Even though I’ve attended many conventions, a majority of them were smaller events. Even so the biggest event’s I’ve ever gone to couldn’t compete to the massive size of Anime Expo so this was an experience beyond anything I’ve ever had before. To prepare for this I made sure to splurge and get the premiere pass and I had a week to remember.
As far as guests are concerned the convention’s website had a lot of guests but only a few of them really caught my attention; however, many booths had guests scheduled and some actors decided to pop in and sign autographs. The combination of the guests offered by the con, booths and volunteering made for one of the most impressive guests lists I’ve ever seen in my life. The only minor thing to keep in mind the fact that guests not sponsored by the con are not the easiest to find. The convention does the best they can do to announce everything else but they can only do so much. You will have to use Twitter and Facebook heavily to see who all will be there, but it’s well worth it for the diligent fan.
Panels were an interesting experience and it was at this point where I noticed the advantages for my premier pass and my fiances general admission pass. Normally I buy both of us the same pass but I honestly couldn’t afford two premier badges and after discussing the matter with my fiance we concluded it was best to get one of each instead. The website says to arrive 15 to 30 minutes before a panel; however, in application 45 minutes is a better time to work with. While the badges made it stress free to get into big panels like the Persona 5 panel, which I only waited about 40 minutes for, the only issue with the panels is the fact that the rooms are not cleared from one panel to another. This makes front row seats hard to get because people will camp from the previous panel. Yes you can get in easily with a premier pass; however, because of camping it makes it nearly impossible for someone with a general admission pass to get in to these big events unless they wait about 3 to 4 hours. Those lines were usually done outside, which was 115 degrees this week. I was so happy for my premier pass but I was not happy about the fact that the rooms are not cleared between panels. If you want to go to big events and still have time to shop and do autographs the premier pass is a must for this. As for the panels themselves they were amazing. They had industry panels, voice actor panels, fan panels and anime premiers. There’s so much to do and it’s all amazing. My favorite panel was the Persona 5 one where we got to really know more about the people who produced the show.
Have you ever looked at something and realized how small you were in this world? I’ve done that three times: once looking at space, once at the ocean and last week at the vendors for anime expo. Vendors as far as the eye can see and so many things to offer. I spend money, quite a bit of money. I found some Fire Emblem merchandise for me, a Harry Potter Hogwarts acceptance letter for my fiance, some nice artwork, and more but I could only afford so much and I decided to leave the vendors before I spent too much. The vendors were amazing and so many big companies came to set up booths such as Aniplex, Goodsmile and Funimation. Again the premier pass was handy because I got in an hour early on the first day and got a spot in line for the Goodsmile booth to get a statue for Cordelia in Fire Emblem: Awakening which was $160 at the con but much higher on ebay. The only issue with the vendors was the fact that all of the big name vendors were clustered in the front two rows, which made them very easy to find but also meant you were hit with a huge crowed every time you went in the door so it was an obstacle to overcome every time you wanted to shop. I once again give props for the premier pass.
Anime expo is an incredible experience, it saddens me that I can’t do this every year but it is also expensive to get a $400 to $500 premier badge to go with flights and lodging and it’s clear that if you want to do a lot at this convention the premier pass is the way to go because there are too many people to wait on and several hours of waiting is bad enough, but even worse in 100 plus degree weather in a line that’s outside. I will go to this event again, and I am sure I will love it then too. Even a day later I’m still feeling post con blues. I just can’t do this event every year, which is something I find unfortunate because if I could make this a yearly event I wouldn’t hesitate to do so.