Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Year End Review

Now that it's the end of the year, I thought of doing a year-end report to discuss all the conventions I have gone to this year and what I felt from each one. I first want to thank my associates Matt, Ryan, Zanney, Avi, Erica and Jared for allowing me to work with them on these blogs. Had I not met Matt or Ryan, I would not have been able to do these blogs.

Anyways, I shall start with a general overview of the conventions and gatherings for this year, starting with ALA. This was my third con I did, but I was starting to get into the swing of things.

What I look for at a con are several factors. I look at the cosplay, and how well done they are, the general feeling of the convention, if I was bored and didn't do much, what kind of venues they had, and what guests they have. At the end of each con, I ask myself the question, is this con worth going to next year, and what would I change about it? Depending on what the answer is, that's how I rate the cons.

Now for my individual analysis of each convention.

Anime LA is one of my favorites in the sense it's a great con to relax and meet with friends and do shenanigans. Although I wasn't officially part of the blog yet and not quite understanding of the convention culture and norms, it was a fun con where I got to meet several of the other cosplayers that I hang out with occasionally at later cons. Anime LA doesn't have the big venues like Fanime and Anime Expo, and its more about everyone just hanging out and having a good time. Overall, this would be tied in third place with Anime Expo, which I will explain later.

Fanime had met my expectations and then some. From what I heard from my contacts in Nor Cal, it was one of the best, if not the best in the northern half. I had the chance to finally go this year and it was really fun. Partially because this was the only con that explicitly stated that they had events and arcade that went 24 hours non-stop. There was so much going on at any time but I was not necessarily in a hurry like I was at AX. All the venues they had, from the Artist Alley to Game room and Dealer's Hall, had excellent merchandise. Fanime definitely ranks as one of my favorite cons of this year.

Anime Expo, the big venue. Unfortunately, after Fanime, it didn't seem as fun and was more tedious because Matt and Ryan dragged me around to do signings and such. I found out that next time, we wouldn't we able to do those signings again because it was simply too much work. I didn't even know some of these guests and while I said I would help them out, I found out that sitting in the panel for an hour and then having to run over to get two signatures and waiting in line for so long didn't seem worth it. While being the largest con, it is by no means my favorite nor one that I truly enjoyed. The main thing with Expo was of course the new leadership, but also the feeling that this was more tedious than Fanime, even though Expo is only two minutes from where I live. Plus the staff was much more strict as the feeling stems from the fact that Expo is more industry based while Fanime is more about hanging out with friends. Overall, while the first time it was good, second time around wasn't as fun and next year is still a toss up.

Anime Vegas was really fun for me considering it was one of the conventions on my list that I had to do. I noticed that a lot of the FUNimation voice actors was going to be there and Johnny Yong Bosch was going to be there as well. This was the first con where I really wanted to do signatures and meet Voice actors because I haven't done it yet at any other con. While the location was a drawback as well as the heat, being able to get the signatures from all the people that I wanted to made the con for me. There was some drama towards the end from what I've heard, but it wasn't anything big. All else being equal, Vegas has got to come in as second place.

PMX was also a small little con that was more of a 'cool down' than anything else. Since I wasn't planning to do much other than take pictures and hang out with friends, I don't really expect much and wasn't expecting much to begin with. I was asked to take pictures and help organize an impromptu Touhou gathering and take pictures which was sorta cool. The only thing that stood out was of course Hetalia, in which Tally and some of her friends practically begged me to run the gathering to which I reluctantly agreed. Afterwards we got together a small group of friends and started just chatting about Hetalia, which was pretty nice as a cool down. PMX is there as just something to take my mind off things, but that's about it.

And now, I will announce my favorite convention overall this year. Taking all the factors into account, cost, the general feeling of the culture and the other attendees, the cosplay, and panels and the concerts, my favorite con for this year has got to be......Fanime. Fanime just had everything I wanted. It was the convention that we spent the most time preparing for and the most time we spent at any convention. I bought my tickets a bit late, but that doesn't matter. On day zero alone, we were already getting pictures and hanging out with the other cosplayers. On the first day, we did everything from taking photos to doing a chess tournament and of course, the FLOW concert. That alone made the convention for me. If only Anime Expo got Orange Range then it may have been on par, but since they didn't, Fanime ranks as my favorite con because everything was as perfect as it could be.

The general feeling of the staff was that they were not as stuck up and strict as they were at AX, the panels were fairly decent, the cosplay was well done and I felt that I could really enjoy the con.

This was my first year where I've gone to almost all the major cons around the So Cal area, and its definitely something that I want to keep doing if I can for as long as can.

Peace out!

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