Every new year we are all excited about going to a anime convention or multiple anime conventions in the brand new year. For many it could start with a small anime convention and for some they rather hit the bigger and better known anime conventions. For me and my staff it's whatever we can go to and this year we start with Sac Anime Winter in Sacramento, California.
We been though a lot of anime conventions and Sac Anime has always been on our list to go to. This past year we had the pleasure of attending to Winter Sac Anime. As we ventured though another anime convention, to our surprise, there were not as many events or ideas for us to attend to. Let’s start with the panels and events. The panels were all great and organized; there were no problems with audio or anybody for that matter disrupting any of the panels. Props to the staff at Sac Anime on maintaining control in each panel. All the guests were gracious, funny, and answered to the best of their abilities without insulting anyone in the audience. I would say the only gripe I have with the panels is the way they set up the lines for it to get in. Given the amount of space and the narrow hallways I guess it’s something you can't really control over, other then making sure there is a lot of space so people can walk by without feeling too claustrophobic.
The Video Game Room
The video game room has expanded over the years to the point of having two rooms now. From what I could see: One room was dedicated to Xbox 360's and PS3's, while the other was PS2 and Wii. Also the added exhibitor, who was selling a wide arrange of video games; from classics to today. There were the usual games in tournaments; you had your Halo 3, Tekken, Super Street Fighter 4, DDR, Super Smash Bros., and classic games on top of weird Japanese games that were there to play. It seemed like there was something for everyone there and with enough chairs to supply people with too. The staffs were very helpful and very organized on the tournaments. On top of making sure no one was breaking any of the game systems they also set up. I say that the video game rooms are a success in what a gamer needs during an anime convention.
The Dealer's Hall
The way everything is set up for Sac Anime in the dealers hall was the same set up it was for the past number of Sac Anime's. Sure, at times it was very crowded and being able to buy something there can be a hassle, sometimes it’s not, but the overall set up of how the vendors were set up was perfectly fine. Pricing for certain items comes at comparing which vendor sells it for cheaper then others. The people selling the product were all very nice, and were all flexible with certain prices. Also the recently added water coolers in the dealers hall for people to have a drink is great and I hope they would spread this around more other then the dealers hall.
The Artist Alley
Located next to the video game rooms and in a small venue. I think the artist alley got the short end of the stick this year. I do like that they are no longer in the way in the hallway of the main anime convention, but at the same time there were some artist selling their work in the corner set up for them in the main convention next to the hotel bar. I am not quite sure where you put the whole artist alley to begin with in the anime convention unless maybe if you use that area where people eat in the hotel for breakfast and have it set up for the artists, but I digress. The artist alley for me felt small and even though there were great art to be sold, I felt like there wasn't enough of artists there to really show their work or selling their products. The whole section felt small to me. Although there were times when it was crowded and there were people buying a lot of stuff from there, I still felt like the artist could have been put in a better place along side the artists in the main convention. I mean it was fun, the people were nice and the art was great on top of cool stuff to buy, but again there has to be a better way to put the artist somewhere where A, they be noticed more and B, people will come to buy and look at their artwork.
I wasn't there on the Friday of the rave, but the general rule for anime conventions is that: Fridays are probably not the best day to go to the rave or anything else because everyone is just getting to the convention or planning to be on the big day when everyone shows up. I went to the Saturday rave and I have to say the amount of space this time around had doubled not only to hold as many people as it did, but a lot more space for people to sit down. I am glad they made this move because previously; the one big room option wasn't enough to contain everyone in one space and the amount of smell of sweat was pretty strong when you entered the rave. My only problem was that there were not enough people dancing but standing around and enjoying the music but just felt awkward the entire time. There were plenty of water stations there to drink from and the glow sticks vendor was there to provide some glow stick to play around with. The music was alright, it sounded good in parts but at times there were just a weird mix of songs that kind of killed the previous beat out of it. This rave took one step forward and two steps back in my opinion.
Main Convention Area
This is where the main attraction is, cosplayers hanging out and taking pictures. Sure there was outside in the back where the gazebo was at, but it was really cold outside and for most part people stayed inside the buildings rather then outside. The amount of people there on Friday and Sunday was not bad at all. The day where the staff really had work on was Saturday, the big day for everyone to come. There was enough space to walk around even when it was very crowded in the hallways, but the staff maintained a good stream of people going in and out. In the hallways leading towards heart of the events, there were lines set up for autographs, some for the panels, and sometimes they crossed one another if another panel was going on. So at times it was hectic to get through and it times it was really chill and no problems at all.
Overall we had a great time at Sac Anime, we had our minor gripes with the convention but we had a great time hanging out with friends and enjoying the place. Sac Anime was our first in hopes of many anime conventions we are going to attend to and 2011 is already shaping up to be like that.
by Anthony Beanes
Edited by Yuleeli