Saturday, September 10, 2016

Tracon 11 Summary

Yo all!

Tracon 11 has now passed us by for exactly a week ago as it was held during 3rd-4th September in Tampere, Finland. Tracon was a con that I looked a lot forward to and well, I enjoyed it too - despite suddenly losing my con hype during the event. I just don't know why I can't enjoy conventions like I did during 2010-2014, maybe I'm getting too old? Maybe I just need a serious break from them or perhaps I need to feel/experience something new again, who knows? Don't get me wrong, I still enjoy cosplaying but lately I've been more interested doing cosplay photoshoots than actually attending conventions. Anyway, this is my Tracon summary post so let's steer our imaginary car back to the right track again.

Before I move down to the actual con summary, I just want to quickly mention that I traveled down to southern Finland some days before the con, to spend time with Firith and his good friends. We all had a great time together! But when Tracon started to approach us, the two of us left towards Tampere on Friday the 2nd September. Once we arrived at Tampere, we went straight to Tampere-talo (con building) to take out our con ticket/crew badge in advance, as it was possible. I mean, why not? You get a few extra hours in Dreamland and don't need to worry about getting an early spot in the ever-growing-ticket-line the next day. The two of us slept at Gure's, a good friend of Firith's, who had recently gotten an apartment in Tampere. Thanks for the stay Gure and good luck with the apartment!


The -for me- long awaited, first day of Tracon finally dawned upon us and my trusty alarm woke me up at 8 in the morning (local time). I had no issues getting up as per usual, partly because I was so stocked up on finally debuting my Germany cosplay from Hetalia. The con opened its doors at 10:00 exactly and if I remember correctly, we got out of the apartment around 11 but we didn't head for the con just yet. Way before Tracon, perhaps even during Cosvision? I and Firith talked about visiting the Tulitikkutehdas (an abandoned building destroyed in a fire) in Tampere, to have a photoshoot there with our Italy and Germany cosplay. Since we were still interested to photoshoot at said location, we headed there first while the weather and our makeup was nice. We took the bus to the city and from the city we walked to our destination. It was a decent walk and man, it was hot in that uniform!

When we finally arrived at Tulitikkutehdas the three of us found out, to our unfortunate timing, that the building had been closed off as there was an airsoft game going on. We had no other choice than to walk past, give up on Tulitikkutehdas and photoshoot at the building just next to it. The close-by building had also been destroyed by flames back in the days and was in an equally bad condition. We sneaked in there but we only got one good photo taken, in my opinion. The two other photos below are from two other locations that we visited along the way while going back to Tampere city and later, Tracon.


I'm aware that the characters I cosplay in this post might wear details/symbols that can be offensive or emotionally unpleasant to others. I, as a guy with his heart and morals in the right place, just want to make it clear that I DO NOT support, agree with, believe in or have any other connections to the ideologies/beliefs that the characters I'm cosplaying is representing. Readers, please keep in mind that what I'm wearing is JUST A COSTUME and shouldn't be taken as anything more than that. Thank you.

Cosplayers: Frozen Angel (Germany) & Firith (North Italy)
Photographer: Gure
Photo editor: Shiro Samurai

Note: Those of you who dislikes/can't stand the pairing Germany x Italy (GerIta) please scroll past the photos below and keep on reading. I don't force you to watch the photos below. Thank you.

- I want to make it clear that I and Firith are just friends. We are good friends but just friends. Thank you for understanding -

I think the clock was somewhere around 13:00 to 14:30 when we reached Tampere-talo. We had walked through the city to find our way back to Tracon and I surely didn't mind the sightseeing at all, Tampere is a beautiful city! But I gotta say that I was very surprised that I didn't have -or at least I didn't notice- anyone looking at me the wrong way or giving me that negative "what the hell?!"-look when they saw me dressed the way I was. I was mentally prepared to get some shit, seriously. Then again, I think Tampere and its citizens are pretty used to have colorful and weirdly dressed people around this time of the year by now. I mean, this year was the 11th time when Tracon was held.

