HawaiiCon! We’re here!

WAIKOLOA, Hawaii >> Sometimes you just have to break with the status quo to make things finally work.

Case in point: this post. For a few weeks now, I’d been planning to publish a post around this time featuring the fourth participant in Con-athon 2016 and the only one to be held on one of the neighbor islands: HawaiiCon. It starts today around 3 p.m. and runs through Sunday; the 30+ guests include actors Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols and Jonathan Frakes from the Star Trek franchise, voice actor Vic Mignogna, Futurama artist and Bongo Comics co-founder Bill Morrison, and Hawaiian Comic Book Alliance members Sam Campos, Christopher Caravalho and Bryan Revell. Passes are $25 general, $10 children ages 6-12 today; $66 general, $35 children for single-day passes Friday-Sunday; and $169 general, $79 children for four-day passes.

Mauna Lani gives all its guests leis like this on check-in. Also, the key cards are con-branded. So cool! Photo by Jason S. Yadao.
Mauna Lani gives all its guests leis like this on check-in. Also, the key cards are con-branded. So cool! Photo by Jason S. Yadao.

So why is this post not written in the style of other Con-athon posts? The biggest enemies of anything Otaku Ohana-related as of late, free time and the corresponding energy to write anything, certainly are factors. But here’s the bigger factor: I’ve already checked in to HawaiiCon’s host hotel for this year, the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows. Here’s the view from my room.

Lovely poolside view. Kinda wish I swam a little more, heh. Photo by Jason S. Yadao.
Lovely poolside view. Kinda wish I swam a little more, heh. Photo by Jason S. Yadao.

Those of you who have been fortunate enough to attend HawaiiCon — and as far as I know, that’s about three or four of you who read this blog — know that this event operates on a different level from the other Con-athon events. Sure, there are the usual elements — panels, autographs and photo ops with guests, a cosplay contest, an Artist Alley and dealers room. But there’s also the feeling that this is designed to be more of an intimate vacation experience for everyone involved. The dealers room offerings are more upscale. Attendees are willing to pay more to go on excursions like snorkeling and zip-lining with their favorite guests, things like that. HawaiiCon’s also out here in the lush resort stretch of the Kona Coast, while the other Con-athon participants are all within a few blocks of the retail/condo-dense Ala Moana district.

It’s a con where, last year, voice actors Steve Blum and Mary Elizabeth McGlynn went snorkeling in the morning, showered and walked in to do their panel (an actual thing that happened last year). It’s also a con where voice actor Melissa Fahn brought her young son up to sit in on her panel and have him utterly steal the show with his pinpoint rendition of the Yakko Warner “Nations of the World” song from Animaniacs, from memory. (I have that video somewhere. I probably ought dig it up and post it somewhere.) I’ve also heard that guests, staff and attendees often adjourn to the hotel bar after con events wrap up around 8 p.m. (something I’ve never experienced for myself, because shyyyyyy).

It’s just a different, more relaxed state of mind out here. And that’s a good thing. It’s one that I already settled into on Wednesday, taking a long road trip with a friend from Kona to Hilo for some yummy mochi (Two Ladies, because of course), lunch with one of our friends and Ingress-ing at Liliuokalani Gardens, and then hightailing it out of there to outrun a cluster of thunderstorms. Aside from the whole “KYAAAAAAH the rain is coming down in sheets and I’m having trouble seeing and KYAAAAAAH that lightning bolt looked like it flashed REALLY CLOSE” thing, it’s the most relaxed I’ve felt in weeks. And there will be the usual dispatches from here — be sure to follow my Instagram/Facebook and Twitter feeds for the usual con randomness.

But if it seems a bit quieter than usual, please understand: I’m not slacking! I’m just soaking up the atmosphere.

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