Anime Expo 2014 has come and gone. After another year, I think I’ve come to the conclusion that this might be my last year at AX unless there are some serious changes. And that doesn’t mean I didn’t have fun at the event, dressing up, meeting people.. and being my nerdy self. But spending most of the days worrying about the hassle of the simplest things left me with such a massive headache that I don’t think I have the heart for it anymore.
LINE CON 2014
There are so many things that make AX still an amazing experience, but the lines were the number one thing that ruined it this year. It was complete bullshit and I think everyone who attended would agree that the lines on each day were ridiculous. I was hearing that con-attendees that went to Day 0 to pick up their tickets had to wait 6+ hours in the hot sun all because of some problem with the printer systems. And even with extending the badge pick ups til midnight that day, it doesn’t mean that Day 1 went any better.
I had to make a ticket purchase on Day 1 and I still had to wait 2 and a half hours. In retrospect, I got the sweeter deal. My friends who had to will-call their tickets waited 4 and a half hours in the sun before they got their hands on them. While I shouldn’t complain for getting in faster, there is no reason why someone who has prepaid for a ticket should wait longer than someone still looking to purchase one.
Honestly, I contemplated leaving almost every minute I waited. But if it wasn’t for my friend visiting from Dubai who was deadset on going, I would have left after the first hour.
I think the biggest thing that bothered me about the lines was that it wasn’t until Day 3 that they decided to add canopies and shelter to them. That was 3 days of people in full costume, dehydrating and baking simultaneously before AX organizers decided it was a great idea to add some shade while they roast for 3 hours to get a stupid piece of paper that says they are ok to go in.
When all else goes wrong, there will always be alcohol. And if things feel still wrong, there is always more alcohol.
I may feel a bit like I’m in high school again when admitting to this, but there’s no shame in my game. My Big Gulp full of Rum & Coke kept me happy through most of the disappointments.
THE GREAT SCHEDULE DISASTER OF 2014
One other major issue I had with AX 2014 was the clusterfuck that they called a schedule. Right off the bat, the con announces that the panel schedule book they handed out was completely wrong and unreliable and that we should download an app. The app was supposed to have the correct times and info in regards to panels, gatherings, etc. But I guess you wouldn’t be surprised if I said that it was all wrong.
On top of the app and book being wrong, the volunteers were even misinforming people and directing them to the wrong places altogether. I missed a couple of panels that I had my heart set on all because I was given the run-around and sprinting from one side of the convention center to the next.
While I can’t blame the staff/volunteers because they are giving out the information they are provided with, I can shake my finger of shame at AX in general. They were responsible for not only having accurate information but giving it to the volunteers. When I pay to go to AX, I expect to be able to plan out my day according to your listed schedules. We understand things change. But, we don’t pay to play some giant game of telephone.
NOW ON WITH THE GOOD!!!
This year definitely set a new bar for what should be expected out of professional cosplayers. Hell, even the ‘Just For Fun’ costumes were mind-blowing. I included a gallery below to our official gallery so you can really see what I’m talking about!
So many people put a ton of hard work and effort into their outfits, and it really paid off. And honestly, with the Line-Con shenanigans and the heat/humidity, these cosplayers truly deserve some serious points for putting up with it all.
GAMES, GAMES, AND MORE GAMES
The folks at Riot had a huge booth at the Exhibit hall, where they had a few of the voice actors there to meet with the fans and hand out some free codes for champion skins. The voice actress that does Lulu’s voice for the game was there and even cosplayed as Lulu for the con. It was pretty amazing!
AKSYS games, the creators of Guilty Gear & Blazblue, also had a panel where they showcased some of their new games coming out and answered questions for the fans. On top of that, they also had a booth in the Exhibit Hall where con goers could try out a demo of the latest Guilty Gear game. I made the line about 4 times through the weekend just so I could play the game more. I am definitely excited for the game to come out because it really makes up for the horrible messes that were GG: Overture and Isuka!
What I really enjoyed at AX was the after hours panels. During the late hours of the night, AX tends to have more adult orientated panels. Two panels that I enjoyed the most were “Doing Voice Overs Through Hentai” on Saturday and “Learning Japanese Through Hentai” on Thursday. Both are run by the same group and both panels had my side splitting from how much I was laughing. I can’t go into too many details since we do have a few PG13’s in our reader base, but just use your imagination and know that this an audience participation panel. I honestly think AX should provide more panels like that and provide them with bigger rooms because a 200 cap room just wasn’t enough. Man, the line of people that wanted to see this was pretty big and I don’t blame them. It was HILARIOUS.
The 21+ lounge was pretty cool. A nice place to relax and check out some up and coming comics. I think this addition to AX was brilliant, as it broadens the AX fanbase into a new demographic. It also gives young comics an opportunity to try out their material and an outlet for them to possibly get their talent recognized. Of course, some of the comics were hit or miss but a lot of them were pretty spot on. Round of applause for them because it takes way more than +25 courage to get up and perform.
In a nutshell, that was Anime Expo/Line-Con/Booze-Con 2014. It definitely had a rocky start, but thank god Booze-Con was there for a speedy recovery.