|I forgot to post the obligatory picture of the crowd before the Exhibit hall opened|
I was hanging out at the exhibit hall with Steve (from day 1) and Sasha waiting for the Tales of gathering, when I get a call from my college friend, Steve. He has never been to a convention before, so Anime Expo being such a large convention is like baptism by fire, so I showed him the ropes. The thing is, we didn’t wind up leaving other Steve, so we had to address them as Steve 1 and Steve 2. Steve 1 is the one that I had been hanging out with all convention, and Steve 2 was my friend from college. So Steve 1 and Steve 2 hit it off really well. We wanted to show Steve 2 a panel, because besides the exhibit hall and the large crowds, panels really make the convention. Our group decided that Super Art Fight would be the panel we would show him, because the atmosphere is fun and we were already going to go to it. However, due to how disorganized the con was towards small panels, we could not find it. We started searching an hour before to line up, (as you have to do for Anime Expo panels) but we were told at the room that was listed on the program that the line was not for Super Art Fight and it had been moved to a different room. No problem right? The room was on the other end of the hallway, so we made our way over. We asked if this was the line for Super Art Fight, and the staffers said they didn’t think so, because they weren’t sure. I understand that not everyone knows exactly what room every panel is, but if you’re running one room you should know what events are inside and what is next. Or if you are not sure, at the very least, know where to send con-goers to people that actually do know. After we ran downstairs to find out the room was just around the corner from where we went the first time, we tried to go back upstairs to find that they had completely blocked off the stairs to move a line that was lined up downstairs and outside for the panel upstairs and inside. Also the previous panel had not let out, so imagine a crowd of people in between 2 tape ropes lined up for one panel, people pouring out of the panel that had just finished, and people in the hallway angrily trying to get through to the other hallway they had blocked off. For 15 minutes. And we just wanted confirmation of which room Super Art Fight was in. We didn’t find out for sure until we saw the panelists for Super Art Fight walk by, and we desperately asked them what room their panel was in. They told us they weren’t sure themselves, and said they believed it was in the room we were told. So when the crowd finally died down and we crossed the hallway to follow the end of the line, all the way on the other side of the convention hall and definitely blocking a main escalator. Why staff didn’t come to organize the line, I have no idea. When the line was finally moving, I found that we were now the ones blocking the hallway, and 10 people before our group was to go in, the doors were closed due to a full room. There were at least a hundred people behind us in line, who couldn’t get into the panel, and staff would not tell them the line was now the standby line. My group decided we weren’t going to wait, so we headed back to the exhibit hall. On the way we courteously (or bitterly) told everyone in line that the panel was full and to not waste their time waiting in line. Poor Steve 2 was unable to attend a panel that day. What is annoying about this, is that the first room was one of the larger ones that could easily accommodate everyone that was waiting in the line, plus people that were late. The second room we were redirected to was slightly smaller, but almost everyone in the line would have fit. The room the panel wound up being in was one of the smallest ones possible. I don’t know who decided to change rooms like this, but maybe they should do their research first. All-in-all even though Steve 2 did not get to see a panel, I believe he had a great time and he definitely made new friends.
Day 4, day 4. Not much happens on day 4 except for the mad scramble to buy last minute items at a (sometimes) discount. Again, I recommend going around on the first day to scout out what you want and see if they raise the price or lower it on day 4. (Sometimes they raise it, but if you bargain they usually lower it!) Other than the last desperate run at the exhibit hall, I can’t say much more except that we had fantastic sushi burritos for lunch. They were essentially uncut rolls, but the truck had a huge line so it must have worked. They were extremely fast with their production of sushi burritos, but ordering was extremely slow for some reason.
My conclusion for this year’s Anime Expo is that the convention has almost got everything down, except for the organization of lines and badge pickup. The panels were all smooth, the main events had huge rooms and ran swiftly, exhibit hall was fantastic and food trucks were a godsend. There is talk about the convention moving to accommodate larger crowds, but I don’t think it needs to move. There is an entire hall the size of the exhibit hall inside Concourse Hall, but they never open it. An entire wing of the third floor of the convention is also barricaded off, limited to the press, whom only used a tiny room. I had to pass by 6 or 7 unoccupied rooms which could have easily accommodated cosplay repair or similar things. I assume they need more people to volunteer to run it, but at a different convention center you’re still going to have the same problem with space if you don’t have enough volunteers. As for badges, I don’t know what the problem is. Because of how late this second half of the review is going up, Comic Con has just happened and badges were picked up in half an hour or less. Anime Expo should definitely look into how Comic Con distributes its badges.
|Until next year, Anime Expo!|