Tormentor's adventures at VIECC 2016

Tormentor – Saturday, November 26, 2016 8:24 AM
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The very first thing to hit me like a truck is the general atmosphere of the entry hall: we see a long, two-people wide line; a mix of cosplayers and visitors, with no pushing, no cutting in line, no littering, and so on. We’re at the Vienna Comic Con.

We are here, let us in..!
The area is massive in scale, and is perfectly capable of housing such a huge number of people. The large glass corridor connecting the halls is both wide and well-lit, a feature very much essential for photography. This, by the way, was very much true for all the other halls – the artificial lighting illuminating the entire place felt almost like sunlight.

Back in the parking lot, we spot Jeri Ryan (Star Trek Voyager) and Kristian Nairn (Game of Thrones), both of whom – alongside all the other celebrities – were making their way to their booths to meet fans, and were otherwise followed around by their respective managers and various other agents. So were Billy Boyd (Lord of the Rings) and Mark Pellegrino (Supernatural, Mulholland Drive), who talked about his experiences with David Lynch to a private audience, and remained very secretive regarding Supernatural, claiming that whatever he could tell us about it would all be lies. Meanwhile, a sizeable line began to form near the booth of cosplay judge Yaya Han for the chance to get an autograph and a photo.

Both the visitors and the organizers were equally friendly, and to me personally, it felt somewhat unusual that they’d initiate a conversation in German, but they would always switch to English readily and without hesitation. Generally speaking, the people were open and kind; I was the most surprised by how spontaneously happy they could be, when – for example – someone caught me unconsciously smiling and returned it with a smile of their own. As for me, I managed to elicit surprise with my usually commandeering style when I had to position cosplayers just the right way for this or that photo.

In terms of cosplay, we’ve seen a host of highly diverse and impressive costumes. Both me and my smallish team were equally impressed by AJ-Designs’ professional Transformers cosplay – the only time their booth wasn’t surrounded by people was when they roamed the halls in all their robotic, whirring-fuming glory, or when they took over the stage as the final attraction of the cosplay contest. Words can’t quite do this experience justice, but thankfully I had my camera at the ready, so you can watch it below:

The convention’s cosplay contest included a series of incredibly impressive and high-quality costumes in four categories, with the Hungarian Okkido – who had already won several contests back in Hungary with her stunningly detailed costumes – coming out as the overall winner. The other cosplayers showed off beautiful outfits as well, with one of my favorites being the semi-newcomer Mishel’s and Bloody Baroness’ dark elf costumes. We saw a similarly impressive costume from Michiyo Nakajima, whose unfolding wings gained the admiration of the judges, while EyeofSauron Designs drew my attention with his massive sword and imposing armor set – he entered in the armor category, which was eventually won by Matt.

The convention had no shortage of merchandise, either: endless amounts of clothes, accessories, books, comics and games were on offer, while various booths gave home to realistic LEGO creations, comic artists working in real time, 3D scanning and printing, VR headsets and even free back massages for those worn-out by the day’s many activities.

On our way back to our hotel – after parting with our two Hungarian import-cosplayers, Kaira Cosplay and Ponylord – we found ourselves ambushed by a massive Pikachu and its overflowing cuteness, and then proceeded to encounter a similar experience in the form of several children dressed as either Spiderman, Batman or Deadpool, who kept asking cosplayers various questions, their eyes sparkling with excitement. Speaking of which, the convention actually offered a number of programs and playhouse areas tailored specifically for young children like them.

A number of other smaller-scale programs were also set up to amuse and entertain: we saw lightsaber duels, live roleplaying (witchcraft, hospital, fencing, archery), as well as the Nakari dance company’s cleverly- choreographed Imperial Belly Dancing session (by courtesy of Dumbledore’s Army), which was highly reminiscent of what one would expect from the 501st Legion.

The thing about conventions of this size is that no matter how hard you try, you can never be everywhere at the same time, which meant we ended up missing a number of interesting events, such as a neighboring gaming show and some group dance with cosplayers a la Gangnam Style. Apparently, even Billy Boyd himself took to song somewhere, which is something we’re tremendously sad to have missed out on. We similarly didn’t pose next to HBO’s very own Iron Throne, which is something I’m not as tremendously sad to have missed. Who would attempt to take my place this way?

During my adventures, I happened upon a Little Sister – she waved for me to follow her, and this is how I ultimately ended up next to a beautiful nymph sitting beneath a tree, her demeanor all melancholic. From here, I continued onwards in the company of a mysterious armored knight, when a demon from a faraway world reached out for me, dragging me into an alien universe. Following repeated invitations from the Star Trek LARP group’s fleet commander, I eventually gave in and stepped into their holo-transporter – who knows, maybe I’d be transported back to my own planet, universe, plane or who knows where. According to him, the possibilities are endless. The thing is: I would’ve loved to just stay there in Vienna, but in the end, I seated myself on the platform and embarked upon further adventures.

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