Monday, December 31, 2012

Ray Writes: 2012 - The Year in Cons

 (Photo credit: Morgan F.)

With just a little over 8 hours before the end of the calendar year, I thought I'd take the time to reflect upon my convention experiences here in Northern California.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Matthew's Top 5 Moments from the Past 5 Years of the CCB

As we move into the end of 2012, this will be five "calendar" years of the blog (I have to differentiate since it would technically be five and a half years since the blog started at FanimeCon 2007) and a lot has happened since I started to report at anime conventions. With so many memories and moments to remember, I narrowed it down to my top 5 moments of the past 5 years of the California Conventions Blog (although, to be very honest these could be ordered in any way).

Friday, October 19, 2012

Pokemon Regionals 2012

I have a confession to make: I want to be the very best, like no one ever was. Failing at that, though, I'm satisfied with being moderately good as long as I have a good time. Nowhere else was that more true than at the Pokemon Regionals, held in San Jose. The winners would find themselves with a free pass to the Nationals, while those who don't make the cut would leave with memories, hopefully pleasant ones.

Ray Reports: Anime Destiny 2012

Previous attendances: 2010 onwards

While other cons are two-day affairs at the least, with even fellow minicon Kin-Yoobi Con upgrading to a 2-day con within the past two years, AD continutes to be a short and sweet single-day convention, held at UC Berkeley.

This year's AD seemed fairly light once again, because like last year it conflicted with a major event. This time, the conflicting event was none other than Yaoi-Con, which had recently moved to SoCal. Though it being in SoCal now, less Bay Area congoers were interested in attending, some even hoping it tanked hard enough in SoCal to warrant a move back up to the Bay Area.

If you're looking for events, a good gaming room, or cool stuff to buy at the dealer's hall, this is hardly the con for you. You see, the real meat and potatoes of small cons isn't for events and to see SS-tier cosplayers. The point is to gather some friends together and just have an excuse to chill out in cosplay, as well as to make new friends.

I mostly stayed in one place for much of the con, and it turned out quite well.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Anime Destiny 2012: Robbie's Report

Anime Destiny is a small con, held at UC Berkeley. I had gone there last year, and figured it would be fun to go this year, if just to hang out with friends. So, I drove down, and found a parking lot that was at least somewhat affordable, and went to the campus.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Ray Reports: Sac-Anime Summer 2012

Date: 2012, August 31 ~ September 2
Location: Woodlake Hotel - Sacramento, CA
Previous attendances: S'11 onwards

Let's be honest: My first impression of Sac-Anime, in S'11, was a bad one. I didn't like the crowds, and I didn't like the weather (as much as I like clear weather, not a huge fan of heat waves). However, I've slowly warmed up to this con, and I've actually grown to develop an appreciation of it.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Sac Anime Summer 2012: Robbie's Report

This summer promised to be a hot one, but that didn't stop people from showing up in all sorts of awesome, elaborate cosplay at Sac Anime Summer 2012. After all, what's a little heat stroke compared to good times with friends in awesome costumes?

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Harison Randall, 1990-2012

The reason why I haven't posted on the blog about the death and mourning of Harison Randall, a cosplayer that was well-connected to the SacAnime community, was that I knew that the Summer 2012 edition of the convention would bring a weekend of not only sadness but also a time of celebration, to celebrate his life and the impact that he had on attendees and the community.

I had plans to visit the memorial service that was held today (Sunday) and pay respects, but by the end of of the service I had gained a sense of friendship with companions that needed comfort in this greatest time of need.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Ray Attends: Kin-Yoobi Con 2012

To be frank, NorCal's convention scene has taken a hit this year, with two big-name cons gone. But hey, it gives the smaller cons a chance to shine, since each one has a larger ratio of the con scene now.

One of NorCal's summer cosplay attractions is Kin-Yoobi Con (KYC for short), a local-sized con located in the southern reaches of the East Bay. Having been attending since 2009 after a mention of the con from a friend led me to attend on a whim, I've seen it grown fairly dramatically: It started as a simple one-day con at a college campus, expanded to two days in 2010, and now sees home in a hotel, just like many other cons. This is KYC's first year at the Hilton, which means there's going to be some bumps here and there.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Building The Convention Primer

As SacAnime Summer 2012 approaches, I would be starting my annual guide to SacAnime about what's there to eat and other important information. But what if I built a "permanent" guide to not only SacAnime but other conventions that we've attended?