Back at the con, I and Firith went to speed check what the con had to offer, so we went to check out the Artist's Alley and the Dealer's Hall. At Tracon 2014 the Artist's Alley was in the second floor (if I recall correctly) but this year, it was in the corridor area just before you enter the Dealer's Hall area. I think this was a good location change for the Artist's Alley, as now they were in a more frequently visited and easier place to find them at. Back in 2014, the narikka (the place where one can leave their luggages, bags etc. at the con) had this corridor area. This year there was no Artist's Alley seller that had anything that tingled my fancy but Firith bought a gorgeous crystal themed necklace from Purple Octopus' table. Funnily enough, we actually spent more time at the Artist's Alley than in the Dealer's Hall during Saturday. The outdoor area was similar to the previous events. For example, there was a tent for different fandom meets, the boffer area and a few food wagons here and there, if I recall correctly, as I didn't take a closer look at the wagons. Just like back in 2014, the candy wagon had found its spot again into Tracon's big outdoor area. They were selling regular candies, chocolate and of course the well-known and loved "metrilaku" (one meter long cable candy) that you can only buy at markets up here, as far as I know. I was tempted to fetch a few, but I didn't in the end. I spent the most of Saturday together with Firith and Trixena, a friend of Firith whom I met for the first time at Cosvision. Somewhere around 15:30 or so, I and Trixena went to a Subway near the con area as we both felt like bread, meanwhile Firith stayed at the con to scout for the room where he was supposed to have his Hetalia panel.

Soon after that I and Trixena returned from Subway, Firith went to eat at the second floor, close to the Maid Café, where the other con volunteers, panel holders and other crew members went to eat. I waited outside for him while I had one person asking for a photo of my cosplay and two giving me a hug. It was uplifting to know that there are still character fans out there, even if the series has had its peak when I started cosplaying. When Firith had finished his meal, we went outdoors and there we bumped into Trixena again, who asked if we were interested to go and watch the Harry Potter meet starting at 17:00 in the meet-up tent close by. With both Trixena and Firith being Potterheads, I just tagged along thinking "Why not?". Harry Potter has some nostalgic value to me and if luck was on my side, I might run into my good friend Pumpkin there. I did and it was really nice to talk to them again! It's been so long, 2 flippin' years man!

I don't know for how long we talked but I, Firith and Pumpkin talked for a while. When the clock started to close in on 19:00, the two of us had to leave and start moving indoors as Firith's Hetalia panel started at that time. Even if it was Firith's panel, I was a bit nervous too as we had agreed on doing an in-character act in the very beginning of the panel. To our surprise, around 40 persons attended the Hetalia panel which was a positive thing for us; knowing that the AMV competition was held during the same time. For the panel I and Firith had planned a silly in-character act in the very beginning of the panel, so I was also a bit nervous when stepping inside Sonaatti 2 (the room) and planting my ass in the first row of chairs. The panel was a success and it seemed like the audience enjoyed it a lot, as did I. For those interested, the panel went through topics such as how well the Hetalia characters represent the actual nations and how accurately it goes through historical events during WW1 and WW2 and what is seen in the anime and what is not, shortly put. I know that the panel was filmed by the Tracon crew and if I ever get a video link to it and get the permission to upload it here, I'll do it.

Shortly after the panel, I and Firith hit a chat with one of the more talk-active panel attendants who cosplayed Fem!Germany. After our interesting chat, we left Tracon for the day. Both I and Firith were really tired after the bus trip and we were also more interested to explore Tampere city than to stay at the con. Like I mentioned at the beginning of this summary, we had barely any con hype during Tracon.


My alarm rang at 08:30 and soon afterwards, while I was putting on my Prussia (Hetalia) cosplay, it suddenly hit me that the last day of Tracon 2016 was already upon us! I know that Tracon is a 2-day con but Sunday always comes as some kind of "realization chock" for me, I guess I'm too used to conventions being either 3 or 4 days, hah. Knowing that Tracon closes at 17:00, it did stress me up a bit as I was worrying if I will have time to properly check everything that I either skipped or didn't check properly on Saturday. If I remember correctly I and Firith (this time without Gure) left for the con somewhere past 10:00. I got my costume on smoothly, save for the left lens that just didn't want to stay in my eye. Oh yeah! I was also really happy to find out that my Geo Color Nine Deep Red lenses didn't have any kind of comfort drop since I used them the last time. I wore them for some hours during the day and no problems at all. Ahahaha, I can keep my eye-babies a bit longer, yes! <3

