Conventions: Omni Fandom Expo 2018: The Most Inspirational Anime Convention Year!

Hello Shiquers and welcome back to Nerdy Shique Universe! I’m back from Omni Expo 2018 and man I am exhausted but feel inspired! How so? Well, this year was a huge inspirational convention and there were things that took place that were things that made me not feel inspired but an inspiration on its own. I will explain as the review goes on.

Disclaimer: This review is based on thoughts, opinions, and observation of the lead writer of this blog. Please respect her thoughts on this convention and thank you!

Man! This year was a huge year for Omni Expo and let’s see let’s start with location!

Location: This year Omni Expo was at the Florida Hotel again since it was a success at this location a year ago. Last year, the format was a little weird because of Panel Room 1 being close to the vendor hall and the Main Events Room and so on, this year they changed it up slightly. Instead of having Panel Room 1 close to Vendors, they put it closer to the Gamin Rooms and Panel Room 2 which 2 was changed and was a bit bigger from last year. As in, PR 2 is not as tiny, I don’t feel like my claustrophobia was being affected, it was just longer and had more chairs in the audience area. PR 1, on the other hand, it was wider! As in, it seems like they wanted these rooms to be bigger than last year’s rooms and glad they went with that especially with more people attendee this convention. Yes, there was a bigger turn out this year that I’ve noticed and glad to see that with this year. Heck, someone even posted on the Florida Mall Facebook saying, “There are so many people with weird colored hair, armor, and more.” This is what happens when you hold a convention, heck I still remember walking past Auntie Ann’s last year as Link and everyone followed with their gazes.

Vendors Hall: This year’s Vendors Hall felt like it was the same size as last year. Even though I was hoping Surreal Makeup would be back for this year since there was one item I did see I would like to get but they weren’t there which sucked a little. Hoping to catch them again somewhere at Holiday Matsuri if we get press again or just buy from their website. I did find something nice that I did end up picking up and that is a Pink Ranger lunch box from the same guy who sells a lot of old school stuff even from Power Rangers. It is the classic Mighty Morphen Pink Ranger and as you know it brings back so many memories and when I was around that age I didn’t get any Power Rangers stuff except the movie items from McDonald’s when I was about to go into the fourth grade and wanted to see that movie but saw Pocahontas instead. This lunch box does come in handy to carry food in even for convention time when I do carry sandwiches and other things, heck I think it’s roomier than my Dead Pool Chimichanga truck lunch box. We did bump into the Japanese snacks guy we always love buying from since he spotted me through my Rarity cosplay and I thought he wouldn’t be selling at the convention but silly kitty or shall I say unicorn me was glad to see him and did get another mystery bag and a bag of strawberry Kit Kats to try out! Look out for a video on that! Besides the vendors, they did bring back some of the vehicles they had on display, which we did hear the Jurassic Park theme song playing in the back and that was next to Rob Simms’s table. We mostly mingled with some of the other guests, I did get to talk to Mesumi Sempai a little bit since I never got to talk to her one on one and she is one of the nicest people you will ever meet. We did talk to Paul St. Peter again since we have interviewed him last year and it was sad that he didn’t bring back Pirate Curses. We did go to two of his other panels which….

Events & Panels: This year was eventful! Even more than last year! I can see why there was a bigger turn out since there were a lot of guests coming including Sawa who was the Japanese singer that was invited this year, we wanted to interview her but due to her being on high demand for interviews and her schedule being busy we will be arranging a Skype interview sometime soon. We did go to her acoustic show Saturday night and if you haven’t seen her live I would suggest to do so! We do have both of her CDs and I will probably do a review of them whenever I can get the time to do it since now I’ve been pretty busy. I did get brought to tears during one of her songs since it was very touching and hearing it acoustic made it even more special. She did do one medley but don’t want to tell you guys about it since she did say not to record that one but the others you could. I did like the song “What Is Wrong with Me?” since that is also a sticker you could get for free at her table and can’t wait to hear the album version. We did go to her panel on Sunday and it was very educational because we get to learn about the bath houses and she shown pictures of the one her family owns. It’s interesting to learn that like with apprenticeships, where you take up some of the more cultural things like being a Geisha and puppetry, it is starting to become a bit of a dying breed due to people in Japan starting to get their own bathrooms to take showers and baths in. If you’re visiting Japan at all, I would say visit them or even Sawa’s family’s bathhouse since we have seen them in anime and movies why not check out the real one? Also, meet Sawa if she is at a convention near you because she is a major sweetheart!

