Anime lovers converge for annual Shuto Con
During the weekend, hundreds of wizards, witches and other anime characters descended on Michigan’s capital city.
Shuto Con was held in Lansing this weekend, for the fifth year since its inception in 2009. Shuto Con means Capital City Convention, and is the reason why Chairwoman Stefanie Shall decided to have it in Lansing. Shall founded the convention in 2009 to bring attention to struggling artists and cosplayers.
And that is exactly what happened when many visitors labored in love to perfectly craft their costumes for the weekend.
“It took me probably 70 hours total to put together,” said Russ Brown, dressed as Franky from “One Piece,” an anime film. “I used more than a fair amount of cardboard, duct tape, paint and foam.”
Hosted in the Lansing Center and Radisson Hotel, Shuto Con celebrates anime and video games by encouraging guests to dress like their favorite characters. This year, some of the most popular costumes came from “Attack on Titan” and “Homestuck.”
Con-goer Joseph Brant brought his fully commissioned samurai outfit to Shuto Con, a very detailed and eye-grabbing costume he has worn for several years to other events like Motor City Comic Con and Youmacon.
“People always ask if it’s hot,” Brant said. “I am wearing a real breast plate, so it’s about 70 degrees in here.”
The environment at Shuto Con was very high energy and welcoming. There were several groups of friends and strangers alike swapping stories and taking pictures together in the main convention center.
This year was the largest Shuto Con has ever been, expanding to three exhibit halls and over 6,000 expected attendees. There were panels featuring popular voice actors and art vendors selling their work to shoppers.
More than just MSU students and Lansing residents were present, with visitors traveling from all over the country for the weekend-long celebration.
Laura St. Peter and Kidael Schzanteckel brought their art group, The Quarreling Tentacle, from the East Coast; St. Peter from Maine and Schzanteckel from Connecticut. They were selling hand-painted models and figurines Saturday afternoon.
In addition to costumes and art, music filled the halls of the Lansing Center. There were several guests with megaphones organizing coordinated dances, and fans such as Grace Golsch paid tribute to their favorite anime with instruments like the saxophone.
One group, So Long Naota, traveled around the halls with an acoustic guitar. They had been touring for nearly 13 years but this was their first convention experience. Con-goers made requests and sang along to the music.
On Saturday, there was a competitive Pokémon video game tournament, in addition to a 24-hour gaming lounge and a “duel arena” where fans fought each other tournament-style with foam swords. The night concluded with an electronic dance party.
People of all ages were in attendance, as well as people of all gender identities and expressions. Stefanie Shall intended for Shuto Con to be a safe place for all people.
“Ever since I first started our convention, I wanted to create a place where fans of all walks of life could get together and celebrate their dedication to fandom without worrying about being judged and harassed by others,” Shall said.
To see more of the colorful costumes at Shuto Con, visit statenews.com