Saturday, October 22, 2016 Post Test #2

It's sad how two of the California Convention Blog's staples are closing this year: twitterfeed, and the used-to-used to be known as the Radisson Hotel.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

SacAnime Summer 2016 Community Review - My Personal Experience and Opinion of SacAnime by Austin

A panoramic of the autograph line. (Photo Credit: Matthew Miranda)
Editor's Note: The second in our community review series comes from Austin Guerra and focuses on a convention that embodies the origins of the California Conventions Blog: SacAnime.

Wow, where to begin? I can start by saying that I honestly had a great time at SacAnime even though I spent most of my time in the Exhibit Hall. I am still a rookie when it comes to conventions, but that doesn’t mean I can’t have a good time or have an honest opinion on how the con was ran. I think the best place to start is with the positives on the con.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Monday, August 8, 2016

Anime Expo 2016 Community Review - Time, Money, and ZA WARUDO: A Premier Fan’s Experience Anime Expo 2016

A photo from the main room during Late Comedy Showdown. (Photo Credit: Ryan Silva)

Editors Note: Here at the California Conventions Blog, we are always looking for people who share our passion for the convention culture that we live in, especially if it is an unique point of view that is new to most of us. Today is a hopefully a start to a new part of our convention reviews, titled "Community Reviews." These are reviews written by those who are not on the blog but are interested in telling stories and experiences. This is a way for these people to get a foot in their door, like all of us who started out reviewing conventions and telling stories & experiences because we wanted to share it with the world.

Our first ever community review comes from Ralph Jeriko Serranilla, bringing us an expeience that we've been wanting to write about for years: a permier fan.

Anime Expo. The biggest anime convention in North America held on the July 4th weekend. Four (now five!) days dedicated to everything anime, manga, video games, and almost anything peripherally related (I saw you Games of Thrones cosplayers!).

Friday, July 29, 2016

Nate Reports: Anime Expo 2016 Part 1 (Day 0-2)

Next con on the lineup is Anime Expo 2016, where it will be my 3rd time attending the biggest Anime convention in Los Angeles. Last year, I wasn't able to go as press so I had to go as an attendee to this big event and it was still pretty fun. This time around, I've gotten the pass and I was hoping for something better than the last time I got Press back in 2013. During that year, there was so many issues with me and LACC staff or AX staff back then that I was just really confused about what was going on, I mean I didn't even go to many of the things at that AX because of restrictions even if we were staff. Now I'm hoping this time around, there will be more leniency towards us and that we can actually have access to things. Nonetheless, I just hope for a very fun Anime Expo this year!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

AX 2016 Review by Lucas

Hello everyone, it has been a while since I've done a review for a convention, and this year was really quite something. So without further ado, let's get straight down to business.

I've been attending AX since 2009, and I've attended every one except for 2012. Due to circumstances outside of my control, I thought about maybe not attending all together, especially when our press badges were still in limbo. I will be writing this review from the perspective of both a fan and press.

When we first applied for press, we got turned down because apparently we didn't have enough credentials. Although I did eventually get a press badge along with my colleagues, even before the convention started it was a small strike against AX. It felt like they were stringing us along and the person on the other end did not know what they were doing. Either do the research and deny us outright instead of taking their word back like that.  I also want to say that I had work on both Day 0 and Day 1 meaning I was not able to help my colleagues with the Press Junkets this year.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Matthew's "Amended" FanimeCon Report Part 2 - The Report

So here I am, about to turn myself up to full-blown tourist mode and do everything on FanimeCon weekend that I haven't done before.

Matthew's "Amended" FanimeCon Report Part 1 - Intro

BONUS PHOTO: A view from China Lake State Camp
In my my six years that I have attended FanimeCon, outside excursions have occurred but were short. Most of them involved just going to Japantown for a couple of hours rather than exploring the entire city if I didn't head straight to San Jose due to time constrants like checking in.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Nate Reports: Fanime 2016

After the winter cons of SacAnime Winter and AOD plus the spring con of Krakencon Spring, it's the summer time now and that means the real con season begins! And what better way to start it off with FanimeCon here in the San Francisco Bay Area. It's always been a great time at Fanime for me as it always is the kickstarter to the con season. I've seen the con have it's ups and downs like my first years attending the con was great to the construction years where it was just horrible to go around the con. And these last two years after the construction and expansion of the San Jose Convention Center I must say have had no problems at all. In my 8th year attending FanimeCon, this one's had a lot of things that I didn't expect to see!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Ray Reports: Fanime 2016

Fanime staff seems to have this pattern of doing everything late, from announcements to hotel rooms to professional registration, and things somehow working out in the end. On top of that, it's undergone a few gamechangers this year that have made it a make-or-break experience for many.