Besides going to Sawa’s stuff, we did go to, well I did go to the Crystal Carnivale ball since it was RWBY themed this year. As you know, Gondras and I are huge fans and well we did have a bit of a hiccup at the door. The thing was Gondras was supposed to be my escort despite not being formally dressed, I thought he would do his Fourth Doctor but he didn’t since it would be a little hot in the Florida Mall Hotel despite it being cold at night, I know the weather should have happened during Holiday Matsuri. Anyways, when we got to the door, they wouldn’t allow Gondras in even though we asked the staff it was okay and apparently word didn’t get to the volunteers at the door. I didn’t want to waste the $5 and went in anyways. One of the staff members did find me and apologized for what had happened at the door and was appreciative for what we have done ever since the convention started. I did spend the rest of the hour there but felt bad for Gondras even though they wanted him back in and I tried telling him to come back which they said it was okay, he didn’t want to. I did try having fun at least and got to see the Nora cosplayer, since she is one of my fave characters from the series, perform even if I couldn’t see it. The funny thing though, not sure if they got the vibe from my dress or something, the room was split into red and white tables representing Team RWBY and Team JNPR and when you entered the ball you were given a pack of buttons with clothes pins in the color representing that team and I was already sitting at a white tablecloth table and asked what color was the clothespin and it was white. I did joke in my notes, “Maybe they knew I had a Team JNPR shirt?” Which is true, I have it in my closet again to go with my new RWBY chiffon skirt and hat! I did reunite with Gondras and we go to the Creating Good Guys panel and Bad Guys panels that night since I am a writer after all and have been on a major writer’s block with my third book and getting back into it, it was interesting in my opinion since it did give me new insights in how I should take my story. I even asked advice from Kaz LeFave and Mimi Jean Pamfiloff recently and I thank them for that. In between both of those panels, we did attend Derek Steven Prince’s Jeopardy panel which I did put on our itinerary as a possible thing to do. We did participate in it and winning lets you spend an hour with him. Did we win? Yes! It was a challenge with most of the questions and we got to learn more about him before the interview which you will catch on our YouTube soon which that was our entire hour with him. He did come into the Creating Bad Guys panel and sit in on it. I think we do have video from that so you will get to see the Good Guys and Bad Guys panels.

Many other events and panels we went to include the two panels that Bruce Carr also known as No Ordinary Balloon Man which if you haven’t catched him at a con, you should because he does a lot of balloon creations. This year he went all Digimon with Wyrmon, Tai, and the Digimon Emperor! We did see Josh Seth stand next to the Tai creation during the weekend which was awesome. What panel stood out between the two he had done was Twisting Up the Odds because what was interesting about him is that he has Asperger’s along with Evan, which we also catch with him and records video of his creations, and it was a very inspirational panel. One thing I have to say is that being disabled people think you can’t do anything and it’s heartbreaking to see that. I did help with making a penguin because Bruce pulled me up to the front due to his story about how he went into balloon making and that he and I recreated the penguin he had made for a boy that not only his condition but was also blind and that he came to me for that it brought tears of joy. Heck, trying to keep my composure here! I still have the penguin and knowing that my final review part may make you guys cry so have the tissues because I may need them too! Another event on a happier note, the Live Script Reading! This year’s script reading was very entertaining and it included Sawa, Paul, Derek, Josh, one of the cosplay guests, and Rob Simms and the scripts they had included from Star Wars, Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2, and Fifth Element. Perfect timing for Guardians 2 since they had the scenes with Taser Face and the one where Groot had to get Yandu’s fin back. In the Taser Face thing, Sawa played the part of Rocket and she did pretty well and she did narrate the Yandu and Groot part where Josh was Rocket, Rob was Groot, and Derek was Yandu. He gave him the Veemon voice from what I was noticing and it fit! I still busted out laughing with the human toe part! That still gets me even when how the audio description read it out to me while seeing the movie a year ago. And another event was Josh Seth’s illusion show that he made for Omni Expo! What most people probably don’t know is that he does magic related things and it was an amazing show that he put together for Omni and how he made the tricks. Heck, the final trick, he had the serial number on Gondras’ dollar bill in the end! Holy crap! Two thumbs up if you’re into magic shows. It was my first one live as a blind person since Gondras wanted to see how Josh would make his show seen by a blind person since on Pen & Teller’s Fool Us show one of the magicians did a card trick made for a blind participant in mind. I did participate somewhat in the final trick where he tried asking me to come up but he had me stay in the audience. Don’t want to fall off another stage which…in case anyone is asking…my panel…no one came again! I am not sure if it is my time slot selection since the cosplay contest was going on and hoped to get some remains of Josh’s crowd from his creative panel. Empty and again Gondras had to play the crowd which I do have video from. Not sure if I should bring another panel or not, who knows what will happen next year.