That's where the Convention Primer comes in.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

FanimeCon 2012: Rukazu's Report

FanimeCon 2012: Rukazu's Report

So here is my report for FanimeCon this year, and I hope that everyone who reads it finds it worthwhile and enjoyable.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Fanime 2012: Robbie's Report Day 4 + Afterthoughts

Finally, Monday rolled around. This was the final day of the convention, a day normally filled with melancholy and tired attendees wearily preparing themselves to check out, but I still had much to attend to.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Fanime 2012: Robbie's Report, Days 2-3

Now we get to Day 2 of Fanime. This is where things get crazy, but also much more awesome.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Fanime 2012: Robbie's Report, Days 0-1

Fanime 2012… where do I begin? This convention was like a roller coaster of good and bad. At its best, I felt like I never wanted to leave, while at its worst, I wasn't sure if I ever wanted to return. So how could a convention swing between such great and bad extremes? Let's begin with Day Zero.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

FanimeCon 2012: Sierra's Report

We arrived at the hotel in San Jose at approximately 11:30 AM on Thursday morning, giving us ample time to check into our hotel room and pick up our badges. Being rather tired, I decided to check out the local area and pick up my badge the next day instead. The Hyatt Place hotel was located almost directly across from the convention center, making the walk easy and pleasant. The weather was very clear and a little hot. As for the convention center itself, it seemed packed with people picking up their badges, both in and out of cosplay.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Newspaper Clippings, Part 1 - Anime Expo

At Sacramento State, we have a huge media library which includes microfilm from various newspapers, including the Sacramento Bee and the Los Angeles Times. I've started to dig into these archives to see how newspapers covered anime and comic conventions, and I started with the biggest article that I've seen in any newspaper - Los Angeles Time's half-page article about Anime Expo 2011, published July 1st 2011.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

CCB Report: Battle at the Capitol - Final Thoughts

6 months ago, I had only tasted a small portion of the fighting game community (or FGC for short) though anime conventions and watching streams of EVO. I never pictured myself being involved in the FGC, let alone hugging a player after an incredible run-back to win it all...again.

CCB Report: Battle at the Capitol - Championship Sunday

On this Sunday, I dubbed today "Championship Sunday" as the major tournaments in UMvC3 and Super Street Fighter 4 Arcade Edition Ver. 2012 would crown their champions, as well as running the awaited UMvC3 5v5 Sacramento vs Davis Team Challenge and the 3v3 Team Tournament. I threw it back for today, wearing my Tiger Woods black hat-red polo-black shorts (since it was almost 90 that day). This was the barn burner, and it was exciting from start to finish.

CCB Report: Battle at the Capitol - Prelim Saturday

Coming into this past weekend's Battle at the Capitol, I really didn't know what to expect. Prior to this, I've never covered a "major," just a bunch of small tournaments at SacAnime, SacCon, and Capitol Fight District. But by the time the event was over near 10pm Sunday night, I have this certain feeling, something that I haven't felt in such a long time.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

CCB Report: DAiCon 2012

For myself, the next two weeks is my Fanime. Due to finances hitting rock bottom in the last month or so, affordability issues have been raised about this convention that I would attend yearly. I decided a long time ago that I wouldn't go, despite having many obligations to go including running gatherings and reporting for the California Conventions Blog. I have since delegated a team to go on my behalf, but I still feel that something would be missing come Memorial Day, which will be addressed another time.

As for now, we have DAiCon, today's report, and the Battle of the Capitol, an event that I'm covering this weekend for the blog. DAiCon was in Davis, California on the campus of UC Davis and offered a wide variety of things to do during the convention, and I enjoyed it very much.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

CCB Report: (Impromptu) Capital Fight District, April 14th, 2012

As the "Battle at the Capital" approaches, I wanted to check out Capital Fight District (CFD for short) as a tune up for not only the players, but for myself.

The reason why I call it the Impromptu CFD is that Artisan Building was overbooked and they had to change venues on a dime, moving the entire event over to Great Escape Games off of Howe and Hurley. I got there about around 2:15 only to find out about the move, and I got there just in time to watch some Marvel vs Capcom 3.

At the same time, a tournament for Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Melee was going on, and I haven't seen a massive tournament for this game in such a long time. As most people will know, the Brawl and Melee tournament scene can be a bit complicated; after all, the phrase "no items, Fox only, Final Destination" originally came from this fan base and all the changes that the people have done to "balance" the game. But still, it was nice to see this fan base still alive and kicking even for a game this old, and I just as much fun watching Brawl and Melee as much as watching Marvel vs Capcom 3.

Friday, April 13, 2012

CCB Insider #002: Fandom Wank

Recently, while surfing the net, Matt and I stumbled across this video.

