According to staff, OffKai Expo has gone through a full year of planning to become a reality and make a boom in the VTubing community for being the first VTuber convention outside of Japan. This was a massive labor of love, and that passion is evident not just with OffKai staff, but with its guests and attendees.
Every corner of this event was filled with a love of VTubers: boasting dozens of talented cosplayers, amazing concerts, and a base for the VTubing community to call home – if only for a short three days.
In my previous article, I showed you the highlights of OffKai Expo – but let’s now take a look at the people and the passion projects that fleshed out the convention.
What’s in the Venue?
The expo had a very strong showing of panels and events—indeed, there were often three panels running concurrently. Many of the larger panels were moderated by notable interviewer and community figure Domo Arigathanks, infamous for being bullied by VTubers around the world.
The expo focused on a main stage which held larger events. These larger events are celebrations of the VTuber scene, and thus appeal to fans. There were also two smaller panel rooms, which catered to those who were already VTubers and wanted to talk shop.
The venue boasted an impressive selection of cabinets and games by GameSaru, including WACCA, Groove Coaster, and two cabinets of CHUNITHM. The arcade was completely free to all expo attendees, so the cabinets were constantly buzzing with activity. There were also several consoles set up, inviting people to play games like Celeste, Maiden & Spell, or River City Girls.
Those wanting a bit more competition found several tournaments run by Lame Dimension, where attendees would clash in Guilty Gear Strive, Puyo Puyo Tetris 2, or even competing with Beyblades.
In the vendor hall, a wide arrangement of VTuber merch was on display, alongside more regular con staples like Genshin Impact posters and anime figurines. Phase Connect had their own booth boasting not just merch of their talents, but cardboard stands which fans could take pictures with.
Several of the vendor stalls were hosted by VTubers themselves! While Kisaka Toriama appeared in person cosplaying as her own VTuber identity, Techycutie and Berry Mont Blanc attended virtually, appearing on a tablet screen and able to interact with fans and customers. Indeed, I had overheard one attendee look at the stalls manned by virtual vendors, and say “It’s amazing living in the future.”
Tomoko’s Karaoke Performance
The first Karaoke performance of the event was by delinquent VSinger Tomoko. She was nervous at the fact that she was singing for a live audience, but she quickly found herself in the zone with stunning performances of Tokoyami Towa’s Palette, Aimer’s Kataomoi, and Ling Tosite Sigure’s hit Tokyo Ghoul theme song Unravel.
Ever the entertainer, Tomoko would fill in any lulls by flooding the screen with her socials. She finished the night off with blue bird, from—in her own words—”Boruto’s Dad.”
Ririsya’s Karaoke Performance
Japanese VTuber Ririsya starred in her own karaoke as well, noting her nervousness at singing to a live audience. However, the virtual diva has had quite a lot of experience in performing for an audience significantly composed of English-speaking westerners. She asked if the fans were excited, and would often say her familiar “chotto wait” as she pulled up the next song.
Ririsya treated us to several songs, such as her original songs Recollection and Unknown Under the City. She also pulled out her trademark acoustic guitar to sing the traditional folk song Sakura, and Anohana’s Secret Base.
The karaoke ended with her original song Parallel Night, drawing applause and a flurry of purple lightsticks.
There was a lot of passion behind OffKai Expo’s cosplayers, all excited to represent their oshi. Some attendees also cosplayed as themselves! It takes a lot of bravery for a VTuber to reveal their real face, so why not keep the VTuber mask on?
Frisk had a new cosplay for every day of the convention, including the one that made him notably famous among fans of Hololive VTuber Akai Haato. Which one is your favorite?
The Itasha Cars
It’s no convention without a fleet of Itashas. These cars from AwooCru made appearances over the weekend, and while none were VTuber-themed, they were more than successful in drawing the eyes of attendees, and thoroughly confusing regular hotel guests.
OffKai Expo was a wonderful celebration of all things VTubers, and they pulled out all the stops in making a truly unforgettable event. We can’t wait for next year!
We would like to thank OffKai Expo for having us as one of their official media partners. We were honored to attend the inaugural event, and can’t wait for the next one.