Rating: ::hears alarms:: SUPER CONVENTION ACCOMPLISHED! What does that mean? It means this convention had a major accomplishment since things have gone through the roof! This year’s Omni has been a major inspirational convention because of how we can tackle obstacles and put ourselves out there. Ever since Omni first found this blog all thanks to a small typo, I wouldn’t be still doing press for them to this day and is keeping me hopeful for my future doing press. Not only that, also my dreams to become an Assistive Tech Specialist since I was told to stick with writing except I use tech in order to write and without that tech I wouldn’t be writing this review and Nerdy Shique Universe wouldn’t exist! All I have to say is that all thanks to meeting Sawa, Derek Steven Prince, even getting to be up there with Bruce helping him with re-creating that penguin, it has inspired me to go further. What really makes me go further was that staff member, Roy, who came to talk to me before the Crystal Carnivale ever started and telling me that they have appreciated what not only me but what Gondras and Nerdy Shirts had done over the years. Yes, I went to year one alone and came back with two other members and looking at what we’ve done is a major accomplishment and that really warmed my heart. ::sees kitty minions with tissue boxes:: Thanks! ::takes one:: So in the end, I hung up my Omni Expo badge as a symbol of how much we’ve done in the past and even this year. Thank you Omni Expo for bringing us for press every year and showing that you guys may be small as heck but you still bring people to your convention even if it’s before springtime and had to switch with MegaCon. You guys are still a favorite and keep on going!

Needs for Improvement: Even though this year was really good but I do have two things to improve on…

Improving Volunteers With Escorts: As in, letting them know that even if they don’t have formal wear but let their escorts into the Crystal Carnivale when it comes to being disabled. Staff did apologize to me in person which was the best thing ever and I did write to Omni that there should be something in place to help any disabled, especially blind, attendees when it comes to getting around and even having their escorts with them in a special way. For instance, when I was in the costume contest last year as Link, I had Gondras escort me to where I need to be and they let him help and even handled Ageslash in making it wave. Anyways, that should be a permanent thing for certain events whether it’s being a contestant or going into the formal even if the escort is not dressed for the occasion.
Signings Should Be In A Small Room: What I mean by this is that the lines for the guests were taking up foot traffic in the Vendor’s Room which there were the area for shopping and it was hard to see who was in line for the guests and who was going to a vendor. I think the Florida Mall Hotel can move the walls so it would be a nice section to block off between the vendor halls and have people either peek in to see if a guest is around or see about the schedule on an easel to say, “Hey! This person is going to be back at this time!” Would ease the foot traffic a little or expand the width of the vendor’s area to make it more expanded for signings. I missed it where in the Double Tree near Universal there was a big area for the guests to sign things and that was out of the way of people walking, it was the same way back at the Rosen Center in 2015 and even year one where there was one huge area towards the back of the vendor area for guests so it would be easier to walk around. So yeah, there should be a bigger area for guests and/or make a room separate for them so foot traffic won’t be so obstructed. Always next year folks!

Guest Suggestions: Since I haven’t put this in here, now starting to with new reviews, I think conventions should be suggested some people and take them on a bit more. Here are my suggestions for 2019!

Melissa Fon: Since we have three Digimon guest, why not get someone from one of the most iconic of the seasons and darkest of them all, Melissa Fon who played Rika. She also was the voice of Edward in Cowboy Bebop!
Steve Blum: He was at Holiday Matsuri and would be fun for him to return for another Orlando convention!
Mary Elizabeth McGlynn: Can’t have Steve without Mary since they have worked with each other in the past!
Neil Kaplan: He has not been back to Orlando has he? He plays Halsemon and Hawkmon in Digimon Season 2 and any Voltron: Legendary Defender fans, he is Zarcon for that season!
Team FourStar: It’s been four years since they’ve been back and it would be fun to bring the main three, Lenimpataur, Takata, and KaiserNekko to bring on the fun. Especially with Final Fantasy VII Mission Abridged being such a hit. Try having your fiancé quote Vincent Valentine from this!
Louis Lovehog also known as Linkara: Since MythiCon had ended in 2014, I think we’re missing Atop the Fourth Wall Live and it would be fun to see him do another comic here in the Sunshine State!

Well, that is it for this review! Don’t worry everyone, we do have videos coming up from this year’s event! From my panel to our interview with Mr. Prince, we have a lot! Not only that, I did say we are trying to arrange a Skype interview with Sawa in the near future due to her packed schedule and hoping we can get it up before whatever convention we go to next. Knowing that our time differences well probably be worked around since she is in Japan and we’re in the U. S. would be nice to visit Japan, wouldn’t it? Hey, we have to work with what we got and I did re-install Skype since we have our first interview in the works to make up for not being able to interview anyone during Holiday Matsuri last year. You will see! So, in the meantime, make sure you follow us on Twitter @ Nerdy Shique for all the latest updates for our posts here on Word Press and YouTube. In case if you want to suggest who we should start doing Skype interviews with, would like suggestions and see if we can reach out. We also would like authors too since we do have book reviews here! So, until next time! Catch you all on the universe side!

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