November 2, 2005

News for OtakuCon Miami Beach 2004 and Kunicon St. Louis 2005 and Kunicon Atlanta 2005 and Kunicon Denver 2005:

Kunicon cancelled; former chairman posts attendance numbers

by PatrickD

Even before their first convention took place, D20, Inc. (now known as Subarashii Nation) had generated some controversy in the anime convention scene by naming their first convention "OtakuCon", which sounded undeniably similar to "Otakon".

OtakuCon took place in December 2004 in Miami, Florida. A fair amount of controversy arose from the convention's reported attendance figures. Manny Camacho, the convention chairman, had announced an attendance figure of 5,000 while fan photographer Maboroshi presented pictoral evidence on that the attendance figure could not have been possible.

After recently going over some paperwork from last year, Manny has reported that the numbers "appear to have been in the 3400's not anywhere near the 5000 number as suggested by soft counts."

After Miami, OtakuCon changed their name to Kunicon. The Kunicon web site claimed that the convention would be held in twelve cities including San Diego, St. Louis, Atlanta, and Denver. The San Diego convention was cancelled fairly early on and Kunicon moved on to St. Louis, one of the largest cities in the United States that did not have an anime convention nearby.

Kunicon Denver was held just at the Marriott Tech Center just three months before the long-standing, fan run Nan Desu Kan convention. "We went overbudget by about $30k," says Manny. Although Kunicon had planned for between 800 and 1000 people, "the end result was actually somewhere in the 450-500 attendance."

After the Denver convention, Kunicon's web site went offline. LiveJournal and posts indicated that the webmaster was on vacation, but a new web site would be online on September 7th. The web site is still not online.

Over the last few days, contacted some of the guests that were listed as confirmed for this December's Kunicon Miami. "I have been told that they're just having major server issues, and that the con is still happening. As to whether this is true or not, I have no idea," replied one voice actor. Another replied, "I'm under the assumption that it is not going to happen." One voice actress told us, "I have tried contacting [Kunicon] via cell phone and e-mail and have not had any luck at all."

On November 1st, Manny updated his LiveJournal with revealing information about Kunicon. In his post, he says that he has been unable to contact the convention's owners. According to the post, the staff and employees have not been paid either. "Unfortunately I do not see how the convention will occur in December."

Although it is possible that Kunicon may come back in the future, this seems highly unlikely due to the large financial loss of Denver as well as the poor reputation the series of conventions has earned in the fan community.