While photoshop is running its batch resize process on all the con photos, I’ll take some time to write up my review for this year’s Anime Expo!
Anime Expo was the first con I attended back when I started going to such things in 2010 so I’ve had some time to watch the con evolve as a whole. Last year and the year before were pretty bad when it came to the line to pick up pre-reg badges. This year the badges were changed so that instead of printing out each individual paper badge, the badges were plastic that was scanned. Also (not sure if this is new or not since I’ve never gone to Day 0) but the badge pick up was open for nearly 24 hours at the start of the con. We got there on Thursday, just around noon. The last two years would have seen a 2+ hour wait for the badge pick up, but this time around we waited less than five. It took longer to find the line than it did to wait in it. The problem came afterwards with a new bag check line. There were at least five to get into the main hall, each one seemingly longer than the last. After picking up my boyfriends 4 day badge the staff tried to herd us back out to wait in the long bag check line. Luckily we circumvented that by requesting directions to the pro badge pick up. It was off in a corner on the third floor and the guy escorting us there had to wave his name tag around to prove that we were allowed up there. Getting the pro pass was kind of a pain too. I registered for it online, confirmed it when I got the email a few months ahead of time, and though everything was good from there. But between then and the time the con started I got about three emails asking me to confirm my registration again! I tried but the site wasn’t working and kept giving me an error. Since I had already paid (who charges for a pro pass anyways?!), gotten a receipt, and gotten an email with the barcode, I figured it was fine. The con staff had some difficulty finding me in the system but I had a photo ID and pay stub to prove who I was and it all worked out.
The con itself was insanely packed. Which is good and bad. There were some truly amazing costumes in the crowd but overall I felt a little let down with the number of cosplayers. It seemed like this year many people opted for casual or easy wear costumes. The sets were fun to play around with but the lighting in that hall makes good pictures hard. The cosplay repair station was useful as always and I am so so grateful that it exists. My only disappointment was that Riot wasn’t hosting it this year.
The Jesus people who have been a lingering blemish on cons these recent years were there again this year. I didn’t have any issue with them. They’re usually pretty polite, but this year I heard they started harassing people and possibly stamping them with ‘666’. Whether or not that’s true, I can’t say. Heard it from a second hand source. I hope not. Regardless, I’d recommend anyone attend the cons they come to protest at avoid those people.
The staff this year were not the nicest. I believe it was the people working for the convention center, not those volunteering for the con itself. I was going to meet up with some people who were waiting on the third floor. Walked up some stairs and saw them across the hall but a staff member stopped me and my party from going there. We told him we were meeting some people who were standing right there. He got pretty rude and grabbed at our badges to turn them around and see what kind we had. As soon as he saw my pro pass though he calmed down and said as long as I was escorting the others we could pass. Very weird considering the other side of the hall was open to the public, but not that one corner of it. I witnessed a few people getting yelled at for standing in the wrong place at the wrong time on numerous occasions. I understand the job is stressful but the con is packed and its not always possible to shuffle to the designated areas.
The exhibit hall and artist alley were hard to navigate due to the crowds. I felt like they widened the isles a little to make up for that, but it was still tricky to get around. I didn’t get to see everything I wanted to, but in general its the same stuff at every con. The artists there are the best part of the exhibit hall in my opinion!
Overall this year was about as good as last. The positive changes they made were unfortunately offset by some of the workers, long bag check lines, and insane crowds.