ConnectiCon returned for its 18th convention this year from September 9-12! As Connecticut’s longest running pop culture show, ConnectiCon is a multi-genre event that incorporates all fandoms, from collectors to cosplayers. And with a heavier focus on Japanese pop culture, you’ll also get to experience things you won’t find at other conventions like free-play imported gaming cabinets, anime voice actor meet & greets, and shopping for Japanese merchandise! (Stick around for the video overview after the article and photo gallery!)
If you’ve never had the opportunity to shop for Japanese products, ConnectiCon is your one-stop-shop for Japanese snacks, toys, mystery bags, apparel, trading cards, and the list goes on! In fact, this year boasted hundreds of booths with vendors, artists, special guests, and more. Some of the guests included voice actors Todd Haberkorn, Eric Vale, Erica Shroeder, Jon St. John, the 1987 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Rob Paulsen, Cam Clarke, Townsend Coleman, Barry Gordon), and the legendary Billy West:
All of the celebrities had a nice selection of prints available at their table to be signed… or you can bring your own item and strike up a conversation on what that item means to you! Some even offered custom voice recordings for voicemails, shoutouts, or to give that one friend of yours FOMO for missing out on an amazing con! And, of course, photo ops so that you can snap a pic with your favorite celebrity and take it home.
For a convention of this size, it’s important to always check the guest schedules so that you know what time they’ll be at their booths. Luckily, there’s tons to do even if you’re not meeting celebrities! Above, fans are eager for the Chibicon Show to begin – just one of the dozens of panels over the course of the weekend. There were also cosplay meetups, photo shoots, and the epic ConnectiCon Show Floor:
The range of products at ConnectiCon is incredible. We’re talking about Japanese manga, anime Blu-ray/DVDs, plushes, enamel pins, posters, resin dragons, dice, Gundam & other model kits, TCG cards, and unique products you may not have ever seen before! Vendors “Bowen Dragon” and “J&J Enterprises” both specialize in metal replica weapons, which are very popular with cosplayers and collectors:
If Japanese products aren’t your thing, not to worry! There were still plenty of vendors offering all of your favorites: Marvel & DC comic books, Funko Pops, vintage vinyl records, apparel like Tee Turtle, board games, and the collectible that transcends all partiality… Pokemon cards.
There were lots of great deals on Pokemon packs & tins, but reasonable prices on PSA & CGC graded cards too from fan-favorite card vendors “Heroes & Legends Collectibles” and “Nexgen Games”. And whether it’s Pokemon, Magic, or Yu-Gi-Oh, who knows? Maybe you’ll find the exact TCG card you need to finally get the upper hand when you play against other attendees via gaming which was happening all weekend long.
In addition to the tabletop games being played all over the convention, there were some vendors promoting their original card games, board games, and video games in Artist Alley (above: Quests & Cannons) as well as a plethora of talented artists showcasing their skills & wares! We saw Plantcycled’s Pokemon terrariums, Cody James’ scribble art, the original character Birbleg, and other creative crafts like fluorescent glow-in-the-dark art, pixel art, etched glass, and CGC slab frames made from repurposed pallet wood.
Not to mention all of the amazing cosplay you’ll see while exploring all that ConnectiCon has to offer! Captain Rex (above) is just one of the cosplayers we saw roaming & shopping the con just like everyone else! Some even took advantage of the massive gaming hall (make sure you check out the full photo gallery for more):
And ConnectiCon certainly pulled all the stops for gaming. There were PC setups, retro & modern gaming consoles, Super Smash Bros. tournaments, big-screen Rock Band, dozens of candy cabs, and Japanese arcades like Initial D, DDR/Pump, Gunslinger Stratos, Beatmania, and Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum ‘n’ Fun!
All the while, everybody this year was required to provide proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 testing prior to entering, to create the safest environment possible for all those in attendance. Masks were required at all times but there were areas to rest & eat, as well as the entire downtown Hartford/UConn area. And with next year’s ConnectiCon dates already set for July 14-17, you’ll want to plan ahead to get the most out of the jam-packed weekend! Check out their website for more information and stick around for the video below & full photo gallery here.