The second edition of Colossalcon East took over the Kalahari Resort in the Pocono Mountains of central Pennsylvania for another year of celebrating anime, manga, video games, cosplay, and more. Held on September 7-9, 2018, it was obvious that there was hardly a sophomore slump for this show with the incredible amount of attendees that showed up.
Guests this year include voice actors Todd Haberkorn (Fairy Tail), Morgan Berry (One Piece), Xanthe Huynh (Yuki Yuna is a Hero), James Carter Cathcart (Pokémon), Michele Knotz (Pokémon), and Bruce Elliott (Case Closed). Musical guests included Professor Shyguy and the Super Guitar Bros.
Though there was plenty to do at the convention, a larger draw for many attendees was the resort itself. Housing the world’s largest indoor waterpark, the Kalahari is certainly a popular destination regardless of whether or not an anime convention happens to be going on. While many cosplayers took advantage of the waterpark in order to get some appropriately-themed photoshoots in, many more simply enjoyed the numerous waterslides, pool bars, and lazy rivers in order to have a relaxing weekend. The waterpark also provided an after-hours party exclusively for congoers for a small additional fee, which was a great opportunity to get some of those desired cosplay shots or simply relax after a long day on the show floor.
One of my larger concerns going into this weekend was that the cosplay photography going on around the waterpark would interfere with those of us who simply wanted to enjoy the slides and whatnot sans costume. Thankfully, I never ran into any photographers or cosplayers who were shooing people out of shots or anything along those lines. However, a lot of photographers were somewhat of an obstacle to get around, with large lighting rigs and other equipment. Apparently the waterpark started no longer admitting cosplayers whatsoever on Sunday for one reason or another; I think a good compromise here would be to ban those obnoxiously large lighting setups from the waterpark so that everyone can enjoy the facility.
The convention itself was significantly smaller than I expected it to be, given the amount of people who I knew were going to show up for the event. It almost seemed as though the convention was only being held as an excuse to be able to cosplay a video game character to a water park – it felt very tacked-on to the overall experience. I was honestly shocked by how small the event rooms were and especially how small the artist alley and dealer’s room both were. I’m not entirely sure if this is because of the convention center space at the resort being small, or because of how Colossalcon East was utilizing the space, but it felt very small and very separate from where the action was happening (in the waterpark and the large arcade). While everything was of worthwhile quality, I hope that the actual convention is a larger and more noticeable presence at future events.
Overall, Colossalcon East is a super fun time and certainly a lot more laidback than the primary event they’ve held in Ohio for the last several years. I’m a big fan of the Ohio Colossalcon and the East edition, though still relatively new, continues the nerd party tradition established out west. I look forward to attending this again in the future!