the actual entrance to the con was on the other side of the building, by the Lila Cocktell Theatre, good thing I enjoy a good walk! Once we finally picked up our badges, we made our way into the exhibit halls to check out the convention and to take photos of the cosplayers there. As soon as you walk in, you were greeted with the itasha display on both side with the gaming section surrounding that. After checking out the rides, we made our way around all the games including consoles and arcades. Next, we proceeded into Artist Alley, followed by the Dealer Area, to check out all the stuff they had for sale. There was plenty of things we both wanted but we waited till later in the day to make our purchase so we didn’t have to carry it around all day (not my first Con!). I occasionally snapped a few more photos as we ventured through the halls, but I mostly focused on checking out each vendor and artist to see what was for sale. After making a few rounds through the halls, I went about snapping photos of cosplayers until it was time for the cosplay contest to begin, which we had tickets for. We made a quick break to recharge and refuel before we continued (Editor’s note: They sat down and ate). We ended up venturing upstairs to check out what was going on in the different rooms including video rooms, panels, and more. We even stumbled across a retro gaming room where they have some of the original gaming consoles out for all to play, along with some trivia.
Finally, it was cosplay contest time! We made our way back to the Lila Cocktell Theatre where the contest was held and made our way up to the front row so I could take photos. If it wasn’t for Harvey, I would have had a long lens that I would normally use in situations like this, thanks Harvey… Anyway, first up was the standard cosplay contest portion where the cosplayers walk across the stage showing off their costumes. What I found a bit different was that everyone had a little bit of a performance as they walked across. Maybe just a very elaborate walk “in-character” if you will, but they all definitely put a little more thought into it than the usual cosplay show lineup. Unfortunately, being on the right side of the stage, most of the cosplayers looked down the center or to the left side so I wasn’t able to capture many great shots from my vantage point. As some of the cosplayers crossed the stage, the house lights were dimmed as they approached the center of hte stage to show off their glowing costumes and accessories.
Once that portion of the contest was over, it was, as usual, followed up with the performance section of the contest filled with instrumental performances, some dancing, and a skit. Surprisingly there weren’t many performances in the contest at this con. As the judges headed out to make their decisions, we were left with some on stage musical performances to entertain us as we waited for the judges to return with their announcements. Before we found out who won the awards, there was a group of other awards given out covering the Hall Cosplay contest. Following that, the cosplay contest judges came out on stage to announce their picks and the winners for 2017. We hung around a little while longer before heading out to eat and ending our first day at the con.
The next day, we returned to the convention with a few more spectators, as my parents and sister joined us for the final day. Since we already checked out all the artist booths and dealers area, we kind of showed them around for a bit with a guided tour. Not too much longer I ventured out with my son as I proceeded to mostly focus on capturing photos of the cosplayers I came across, and there were plenty. Since my son has been watching more anime with me, he made sure to call out all the characters he knew as we walked around. To me, I love seeing the costumes and how much detail is put into them even from the novice cosplayers. With every con, most cosplayers dress from the genre of the con but there are still those who don’t. Either way, no one really cares that much and we are all here to enjoy the con and share our passion.
After a lunch break, we continued roaming around for several hours as we made sure to pick up all the items we wanted to purchase there. There wasn’t much more time left when we finally headed out to make our journey back home, even then there were more people still walking into the convention center for the con. I definitely enjoyed this con, although, admittedly, I have enjoyed all of them, I was pleased I was able to get away and be apart of San Japan X. I didn’t regret coming out at all. We both had a great time and I look forward to joining San Japan once again next year.