Note: This video is no longer live, possibly due to the negative response to their flames.

I want to grab this person and shake them really really hard. I want to scream at them for dissing pretty much every fandom that ever came out of a country that is not Japan. And then defending like two extra TV shows anyway because "at least it's a cartoon". That's just sad. I bet this person doesn't even enjoy fandom anymore. This person is a perfect example of what a hipster really is--someone who cannot enjoy something in any way shape or form just because it's popular.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Byline - Episode 01: SakuraCon 2012

Episode 01: SakuraCon

Canadian artist Jackie and her fiancee Zanney travel to an anime convention in Seattle, WA to celebrate one year living together and meet up with some friends!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

CogsCon 2012

When I received an invitation to CogsCon from a friend of mine, who happens to be on the staff, I thought it would be a good opportunity to visit a college-held con in its first year. It's always a gamble, when a convention starts off, and ones held at colleges can either rise to great heights, implode, or remain stagnant. Now that I've seen its startup, we'll see what I think.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Sacramento Spring Break Cosplay Gathering 2012

In the five years in covering for the blog, I've covered many events from convention gatherings to video game tournaments to concerts. But never in my memory have I ever covered a regular, spur-of-the-moment gathering created by fans for fans to just hang out for a day and take lots of photos.

Monday, March 19, 2012

CCB Insider #001: Anime Conji 2012

Or alternatively, Should-Have-Gone-To-Wonder Con.

Now, let's not beat around the bush here. Anime Conji is a fairly new event, and Southern California already has a ridiculously large amount of conventions in it. However, this is the only con whose primary focus is anime fans to be hosted in San Diego. Perhaps my expectations were a bit too high, considering this city is also home to Comic Con--you know, "the big one."

If we had to use the old 1 to 10 scale from the Tsunami Scoreboard--1 being absolutely terrible and 10 being the biggest event of the year--this con just barely squeaks by with a 5.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Koukou Chibicon 2012

While those who are fortunate enough to be attending WonderCon or Anime Conji were having fun there, I found myself attending a smaller convention. Much smaller. So small, in fact, that the name includes a mention of how small it is: Koukou Chibicon, held at Branham High school.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

SacCon March 2012: Con Report

As the convention season swings into the Spring, small conventions such as SacCon and a number of small Bay Area conventions will pop up, which often serve as a test bed for bigger conventions like FanimeCon in terms of cosplay and some organizations that have plans for the Memorial Day convention in San Jose; for me, I tested out my new fish-eye lens in a convention setting, which will help me determine how to shoot come Fanime. It's also a break for those in high school and in college before Spring Break then the sprint to the finish.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Ray Reports: Animation on Display 2012

Location: Hotel Kabuki (and unofficially, the Japan Center), Japantown, San Francisco, California
Date: 2012.02.18 (Sat) to 19 (Sun)
Cost: ???
Prior attendances: 2011

Relevant links: Tweets from morning of AoD to "going to bed soon" on Sunday | Most photos

After attending Sac-Anime W'12, going to Animation on Display (AoD) is a breath of fresh air.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Animation On Display 2012: Robbie's Report

Well now, Animation on Display 2012 was quite the convention for me. Not necessarily because I had so much to do, but because everything that happened made it so much trouble for so much fun.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Fun with Anime & Economics, Revisited

As I continue to pursue a degree in Economics, I find myself applying more economic thought into how anime conventions are, as seen in the "The Mathematics of Conventions" series.

But, I remember about two years ago when I did such a thing, applying the CPI Index to the cost of a Ouran Private Academy uniform. Here, I will revisit that post and add in some new numbers reflecting new points in my "cosplay career."

Monday, February 13, 2012

CCB Report: Inaugural Capital Fight District Tournament - Feb. 11th, 2012

When I heard about Capital Fight District, I was basically jumping for joy. After all, a stand-alone fighting game tournament in Sacramento - or even the Central Valley region - is rare outside of SacAnime and SacCon. There have been some attempts to start a tournament in the region, and Capital Fight District is the latest attempt to start something that we usually see in the Bay Area and in Southern California.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Mathematics of Conventions, Part 3: Room Stuffing

With FanimeCon opening their hotel blocks to the masses this week, the question of "to room stuff or not to room stuff" always comes up around this time up until the actual convention. Of course, we all know why most people room stuff: splitting a hotel room eight ways seems a lot cheaper than splitting a hotel room two ways or even four ways. We also know the risks and consequences associated with room stuffing: people can get kicked out of the hotel room, and often room stuffing will be used as an excuse to raise room rates for the next convention.

