Anime and geek culture is something that is all around the world, even the small city of Mexicali, Mexico. From right down the border of California, we have Shinigami Fest, one of the most popular cons here and while it may not be as the cons in the States, there is still much fun to be had.
Shinigami Fest started back in 2009 and it was kind of small but still quite successful. And there on it continued to grow strong and now it is one of the main events otaku and geeks alike look forward to each year. Granted in comparison to what you may read here on this site, it is not as big. And I really need to emphasize on that since as I go on talking about this con, it probably will not seem as cool as you may think it is.
First of all, the organization was kind of a mess. The event should have had the doors opened by 12, they did an hour later. Making all the events an hour or hour and a half late from schedule. Good thing we were not in the summer because oh boy, it would have been awful. Mexicali is known for its really extreme heat, so yeah, not a pretty situation. But luckily, the weather was on our side that day, so no biggie.
But that was not all, tickets were sold after 12! Making the situation a whole lot worse, in terms of time. There were over 200 people in line just waiting to get entrance tickets, while another 50 were waiting to get inside from pre-sale tickets. Granted, it was not all awful. I talked and had fun with the people in the line, chatting about so many stuff and listening to music. I just randomly blasted the song “Pony Swag” and acted like it were a concert or something. But then we actually entered the place where Shinigami Fest takes place, FEX (Short for Fairs, Events and Expo Center, going by the name in Spanish). It is on the open, meaning no roofs or anything and any climate change affects the con. Again, it was a good thing that the weather was fair the day of the event, until it got dark and it began to be cold; nothing too extreme though.
The vendors were only a few, around 15 if I recall correctly. The prices were not that bad kind of high, but that is something that every con has so I can’t complain. I did not carry a lot of cash with me but I did see a few stuff that captured my attention and some other stuff that made me think of the AJS crew. Mostly in the Sailor Moon side. The food court was quite small though, but the food was ok.
There was also a video games section and a Yu-gi-OH! Card game section. There were also tourneys for games like Smash Bros., Gears of War, and others, including one for Pokémon X/Y, which was one of the most populars. And I know, since I participated in it. Won 3 out of 5 matches if anyone was interested. Had fun and it was also pretty cool meeting with new people and talking about video games and Pokémon. My only complaint about this area is the space it was located in. It was a ok, but it eventually became way too crowded and it was hard getting through or even wanting to watch any matches taking place. There was also a tiny lack of organization, but the events went through fine and without any problems.
There was also a karaoke contest and a cosplay pageant. Lots of people gather for that too, probably the main event of the con. I did not stay for the rest of the night but everyone had a great time. It was a pretty big gathering and despite the problems in the organization, I left Shinigami Fest quite pleased. I do not know how to explain it but it was one of the local cons I have been in quite a while. And I speak of this since the cons here are really bad and have really little to no heart put into them, but Shinigami Fest, despite the problems, at least has heart and part of it is the people that attended the con. If it were not for them, the fun I had meeting, talking and playing with all of the people I met there, I would have exited the con with disappointment.
So I expect to visit Shinigami Fest again next year. And if you are near the Mexicali area, I would totally suggest coming and have some fun, you’ll meet tons of new people have a great time.
PROS: Lots of people to hang out with, lots of cosplayers to see and overall fun to be in.
CONS: Lack of organization.
OVERALL: Despite how small the con is, there is tons of enjoyment to be had. And for that it is worth the price of admission.
Thanks to Daniel Santoyo for some of the pictures!