For this report, rather than a day-by-day breakdown--as I don't go to many events at cons for the most part and I've written about Fanime four times now--I'll switch to a more topical style, covering things like housing, registration, and programming in their own blocks.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Nate Reports: Krakencon Spring 2016

Hey everyone, I am currently back on the California Conventions Blog reporting. Sorry about not being around for the past few months, I was currently working on a brand new job and it took a lot of my time away that I couldn't be able to have some time to work on reports. But now I have the time to make reports again, this first one for 2016 is for the most recent con that happened this past weekend: Kraken Con! I have been going to this convention ever since it opened up back at its first con in South San Francisco and now that it's going to it's 4th year, I hope to expect a lot of good things for this con. Let's just say, the con this year has surprised me.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Ray Reports: Animation on Display 2016

Last year, I took a bye year from Animation on Display. This year I thought about swinging by, and the right circumstances led to my decision to attend after all.

Since I started attending, AoD has changed venue twice: from the Hotel Kabuki in San Francisco's Japantown district to the Hyatt SFO in Burlingame off US 101 in 2014, and then to the Santa Clara Convention Center near Great America and Levi's Stadium this year. I was getting ready to be a little excited that AoD was finally growing by moving into a proper convention center rather than just a hotel, but as I'll explain soon enough, that wasn't exactly the case.

Still, I managed to squeeze whatever enjoyment I could from this year's iteration; the key was having a plan and sticking to it.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

AOD 2016: Robbie's Report

Valentine’s Day weekend was a busy one for con-goers all over nation. There was Katsucon in National Harbor, Maryland; Gallifrey One in Los Angeles; and a few other events and gatherings across the state. But I was at a long-time favorite: AOD.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Matt's Perspective: Taiyou Con 2015, One Year Later

When I go back and read the part that asks "could this relatively small convention that caught lightning in a bottle sustain their momentum and become an established convention within the Southwest portion of the US" and then look at what Taiyou Con is doing this year, my answer leading up to this weekend would be "yes." Lotus Juice is back (as well as an appearance at AOD a month later in Santa Clara) but no Shihoko Hirata or Yumi Kawamura; but they were able to obtain Kappei Yamaguchi who has an extensive background including voices from Persona 4, One Piece, and Inuyasha; and Yuu Asakawa, who is very known for voicing Luka. Yes, the Vocaloid Luka. Not that bad for a year after what I considered the "best anime convention ever in my life."

Every time someone asks me "what was the best anime convention that you attended ever," I would of pointed to Anime Expo 2013 or FanimeCon 2014. But then came this last-second planned trip with Ryan and myself to this convention in a suburb in Phoenix, Arizona that we never heard of except for that one viral commercial because they decided to drop Lotus Juice, Hirata-san, and Kawamura-san. Now I tell everyone that Taiyou Con 2015 was the best convention I ever attended.

What really made Taiyou Con special was that it felt like just the right size for the engagement that the convention was setting up. It felt like maybe all together there was about two thousand attending, and out of those two thousand four hundred were attending the concert, and out of those four hundred fifty were attending under VIPs. The debut of the trio in the United States would of been a different story if instead of four hundred it was three thousand over at the City National Civic or at the Los Angeles Convention Center; the narrative going into the convention and afterwards would of varied drastically. With the four hundred that Taiyou Con had anticipated, it felt like a gathering of the most die-hard and loyal Persona/Shin Megami Tensei fans into an experience that could only be lived once.