But my question is this: is it mathematically reasonable and economically viable to add in that next person when you already have a full room?

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Friends & Associates Network Page

Dear Friends and Associates,

With the growing numbers of friends and associates within the network of the California Conventions Blog, I have branched off the Friends & Associates Network to its own page. This also allows for full banners to be placed on this page. If you have a banner that you would like to place, please let me know in an e-mail!

The URL for this page is and soon will redirect you to the same page.

Thank you, and have a great Super Bowl weekend!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Return To Our Roots, Modern Japanese History Edition

This may not be the "Return To Our Roots, Part 2" that you might be expecting, but I do plan on having a "Return To Our Roots, Part 2" if I ever make my return to Round 1 in the near future.

As I enter my final year here at Sacramento State, I'm taking a history course about Modern Japanese History from the 1800s to the present. The professor asked this question on the first day of class: How did we get from samurai and "Old Japan" to "New/Modern Japan" with cars and anime?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Notice: Staff Member Leaving

I was hoping that she would post this herself, but she has left me to do this task.

I would like to inform everyone that as of right now, Avianna Tiscareno is no longer part of the California Conventions Blog. She has moved to San Antonio, Texas due to unspecified reasons and can no longer perform the duties as a staff member.

Avi was part of the first wave of people that I hired back when I first expanded in 2010, and she did a wonderful job covering such events as Anime Five Cities and PMX in addition to anchoring coverage at Anime Expo and Anime Los Angeles. She was also the lolita expert and had much insight into Japanese fashion and music.

You will be missed Avi. Thank for you everything that you brought to this blog, and I wish you the very best in your future.

- Matthew

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Mathematics of Conventions, Part 2: Nendoroids

As of late, I've been collecting Nendoroids, starting with the Hatsune Miku Support Ver. I got back at Anime Expo 2011. I was able to pick up one at SacAnime Winter 2012, nabbing me another Hatsune Miku Nendoroid, this time Snow Miku Ver. 2010 (there's a 2011 and 2012 versions of Snow Miku as well).

The word around anime conventions is that convention dealers will markup their items versus buying online. But if you look closely and find the right dealers, you can actually save money versus buying online. However, there is always a downside.

Monday, January 23, 2012

SacAnime Winter 2012 Report: Part 5 - Epilogue


SacAnime Winter 2012 Report: Part 4 - Sunday (Day Three)

Like all last days of conventions, my first priority is clearing out my portion of the room and ensuring that the room is clear. Despite only getting four hours of sleep, I was up an hour before the VIP autograph session would take place and in under half an hour, I was able to clear out my portion of the room and pack everything in the car leaving myself to check on the room often between now and check-out. I didn't feel like driving to Starbucks again, so I settled on a bagel with cream cheese alongside some A.M. Gatorade.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

SacAnime Winter 2012 Report: Part 3 - Saturday (Day Two)

Day Two started for me at 7am, taking about an hour to get everything ready for the day. It was a chilly morning, and I didn't feel like making the trek over to Starbucks in the sub-freezing weather. Luckily, my car was unfrosted and I was able to make the quick drive over there to pick up a Venti Extra Caramel Extra Shot Caramel Macchiato and a Chicken Sausage Breakfast Wrap.

You know you're a cosplayer when you put your character's name on a Starbucks cup and bag.

Sac-Anime Winter 2012 - by Ray

My first convention of the new year. After the mild disappointment that was Sac Summer last year, I thought to give this con another shot, especially with some obstacles now out of the way. While still a small convention compared to, say, Fanime, its growth in recent years has been staggering, becoming what is perhaps the second largest anime convention in Northern California. But numbers and growth aren't all to a convention; after all, it's about the quality of the experience, which I found would take surprising changes as the con went on.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

SacAnime Winter 2012 Report: Part 2 - Friday (Day One)

The best way to start out at a SacAnime is a good breakfast at Jim-Denny's around 7am because the night before I realized that there were events going on and I wanted some good early parking even if I was staying over at the hotel.

#7 Katie's "Just Right" Breakfast

Friday, January 20, 2012

SacAnime Winter 2012 Report: Part 1 - Prologue

It's interesting how things change quickly, even faster than the transition from summer to winter. The Radisson changed its name to the Woodlake, I gained a new staff member that helped me cover SacAnime Winter 2012, and I even had a new camcorder to play around with at the convention.

But coming back here often reminds me of my early days here at SacAnime.

Cafe Hoshi

NOTE: The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not reflect the official policy or position of the California Conventions Blog.

