Shot from the 2021 Delta H Con
Photo: Courtesy Delta H Con
Isekai is a sub-genre in anime where the protagonist is transported to a fantasy world for a round of adventures. It’s also the theme of the 2022 Delta H Con, now in its 14th year as a gathering for Houston anime fans, and the second one back after the start of the pandemic.
“Everyone’s coming out of the pandemic, and it’s a new world,” says president Sarah Skrobarczyk. “It’s all different and scary and adventuresome. We’re trying to work that into a lot of events.”
Delta H Con is a smaller, more community-driven event than many other anime conventions, usually drawing about 3,000. The guests tend to be Texas-based voice actors. This year, the lineup includes Webster’s Jessica Calvello (Zoe Hange in “Attack on Titan”) and Dallas-based Bryan Massey (Crimson Riot in “My Hero Academia”), both old hands who will be familiar to regular con-goers. They’ll be signing autographs as well as doing panels on how to get into voice acting.
The event will include performances by Japanese singer Kohei, the cosplay dance cover group +Kiseki, and magician Drew Heyen. Costume contests, vendor areas, and an art contest are all in the schedule.
One facet of Nipponophile culture that Delta H Con has always excelled at is their maid café. Modeled after the cafes in Japan, the Ureshii Kokoro (“happy heart”) café experience will let guests put their feet up and be served by women in maid outfits.
“It’s an attempt to bring the Japanese maid café experience to Houston,” says Skrobarczyk. “Over there, you walk in and you’re greeted by ladies in maid outfits. They serve you and take your order. It’s kind of like you just got home and they’re happy to see you. There are little games. Maids will do songs and dances as entertainment. We try to bring that to the con.”
Guests are allowed to take pictures with the maids, but should be prepared for a “world covered in cuteness.”
Delta H Con is opening its doors to a new breed of YouTuber in the animation world. Anyone with kids has probably noticed an influx of online personalities who communicate mostly with animated avatars such as Jaiden Animations, Let Me Explain Studios, and Ilymation. Delta H Con is bringing ILoveKimPossibleAlot, colloquially known as KP, to Houston.
KP started her career in 2012 making videos about “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic,” drawn to the show in its heyday by art of the chaos dragon Discord and his eventual redemption arc. Now, she and her team produce a variety of video content on such subjects as video games and Disney. As the head of an entire production team, she has a lot to teach aspiring YouTubers about how to put together their own little studio.
“For the most part I do see myself as an educator,” she says. “I do a lot of commissions for personal anime characters and avatars. Animation education is not as spread out as I would like. The equipment is a little bit more expensive, and the talent pool is supercharged in LA. [At cons] I talk to a lot of parents whose kids watch shows. I am happy to guide them because my parents didn’t have a clue when I started They can get back some of the time I wasted not knowing what to do.”
KP will be hosting panels on starting fan projects, YouTube production, and basic animation. She enjoys the way Delta H Con feels so friendly.
“I like the vibe of big conventions, but it’s harder to establish a relationship,” she says. “Smaller cons are more open to someone like me teaching animation. They’re all really excited. It’s what I live for. I can do more with the people”
Skrobarczyk for her part prefers to keep the show smaller and more personal as well.
“We strive for a family friendly event because I want people to be my friends and family,” she says. “That’s the atmosphere we try to foster. I don’t want to get so big that we can’t keep that feeling.”
Jeff Rouner is a Houston-based writer.
Delta H Con
when: 9:30 am-midnight, Aug. 19, 9 am-midnight Aug. 20; 9 am-6 pm Aug. 21https://deltahcon.com/
Where: Houston Marriott Westchase, 2900 Briarpark
Details: $35-$60; deltahcon.com