And for the both of us, we almost didn't get that full experience like we reported it. By the time we actually had planned on attending, all the VIP tickets were sold out and at that moment we were going to settle on the normal tickets which didn't include priority entry into both the Saturday main event concert and Lotus Juice's Sunday solo concert & entry into the VIP autograph session. But then we struck gold; Ryan found someone from Nebraska who was selling two VIP tickets because this person could no longer attend. After dabbling back and forth about spending the extra money because we already had tickets, we decided to get the VIP tickets and hope that someone would want the normal tickets at the convention. I did find someone who did want the tickets and made a clean exchange. However, we found out later that in during the increase of demand of VIP tickets after they sold out, sellers sold more than one copy of said ticket and whoever got to the barcode scanner first would get in while the other person with the same exact barcode would be denied because the ticket was already redeemed. We had somewhat thought about this the morning of the concert and factored it into the decision to show up early (the other [and main reason] was to get good seats to record) and incured no problems but caught the duplicates being put into action with the staffers taking appropiate action. We were hoping that this issue would of been fixed going into the 2016 edition but since we are not at this convention we await to hear word from the attendees.

Taiyou Con 2015 was a first for a lot of accomplishments: attending a convention in Arizona for the first time ever and attending Taiyou Con for the first time ever are the first two that come to mind. We also used Taiyou Con for filming off of cellphones; I never thought the day that an iPhone would be able to shoot clear, 1080p video and we decided to give my iPhone 6 and Ryan's Droid Turbo a shot in recording convention footage over the trusty JVC camcorder that I've used for many years. Ryan could of shot portions of the concert in 4K (which then I could do a year later with the iPhone 6s+) but decided to keep it at 1080p to ensure that the full concert was recorded. We didn't have any issues recording both concerts beyond switching phones due to battery percentages; most of the issues came during encoding and editing to publish to our YouTube channel. My iPhone and his Droid shot at different frame rates which was desyncing the audio and video when it was being encoded and converted. We did find a solution to the problem and were able to successfully upload all the concert footage. Since then, I've ditched the previous video editor in favor of Adobe Premeire Pro and iMovie which has been used to encode and edit some of the SacAnime Winter 2016 videos and other "test videos" (like the Central Valley Cosplay Gathering and Capitol Fight District) that have gone up.

There's a different charm of attending an anime convention that I've never been to before in a city that I've never been too before. Fanime and AX are excellent conventions but if I had to trade one of those conventions for a convention in Phoenix, Seattle, or Portland, I would do so in a heartbeat. In fact, it's what I'm already planning: this year, those two conventions aren't on my "to attend" list due to life commitments, and even when I'm ready to attend conventions outside of Sacramento again I want to attend something new, something I haven't done. Otakon is on my bucket list especially with their move to Washington D.C. in 2017 looming, but SakuraCon. Kumoricon, Saboten Con, PMX, and even something like AOD would be on my radar just so that I could attend them and say "I went there."

In all, that Taiyou Con was a fresh experience not only from a convention angle, but also from a pseudo-spiritual angle. A lot happened that weekend that changed and left us with a lot memories - and motivation - going into the future. It felt like we came out as improved people through this magical journey to enjoy and find ourselves. I just hope that one day I could re-experience in full what I saw during those five days.

Keepsakes of that convention, still the same after a year

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Sac Anime Winter 2016: Robbie's Report

Oh Sac Anime… here we go again.

It’s 2016, and no sooner did the new year begin than a new Sac Anime did as well. While I had a few disappointments last time around, I trusted the staff to take attendee feedback into account and attempt to improve things. In many accounts, they did. On others, I still had some problems.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Matthew's SacAnime Winter 2016 Report - Part 3 + Closing Thoughts

Fallout 4 cosplay, complete with Pip-Boy
I never liked it when a convention ends, especially these three-day conventions. You're having such a blast, seeing friends and total strangers when all of the sudden it's now Sunday and you have to go home. Time to pack it up, time to check out, and go back to our ordinary lives.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Matthew's SacAnime Winter 2016 Report - Part 2

Matthew's SacAnime Winter 2016 Report - Part 1

Like most of my reports that I have written in the past, most of my convention reports don't start at the convention but usually somwhere else.

And this convention is no exception.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Matthew's SacAnime Winter 2016 Report - Prologue

After SacAnime Summer 2015 had the highest attendance in SacAnime history, you might ask yourself "what could this convention do next?"

If you answered "start the next edition of SacAnime on New Years Day," you would be like "what?"

A photo of the lobby of the Hyatt Regancy Sacramento on New Years Eve, the day before SacAnime Winter 2016 started