Guide To Youmacon: Detroit’s Massive Anime, Gaming Convention

October 4, 2013 12:35 PM

(credit: Youmacon)

(credit: Youmacon)

October 30 – Nov 2, 2014
Cobo Hall and the Renaissance Center

What is Youmacon?

A colossal pop-culture movement similar to a “comic con,” Youmacon showcases anime, video games and Internet culture. Pronounced yo-mah-con, opinions on the origin of the conventions name varies on the interpretation of the Japanese word youma which can mean demon or ghost.

The four-day event includes concerts, celebrity meet and greets, talent and costume competitions, cosplay, professional and casual gaming and hard-to-find international retail merchandise opportunities.

The official website describes the event: 

Youmacon brings a unique all-ages mix of interactive events, celebrity guest panels, and live musical performances to Downtown Detroit. One of its most popular events, “Live Action Mario Party”, emulates the video game experience – often filling the room to fire code capacity. Players participate in gameshow-like mini-games to help their teams advance and win.

Don’t miss your favorite fun events ranging from family-friendly to risque to just plain strange.

Tips For First Timers

Use the People Mover – It’s in 2 locations including Cobo Center and the Renaissance Center. Plan on using the People Mover or bring good walking shoes to be able to see it all. Basically, all 24-hour programming will be at the RenCen, but the Artist Alley and Dealers Room will be at Cobo.

Plan your itinerary – The program schedule is packed full. Research in advance and pay special attention to attractions that may not be in the same location.

Shop ’til you drop – Visit Artist’s Alley and the Dealer’s Room to get merchandise that’s hard to find in the US. Bring a small amount of cash, since not all of the vendors accept credit cards.

Get a room! – The Marriot in the RenCen fills up quick as well as most nearby official overflow hotels including the Holiday Inn Express, Greektown and Crown Plaza. The Marriot and Greektown are offering a discount for phone reservations if you mention that you’re here for Youmacon.

Hygiene can’t be stressed enough – Let’s hope this goes without saying, but … bathe daily. As event organizers say, “No one likes a smelly otaku.”

(credit: Youmacon)

(credit: Youmacon)

Things Not To Miss

Charity Cosplay Ball – Put on your most formal costume and attend this dance benefiting the Detroit Institute of Arts. Admission is $10 and is not covered by general admission.

Live Action Mario Party – To use the words of the Youmacon officials, “Move around the board, collect items, play mini-games, and call on your teammates for help!”

Maid Cafe – Friday evening enjoy a pastry and a drink served by Youmacon’s lovely “maids.”

Otaku Family Feud – Bring your group and test your anime knowledge with their take on the classic TV game show.

full events listing




Of course, if you’re die-hard, you can always use your hotel coffee pot to make Ramen Noodles, but if you’re looking for more …

Read the restaurant list in The_Maestro’s guide to Youmacon. We couldn’t have said it better. We’ll second Potbelly since it’s so close and add Bucharest Grill, if you end up near Comerica Park. It’s only a couple of blocks west and has the best shawarma sandwich around.

Check out the rest of the dining options at the RenCen. There are many.

(photo: Leon Neal/Getty Images)

(photo: Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Meet Anime And Gaming Industry Celebrities

It’s a first-come first-served basis, so make sure you line up early for your favorite celebrity. Guests will be allowed to get a photo, an autograph and generally be graced by the presence of the geek royalty.

Get the full list here.

(credit: Youmacon)

(credit: Youmacon)


Kicking off right after Halloween, Youmacon is already in the heart of costume season.

Short for costume play, cosplay involves wearing clothes, masks and accessories to emulate the favorite fictional character or original creation of the wearer. They can be very simple like a pair of cat ears or incredibly intricate, hand-made heat-to-toe suits.

A majority of people at the convention will be dressed up so it’s great for people watching or a chance to let your flag fly.

(credit: Youmacon)

(credit: Youmacon)

24-Hour Casual Gaming And Cash Tournaments

Hard-core gamers will compete in a variety of games for thousands in cash prizes. A sampling of the games featured in the tournaments is Soul Calibur 5, Super Smash Brothers, Call of Duty: Black Ops and Starcraft 2.

54 arcade games will be available for free-play including fighting games, rhythm games, side-scrollers and pinball machines.

Access to the cash tournaments area is not covered in general admission. Tickets are $30 and the tournaments take place only November 1 – 3.

(credit: Youmacon)

(credit: Youmacon)

A Thriving Scene

The event is in its 9th year and has quickly grown to one of the top anime conventions of North America. in 2012 the convention drew 12,000 guests and became the first event to solely fill the RenCen’s Marriot hotel.

This year, Convention Chairman Morgan Kollin anticipates 13 – 15 thousand attendees. Citing the economic impact of the convention on area restaurants, “We bring more revenue to the city than the Super Bowl did, in certain aspects.”


Discount passes can be purchased a few weeks prior to the event.

At the door passes are priced as follows:

3-Day (weekend): $60
Friday Only: $30
Saturday Only: $40
Sunday Only: $20

Get more info on registration and passes.

One child age 12 or younger will be admitted with an adult. Each registered parent can also purchase four additional discounted $10 tickets for children age 12 and younger.

Here’s to a successful event. Let’s push Youmacon to the top of the biggest anime conventions list of 2014.

George Fox is a Web Producer for CBS 62/CW50 in Detroit. My passions are my family and outdoor life. I love popular TV, adventure movies, a stiff drink and comfort food. Follow me on Twitter @GeorgeJFox.

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