October 7th-9th, 2011
By MICHI/ AnimeSeed.com
Okay. So. Aki-Con happened and I attended. This was my 4th Aki-Con and to be honest. I wish I hadn’t gone. It was the same weekend that Geek Girl Con at the Seattle Center in Seattle, Washington was being held. But, I went to Aki-Con. I don’t regret the decision. I actually had a lot of fun at the convention. But, I only really went to see a few people that I don’t normally get to see. Bad or good it was the decision that I made.
I attended Aki-Con on Saturday only because of prior commitments and last minute decisions. The convention was held at the same place it was last year, only a month earlier this time. I actually got up to the convention about 11AM and went straight to see my friend Amidoji and Lacey. They finished getting ready and we went down to the convention area.
I got my badge first off. I asked the Pre-Registration people where I would pick up my Press Badge. They told me Registration or to ask Nicole. Well, I managed to find Nicole really quick, as she was coming out of the Registration booth. She told me it was at Pre-Registration. They found my badge, but there was no paperwork to look at, or confirmation that I was really who I said I was and who I said I was with. At least they checked my ID this year. After I got my badge, I finally looked around the convention area.
And oh my god.
Now, my Uncle is a firefighter with the Seattle Fire Department, so I know fire safety. And I swear Aki-Con was a walking fire trap. Their Japanese Temple arches where zip tied to the doors, which would prevent them from closing in an emergency. There where character cut outs that you could stick your face through in the hallways, and the Free Stage in the middle of the first floor. Isn’t the Fire Marshall supposed to come check on events like these?
I guess my inner staff was coming through during the entire time that I was in attendance at Aki-Con. There where a lot of little things that I kept noticing that kept annoying me. The hotel staff for the most part was very rude to many of the attendees. Now, I understand that you have all these underage kids running amok in your hotel. But, this event is bringing you a large amount of money. There where also a lot of kids that where not paying attention to common rules and knowledge.
Several times Amidoji, Lacey and I would get into an elevator and there would just be a kid sitting there. And at least 50% of the time, I would ask them if they where getting off at the next floor. They would tell me what floor and when we got there, I would look at them pointedly. The hotel had a strict rule of only 8 people per elevator and with kids sitting in the elevators; it was hard to get groups up and down to the right floors.
When I went into the Dealer’s Room… I developed a sudden case of claustrophobia. There where so many people shoved into such a small space. It was hard to get around. People where stopping in the middle of the hallways to chat or look at something or take pictures. I don’t believe there was even room to get a wheelchair through the aisles of the Dealer’s Room. I was floored. I did a circuit through the Dealer’s Hall with Amidoji and Lacey and then got the hell out of there.
It was after that we ran into Smidge. And after gathering the Boy, we decided lunch was a good idea. Of course, just as we where finally getting out of the area, we ran into a group of about ten people that I knew and that didn’t know I was going to be at the convention.
The funniest reaction was actually from Shun Hayashi, a photographer (see his work at http://www.silenceral.com) that I’d known for several years. He actually stared at me like I was a ghost. Yes, I am here. Yes I am not in cosplay. Yes, I have a social life Al.
After lunch though… The more that I was in the common convention area; the more I felt the building urge to yell at someone. Or at least yell at a staff member. This is strange for me because I generally keep my cool with staff members of any convention that I attend.
So, Amidoji, Lacey and I retreated to their room for a bit so I could cool down and Amidoji could change back into her Human Luna (Sailor Moon S) costume.
We spent time wandering around the convention, I went off with some friends of mine for a bit just to chill and drink. Mainly so I wouldn’t end up losing my temper at a hapless kid.
After that, I got my stuff, said my goodbyes to my friends and headed off to meet up with other friends.
To be honest, I wasn’t at Aki-Con long enough to get the best opinion of it this year. But, I do admit that I wasn’t happy with what I saw. It seemed disorganized and while there was a higher staff presence this year… It didn’t seem to do too much.
As I’ve said before Aki-Con is a good starter convention and a great place to test run costumes. Though in the same vein, Aki-Con is growing very rapidly and it seems those that make all the decisions do not want to admit that. They keep trying to cram too many people into a too small space. I believe that Aki-Con needs to realize that they’re growing and they need to move to a bigger space, even if it means leaving Bellevue.
Yes, the location and hotel is gorgeous, but it’s too small to suit the needs of the convention as a whole. Far too many people come to the convention and far too many people want to continue coming.
Other than hanging out with my friends and seeing a ton of people (though not too many since I had only eight hours and knew half the convention), I did have fun. I talked a lot, I saw a lot. I just wish that it was better managed and in a better location. But, only time will tell.