Posts Tagged ‘Convention review’

A few weeks ago I got to take a behind the scenes look at Animaine 2012, one of New England’s up and coming anime conventions. We toured the staff facilities, met with the team, and even had an exclusive interview with the con chairman and chief of staff. If you would like to read my article from the standpoint of a NerdCaliber representative, please follow this link: http://nerdcaliber.com/a-convention-behind-the-scenes-animaine-2012-staff/

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What a busy week! The con was a week ago and I’m just getting around to making updates about it! Any how, as I do for every con I attend, here is my convention review.

Time and Location: Once again this year, Anime Boston was held on Easter weekend in the Hynes Convention Center in Boston. The convention center is a wonderful place to hold a convention, and the place was packed! I’ve got no complaints about the facilities, but the timing was pretty inconvenient. Easter weekend!? I know a lot of people were unhappy about that. I myself did not attend the convention on Sunday because of this, but I still had a good time Friday and Saturday. Perfect weather temperature wise at least. It did rain on Saturday, but was still warm enough to be comfortable.

Parking: There is plenty of parking for the Hynes at the surrounding hotels, though the rates are pretty high. I always park across the street in a garage. The max is $30 for 24 hrs. However there is no come-and-go option, meaning once you leave the convention center, you’re done for the day unless you want to pay another $30 for parking. The rate is $5 for every half-hour. Adds up very quickly.

Food: The Prudential mall and Boylston street (which the convention is on) has plenty of food options. It is Boston after all. No one was going to starve. However the food in the mall is a little pricey, and if you want something cheap you have to walk a little to get it. Not that its difficult to find cheap food once you leave the convention center. My cosplay group and I brown-paper-bagged it for lunch, and had dinner at the California Pizza Kitchen. Excellent food. But a tad pricey.

Lines: Very few lines at this con! No line to get my badge. We literally ran through terminal. And with the new masquerade ticket system, there was no lining up for that either. Not that I went to the Masquerade this year, but I didn’t see anyone waiting in line for it. The only time I waited in line was for really popular panels, and there were a few instances where the room was full and we didn’t get it, but there were enough other panels happening at the same time that if we didn’t want to wait in line, we could go and find something else to do.

Staff: I didn’t really interact with staff this year other than a few of them taking my picture. There seemed, in fact, to be a lack of people on staff. I don’t think I had my badge checked all con. Normally, there is a staff member guarding the door to every panel and the dealers room. But this year for some reason, people were coming and going as they pleased without ever taking out their badges….weird. Maybe they were understaffed. Kind of makes me wonder why anyone would buy a badge if they knew they could roam free without one.

Main Events/Panels and Scheduling: I didn’t attend any main events this year because honestly, we were really busy having our photos taken. I did go to some awesome panels though. There was a fantastic Miyazaki Panel which covered everything you’d ever want to know about his work, a historical costuming panel which with tones of tips and tricks for making better costumes, and a martial arts panel which explained what is and is not possible in a fight. The panels this year were exceptional, I thought. Not a single disappointment.

Cosplay: As always, Anime Boston was filled to the brim with cosplayers. There were so many cosplayers in fact, that it’s difficult to recall specifics….I saw a lot of Vocaloid,  and a lot of Panty and Stockings. I myself had a fantastic cosplay experience. Our costumes were very well received; I got a lot of very nice compliments and the group had our picture taken about 2500 times! Everyone was really friendly and when asked for hugs, everyone was very gentle and respectful of the costumes. Not a single “glomp.” Which was nice.

Other notes: The artist’s alley was VERY crowded this year. There seemed to be way too many artist. I couldn’t even look at anyone’s work. The walkways between tables were so narrow, that anyone who did stop to look at work would block traffic. Thus, I felt unable to look at work. AA needs either a bigger space, or fewer artists. I know that no one wants to hear that, but I don’t know how anyone sold well in such a dimly lit, uncomfortable space.

I give Anime Boston 2011 4 out of 5 stars. Wonderful Panels, great people, lots of cosplay, fantastic location, but Easter Weekend, lack of staff, and the very crowded hallways bring it down from a perfect score for me. Still, it was a really fabulous time. And I will continue to attend for years, I’m sure.

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Connecticon 2010 is over! After a long and exhausting weekend of otaku adventures, I am ready to write this review while things as still fresh in my mind.

Time and Location: As always, Connecticon was held in the prime of the summer-time in the nicest of locations. Though the weather was quite hot and humid this year, the Connecticut Convention Center is climate controlled and that AC was cranking out the cool air all weekend. There were even times when I was a little chilly!! But I would much prefer to be cold, than to over heat in a costume. It doesn’t take much really: wearing even just a wig greatly restricts how well heat can leave your body. Anyone in cosplay was super thankful for the air, I’m sure. But anyway, back to more about the location–conveniently placed in the city, right near the highway and several major roads, beautiful building with some great open spots for photos both inside and out. Perfect venue for a con, I think.

