After a two-year hiatus, MomoCon, a four-day event celebrating animation, gaming, comics and costumes, once again welcomed fans from across the nerd spectrum. The all-ages convention is held in downtown Atlanta, at the Georgia World Congress Center, every Memorial Day weekend. It’s mostly focused on both Japanese anime and Western animation, but also invites fans of comics, videogames, table top games and sci-fi/fantasy in general to join in the celebration.
This year masks were required for entry in an effort to help curb the spread of COVID, but that didn’t stop cosplayers and other attendees from enjoying the con. Several chose to creatively incorporate masks into their outfits, while MomoCon and its vendors sold themed masks on the convention floor. It was striking to see very little pushback against the mask policy.
Two cancellations in a row only made this year’s MomoCon all the more exciting. After a trial run at the end of last year with MomoCon’s smaller Winterfest, anticipation was building for the anime convention’s full return this summer. It didn’t disappoint and was literally bigger than ever this time around. With a move to the larger Hall B at the GWCC, which was originally planned for 2020, MomoCon had more space than ever, allowing for more animation, more games, more vendors, more cosplay, and more attendees than ever.
Three years is enough time to see the rise and fall of different franchises, giving this year’s MomoCon an abundance of new cosplayers representing new characters from the latest trending properties, particularly Demon Slayer, Attack on Titan, and Genshin Impact, all of which have experienced a huge boom during the course of the pandemic. We even saw cosplayers from brand new series, like Spy x Family and My Dress-Up Darling.
On both the gaming and vendor sides, MomoCon expanded its indie section. Even though the yearly Indie Game Award Showcase was on hiatus this year, plenty of Developers were there showing off new video and tabletop games. Standouts included the “Better than D&D” TTRPG Emberwind that boasts a phenomenal DM-less system of play, and the Fire Emblem-based Anna’s Roundtable card game.
One other addition could be heard on the second floor long before it was seen—Convention Foam Fighting. Newbies could pick up blue or red hard foam swords, spears and shields and fight alongside LARPing veterans in a variety of team-versus-team games, or sign up for a one-on-one tournament.
While it didn’t see as much growth this year as the other aspects of MomoCon, the guests and panels weren’t slacking. Some of the best voice actors in the industry, along with other professionals and even the volunteers, made the panels fun and entertaining (when the panelists didn’t show up for Avatar: The Last Airbender trivia, a few attendees took over the mics and saved the day). The cosplay panels were especially terrific, with new guests getting all the tips and tricks from veteran cosplayers. The My Hero Academia panels were also a treat, with the larger-than-life personalities celebrating how the series has grown and how it compares to previous projects.
This year’s MomoCon saw more than 42,000 attendees, setting a new record for the convention most likely due to its absence in recent years and the explosion in popularity that anime has enjoyed lately. It was also the first time the convention was widely shared on TikTok, causing it to trend nationwide. If it keeps growing at this piece, they’re going to need to add another hall.