So after a year hiatus, I found myself back at C2E2 for the same reason I went the first time, Critical Role. My wife really wanted to meet Ashley Johnson because of her involvement in television and she wanted to get a few autographs from the stars of My Hero Academia. While there I figured I would also get some autographs and just have a great time.
It was actually a little easier to walk around the event than last time, but I fear that was due to concerns of the coronavirus in Chicago. I will point out it’s been about two weeks since the event and I’ve not displayed any signs of illness. I only say this because the virus is all over the news and the convention did a great job addressing it with signs and improved cleanliness guidelines. The vendors were all just as amazing as I remembered and found some amazing rarities that I was tempted to take home. I also loved how they had all sorts of awesome things to do around the area such as cosplay photo stages and they had a lounge area for those 21 and older right in the middle of the vendors.
The autograph lines were handled way better this year. In 2018 the lines for Critical Role were so long that they blocked foot traffic and you would have to walk around the entire line just to walk from one side of the building to another. This year they emphasized the online orders for autograph tickets and had a cap for sales, so once the cap was reached if you did not have a receipt for the purchase you would not be allowed in line. This made for short and very manageable lines so my Wife and I got autographs from three members of Critical Role with ease. However, since online sales in the past did not guarantee an autograph I did not take advantage of this early on and missed a chance to get a ticket for Matt Mercer. I wished this information was better conveyed by the con staff early on so that fans could know that if you didn’t get a ticket you wouldn’t get an autograph. It was a good system, but the lack of communication hindered its execution.
The con had a lot of great guests, but I found there was way less variety in the guests than last time. A huge portion of the guest list consisted of wrestlers which are fine but as someone who isn’t a huge fan of wrestling, they didn’t appeal to me. There was still plenty to do but I would want to see more variety next time around.
The panels were so much easier to find this year. Last time I couldn’t find any indication of where they were, but this year there were plenty of signs to help guide the way. The convention really did a great job picking panels and had two members of the Arrow cast do a send off-panel to celebrate their final season. You also had the voice actors who made up the improv group L.A.V.A do a show and had a live session of Critical Role.
Overall this convention had no shortage of things to do from amazing vendors and panels to guests and activities. I do wish in the future they add a little more diversity to the guest roster because, in my opinion, it was way too focused in the wrestling genre, but they had enough guests to make that a minor concern that I really don’t think made an impact to anyone’s experience. Steps were taken to improve lines at autograph sessions which I just loved, but please tell fans the stipulations before you do stuff like this or fans will miss out. Now that I know online sales are important I will for sure pay attention to them next time I go to C2E2.