July 4, 2006
News for PortConMaine 2006:
PortConMaine 2006 convention reportby Patrick Delahanty
While most of the anime community's attention faced west this past weekend for news from the country's largest anime convention, over 1,300 people gathered at the easternmost anime convention in the US, PortConMaine.
PortConMaine took place at the Sheraton South Portland Hotel from June 30th through July 2nd and featured the assortment of video rooms, panel programming, cosplay, AMVs, artists, dealers, and gaming that people tend to expect from conventions. This year's con had a pirate theme, which naturally generated the occasional shouts of "Arrr!" from the convention staff.
Most conventions have their own traditions and PortConMaine is no exception. The convention continued its tradition of hosting "Extreme Geek", an original game show in which teams of geeks compete for the title of Most Extreme Geek by answering questions, completing physical challenges, and eating disgusting foods. Every team that played this year had to eat unusual Asian foods such as silkworm pupa.
The entire convention has a relaxing, laid-back attitude that is evident in events like the masquerade, which tends to focus more on having fun than on competition. This year's masquerade started off with a surprise for PortCon's regular attendees. While many thought that longtime host Nami would be unable to attend, she was actually roaming the convention on Friday in disguise as an ape. On Saturday, when assistance was called for hosting the masquerade, "Pochi", a green alligator from He Is My Master that had assisted with last year's masquerade, came out on stage. A minute later, the mask was removed and Nami revealed herself and shocked many convention attendees and staff.
PortConMaine featured guest musician Lisa Furukawa Ray, who performed in concert on both Friday and Saturday. This was Lisa's first performance in the northeast, but given the overwhelmingly positive fan response to her concerts, it certainly won't be her last.
The convention also featured voice acting guests Luci Christian and Daniel Kevin Harrison. They offered insight into the English dubbing process at studios in both Texas and New York and answered questions about their careers and the roles that they played, offering samples of various voices in the process.
Although it's New England's longest running anime convention and only two hours north of Boston, PortConMaine still has that "small con charm"...even with over 1,300 people filling the halls. Always a very friendly convention and a lot of fun, PortConMaine continues to be a hidden jewel in the anime convention circuit.