The first thoughts
This was my first time ever at Kumoricon and there were many things that gave me a nice surprise about the convention. First of all, I must say, the Kumoricon staff has been the best con-staff I’ve ever come across! Well, I actually only have 3 different cons to compare: AE, S-con, AX. If we consider the HK game show event that I went to, it’ll be 4. But I feel the style and setup is really different so I’ll just leave it out of the count! =D
So, first off, our transportation down was first by a charter bus then by TRAIN! Yes, my group decided it’ll be very cool to go by train (and also cheaper!), so we ended up taking the Amtrak route. It was very comfortable, albeit a bit long… but that’s travelling! When we arrived at Vancouver, Washington, the convention area was really close so we all decided to walk towards our hotel. It actually did not take us really long which was a nice surprise indeed.
The first staff encounter
I went down to Kumoricon as an AE (Anime Evolution) representative to help man a table for our local convention. But when me and my fellow helpers arrive to the convention we were not able to receive our badge since they were not ready (I think they had some problems with badge printing?). But although that happened, I was redirected to people that could help me and answer my questions which helped me be not as anxious about not having our booth table. There was this one particular staffer that helped us all the way through. He was especially patient and helpful and did everything he could to help us. Me and my helpers were extremely appreciative of this gesture. After we were redirected to the Dealers’ Room, we were faced with another problem: our booth was mislabeled as Anime Expo, instead of Anime Evolution because there was misinterpretation of ‘AE’ being ‘Anime Expo’. But the DR staff were very nice, and gave us backups and helped us through the problem. In the end we drew out our sign because they couldn’t print us a new sign due to problems about the print shop not opening and such. But it was alright, we are a very flexible bunch!
The most where we hung out at were the Karaoke room! It was surprisingly very fun! I never thought that it would provide me with so much fun times. The Karaoke room was a small little quaint room and very comfy with couches at the back. At the front and middle of the room were tables and chairs so the setup was basically like a lounge. One of the karaoke staff especially was really awesome and nice! He came up to us one time and complimented my friends and I when we went up to sing because we energized the crowd, even though our singing is so-so~ (笑) I felt bad for him when he told us that he had to sit through almost 20 times of Haruhi and Eyes on Me, each day. The other place that we visited quite often was the gaming room. I really enjoyed the spacious area that the con has used for the gaming room, and also the vast choices in different consoles to choose from (Wii, DDR machines, PS2(?), and so on). The security was also quite well done I find. I enjoyed the coat check that they implemented near the entrance. Sometimes it was a bit of a hassle to check in your belongings if you’re only walking through the room. But when you’re staying in there for quite some time, it’s definitely a good idea. Also the method of giving your ID for safekeeping while you check out a game to play is also not a bad idea I find. It definitely ensures that you don’t run off with any games or equipment since you will want to take your ID back. Although to be honest, I did feel a bit uneasy at first but I quickly got over it.
The bad part (for me at least)
The only real thing that I can complain was that I find the convention to close down a bit too early. Basically, the entire convention shut down at 2am even though me and my friends were still wide awake, wanting to either keep singing karaoke or keeping gaming on in the gaming room. But perhaps there just wasn’t enough staffers to man the stations, or not wanting to do a late late night staffing position. Which I totally understand considering I also do staffing jobs at AE. It was just a tiny disappointment since me and my friends were left with nothing to do besides watching videos, and we didn’t want to (actually I’m not quite sure if the video rooms were still open..?)
The final word
So, all in all, I really did like being at Kumoricon. It was a very enjoyable convention. I had a lot of fun with my friends, and it was totally worth our trip down from Canadaland! Needless to say, we’re already planning a trip down this year (2008) as well!