Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Animation On Display 2015: Robbie's Report

While I started the year with Sac Anime, I ended the month with Animation on Display (AOD), the latest iteration of the first convention I attended. Like last year, it was located in the SFO Hyatt, which proved to be a great location for the con, though not so much for getting food. Let’s look at how it went.

I arrived a few hours after the convention began, and the con was already in full swing. A good amount of attendees wandered around, with costumes from a variety of series - there weren’t any that seemed to outnumber the rest, so plenty of good shows were being represented. I was cosplaying as Jean from "Attack on Titan," and there were a decent amount of other AoT cosplayers around, though AOD has no planned gatherings.

After picking up my badge, the first place I checked out was the Dealer’s Hall. It was combined with the artist alley, and there were some excellent artists selling prints and crafts at their tables, so I picked up a few things for myself while I was there. Also there, with a table for himself, was Little Kuriboh, creator of "Yu-Gi-Oh Abridged." He’s always a pleasure to talk to at cons, as he’s a genuinely kind person. Also, there were some dogs in the dealer's hall, which drew plenty of people to the table they were at.

Near Little Kuriboh's table was one for Crunchyroll, where they were broadcasting a live stream of the con. Throughout the weekend, attendees and cosplayers would stop by the stream to chat with the viewers, whose comments scrolled by the page. When I joined in, people said I looked like Vic Mignogna, for reasons I can’t understand, though I still stuck around for a bit.

When it was time for lunch, I found the options were pretty limited. I could either pay through the roof for food from the hotel, or walk across the street to one of the few restaurants nearby. Clearly I was not the only one to opt for the restaurants, given the long lines, but it was a better meal than expensive sandwiches from the lobby would have been. Verdict: needs more food options.

The weather was surprisingly hot for the middle of winter, and the convention pool was in use for swimming, relaxing, and photoshoots. Right beside that, the gaming room was set up, and was filled with people playing the arcade, console, and card games. In the game room was Stage Zero, where small performances took place throughout the weekend, similar to Fanime’s. While a larger con would suffer from having the two in the same spot, it seemed to work well for AOD.

The day was spent wandering around, seeing friends, and getting the occasional picture. When night fell, I opted not to go to the masquerade, and instead ordered pizza, met up with friends, and played Dungeons and Dragons. Yes, D&D at an anime con. I’m sure you can see the geekiness radiating from this post.

Izumi from "Parasyte"
Bob and Tina from "Bob's Burgers"
Space Dandy. He's a dandy guy... in space.
Sunday, I cosplayed as Prince Endymion from "Sailor Moon." Longtime readers might recall my difficulty with the armor at Japan Expo, but I was hoping that my repairs would hold.

They didn’t.

Fortunately, AOD had a cosplay repair station, so I stopped by there to get my shoulder pads glued back on. They patched me up as quickly as possible, and I was back on the con floor in no time. There wasn’t too much different from the previous day, although one look at the hotel’s breakfast prices and I decided to skip it and just get brunch.

Before heading out, I stopped by a panel hosted by Robbie Daymond, the new voice actor for Tuxedo Mask. It was something of a more personal Q&A session, as he sat away from the podium so those in the audience could sit around and talk to him. When he saw me and my girlfriend, who was cosplaying as Princess Serenity, he complimented us on our costumes, and answered my question about his thoughts on the cultural significance of Sailor Moon and what the revival series/re-dubbed anime will bring.

Robbie Daymond's panel
After lunch, I stopped by the Crunchyroll booth to join in the livestream again. The viewers were very active, and we couldn’t keep up with all the questions, but they were quite nice to us. We answered questions about cosplay, our thoughts on certain series and games, and generally goofed around for them, before getting back to enjoy the con.

To end the day, we bought more goods and art from the dealer’s hall, then started making our last rounds to say goodbye to everyone. There were still plenty of people to see, although not as many as usual - many of them were off at the Real Escape Attack on Titan game, others were watching the Super Bowl, and more still were at Walker Stalker Con.

In spite of the many events splitting attendance, I still had a good time. Was it a particularly active con? Not really, but I still saw plenty of friends and had a good time. My only major criticism would be the lack of inexpensive dining options, and there’s not much they can do about that anyways. So as far as conventions go, it was a good one to spend a weekend at.

Two Princess Serenity cosplayers
Did I mention the dog in the dealer's hall? Because there was totally a dog in the dealer's hall.

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