So once again I got ready for a convention that required hours of traveling, but I had really high hopes with the amazing guest list the convention offered. Like my last review, I went to this convention to meet voice actors for an autograph collection and well, I left disappointed.
Artist Alley/ Vendors
Honestly I wasn’t that impressed with the vendors and artist alley. The selection was very limited and repetitive, I saw the same merchandize in several different vendors and if you didn’t want it at the first vendor you don’t want it at the seventh vendor with the exact same item. The artists were really talented but I didn’t find much that really fit what I was looking for, but there was a pretty wide variety. Overall it was a decent selection but nothing that was worth bragging about.
I actually enjoyed a lot of the panels I went to, well the ones that actually started on time. Over half of the panels I tried to go to were either delayed, moved, or started late. If that wasn’t bad enough, some of the panels, like the #CriticalRole Panel, which draws a huge crowd was placed in a tiny room that fits only about 150 to 200 people and over half of the people who tried to get in were turned away. The only reason I managed to get in was via my VIP pass. The roar from the people who couldn’t make the event was quite terrifying and it was a shame since there were bigger rooms available.
The panels were fun, but not a lot of variety. I went to a how to make a villain panel, some Q&As and even a live action #MarioParty event. I honestly had a lot of fun but again because the rooms are small the attendance is limited and therefore you really have to be there early or splurge on a VIP pass in order to really attend anything that is widely popular.
Before I go too far in this I want to say that the guest list had a complication. Three of the guests had to cancel because there was a huge storm in Los Angeles which grounded all flights, now as frustrating as this was the convention cannot be held accountable for this disappointment. As for the guest list as a whole, including who couldn’t make it, it had the best combination of voice actors of any convention I went to. Four members of #CriticalRole, the voice of #OnePunchMan himself and the voice actor for Blue in #Pokemon Origins. There was a wide variety of animes, video games and genres represented.
As I stated earlier, the convention had a lot of problems getting things to operate as schedule. Several panels that had nothing to do with the canceled guests were canceled and several others were postponed. It really got to the point where I told my friend that went with me, “let’s just go to the vendors at least they operate on schedule.” It even had an impact on the autographs as they planned for several sessions to last for two hours but all of a sudden they were cut by an hour because the guests had flights planned during the scheduled autograph session. I’ve never seen a convention that scheduled an autograph and had to cut it short because of scheduling conflicts and if they knew this was the case, why didn’t they re organize the sessions since so many guests had to cancel anyways. If that wasn’t bad enough, the pamphlet that had the list of activities had one schedule, the website had a second one and the doors that listed the day’s events had a third schedule. So to summarize, nothing ran on time, some things were cut short and there was no way to be sure what was going on at the time.
The guest list was amazing, everything else was poor. How can you enjoy a convention when you have no idea when the panels you want to go to will take place, and even if that wasn’t a problem the rooms are so small that many fans left disappointed. The autograph sessions did not run on schedule and there was no communication to let the attendees know there was a scheduling conflict. To be honest I’m shocked this convention lasted 10 years and did this poorly. Luckily the guests they get are amazing and it’ll take nothing less than the absolute best guest list I’ve ever seen to get me to even consider going back to the convention.