On August 10th-11th the veil was lifted and the secrets revealed.
The excitement surrounding Torucon 2019 has been long-wound and overall engaging: ever since the Torucon 2018 closing ceremony, crew and guests have been asking themselves; "Now what?" Last year ended with something similar to a power-out and a strange, mystical video leading many of you to a strange quiz at the website PHNXinitiative.com, from where you'd be sorted into the factions PHNX Initiative or Ordo Ursa. These two factions have been working in the shadows throuthout the year, following clues, solving mysteries and breaking codes, closely following this year's theme. These hidden clues could be connected with tasks and challenges at this year's Torucon, handed out by our very own QuestHub or KNPD. The latter organization is rumored to have involved themselves with this year's Opening Ceremony, although we are sort of doubting this cliam, as we can't remember any such thing. We have however found a selection of mystical photos of agents of black, mixed in with our volunteer photos. Strange stuff.
Abundance & Activities for everyone
Mysteries were not the only things unveiling at Torucon thsi year. This was our biggest and best convention to date, with more than 2000 visitors throughout the weekend, who participated in competitions, workshops, panels and presentations on a variety of topics: whether they were interested in learning about everyday life and studies in Korea, introductions to make-up and SFX, or learning to make silicone moulds or 3D models. The possibilities were abundant. In the mingling area, Space, you could sit down wiht Hexagon for some board- or role playing games, or join Fateful Fumble's drop-in D&D-session. The tattoo artists of Ecchi Ink were also present, and the buzz of needles hard at work blended with the sounds from the arcade, chat, laughter and weapons clashin at Den Nordlige Fantasiunionen's stand. At the Toruship, couples were wed by our wonderful Torupriests, and we witnessed many new ships be born and confirmed throughout the weekend.
Here you could also find activities for big and small attendees alike - both of our ball pits started looking a bit down already during the rigging this year, so we had a ball boat instead, but it was just as popular for both children and adults. For the youngest crowd there were also tables with drawing materials set up - but even bigger creative souls found their way to the small, yellow stools. Many were running to and for in search for selfies, Ursa - and PHNX coins or the next clue from the QuestHub - and maybe take a breather by one of the many info stands, or headed by Cosmos B, where vendors such as Outland and Tikocospay were ready to tempt them wiht plushies, goodie bags and all the Kpop you could dream of.
Walking through the hallways of the Cosmos rooms you could practically feel The Mindflayer breathing down your neck, as you admired the frighteningly good decorations, featuring both demogorgons and sea creatures.
Many also found their way to our good friends at Simens Isbar, where this year's Torucon ice cream featured and entire menu of mystical flavours. And as far as we know, nobody grew any tentacles!
The hotel also served taco and pasta buffets, as well as set up their own kiosk for our guests to enjoy in Space.
The Cosmos Main Stage was on fire throughout the weekend, with competitions and amazing performances, but sometimes you need to wind down a little, reflect and have a good conversation.
In the last few years we've made it a tradition to host panels and presentations that deal with more serious topics that many might relate to, and that we feel it's important to shed some light on. This year, the Stage Panel in Cosmos was 'Cosplay & Body Image', where the panelists talked about their own experiences and challenges regarding body image, body positivity and how these are connected to and affect cosplay as well as daily life. This ended up as a very good, and important conversation, and we have heard that many attendees shared their own experiences with the panelists afterwards. One of our panelists, Inouchka also held the presentation "Why Fat is not an F-Word', where she talked more about body positivity and her own experiences with eating disorders and as a professional body positivity coach.
A Cosmic Arena
For the first time, we hosted our very own K-Pop Dance Competition. To begin with, we were a little apprehensive about whether it'd be popular - but the registration forms were filled up in a mere six minutes and when the convention came along, five amazing groups took the stage and gave the audience a show they would not forget! Especially in Round 2, where the groups had to turn a concept upside down was absolutely fantastic, and struck home with both judges and audience alike. The winning group GåLD performed Blackpink's "Forever Young" in the second round, and chose to perform the dance as actual Grandmothers; young at heart but perhaps not as in touch with the moves.
For the youngest costume enthusiasts, the Chibi Catwalk was once again a hit - and for the rest of us there was nothing left to do, but to sit down and enjoy the next generation cosplayers, who already have the audience, their own nerves and poses completely under control.
The Open Stage is a concept that we've had for a long time, but this year it was time for a change; the registrations were now taken during the actual convention, and much to our surprise it was immensely popular with people streaming to the backstage area to sign up, and to take the stage and improvise (?) songs, dancing and skits, filling the stage with show and good times for a full hour on Sunday, accompanied with constant cheers from the audience. Yours truly hope I'm not the only one who was in tears from the Naruto group.
