TitanCon attracts cosplayers and pop culture enthusiasts

In Arts & Entertainment, Multimedia
Characters from popular video games, such as “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild,” were common cosplay choices around the convention. (Amber Hamilton / Daily Titan)

The second annual TitanCon took place Saturday inside and around the Titan Student Union, but anyone unfamiliar with the CSUF campus could have mistaken it for a major event like Anime Expo or WonderCon. Wrapping around the TSU was a vibrant collage of attendees, many of whom came in complex costumes of fictional characters.

TitanCon is intended for fans of any popular culture. There were panels and gatherings around games like “Overwatch,” “Harry Potter,Disney films, Japanese culture, a car show and much more.

This attitude was reflected in the huge variety of cosplayers appearing; ranging from Darth Vader with his retinue of Stormtroopers to the character Violet Baudelaire from “A Series of Unfortunate Events.”

TitanCon 2017

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A cosplay based on Marvel’s “Doctor Strange.” (Amber Hamilton / Daily Titan)

Many attendees were not CSUF students but heard about TitanCon from Facebook or friends who attended last year.

“(I was on a panel last year) and that’s how I got involved with TitanCon. I had a good experience last year so I came this year,” said non-student attendee Lyn Kurnei.

The first performance of the day was a set of live sword-fighting demonstrations to counterpoint the unrealistic sword fights portrayed in media. Other panels discussed how to break into industries, such as voice acting, the work involved and what pitfalls to avoid.

The voice acting panel was run by industry professionals Mark Allen, Jr. and Austin Lee Matthews. They discussed many of the ins and outs of being a voice actor, places to start building a portfolio and what casting directors usually look for.

After their panel officially ended, Allen and Matthews took to the TSU hallways to answer additional questions from interested students. They discussed issues voice actors face including the lack of recognition unless they are as famous as Nolan North.

Both actors were impressed by how TitanCon had turned out the previous year, they said.  Matthews and Allen agreed that it was the best first-year convention they had ever attended. Matthews also commended this year’s TitanCon staff for how they handled the huge line in the morning to get into the convention.

“Even if I had no reason to come to this con, it’s my alma mater, and I want to support it. Even if it wasn’t for that, it’s just a really well-run con,” Allen said. “It’s very rare to find something that is this structured and this well put together. I’ll absolutely be coming back.”

One of the highlights of the day was the cosplay contest that took place in the Titan Theater, which filled to capacity before the contest began. The contest was hosted by special guest emcee Kira Buckland, who was cosplaying as the character 2B,whom she voiced in the game “Nier: Automata.” To make things fair for participants, the contest was divided into four categories.

The categories consisted of an “Exhibition” division with no judges, a “Novice” division for beginner cosplayers, a “Journeyman” division for intermediate cosplayers with some experience but no contest wins and a “Master” division for cosplayers who had previously won contests.

Some of the cosplayers really got into character as they took the stage either by pantomiming notable expressions or actions of the characters they were portraying. Two particular highlights of these characterizations were by cosplayers of Jon Snow from “Game of Thrones” and Lux from “League of Legends.” Both acted in character upon entering the stage.

This dedication to character wasn’t just for the stage either. Earlier in the day, when asked for an interview, a cosplayer dressed as Star-Lord from Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” introduced himself as Peter Jason Quill, the character’s real name. Star-Lord blasted the “Awesome Mix Vol.1” music from the first “Guardians of the Galaxy” movie as he was walking through the con.

After a short intermission, prizes were given out to the top two contestants in each division. The grand prize went to Jeremy Toepfer for his intricate General Grievous cosplay from the “Star Wars” franchise.

During the closing ceremony, Buckland announced that TitanCon 2018 would be split into two days, taking place on April 21 and 22. Each staff member was then given time to say a few words, some of which turned into minor speeches. One of the best received speeches given was by TitanCon Chief Executive Officer Jeremy Wan.

“All of us here are students, some of us are alumni with work, jobs and stuff like that, and this is truly a passion project. It comes straight from the heart,” Wan said.

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