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.