For a lot of you however, it is the Cosplay & Craftmanship competition that is the main event during the convention, not least this year after Norway took home the victory at the Nordic Cosplay Championship and Bettcanard's victory still fresh in mind. Cosmos was filled to the brim when it was time for the two rounds of the competition, and many were eager to see who would be this year's champions, and the first Norwegian representative at NCC 2020.
This year we had fewer participants than previous years - but what a group of participants! The level was high and there were cheers and tears in the audience as the show unfolded.
In Cosplay Classic it was HKCostumes who took the judges and audience by storm. In the notes for the judges it was written that she wanted the cosplay to scream MOTHER GOTHEL - and we have to agree that it did. Both performance and craftmanship was spot on, and there was also a cool twist to have her performance entwine with Abcscostumes' Rapunzel in the Master category.
The Craftmanship Classic title went to Michikao as Marth from Fire Emblem, with a detailed and very impressively executed work with various textiles, modified parts and foam. As well as a good dose of love for the character.
The success to Cosplay Master seems to involve Mass Effect, as Karin Olava Effects' Commander Shepard took her way to the top, as the third Mass Effect cosplayer to win at Torucon. Many were caught by surprise and wonder when the emotional performance suddenly slipped into Disney music, but the creativity, craftmanship and the grip on the character went straight to the hearts of the judges as well as the crowd.
In Craftmanship Master, Rhavaniel Creations impressed with her Sickness Eater Aloy from Horizon Zero Dawn. The costume was literally masterfully done from root to toe; from the work put into coloring and wefting the wig, to the thoroughly chosen materials and techniques used. Not only to emulate the character's costume as closely as possibly, but also in terms of what kind of materials and techniques primitive societies in the game would have access to.
The big contests on Sunday are the Costume Contest, Couple Cosplay and The Great Torucon Prop-Off.
The Costume Contest is a walk-on competition where you register during the convention and is judged purely on what the judges see on stage. This year the contest was so popular, the registrations had to close already on Saturday, as the maximum amount of participants was filled in record speed. This year there were an abundance of amazing and fun costumes and character personalities who were able to take the short seconds on stage and really make a show. And it was definitely a big personality who took home the victory - Coscraftinator's Hades from Hercules.
The Couple Cosplay Competition on Sunday was another huge highlight for many. The pairs who took the stage presented us with humor, feels and musical earworms that made the room swing, whether they were rocking out as if the world was a bout to end - or made our hearts ache on a serious level.
Here it was the Erring Sisters who masterfully recreated Anastasia's reunion with her grandmother, down to the smallest detail, which moved the audience and won over the judges.
If you popped into Sirius on Sunday, you could admire the many gorgeous and stylish props and effects on display at the Great Torucon Prop-Off. Here you could see magical diadems, hand-crafted books with golden pages and impressive weapon replicas. This year the competition was changed up just because we wanted to give out more prizes, and give more people a chance to win, by presenting two categories: Novice and Veteran.
The Novice Category was won by Hanne Siri Heglum with her staff 'The night-banner of Stormblade'.
The Veteran Category was won by Teddy Finborud with his Oberyn's Sword & Dagger from Game of Thrones.
(A full list of all the winners can be found at the bottom of this article)
Until next time!
Sunday night came way too fast, and if you're anything like us, you were dreading the impending post-con depression already on Friday.
The weekend was filled with smiles, fantastic costumes and amazing photo shoots. We've seen new friendships be built, and brave hearts beat down their stage fright. We've seen grandmothers cosplay with their grandchildren, and hardcore quiz fans finally take home their diploma. With so much joy fresh in mind, even a grey Monday morning in Trondheim has a hard time bringing us down.
2000 participants is insane, and we have no words to express how grateful we are to everyone who took the time to come by, who helped out as crew, panelists, judges or photographers.
The feelings ran a little overboard towards the end, as we revealed the theme for next year.
Torucon is turning a whopping TEN YEARS, and we invited you all to the birthday party of a life time at Clarion Hotel & Congress, August 8th-9th, and Torucon 2020: CELEBRATION!
More than one organizer had to let the tears stream freely when the promotion video rolled over the big screen - ten years of Torucon and with all you amazing people is unbelieveable. Thank you so much to everyone who helps make our festival magical year after year!
Would you like to relive the weekend? Check out the official photos from our volunteer photographers, ANd SEE YOU NEXT YEAR!
Winners and Runner Ups:
Runner up: Sophie Aalesen
Winner: Rhavaniel Creations
Runner Up: Simen Myrvoll
Runner Up: Nora Johansen Rosenkilde
Runner Up: Catch
Mathilde Langfeldt - Glitter & Gold
1.place: Jens 2.place: Adrian 3.place: Mathias
1.pace: Christian 2.place: Einar 3.place:Huy
Satuday: Marte, Julie & Hyejeong
Sunday: Iselin, Marthe & Wendy
Jannicke Skorpeide, Silje Bullgård, Ingeborg Wendel