Tekko 2016 – Pittsburgh Japanese Pop Culture Convention
Guest Post by Dakota Wagner
Tekko 2016 Vendor Hall (image: Rob Wagner)
I just got back from Tekko, and it was the greatest thing ever. My dad and I went pretty early, so traffic was minimal and the weather was fairly pleasant. I didn’t quite understand the sheer scope of it until we got to the David L Lawrence Convention Center and realized it was huge. If you want something Japanese, chances are you’ll find it there. Anime, manga, music, swords, food, they had it all. Sadly, we were unable to attend any events, but we still had a grand old time.
Dakota and One Punch Man (image: Rob Wagner)
The first place we visited was the vendor’s hall. There were tons of booths, selling artwork, clothes, cosplay items, food, games, anime, manga, weapons, and music. I didn’t know what half of it was, being that I only just fell in love with Japan, but I still felt that I was in heaven. I ended up buying some Monster Hunter zipper pulls, a 2005 Shonen Jump, which is a monthly magazine featuring various mangas and related news, a Fullmetal Alchemist tee and trading card booster, a Monster Hunter print, and a 4-pack of mint condition Pokemon comics. I also got a Hokkaido Cream bun, which tasted like a much better King’s Hawaiian roll, and some melon-flavored mochi, all washed down with an ice-cold original Ramune.
Mustang or Hughes Multipurpose Cosplay (Image: Dakota Wagner)
We also saw a lot of cosplayers there. There were some Edward Elrics, a Roy Mustang/Maes Hughes, and a Saitama, who was a really nice dude. One group, led by a man dressed as Jesus, was marching around looking for someone. It quickly transformed into a full-fledged parade. I was also scanned with a Sonic Screwdriver by a girl dressed as the Eleventh Doctor, told my Doctor Who shirt was “legit,” and given a card for a related fan group. Everyone was weird and it was fabulous.
Music Gun Gun Machine (image: Dakota Wagner)
Next, we went into the gaming room. PCs were set up to play various fighting games, tabletop games were being played, and various arcade machines were set up. Among them were Super Smash Bros., Street Fighter V, and Pokken Tournament, which is currently unavailable in the U.S. Sadly, I was not able to play, as the machines were very busy, but what I saw was wonderful. Apparently, rhythm games are very popular in Japan, as various DDR-like games and Guitar Hero style games were being played. I played one called Music Gun Gun, which is a game where you shoot things (I shot music note monsters) on the screen with a plastic gun to the beat of music. It was great fun, and I can see why it would be popular over there. One guy was vehemently smashing large, flashing buttons to play with cats using a feather. Across the room were pachinko machines. Pachinko is a game where you insert balls into a machine, where they fall through pegs into holes, causing more balls to drop out. The object of the game is to get as many balls as you can, which are traded for prizes or tokens. Since gambling for money is illegal in Japan, the prizes are often traded for money elsewhere like Chuck. E. Cheese’s for adults. I discovered that I’m rather terrible at it, but it was still an enjoyable experience.
All in all, I would extremely recommend all of you who like Japanese pop culture to attend. The staff and attendees were friendly, the vendors and their merchandise were wide in variety (although occasionally overpriced), and you’ll never be bored. As a wise man once said, “JUST DO IT!”