View Full Version : [Convention] Anime St. Louis

03-31-2009, 04:07 PM
Wait, what does that tag mean? Well, I go to a lot of anime conventions, and I review them afterward. This is the first convention I've gone to since I started posting here. If you enjoy it, give the original some viewing love (http://cjblackwing.wordpress.com/2009/03/30/anime-st-louis-report/), it's got images there too.

I know it says on the Convention page that I was planning to be there, but due to some developments, that looked like it was going to crash and burn. Then suddenly everything cleared up on Thursday. So, I literally arranged a convention the morning it started, which I hope to never do again, but thank you so much to those that helped make it happen. Now then, on to the report!

This is a fourth year convention, and the estimated total attendance is around 1900, so itís a pretty good size. The venue for the event is a major step up from last yearís cramped hallway. The hotel rooms were amazing and spacious, and actually had working heat/air so that is definitely a plus. They also served a complimentary hot breakfast every day, which I also much appreciated. The hotel and venue staff were courteous and didnít seem to be too off-put by our presence there. There was a gun show going on at the same time, and as far as I know, there were no incidents between the two of us.

Now for the actual convention. Registration was adequate, but itís still wanting. The preregistration line ran very slowly all weekend, which is unfortunate for those who paid in advance to secure a badge at the convention. Somethingís got to be done to streamline the entire process. Also, badges were color coded for age, but this didnít seem to make any difference because my ID was always checked for 18+ anyway. The ID checking needs to go at one of the ends, because right now itís superfluous. This is not to say that registration was horrible, no, it was a far cry from the train wreck that was Acen and is actually decent compared to a lot of conventions. Itís just a sign of growing pains and staff that still isnít quite experienced enough yet.

Since I donít know many people here, I went panel hopping quite a bit. The ones I went to were highly entertaining, which says a lot because this is the person who only ever goes to events that I assist on. The regular panelists knew their topics well and had a good grasp of audience control and flow. The guests were there to have a good time with the congoers, which is also pretty awesome. I do have a gripe though, and thatís due to a good deal of white space on the schedule. I donít know where the fault came from for this, but hopefully more panels are submitted and/or accepted next year to rectify this.

The Masquerade was ran quite well, it only started about 5 minutes late by my watch, which is significantly better than most other conventions that Iíve been to. Unlike many other conventions Iíve been to, ASTL accomidated those with special needs, going so far as to allow those of us with video cameras in before the event started, which I much appreciated. It was short though; with only 7 skits performing, hopefully more cosplayers will step up to compete next year. However, the skits that were there were overall enjoyable for me. Also, since we had so much time left over at the end, they allowed any cosplayer who wanted to, to get up on the stage for photos, which I also highly approve of.

As for the other signature events. Yet again, St. Louis pulled off the only successful date auction Iíve ever seen, but the economic downturn is showing its strength because the average bidding price was down from last year, I believe. Still, it was all in good fun, and the crowd just ate it up as it usually does. Whose Line, on the other handÖ well Iím critical because itís what I personally work on at other conventions. Itís got good ideas, but it could definitely use some work and a bit of practice to bring everything together and really put on a good show. The rave was bouncing for three hours, I thought the music variety was good, and while some people complained about the volume (obviously they havenít been to other raves), I thought it was quite acceptable.

Finally, the auxiliary areas of the convention. The game room was small but adequate to serve its purpose, but Iíd like to see a bit more variety in there next year. People had a good time hanging around in there though. The Artistís Alley and Dealerís Room were both well stocked with a good variety of merchandise, so thereís another plus. They also had the Sleeping Samurai there with a mock combat area, which is entertaining when you find yourself with downtime: just sit down and watch a few fights.

Overall, I enjoyed myself at this convention and Iím glad I decided to go. Itís still showing signs of growing pains, but itís slowly working itself out and this convention is a big step up from last year. Iíd really like to see a major convention in this area, and I believe itís shaping up nicely.
Convention rating: 8/10