Henshin Justice Unlimited tells a tale of two cons at Designer Con and Pacific Media Expo (PMX) held this past November 2013.
Started as “Vinyl Toy Network”, Designer Con began in 2009 as a show “created to bring together artists, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers in the vinyl toy/collectible figures market.” Located in the Pasadena Convention Center, the same location as 2010 and 2012’s Power Morphicon, Designer Con presents all varying incarnations of design, from apparel to printing to designer toys.
For avid vinyl toy collectors and lovers of unique design, Designer Con is a wonderful presentation of quality and quirk. Walking into Designer Con feels just like walking into a less stressfully crowded Artist Alley or Exhibit Hall at Comic Con. Not only was it easy to spot brands such as Giant Robot, kidrobot, BAIT, and Bad Juju, who also co-sponsored the event, Designer Con lent itself to a relaxed atmosphere that allowed attendees to really take the time to chat with designers about their brands and the process and inspiration for their designs.
It also allowed attendees to really discover new, brilliant, and unique designers, many of whom offered exclusive designs and products just for Designer Con. For example, Los Angeles based company, Hello Cavities, offers a darkly whimsical design with their limited edition Twinkle Twinkle Bat print. Hello Cavities is also one of the designers participating in 2014’s Moon Crisis Sailor Moon Tribute Art Show.
Furthermore, tokusatsu fans would be remiss not to check out Designer Con, as Power Morphicon and Robo Toy Fest make their appearances as well as designers with clear love for all things giant monsters and robots. One only needs to look at their attendee badge to see a loving tribute to Ultraman.
On the flip side to Designer Con, on the opposite end of Los Angeles, the Pacific Media Expo, better known as PMX, is in its 9th year and continues to grow as “The Crossroads of Asian Pop Culture.”
In the same way Designer Con incorporates all incarnations of design, PMX incorporates all incarnations of Asian Pacific Entertainment. From anime, to dramas, to martial arts, PMX houses the hidden gems of Asian pop culture.
Being a lover of all things magical girls, Henshin Justice stopped by to the Dark Side of Magical Girls panel held on PMX’s last day.
Hosted by cosplayer, Cerulean Rogue, the Dark Side of Magical Girls discusses the darker themes present in popular magical girl anime. Themes such as death, betrayal, and sexuality are often edited or altered when they’re adapted for a North American audience. For example, turning the relationship between Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune from a romantic same-sex relationship to cousins when the anime was adapted for North American broadcast.
The panel offered a basic foundation to the magical girl genre and noted better known examples, such as Sailor Moon, Magic Knights Rayearth, Pretear, and Madoka Magica. Cerulean Rogue highlighted her key themes using bulleted slides then opened the floor to audience questions and responses, creating an atmosphere that felt like a richly informative academic lecture and discussion.
Like Anime Expo in its beginnings, finding tokusatsu wares in PMX’s Exhibit Hall could take some dedicated hunting. For example, Anime Books always has a tokusatsu production book or five to offer, some even rare or out-of-print, but at PMX, they are housed on two low shelves, so it’s a good idea to keep a look out for your toku merchandise fix.
As PMX progresses, it would be difficult to ignore the growing lolita fashion community that makes PMX a destination convention for lolita fashion aficionados everywhere. From three dedicated rooms just for lolita fashion brands, to high tea parties, and a simply rocking fashion show, PMX embraces lolitas and dandies with enthusiasm. It wouldn’t be too hard to imagine toku lolita fashionistas, like Ahim from Gokaiger or Nai and Mea from Magiranger, to be among well-dress throngs walking on stage at the PMX Fashion Show.
There are plenty more photos of the PMX Fashion Show as well as photos from other conventions attended by the HJU Team on the Henshin Justice Facebook page. Check it out and don’t forget to give it a Like!