Last year in January, I was thinking about going to Sac-Anime Winter, but other plans overrode that, forcing me to skip out.
Then came AOD in February. I was originally going to only go for a day, but after a friend expressed interest in going both days, I decided to spend the night in the area. It was a good convention, and since some of my friends lived in the Japantown area it was a good chance to spend the evening with them for a bit. To me, AOD at night had the feel of a light house party, except with cosplayers.
WonderCon was in April, and I personally loved the change of pace, even if I'm not a big fan of Western comics. I especially liked seeing video game publishers in force there, though.
Fanime...I have mixed opinions about this convention. This was my first time hosting a panel, and for someone new to doing so, my friends and I attracted a decently-sized audience. However, for various reasons, it was a very terrible convention experience for me, perhaps the worst one of the year, to put it honestly. This being a large convention, it was also difficult to find and spend time with friends, despite having made a sizable number of cosplay friends in the past year. I also hated the timing of the cosplay gatherings--Touhou and Madoka Magica having the same timeslot (and there is a huge overlap between the two fandoms, mind you), and the Black Butler gathering immediately afterwards, which I couldn't miss because someone required my attendance there.
Kin-Yoobi Con came about 2 1/2 months later to make up for that. I skipped out on Hyper-Con in order to devote time to friends here--part of the charm of a small convention like KYC is being able to easily spend time with friends, even if it is at the expense of a quality gaming room or major panels and events. We had a lot of fun together; KYC felt less like a convention and more like a huge get-together with friends.
Sac-Anime Summer came around--my first Sac-Anime, as a matter of fact. I missed out on Friday due to traffic preventing me from arriving until nightfall, but Saturday had some good offerings like the Touhou gathering, and it's one of two NorCal cons (the other being Fanime) that I can trust to have a good, varied gaming room rather than just wall-to-wall fighting games. However, I couldn't help but sense an aura of immaturity throughout the convention, which put a hamper on things. Being sleep-deprived also didn't help me feel good during the convention.
Anime Destiny was in October and to be honest I liked last year better when there seemed to be more people to talk to and more cosplays I liked, as well as the presence of some good main events and better organization. Still, a lot of my friends were there, I saw a sizable number of cosplayers from my favorite fandoms, and it is in a convention location food-wise, so it was hard to complain.
Wrapping up the year in conventions was Yaoi-Con, which despite the name and premise actually has one of the more mature atmospheres of conventions in Northern California. Great location, amusing events as always, but I'm rather upset that its new owner is moving the convention down to SoCal next year.
Overall, it's been an active year for conventions for me. Many good things happened, along with some bad experiences as well. My "tier list" of cons, in Dance Dance Revolution terms:
- PERFECT tier: Kin-Yoobi Con
- GREAT tier: AOD, WonderCon
- GOOD tier: Anime Destiny, Yaoi-Con
- BOO tier: Sac-Anime
- MISS tier: Fanime