Parking: The parking lot was attached to the convention center, and though it was not air conditioned, it did provide some shelter from the summer sun while walking to and from your car. I much prefer this to any parking lot. The Parking rate was $3 for the first hour and $2 for every additional hour with a daily maximum of $19. But, you could not come and go as you please on this rate. Fortunately, Connecticon was offering parking passes that would allow you to come and go as much as you please for a flat rate. Basically, you pay the daily maximum up front, and get to come in and out as many times as you want. This saves you money because on a normal parking ticket, if you stayed for 7 hours, then left for dinner, and came back and spent 4 more hours there, you would be paying more than the daily limit because you left the garage. Getting a parking pass from Connecticon protects you from this over-charging. Very good option, and cheaper than Anime Boston parking.

Food: The food inside the convention center was expensive and limited. I heard that it costs $6 for a hamburger, and so I choose to eat outside of the convention or bring my own food. Though there is a sign at the entrance of the convention center that says “no outside food or drink beyond this point,” the rule is not enforced, and I really don’t think that they can, especially in heat like that, people need to be able to have water and a snack with them at all times. (There were water fountains throughout the building if anyone is wondering). So anyway, food around the convention center: there was a Burger King within walking distance, and an awesome pub across the street. I will try to get the name and add it. Also there was a  menu for pizza in the convention program book, probably targeted to anyone staying in the hotel. So there were options, but as always, eating during cons can get pretty expensive and I am a firm believer in bringing your own breakfast and lunch every day.

Lines: For the most part, completely reasonable. There were a few short lines for registration and main events but they all kept moving and were nothing more than should be expected. There were no lines that I saw for ordinary panels or the bathrooms, and only a few small ones for the ATM and food in the con center. One line that I would like the complain about is the bag-check line for the dealers room and video game room. On Friday, they were requiring that you check your bag before entering either the dealers room or the video game area (they changed it to only the video game area on Saturday and Sunday probably because things got so bad). When I checked my bag, I didn’t have to wait more than 5 minutes, but when I tried to get my bag back, I found myself faced with a line at least 30 minutes long. It looked like they only had 4 people handling 600 bags, and they temporarily lost the bags of myself, the two people in front of me, and the man behind me. All were located eventually but let me tell you, it caused quite the delay. I had to go in and locate my own bag myself because it was filed incorrectly and they could not locate the number. One poor girl in front of me was waiting a very long time for her lost bag, and when she got SOME of the CONTENTS of her bag back WITHOUT THE BAG ITSELF, THOSE CONTENTS WERE ALL WET! I felt so bad for her. I told her she should definitely complain and that this was unacceptable. I think eventually she got her bag back because I saw her from afar later with a backpack that looked like the one she had described. I hope that everything turned out all right for her because she had electronics in her bag. 😦

Staff: I don’t have too much to say about the staff because I didn’t have many interactions with them. They stayed quietly off to the side checking badges and doing their jobs. They were certainly visible and I never felt like the con was getting out of control, but at the same time I think that the staff knew how to sit back and let things happen how the con goers wanted them to. Most of the staff I saw were volunteers and so I’m sure that that added to the laid-back, low-obligation feeling that I got from the men and women who kept everything running smoothly all weekend.

Main Events/Panels and Scheduling: I will talk about main events first. I myself only attended Anime Unscripted and Cosplay Chess, which I was participating in. Both were wonderfully entertaining and worth going to. I heard from talking to other con-goers that the Death Match and the Art Fight were also entertaining and fun, but that the masquerade really wasn’t. But that’s only what I heard. As far as panels went, I felt that the schedule could have been a little more dense. They didn’t make hardly anything overlap and so I actually felt that there was a lack of panels to go to at any given time. I was lucky if one panel interested me all day. Maybe if they had opened a few of the role-playing rooms up to panels, there would have been a few more appealing options. Josh was very disappointed that the “How to not suck at Pokemon” Panel was canceled last minute.

Cosplay: The cosplay and responses to cosplay at Connecticon were awesome. I had a great time dressing up and role-playing: waving my finger at all the Team Rockets as Officer Jenny. And everyone else looked great too. I saw some really good cosplays, and they were from so many different Genres! From Star-Wars to Kim Possible, to Avatar, to D.C. comics, to Hetalia and Soul Eater. Surprisingly little Naturo and Bleach, actually.

I give this con a 4 out of 5 stars. Beautiful location, not to crowded, great mix of people and fun main events. Everything seemed well planned and I never encountered a single unpleasant person. However the days dragged on with a limited panel selection and the incident with the bag-check really detracted from my experience. But still, this is a con worth going to! Next year it will be held in the Connecticut Convention Center, July 8th – 10th.

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