Atsusacon Ghent Belgium
Atsusacon in Ghent, Belgium, August 5 (Hilde Heyvaert)

Over the years, Atsusacon has become a staple in the summer convention season as one of the more fun, smaller conventions to attend.

They always make a real effort, more so than many other events, to put on a varied program, with workshops, vendors, often even concerts and more.

This year, however, the convention seemed to really have found its niche as a cosplay convention, which seemed to work.

I only attended on the Saturday, so I can’t say anything about Sunday. Just an FIY.

Visitors at Atsusacon (Hilde Heyvaert)

Atsusacon takes place over much of three floors of the ICC Convention Center and they always do a good job spreading out over the space they have available.

This year, food and drinks were distributed over the ground and first floors, vendors were on the ground floor, cosplay events in the auditorium on the first floor, which also housed a little sit-down seating area and the maid café. The second floor was reserved for board games, hobby displays, such as BJDs and Gundams, Pokémon-type things and workshops. It was only difficult to navigate if you didn’t pay attention. So unless you were oblivious, it was easy to get around.

Atsusacon (Hilde Heyvaert)

Now, while I definitely had fun at Atsusacon, admiring some of the awesome cosplays and fashions, sitting around and catching up with friends, I do have to say I felt it was definitely a cosplay convention. I’m not a gamer and not a cosplayer, so I feel like it was a little “less for me” than usual.

Which is, by no means, a negative point toward the organization, because they did a bang-up job setting up the entire event, making everyone feel welcome whether they cosplayed or not. The shows they did with and for cosplayers were a lot of fun. It’s also a very open-minded convention, where you can show up in your very first cosplay and won’t get snubbed. Instead, you can get all the help you need to improve your cosplay skills. Heck, they even had a workshop especially geared to embroidery in cosplay and a cosplay repair station, how cool is that?

Steampunk at Atsusacon
Steampunk at Atsusacon (Hilde Heyvaert)

I’m not saying that you can’t and won’t have fun there if you’re not a gamer or a cosplayer. I’m just saying that you might find there is not as much to do for you as there is at many other conventions. But if you go to spend the day with friends, chances are you still have fun, I know I did.

And if you want to show up in steampunk, J-fashion or normal clothes, no one is going to give you the side-eye.

Another thing that Atsusacon does well is food. The ICC has some places around it that are open even on Sunday (pizza restaurants, a falafel joint and a Delhaize supermarket), so they made sure to really focus on Asian food and hot dogs (which is a good thing, because not everyone loves Asian food). The prices were also pretty reasonable for a convention and vegetarian options were available.

Steampunk at Atsusacon
Steampunk at Atsusacon (Hilde Heyvaert)

Even the stand downstairs selling Asian food and drinks was reasonably priced by convention standards.

The maid café was cozy and an attraction on its own. If you didn’t feel like sitting down there, there were plenty of other areas where you could flop down to pauze and eat or simply rest for a moment.

I feel that this edition was trying to find its way around being a cosplay convention, but at the same time I think it’s really good for the convention scene in Belgium that Atsusacon is heading in this direction. They’ve always had their friendly and open atmosphere going for them, and I think it’s great that there’s something for all skill level of cosplayer to come together on a larger scale to hang out, make new friends and learn new things.

Honestly, I really do think that if they keep this up, they could grow into a much bigger event, so I’m curious to see how next year’s Atsusacon is going to turn out.

More photos here.

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