When Hamacon announced their theme this year was Final Wars, with art depicting their porcine mascot as a giant monster looming over the Von Braun Center, my mind instantly jumped to Godzilla Final Wars (which, sorry King of All Monsters and Shin Godzilla, is the best movie in that franchise). It did not hit me that there was another reason for the title until their con chair began opening ceremonies with a shocking announcement—that Hamacon 10 would be the last. The staff state there are many reasons for the decision, including burnout and general moving on with their lives, but this development certainly cast a shadow over the weekend, just like the pig-kaiju on their program guides.
As usual, this post will have a list of my panels and their playlists, I want to take a moment to talk about Hamacon and my experiences over the years. Those of you getting “recipe blog” vibes can skip to the bottom, but I do wish to pay some tribute before getting to that. I owe a lot of the Hamacon crew and, while I am saddened by the news, am glad they were able to give the convention a finale it deserves rather than let it fizzle out amid scandal like so many other shows.
My first Hamacon was in 2014. I had been presenting fan panels intermittently since 2011, but after moving to North Carolina, my yearly con travels were still limited to Anime Weekend Atlanta and whatever local events I could make time for. When a long-time friend of mine started vending at artist alleys on the regular, offering to let me tag along for cheap, I started traveling all around the Southeast. The first in this ongoing arrangement was this small con in my home state of Alabama, in a city I’d only been to a few times, Huntsville.
That first year was rough, serving now as a reminder of how far I’ve come since. Carrying around an outdated netbook, using an open-source alternative to PowerPoint, and slinging presentations that could only be described as “graphic design is my passion,” I constantly wondered why I got myself into this. I never had been one for public speaking, and all those fears and anxieties crashed against the dam of my love for this particular fandom. But…it was empowering! I found myself energized and refreshed after presenting panels, more wired than I had been in a long time. The weekend hadn’t ended before I was brainstorming more panel ideas, more things to talk about.
I, of course, came back with my artist alley caravan the next year, and the next.
Things changed over time. I began to get more comfortable with the presentations I was putting on. The jokes refined, the panel slides redesigned, and anxiety dulled, I let the quality of my presentations’ topics speak for themselves, letting the information flow from the conduit I had become. Soon I would see familiar faces in the audience, and people would tell me they saw me at other cons. A confidence grew inside me, and it was thanks to this that I met (some would say forced myself on) the friends that would become Third Impact Anime.
Hamacon provided me more direct opportunities as well. In 2017, I was asked to attend as a featured panelist, as close to being Important™ as I could ever hope to get. Practically, nothing changed during that year, except for being featured on their site, and being able to co-host a last minute panel with veteran translator Neil Nadelman, whose panels I had been attending since my convention infancy. This offer opened more doors, allowing me to talk and work with others I had idolized for a long time. I was more than happy to pass along these opportunities to my new found family the year after and this final year too.
Oh, and Hamacon 2017 was also during my birthday, the year I turned 30! If my 20’s were all about scrambling to make ends meet, while trying to find my place in the world, I can think of no better way to open up the next decade than next to the people I felt most comfortable with, celebrating the fandom I love.
Between this final show and the awful KyoAni arson from just a few days prior, I think we at Third Impact Anime knew that our services would be needed more so than usual—there seemed to be an unspoken agreement among us to overpower the sadness of these events and push harder than ever before. Our audiences appear to have caught this energy, and I felt nothing by celebration of our community all through the weekend. I wish the Hamacon crew nothing but the best. I would wish them good luck too, but they won’t need it—I know they will go on to do even more great things in their area.
Alright, so the real reason you guys are here: the playlists.
Surrealism in Anime
This year, Surrealism in Anime was only in a single-hour timeslot instead of the usual two, so I had chop it down to the greatest hits.
- Pop Team Epic
- Urusei Yatsura 2: Beautiful Dreamer
- Revolutionary Girl Utena
- Mawaru Penguindrum
- Genius Party and Genius Party Beyond
- Mind Game
- Neon Genesis Evangelion
- Madoka Magica
- gdgd Fairies
- Superflat Monogram
Older Anime For New Fans
Mostly refined from last year’s panel, I hope that newer fans can look to these shows to see that older anime can be just as good as the new stuff that comes out ever season.
- JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
- Serial Experiments Lain
- Revolutionary Girl Utena
- Project Ako
- Urusei Yatsura TV
- Dirty Pair
- Record of Lodoss War OVA
- Megalo Box
- Cowboy Bebop
2019 Anime in Review (So Far)
These panels are always so much of a challenge as the year progresses. Mostly comprised of stuff from winter, we had a few previews for the newer shows and a reminder to catch up on Chihayafuru for the new season in October.
- Zombie Land Saga
- Kaguya-sama: Love is War
- Carole & Tuesday
- Fruits Basket (2019)
- JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind
- Ride Your Wave
- Penguin Highway
- The Promised Neverland
- Pop Team Epic Specials
- Demon Slayer
- Vinland Saga
- Fire Force
- Astra Lost in Space
- Dr. STONE
- Chihayafuru season 3
Did you come to any of panels this weekend? We would love to hear from you! Whether you have good or bad things to say about our presentations, we take all feedback seriously. You can email us (firstname.lastname@example.org), or rant on Twitter at either me (@reverend_tobias) or the group (@TI_Anime). Thanks for making Hamacon 2019 a special one!