When I last wrote my long essay about DerpyCon it was during the turn of the pandemic. The convention circuit had just started up again, and things were changing. Reality of a new normal was setting in. Which, just months latter, would become the most contagious spread of COVID-19 during this pandemic with the Omicron variant. A more contagious, albeit less deadly, strain.
That’s sort of become the normal now. After having attended numerous conventions this year, including GSCF, PAX, GENCON, and NYCC, it’s not only evident that the demand for in-person conventions is there, but also, that we’re now seeing signs of it growing even bigger than before.
Since last year’s DerpyCon, the convention had actually doubled in foot traffic. Passes were all but sold-out and demand was still prevalent even hours before the end of the convention. It’s an impressive feature given that not only was this year’s convention short on staff, but also, basically the same. Which is a testimony to all the hard work all of DerpyCon’s members.
You can read my piece from last year to get the lengthy details of the experience but basically, this time, the game stations were still loaded with consoles and arcade-styled video games from different generations. The Panels still had talent, unique events, and voice actors. For this year’s convention, Kent Williams, Lauren Landa, Griffin Burns, and Wendee Lee were all in attendance.
What improved this time though, was the the actors now had tables smack dab in the center of the convention, AKA the area with the most foot traffic. A smart decision given that most people were happy to be weebing out and dancing just nearby so it almost guaranteed a visit for guests.
Cosplay has become huge at this convention. I don’t remember the last time I’d seen that many Anime Cosplayers at a con set on Halloween in a long time. Likewise, the Bubble Pop Burlesque was still the same—an excellent body positive experience—and the talents of Bubble Pop more-or-less have become a DerpyCon Staple. The trinkets and posters likewise at the Artist Alley was also the same minus a booth or two. Keychains, prints, and knick knacks were the common items, but what stood out were some of the artists at play.
Atop of this, Lex Winter’s panels were all amazing this year, though after speaking with him, it’s getting to the point where the talented lecturer is running out of things to talk about. His panels make for a good time, which was sort of the emphasis of this year’s theme.
Because this year’s DerpyCon was packed with people. Friends and events, boardgames, and more. There wasn’t a single sad face in the crowd in all three days, and better yet, nor was there any sad faces regarding the places to eat and drink nearby. It’s also now been confirmed DerpyCon will continue to be in New Brunswick for another two years.
Still, despite a good time there were a few areas that needed improvement. The convention needs more staff, and in particular, medically ready staff nearby as not just one but two people, passed out during the convention. Atop of this masks and badges weren’t as strictly enforced not for a lack of trying, but rather, for a lack of having people onboard.
Overall, I’d say DerpyCon is the place you want to check out for Weebs, anime fandom, and if you’re looking for a good time in the local central jersey.