I know this is a bit late but better late than never right? I wanted to go over be review one of Southern California's newest conventions.
It took place at the Hyatt regency hotel in Anaheim during August 22nd-24th. I went to this convention with two of my friends in the area because it’s been a while since I went to a con and really did that, and my intention was to mainly socialize and have fun. Getting to the hotel and parking was really easy, there was no problem in picking up my badge and the line to wait for a pass at the door moved relatively quickly. So first impressions are good, and after my friends got their badges, we started to explore the premises. The hotel that was chosen was pretty good; it was spacious and had a lot of floor area. The main lobby was very nice and very open, but the basic flow and foot traffic wasn’t the best.
We went upstairs first to check out the tabletop game room which was pretty quiet and we sat down and played a bit of Munchkins. Afterwards we browsed around some more, went to the console gaming area and looked at the panel rooms and got lunch. One of the first things I noticed was that in order to get around the second floor, it was not all connected, so that in order to get from one area to another, you had to take the elevators down to the first floor, walk across the lobby and take another elevator or stairs up to the other tower. Also most of the panel rooms were very small and could barely fit 20 people or so it seems and the hallways upstairs were a bit narrow.
The main Exhibition Hall was decent, but not great, there were a few areas for photoshoots but they were not clearly marked and trying to figure out where the cosplay gatherings were supposed to take place was also a bit troublesome. Because the main entrance was also the area where people had to be dropped off, that meant that there was a lot of cars so even though we were told to meet up in the front plaza, we also had to move a gathering to the far end which was still a decent location.
My friends and I left barely around 5:00 because we wanted to get dinner and such and I ended up staying at a friend’s place for the night. They only went for Saturday, whereas I was going for 2 days.
Day 2 I ended up mainly tabling for Touhoucon since I found there was not much else going on. There were several other con tables set up at the entrance of the Dealer’s Hall and it was pretty chill talking to everyone else since it was Sunday.
Because this is the first convention, I will cut them slack on a lot of areas. At this point it is too early to call but it a fun hang out convention nonetheless. The most important part I feel in this case is the overall atmosphere. Anime CA wasn't bad and the atmosphere seemed very friendly but the biggest issue seemed like it didn't seem much different than Anime LA. Both were roughly the same size and both had similar events. I will give them the benefit of a doubt of course and I feel I should give them another 2 years to see if they bring something new to the table. But I do feel that if they play their cards right, they could very well be a great social and hang out convention that would rival or surpass ALA.