Lily on the Road: JAFAX

Last time Lily hit the convention scene it was at Anime Central, one of the largest conventions in the Midwest. Yesterday we set our sights on Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, MI for one of the smaller cons we go to: the Japanese Animation and Film Something-that-starts-with-A Expo. JAFAX bills itself as a “unique experience”, being a totally free convention held at a university rather than a admission-fee based model held at a hotel or convention center. This poses pretty obvious strengths and weaknesses for the convention.

Koala, Katie and Katze.

The obvious strength is that its free. No badges, no registration, just show up and walk around doing what you wanna do. The obvious weaknesses are university policies that limit the scope of the convention. Space restrictions making areas like dealers’ space or Artist’s Alley rather congested and difficult to navigate at times, for instance, or the fact that the convention ends every day at precisely 8PM. Still, no amount of inconvenience makes up for the wonderful fact that you don’t have to pay to attend the convention.

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Dragon Spirit’s manager, presenting a panel on running an Artist Alley booth.

As per usual, Lily brought our panel programming to JAFAX, and as usual we drew a greet crowd. At a rather small convention our panel brought in nearly fifty attendees, and for the first time three of our four members were in the same place, which was a remarkable experience! Koala, Katze and I were entertaining hosts for a great collection of new faces and were glad to indoctrinate them into the Lily Girls following. Koala and I also went to a panel by Dragon Spirit Studios about running an Artist booth at conventions in preparation for the Lily Art project launching Spring 2014, and consider ourselves well on the way to becoming ready to do some real exciting things! While we’re still geographically limited for convention attendance, we’ll be launching a Commissions program in short order, so don’t feel too left out!

The amazing Lightning cosplayer I’m about to talk about.

Because of the size of the con and university regulations there weren’t a whole lot of vendors that we saw carrying the kind of content we’d bother highlighting, just relatively ordinary fare, but still quite high in quality! And we did hear about some yuri figures in wedding dresses but they weren’t at this particular con. Similarly cosplayers were somewhat limited, but with a nod to American art, we did see some Princess Bubblegum and Marceline cosplayers rocking out in lesbirific ways! And, if you believe as I do that Final Fantasy XIII’s protagonist is a Lily in full bloom, there was an amazing Lightning cosplayer! Hopefully we can see an increase in the prevalence of yuri at the next JAFAX, or contribute to it thanks to some of the tips and tricks we picked up this year.

From here, Lily takes a few months to focus on you guys, our internet darlings, and consequently don’t hit the road again until November; when we venture out to our next convention, Youmacon, we’re testing some brand new content, a collaboration with another popular regional panelist, and some amazing online content to celebrate Lily Girls’ first anniversary, so look forward to it, and if you’re spending Halloween weekend in Detorit (the nice part of it), please come visit us in person! Until then, keep reading along,! And soon we’ll link to a digital portion of our JAFAX panel!

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