Otakon 2012: AWESOME
Otakon 2012 was absolutely awesome. A complete success on every possible level. Maybe it was because Connecticon sort of let me down so much, but I had essentially no problems with Otakon this year. When the main thing that bothers me at a con is that the police wouldn't allow any hobo's to sing about ice cold water (which is in fact only one dollar) then someone definitely did something right.
So after the complete debacle that was the Connecticon dealers room and artist alley, I was of course on cloud nine upon being set loose in the ones at Otakon. The artist alley was just the right size, filled to the brim with all sorts of amazing geek crossover art involving super heroes and incredible anime pin ups (one with Courage the Cowardly Dog which I regret not snagging) but it was fantastic. The same rings true for the dealers room. Every year Otakon has the best of both of these around and everyone can relate when I say its like letting loose a bunch of kids in a GIGANTIC candy store.
The panels were fantastic as well (Little Kuriboh was absolutely hilarious) and I felt they did a great job getting fun and interesting guests to fill them with. I can't even remember the last time I laughed so hard as I did in the abridged series panel, it was a great time. As for the lines getting in, yeah they were pretty long but they definitely accommodated well enough by looping people around the walls within the convention center (unlike some conventions that throw us out in the blistering heat... You know which con you are).
The rave was also in fact, a blast. Always a good size dance and room enough for everyone inside at Otakon. Music was great with a perfect place for everyone to stop dancing, go upstairs and talk to people by that big boat. Both nights where a great time.
There is really nothing bad I have to say about Otakon 2012. It was simply a blast. If you live in the area I would definitely recommend going to it and even if you do not live in the area (which I do not) it is always worth making the trip down. I would have to say that this is going to be the first convention that I am happily going to give a five out of five. Way to go Otakon, keep it up!
Photo Credit to John Riley
ConnectiCon 2012: Nonexistent Dealers Room
Oh Connecticon, what fond memories we all have of you. It's where part of Blitz cosplay met, if not under unusual circumstances, but never the less. It is usually one of my most favorite conventions in the area. Alas how this year has failed me though. Do not get me wrong, good times were had, however, there was just so much at Connecticon 2012 that just really rubbed me the wrong way.
For starters, and I am certain I'm not the only one who felt this way, what was up with all of the lines, for everything, being outside in the blistering heat? I mean, it was one thing when they moved the registration line out onto the stairs, it sucked and I was aggravated by it, but whatever, these things happen. It was when they kept doing it the whole con that really ticked me off. Even for the masquerade everyone again had to wait outside. When I saw that horrible “line starts here” sign, AGAIN, I almost lost it. Thank god I was only cosplaying Riku. Our poor friend Megan though was doing the Mystical Elf, our first time attempting so much body paint on one of us. Needless to say, we were nervous about the heat. Then we got stuck out there for three hours just waiting to register. Thankfully we got the good stuff and her makeup held together fine. I'm just shocked that no one passed out or anything just waiting to get into the convention. Step up the planning here Connecticon.
My next two problems with the con can really be summed up together. That dealers room was the saddest excuse for a dealers room I have ever seen, and the artist alley might as well have been non-existent. Anyone who knows me, or will come to find out from reading these reviews, knows that my favorite part of every convention is the dealers room and the artist alley and both at Connecticon 2012 fell hopelessly short. I managed to snag a Silence t-shirt, a Doctor Who bookmark and a Sherlock one too, but that was all that they really had for me to pick up. This is really what hurts my rating for this particular convention, it was just so egregiously disappointing.
Having said all of that, the rave was awesome! There is just something about the Connecticon rave that I always seem to love and this one was no different, it was an absolute blast. Here is what it is with the Connecticon rave, me being not that big of a dancer, I love the little outdoor gathering that seems to form every year between the two buildings. Its great, because you can go inside, dance until you get sick of it, come out to the stairs, talk to your friends and meet new people. This is definitely a venue thing rather than anything the people running the con are doing, never the less, it makes the rave that much more enjoyable every year and I absolutely love it.
On top of that we also managed to make it to the Team Four Star panel and I have to say that was probably the most fun I have ever had in one of those. The guys were up there, doing the voices, answering questions in character and it was just hilarious. On top of that, I got to see the Nostalgia Critic in the aforementioned “dealers room” which was also totally awesome considering I have been watching him for years and have never been at a con that he was at. So all and all it can definitely be said that Connecticon 2012 at least did a good job getting awesome guests.
Thus, what was good at the con was absolutely awesome, but what was bad about the con was really bad and filled me with rage. What it all ends up boiling down to, though, is a lukewarm convention for Connecticon 2012. I had fun and if you live in the area and you have never gone I would still say to check out Connecticon because normally it is better then this. The good parts that have been spoken of are always good and the bad parts usually do not end up happening like this. One can only hope that they get some input and fix up that dealers room and artist alley.
AnimeNEXT 2012: Too Hot and Too Small
Alright, off the bat, this is not necessarily a negative review of AnimeNEXT, regardless of what the title may lead you to believe. It was a decent convention; however, there are two glaring faults with this con. At first sight AnimeNEXT seemed fine, like any other convention of its size, but upon further inspection, it did not take a brain surgeon to see that the venue was far too small for what was to come. Blitz cosplay and I were at this con last year, and, although it was also hot that year, it never seemed like the location could not handle all of the people. This year was a different story. All the signs about this not being an exit and the staff forcing people out of that one particular hallway unless they were in line for a panel, came off as sort of ridiculous. I mean, I get why they did it, but it’s just a sign that the convention center we were in was obviously too small for all the people that had shown up this year. To be quite honest, I kind of hope AnimeNEXT changes venues for next year in order to accommodate for all the extra people.
The next problem with the con, and this is not the weathers fault, is that it was just WAY to hot in those buildings. Day one of the convention was absolutely absurd, I mean, it must have been at least 85 degrees in those buildings. In fact, and I did not hear anything about this but, I am pretty sure that someone must have passed out in the building or the dealer's room because come day two they had finally turned on the air conditioning. Again, this was really just more poor set up and another reason I hope AnimeNEXT is moved for next year.
Okay, so enough with the complaining, onto the positives. I do really like the AnimeNEXT artist alley and dealer's rooms respectably. Each one is always of substantial size, never once giving off a sense of being too big or too small. I myself was able to pick up some nice Doctor Who posters from each (the main thing I set out for in each room) so as far as this was concerned I was thoroughly satisfied.
The late night stuff was a blast as well. I for one very much enjoyed attending the burlesque show on Friday, cheering and shouting out to the girls on stage is always a favorite pass time of mine, if I do say so myself. As for the rave on Saturday, again, it gave off a nice happy medium of not too big and not too small. The music was good and it all turned out to be a good time. The middle area between buildings is a plus come the rave when the weather is nice, which it was, for hanging out with friends and meeting new people so that always just sort of ups the grade for the rave.
The panels themselves, however, were sort of so-so. I rarely make it to more than a couple myself and the ones I actually ended up going into I found rather dull and boring. If watching anime at panels is your cup of tea, I'm sure there was plenty to be found here, this just is not exactly what I go to cons for.
So when all is said and done, I should think the main theme here is decent. The dealer’s room and artist alley, decent. The rave and burlesque show, probably just above decent actually. However, the bad of the venue being too small and them not cooling the place nearly well enough, sort of was a big hindrance for me. I would say if you are in the area of AnimeNEXT, then it is definitely worth checking out and a good time. However, if you are like Blitz cosplay and have to drive five or so hours to get there, you might want to rethink going. Having said that, there is a good chance we may be returning, so take that with a grain of salt. I give this con a decent three out of five stars.