I want to start out with an explanation, so you know that we are not starting strong here. A-kon was Awesome… but everything that would have made it that was in a terrible way?
This year’s A-Kon was 4 days, but it was Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday so I had to request 3 days off in one week and one in the other, so I lost money from work. But 4 Days! Except that registration was not the noon time the e-mail said, and it opened maybe a couple hours late… but count it… 4 DAYS! I was in line for 5 hours, and we ended up not being able to actually do anything that day. What do I mean?
Well, V.I.P.’s had their own line, unlike people who pre-registered, and since I actually went down into the line at 5pm wanting to wait for things to die down a little, I ended up obtaining one at 10pm. We could have gone to the masquerade which was going on for another hour or two, but we would have to go back to our hotel across the street and get ready, and we would have to leave early to re-pay for parking at our respective spots. So we got food instead.
Dealers room/Artist Alley was no open on Thursday at all.Neither was The Game Room. We kept coming back to this weird ‘Why did we pay to be here today?’ conclusion, and when we did… there would be people arguing for A-Kon saying that today was Day-0 of the convention.
No, Today was a paid for day that was advertised that I missed work for, woke up early to get to from Houston to get there when they said registration was going to be, and yeah… A-Kon straight up lied to us.
MAGFest is also a 4 day convention, and guess what? THE FIRST DAY IS THE FIRST EFFING DAY! I’ve been to both of these conventions in years past a day early, Wednesday for Mag 2016, and Thursday for A-Kon 16, and you don’t charge people extra just to be able to pick up their God damn badge because it’s more convenient for you.
On the plus side… we got to watch Dragon Ball’s Funimation Dub that night in one of the 2 hotels that are also connected to the convention center [but not physically] … that’s something, right?
One cosplayer explained to me that people do not go to A-Kon for the panels, but are there for the awesome cosplay. There is a lot around the convention center, and in that aspect, this entire area is a cosplayers and a photographers dream come true!
These are all, technically, different locations all within close proximity to each other. They are so close that you can be in one spot, zoom your camera and snap a great photo from a different one, like I constantly was.
Awesome, right? Well… this technique, sniping, can be cool… but I felt bad as I was constantly doing it. Also, there were groups fighting for spots no matter how well it was organized ahead of time. Speaking about time, sometimes one location was too dark by the time the shoot rolled around so a location change was needed.
Also, I feel like I need to emphasize that all of this is free. You could just go to the convention every day, not even stay at A-Kon’s hotels or even over flow hotels, and not give them a penny for it all. That’s… terribly awesome and it happens at other conventions.
Hopefully no one ever discovers this truth in mass. I spent a lot of money to be at this 3-Day 4-Day convention. It is sad though, as A-Kon probably put on a really great show.
The dealers room was huge and had tons of dealers, which might have been detrimental over all. I wonder if that helped Artist Alley sales? I did see two panels while I was there, one on Japan’s role during WWII put into context which was quite informative, as well as a Japanese tea ceremony on Sunday. There were people in them, but it wasn’t full… which given the population of A-kon… I guess they were taking pictures of cosplay?
An outside rave is an amazing thing, but one with a noise ordinance? How about a different rave that is easy to get into with girls making out and posing like they are ready to get it on? That’s pretty awesome, but what if I said that this all ages rave was one of the most brightly lit raves I’ve ever been to, so if anyone is under 18 and can see that… well, that’s pretty damn awesome.
The game room was 100% fighting games on consoles, while the arcade games were… lackluster? at least two of these machines where multiple arcade machines that were… you know… technically illegal… but on the plus side, I did get to play a Japanese only puzzle game with a mermaid in it?
Video gaming and table top were in the Omni, which was the hotel that I was in, while a viewing room and some panels were in The Sheraton, and there was a places in The Convention Center that I was only discovering by Saturday night when I was traversing the bottom left of the convention center to try and get to the top right of to get to the rave. There is just too much of the convention that is too hard to care enough about to find casually because it is just too spread out.
In short, A-Kon 29 is hard to review on a 1-10 scale… so I’m just going to leave my originally short description: A-kon 29: Terribly Awesome.
Expect an update with cosplay photos this week.