This year the Tracon con band was yellow. Photo taken at Gure's apartment by me.
I and Firith took the local bus again to the con from Gure's and as soon as we arrived at Tampere-talo, I pulled out my camera and reminded myself to take all the con photos during the day. Yeah, I had skipped the photographer's role during the entire Saturday as I just couldn't focus on it properly. Shortly put; my whole Saturday went more or less to keep track of time and my friends, whenever I lost them. So Sunday became some kind of "check out everything properly" and "take all the photos!" day for me, lol. Anyway, here are some location photos of Tracon 2016 taken by me and my will-do-but-not-the-best camera.

Tampere-talo front entrance.
Indoors as soon as you enter.
When I and Firith got inside, we went straight off to the Dealer's Hall as there was this one seller that I wanted to check out. Said seller whose table I wanted to take a peek at, was this one Japanese guy who is mostly selling Asian candies. I and my usual con company always visits his table whenever he is around. My friends asked me to check if he had specific candies/sweets that they wanted and I checked, but the seller didn't have them, sadly. The Dealer's Hall had the usual Finnish anime/manga merchandise sellers like Urumi and Omoi, together with manga pocket sellers such as Fantasiapelit and Sangatsu manga. There was of course some tables selling geeky t-shirts, hats and accessories and more. Bard & Jester also had their table up and from them, I bought a dark blue military cap for a future cosplay. Below are 3 photos of the Dealer's Hall area, enjoy!

Corridor view when you leave the Dealer's Hall. Notice Artist's Alley at both sides.
Somewhere around noon or afternoon, Firith and a friend of his felt like fetching a cup of coffee and since I happened to be a bit hungry myself; I decided to tag along wherever they planned to go - which ended up being the Maid Café upstairs on the second floor. I've only been to a Maid Café once before and even if it's one of the most unlikely places on earth to find me at, I did enjoy it. At the café I ordered a cream soda drink (which contained lemon flavored ramune with ice cream) and a cheesecake with matcha scattered on top of it. It was good but pricey and Maid Café is a bit of an experience in itself. It's different and cute in it's own way and this is coming from someone who don't exactly like cute things.

My order. Yes, the cream soda drink is green.
After that we left the Maid Café, I and Firith just walked around and enjoyed the remaining hours of Tracon 2016. Sadly I don't have photos of the con's outdoor area this time, because idiot-me didn't realize to shut down the camera every time I was done taking a photo. In other words; a lot of the camera's battery time was wasted. Sorry for this. At one point somewhere around 15-16 I lost Firith and his pals, as I went to look after some cosplayers that I wanted a photo of. When I was done, I went back to search after my lost pals whom I couldn't see anywhere indoors after going back and forth between the main area and the Dealer's Hall more than 4 times. Ouch, my feet. Soon after that I had enough of walking back and forth without seeing the familiar faces, I called Firith and asked where he was. He and his friends had been outdoors all the time photoshooting his cosplay and at that moment, I felt stupid for not checking the outdoor area. Why? Because I knew that he planned to photoshoot his cosplay and it completely escaped my mind when I was on my search tour. Well done me, well done. I found them quickly and meanwhile I waited for Firith to be done with his photoshoot, I took my time to rest my legs on the bench just next to them. Since Firith and his friend had started the photoshoot a while ago, I didn't need to wait that long for them to finish. Soon after the photoshoot and before the two of us headed towards the bus station, I demanded photo proof that I actually wore a costume on Sunday. Because heck, I could actually be bothered for once. Oh and the cap on the photos below is the one that I bought from the Dealer's Hall.

Cosplayer: Frozen Angel (Prussia)
Photographer: Firith
Photo editor: Shiro Samurai

We took the local bus to get ourselves closer to Tampere's bus station, which wasn't exactly close to Tampere-talo. Even if we took the bus closer to the bus station, we still ended up walking a bit to get to our destination. Our bus back to Firith's home region arrived at 18:20 and I took the train back to the north on the following Monday, as I didn't want to stress with the trains as soon as the con had ended. I came safely back to my hometown and had a pleasant trip.

Before heading to bed and ending this summary, I'd like to thank my con company and you peeps for reading this shit. But for now, Gute Nacht! ~

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