As you will read in my report, I spent a good amount of time at Cafe Hoshi over the weekend of SacAnime Winter 2012, ranging from spending my first hours at the convention with the maid cafe to filming and photographing various events over that weekend.

You might of heard that during the VIP show Saturday night that the hotel and the convention got into a disagreement which resulted in a) food not being served at the VIP show and b) everyone migrating to the hotel buffet, Basil's, to be served instead. I was part of that of that group that migrated over and while were walking I was talking to the group behind me for some instant reaction, which was very negative at that moment. I would of stuck around to see what would of happened, but other commitments pulled me away from the VIP show.

There is something much deeper than what the attendees and everyone else saw that weekend, and I have obtained some leaked documents and testimonies from my sources close to Cafe Hoshi.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

My Hotel Troubles: Radisson/Woodlake

Some of you might have noticed, in my recent reviews and comments, that I've been having a little trouble with the hotel at Sac Anime. I thought I'd share my story, so you can hear exactly what happened, and why they're trying to rip me off a good $150.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Sac Anime Winter 2012: Robbie's Report

Sac Anime Winter was my first convention of the new year. So what can I say about this? It wasn't a bad convention; far from it, it was actually one of the better Sac Anime cons I've been to. Yet I still have this sinking feeling in my gut when I think about it.

Monday, January 16, 2012

SacAnime Winter 2012 Panoramas

A panorama of the Fountain Courtyard on Day Two
A panorama of Cafe Hoshi at work on Day Three

Thursday, January 12, 2012

2011: The Year in Conventions - by Ray

2011, for me, has been quite a year in terms of conventions. This past year has seen me attend conventions left and right, unlike in past years where my knowledge of cons was mainly limited to Yaoi-Con, Fanime, and Kinyoobi-Con.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

ALA 2012 Review by Rukazu

So I am back from another great ALA, a little tired and sore, but other than that, it was another amazing convention. I was busy during the week up to ALA and didn't really do as much preparation as I would have liked. For example, I didn't really prepare my cosplays nor coordination with the other members on the blog about what events to cover or what pictures to take. However, I did meet up with Aubrey and Zanney briefly during the AMV contest and discussed a little bit about what we each would be doing. As usual, my activities during the con primarily consisted of gatherings, taking pictures, socializing and hanging out with my friends. I also made sure to attend the two major events and a few panels.

SacAnime Winter 2012 Pre-Coverage: Places to Eat

This might be a re-post from the Summer 2011 version, but there are some added information as well as couple of new photos; plus the Radisson changed its name to the Woodlake Hotel, as noted by this SacAnime bulletin from their website.

Now compared to most conventions in the Sacramento area, SacAnime's location is what I would call "isolated," where there's nothing much unless you want to drive out, but I'll mention that later. But there are some options that are within walking distance, perfect if you don't feel like risking losing your parking space at the Woodlake.

Monday, January 9, 2012

CCB Insider: Anime Los Angeles 2012

Anime LA In a Nutshell

Anime LA, a con local to folks who live in the greater Los Angeles area, takes place over the second weekend of January every year at the LAX Marriott hotel. Most notable for being geared towards cosplayers, this con also features a relaxing, friendly atmosphere, a hotel that's used to anime conventions, well-organized staff, and my personal favorite--the beanbag pile!

Features of note: Night Zero Ice Cream Social & Dance Party, AMV Hell Morning Madness, Scarlet Rhapsody's Convention Reporting Panel and the Parents' Lounge.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Mathematics of Conventions, Part 1: Gatorade

In preparation for SacAnime Winter 2012, I went to my local grocery store to stock up on food and drink, something I recommended in my "Planning for Conventions" guide. During this trip, I stocked up on six 32 oz bottles of Gatorade for $1.00 each plus a $0.10 CRV charge for a total of $6.60.

Now, let's do some math on how much you can really save at conventions, shall we?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Year End Review by Rukazu

I know this is a bit late, but Matt wanted me to write a review before ALA started and I've been really busy during the holidays, but that's another matter. I plan to keep this short and to the point. What matters right here and now is my review for this year's conventions.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Sporting Events + Anime/Comic Conventions Combos

One of my other hobbies besides covering anime and comic conventions is that I love sports. I'm a huge Oakland Raiders and Sacramento Kings fan, and in addition I used to play football back in high school until halfway through my Senior year.

As I type this, I'm watching the Rose Bowl on TV and and thinking how nice it would be to attend both the Rose Bowl and Anime Los Angeles in the near future. In fact, there are a few anime/comic convention and sports events combinations that I would like to attend: