Ninja Con 2014 took place on June 7, 2014 in Los Angeles' Little Tokyo at the Japanese American Cultural Center. Little Tokyo has been a hub for otaku and j-fashion for the past decade. The one day event had a handful of anime, video game industry, and cosplay guests - Reuben Langdon, Lauren Landa, Dustbunny, Celeste Orchird, and Lisle Wilkerson. Ninja Con is in it's beginning stages, in fact this is our first time covering Ninja Con. This was a very small con that had about less than 200 attendees, but still had some small offerings for the local otaku.
One of the highlights of this con was the concerts in the Japanese garden. While Little Tokyo is the place to go for cosplay meet ups, it's very rare that the Japanese garden is available to the public. We caught two concert sets in the garden - Cherry Bomb and On Being Human. Cherry Bomb covered j-pop and anime songs in their set list. I was rather happy when they started covering AKB48 songs. While there were few people on the Japanese garden level, casual observers were able to check out these bands on the public observation deck. Cherry Bomb also had a saxaphone player - something I don't really see in amateur cover bands at anime cons! On Being Human covered video game music - their cover from the Goldeneye score caught our attention!
Ninja Con also had a mini maid cafe called the Tokari Lounge. There were a few maids running around the lounge area. We weren't aware it was a maid cafe until Deb sat down and was offered pocky and tea. There were a few dances, but it was hard to tell if someone just placed a stereo and maids just randomly started dancing, but it was entertaining nonetheless. By the end of the day, all of the food was already taken.
Ninja Con also had a very small artist alley, but there were some really cool stuff to check out. Other than the usual prints, there was Sailor Moon themed hairbows if you were into fairy kei or decora fashion. There was also a steampunk booth that sold petticoats, underskirts, and bloomers at very low prices. It was worth checking out; though Anime Expo was less than a month away, it was nice to actually be able to breathe and take some time to see what everyone was selling rather than be in a crowded space without much room to check things out.
Ninja Con also had a masquerade. It felt more like a cosplay contest than your typical anime con masquerade. About seven entries were in the show. The event was hosted by Celeste Orchird who was dressed up as Ibuki from Street Fighter. Seasoned cosplayers Ginger, Dustbunny, and Samurai Kris judged the show. The winners won gift certificates to local Little Tokyo retailer Anime Jungle. Top honors went to a Phoenix Wright pair, Legend of Zelda, and The iDolm@ster. However, sign ups were confusing - I had to talk to the con chair to have that taken care of. Also, the website did not have much information on the cosplay contest other than the time and location.
Overall, Ninja Con was worth to check out even for just one day. If you are local to the Los Angeles area and have some time to spare before Anime Expo, it's a nice "hang out con." You can get some really nice photos in the Japanese garden. However, there were still a lot of things going on in Little Tokyo through the day such as the J-Fashion parade (conciding with International Lolita Day) and OtaSummer later in the evening. While this is still a baby-con, it still can be nurtured into something awesome. Shoutouts to Andrew, Kris Z, Stan, Deb, Fairytale Boutique, Ginger, Dustbunny, Celeste Orchird, Producer-san, and everyone who made Ninja Con possible.
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