My AnimeUSA 2011 Experience (Arlington, VA)
By The Mana Knight 11-21-2011 04:49 PM
I previously posted blogs about Otakon 2010/2011 (Baltimore, MD) and Katsucon 17 (National Harbor, MD). Just before Otakon, I heard about the Baltimore/Washington area having a third anime con which happens every November known as AnimeUSA (in Arlington, VA). Since I enjoy Otakon and Katsucon so much, I decided to attend.
AnimeUSA was known to have 3000-4000 people in previous years, compared to 32000 at Otakon 2011 and 7200 at Katsucon 17. So I knew right from the beginning it was going to be a much smaller con. It was held at the Hyatt Regency in Arlington, VA (not far from the Pentagon). Otakon and Katsucon were held at that same hotel years ago.
I decided to drive to the con instead of taking the DC Metro. Drive was around 1 hour from where I live. The directions told me to go partially through DC where I ended up getting lost. Eventually I found my way there. When I was about to find a place to park, I saw a place across the street from the hotel saying public parking available. I pulled right into it since it was nearby the hotel and I wouldn't have to spend much time searching. Just as I pulled up to the window, I was asked if I was a government employee. They told me they had to check out my car, and even asked me to open my trunk. I was like WTF, are they suspecting me?? Once I parked and went inside a building, I had to go through a metal detector and have my Kingdom Hearts messenger bag scanned (like at an airport). Come to find out, where I parked was the Environmental Protection Agency government building, which required people/car to be checked. I ended up moving my car later on in the night.
When I got inside (this was Friday last week), I picked up my badge (had to wait a bit in line for it, only 3 people handing out badges for per-registered. Weird because the line for people who per-registered was WAY longer than than for those who didn't register. Right away I put ManaKnight on my badge, lol. After getting my badge, I stormed down to the dealers room since it opened up. In less than an hour, I already dropped $100 on merchandise. I told myself not to spend over $300 on stuff. Saw a bunch of cool stuff in the Dealers Room. While there were only 50 dealers, I felt the selection of them was really good (although there was only one gaming dealer there). Dealers room was crowded since tables were only 15 feet apart on opposite sides (everyone was told to walk in one direction). After the dealers room, I met up with GenDV138 on CAG at the SNK/Arc Systems/Capcom fan panel. Learned some interesting things from that panel. Afterwards I just went to Artist Alley (saw some cool stuff there), took some cosplay pictures, went to the Art Auction, and so on. The fanboy glassware dealer was cool and a bit different (oh course I picked up Kingdom Hearts pint size glasses).
Saturday I tried to go to the con as early as possible, but ended up arriving at 10am. I cosplayed as Renton Thurston from Eureka Seven. I had a bunch of people say nice costume to me, instantly recognizing who I was. Right when I got in the Dealers Room, one person got excited since I was the only Renton Thurston he ever saw at AnimeUSA, so he wanted a picture with me. The Eureka Seven fans were excited to see me you could say. Unfortunately my Ref board wasn't ready for the event. My day just consisted of dealers room, artist alley, meeting up with friends (GenDV138 and FlamingMoogles on CAG, along with Twitter friends), walking around with my costume, going to panels (went to Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood one discussing race/politics in the anime). I stayed for quite a while that day. Purchased more stuff in the Dealers room.
These were some of the pics I took:
And more photos here:
pass = cagtmk (or tmkcag, can't remember)
Overall, I did enjoy myself at the con. I didn't like it as much as Otakon or Katsucon this year. I felt the Dealers Room was good, Artist Alley was decent, location of the con wasn't bad (because parking on weekends was cheap, $6). I felt it had the best food variety (places near Otakon and Katsucon are VERY expensive) and pricing. It did feel like the staff organizing it were more personal. Being a smaller con, it was sort of nice being the only one cosplaying as Renton, compared to several others doing the same at Otakon. Despite what I liked, the con funk there was really bad (the hotel being small and all, people were packed together. Video Gaming room was beyond terrible for funk). I felt the panels were setup to be way too long (1 1/2 to 3 hours, compared to most cons limiting to 1 hour). There really wasn't much variety in panels either (and too many open gaps between them). My biggest gripe if anything was the hotel itself. It was very small with limited seating in panels (chairs were old too), and going up to the third floor via elevator was flat out annoying (you could be waiting 10 minutes and one of the 6 elevators still hasn't arrived). The con was also a bit pricey for the weekend, but everything in the DC area is expensive. I wish there would have been some industry panels (NekoCon which is smaller even had Bandai and Sentai there). Oh yeah, I cannot believe there were tons of kids in the video gaming room (under 12) playing Gears of War/Halo w/ no parent in sight.
I definitely do plan to go again to the con in 2012. It is moving to a new location in DC I heard, so there will be more room for the crowd. 5100 people attending was pretty good (if the numbers I heard were correct). I only went two days because of the lengthy drive. Being in DC, I might go all three since the Metro isn't that far of a drive.
Oh yeah, as for what I bought (some of it...will post more in pick-up blog):
artwork and posters
Deskmats, poster, pencil board, and mouse pad
I only spent $350 in the Dealers Room, so that's an improvement compared to $400+ at Katsucon and $870+ at Otakon.
My next con will be Katsucon 18 in Feb. 2012. Looking to have my Ref board ready by then along with another new cosplay (debating what I should dress as).
Oh yeah, there were nerds/geeks all over the convention. It seemed like 80% of the people cosplayed or wore a video game/anime/comic/geeky shirt. Seemed like any type of nerd/geek was there.
|Comments (Total Comments: 5)|
|distgfx - 11-21-2011, 05:23 PM|
|themaster20000 - 11-21-2011, 08:38 PM|
|The Mana Knight - 11-21-2011, 08:57 PM|
|RabbitSuit - 11-21-2011, 09:18 PM|
|eldergamer - 11-22-2011, 01:59 PM|
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