(photo/Animanga, @AnimangaUSA on Twitter)
By: Peggy Sue Wood | @pswediting
Day 2 arrived and left without anyone from our team attending. When I woke up, a tweet made by our account that had been reblogged by @AnimangaUSA on Twitter had received a number of replies that described some of the horrible conditions attendees were experiencing. According to several in attendance, people arriving were suffering in an outdoor line under the heat of the sun. People got sick in said line, and even those inside were not have a stellar time given the length of their wait to get inside.
Instead of going through all that, I went to Casea’s (@coffeewithkrow) birthday party (Happy 28th!) a few hours away from the convention hall. So did my shark purse, which found a new home at her place.
On Day 3, I returned to the convention a little before the 10 AM start time. When the doors opened, people were brought inside and taken to the previously closed off upstairs. Instead of waiting in the sun, the majority had the pleasure of indoor AC until they were allowed down stairs to enjoy the convention hall. As I got there somewhat early (about 8:30 AM), I was able to quickly get into the Exhibit Hall and Artists Alley for last minute purchases of merchandise and art.
[On that note, I’d like to specifically point to @rosariolop83 on Instagram and Tumblr. I bought a copy of her Mihashi from the “Big Wind-Up” at the convention and LOVE IT. She also gave me a post-it where she had hand-drawn Mihashi during the convention that has remained with the print ever since my purchase.]
It wasn’t a well planned revival to in-person conventioning. Even on the final day, a panel schedule hadn’t been released to their main website. Instead, the panel schedules, which were extremely limited, were posted to their Instagram. I didn’t attend any as they didn’t fit our Summer “Notes” theme here at @theanimeview.
Additionally, the map of the convention layout was not entirely accurate regarding what was going on in the Exhibit Hall or elsewhere. Day 2, as mentioned, was a declared a disaster by attendees on Twitter. And a myriad of other issues could be pointed out, such as hiked prices for water inside the convention center, the tightness of rows in artist alley (as well as the moving of artists in the hall), and the extensive lines both inside and outside of the convention.
I reiterate that I do not think the convention was well-planned. Then again, perhaps they kept thinking California would re-close or maybe people backed out last minute. Either way, we can tell that panel schedules were hard to fill based on the lack of a schedule. Moreover pre-order badges didn’t get shipped until late (if at all). They didn’t separate lines by who had badges and who didn’t at the entrance (a usual at bigger conventions). Also, as mentioned, looking at the Exhibit Hall map didn’t give you a prefect layout of what was inside day-to-day.
I can’t say it was all bad. I genuinely had a pretty good time, though I admit that it is probably because I’m used to the lines at AX and often spend the majority of time shopping rather than panel hopping (seriously–the extensive “Notes” are a recent addition to this blog as I usually seek out cosplays and merch at most conventions). If you arrived early, like–at least 2 hours ahead of the doors opening–you were pretty much set up for an easy time.
I arrived at about 8-8:30 on the days that I went and parking was great both days. The line wasn’t too bad, though a little hot given that the sun was out. In the afternoon of both days I was able to look at the car show outside without trouble getting back in. (Of which I took pictures and then lost them all.) Even the Day 3 close-out madness one expects from a convention’s last day was more subdued than other conventions, likely because of security limiting entrances.
(I’d like to note that Security and Staffers did their best to manage, from what I can tell. It also looked like there were trying to accommodate attendees based on Day 2′s heated horror by letting people inside early rather than forcing lines to stay outside and under the direct sunlight.)
I’ll probably go again if the opportunity arises because I had a good time. It wasn’t the most well-planned, but it is also one of the first in-person conventions I’ve been to in close to 2 years so I’m giving them some leeway.
With that said, what do you all think? Did any of you go to Animanga 2021 or another convention recently? What were your thoughts?