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Images From Isshocon: An Anime Convention Created for Everyone

Get a look inside the first-ever Isshocon! An anime convention about togetherness, owned and operated by Black and queer people.

Anime, video games, fandom, and togetherness were themes last weekend at the first-ever Isshocon. The 3-day anime convention is the brainchild of Angelo Williams and Terry Alexander, a gay couple from southeast Michigan who co-owns a niche Japanese shop named Otaku Detroit. After years of attending other conventions hosting small one-day cons of their own, the two of them decided to go all out and create a full convention of their own. Being both Black and queer, they knew how it felt to be the odd ones out at a con, and they wanted to create a space where anyone and everyone could feel safe and comfortable while also having a great time.

Demon Slayer cosplayers at a meet-up. cordanaters

“As Black and queer anime fans we just wanted to give people a space to feel comfortable to nerd out.” Angelo said during the opening ceremony, “Our first [one-day] convention was two years ago, and it’s been a wild ride since then. The fact that we’ve even gotten to this point, I can’t believe it.”

Angelo Williams (orange du-rag) inspecting the vendors’ hall. Photo by Cody Yarbrough

On January 26th, that vision came true in the Sheraton Hotel. Isshocon sold completely out of tickets and the con was packed full of people of all races, ages, genders, and sexual orientations. All brought together by their love of all things nerdy. Engaging panels such as the Omniverse What If? panel kept attendees laughing out loud. The video game room was full of retro classics like Mario Kart Double Dash, and brand-new titles like Tekken 8. And the vendors’ hall allowed people to discover and support local creators

“I feel relieved that we’ve made it here and that everybody’s having a good time.” Terry told us during the convention, “I’m tired of course, but I’m relieved that everything went well.”

Video game tournament announcers and coordinators watching a match. Photo by Cody Yarbrough

During the closing ceremony, Angelo and Terry were proud to announce that they are planning another Isshocon for 2025. Promising that it will be bigger, better, and more organized than their first con. And though nothing has been confirmed about the next Isshocon, they hinted that the Suburban Collection Showplace might be the convention’s new home.

Angelo expressed his excitement for the future during the final day of the convention and was even kind enough to give us a little sneak peek at next year’s sequel. “Isshocon 2025 is guaranteed to happen, and we’re getting a bigger venue for sure. Next year’s con will be Sakura-themed, and the images will be coming out very soon.

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