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Japan Expo 2nd Impact


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Cutiebunny



Joined: 18 Apr 2010
Posts: 444

PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2014 11:52 am Reply with quote
It was a better event, overall, than last year, but the bar was set pretty low last year, so it didn't take much to really "improve" the event. I did have quite a few complaints, though, especially the French staff's insistence that premium attendees only receive one autograph per guest per con, especially when the US staff announced on Friday that it would be one autograph per day. Frankly, there's no point for anyone to shell out the $120 to $200 price for those badges if they're going to be locked out of autographs for the rest of the con. While I can appreciate that the con wants to give everyone a shot at an autograph, to hold premium members to those rules when you're asking them to pay 3-4x the price of a regular three day attendee ticket is preposterous especially considering the attendance level. If there is a JX 2015, I'd like premium badge holders to not be held to this stupid autograph rule.

I didn't enjoy the lack of shade. The entire autograph area was uncovered. I also didn't understand why tables where the guests were going to sit were being moved from the shaded areas they were provided into the direct sunlight. I can't imagine that Kanayama requested they put his table in the direct sun for his autograph session on Saturday. Even though there were trees in the vicinity, the lack of shade over the picnic area was horrible. There also was no shade over any of the performance stages for attendees to enjoy. It made it so, if you wanted shade, you either went into the panel rooms or exhibit hall. And all this lack of shade made it so difficult for people to stay the entire day to enjoy the late night performances. I was so exhausted after standing outside for most of Saturday that I physically couldn't keep myself awake through the Yamaoka concert, despite the fact that the sound system was so loud that you could make out the lyrics of the song on the other side of the con.

What also worked against the con is that the location charges $10/day for parking with no in and out privileges. So now, unless you bring your own food and drink, you're stuck at the con all day and paying prices like $3/bottle of water. This probably affected attendance on Sunday more than the earthquake. No one I spoke to was on edge about the earthquake because they were Californian natives who were used to this.

The second year is always the "make or break" year for a con. I'll be interested to see if JX will return in 2015. The con couldn't have been cheap to have organized, so it's anyone's guess if they broke even.
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octopodpie
ANN Associate Editor


Joined: 02 May 2011
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Location: Washington State

PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2014 1:17 pm Reply with quote
I was interested to see if some of the rumors circulating on Twitter were true.

Did they re-enact the Paris Japan Expo rule where you had to pay if you left?
Does anyone know what the breakdown was for badge tiers? I heard there were at least five with different privileges.

How were the food truck options compared to the woeful lack of food options last year?
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Zac
ANN Executive Editor


Joined: 05 Jan 2002
Posts: 6900
Location: Snake Mountain Cocktail Lounge

PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2014 1:27 pm Reply with quote
octopodpie wrote:

Did they re-enact the Paris Japan Expo rule where you had to pay if you left?


This was just for parking and I'm not sure why people thought it was a big deal - at any convention or any parking garage period you aren't going to get in-out privileges unless you're a guest of the hotel and are parked in valet or self-park in the hotel's parking garage. Find me a public parking lot where you pay once and can go in and out as you please on one payment.

Quote:

Does anyone know what the breakdown was for badge tiers? I heard there were at least five with different privileges.


http://www.japan-expo.org/​en/​menu_info/​premium-​tickets_100512.​htm

And then:
http://www.japan-expo.org/​en/​menu_info/​opening-​hours_100507.​htm
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Cutiebunny



Joined: 18 Apr 2010
Posts: 444

PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2014 1:45 pm Reply with quote
octopodpie wrote:
I was interested to see if some of the rumors circulating on Twitter were true.

Did they re-enact the Paris Japan Expo rule where you had to pay if you left?


If you're referring to parking, then yes, if you decided to get food offsite, you had to pay for parking. JX did not charge a fee to the-enter the park. For example, if you went to grab some drinks from your car that was parked in the parking lot, you weren't charged a fee to get back inside.

Edit: The reason why attendees complained about it so much was because parking was free at their last venue, the Santa Clara Convention Center.

Quote:
Does anyone know what the breakdown was for badge tiers? I heard there were at least five with different privileges.


Platinum Badge ($200, limited to 5) - $200

Platinum holders received a goodie bag with a manga cookbook, a shirt (size was Large and you could not exchange for a different size), a special lanyard, a rubber bracelet, an anime DVD (you had no choice in what they gave you) and you could hang out in the VIP/staff lounge which was attached the exhibit hall and offered a crummy selection of soft drinks and chips. Platinum holders could enter the con 20 minutes before regular attendees. They were also given five chances to win autograph lotteries per guest. However, as all platinum attendees showed up Day 1 and got autos that day, they were locked out of autographs for Day 2 and 3.

Gold Badge (limited to 25, although only 24 sold due to one guy being charged for multiples) - $120

Gold attendees received the same goodie bag minus the DVD. Gold attendees did not get access to the lounge. Gold holders could enter the con 15 minutes before regular attendees. They were given three chances to win autographs decided by lottery per guest. Most Gold attendees were locked out of autographs by the first day.

Zen Badge (limited to 150, saw maybe 40 people with it) - $80

Zen attendees did not receive a goodie bag. They received a special lanyard. They were allowed to enter the con 10 minutes before regular attendees. They received one additional chance to win an autograph for those autograph sessions decided by lottery. They, too, were locked out of autos by Saturday.

3 day attendee - $55

No special privileges or anything. You got a badge and a lanyard.

1 day attendee ($25 Friday, $35 Saturday, $25 Sunday)

Same thing with 3 day attendee, except you were here just for the day


Quote:
How were the food truck options compared to the woeful lack of food options last year?


If you liked Japanese food, the options were better but only on the weekend. But if you wanted something else, you were SOL. There were four trucks, one selling Japanese curry, one selling crepes, one selling sushi and donburi and the other selling grilled and fried meats. Someone was also selling shaved ice for $6 each. Prices were high - On Friday, I paid $9.50 for two small sticks of yakitori and one veggie croquette (which was not good) and on Saturday I paid $12 for a small potion of chicken teriyaki with brown rice with a small salad (no dressing, just lettuce and spicy sesame sprinkles) and a can of coconut juice.
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Zero-chan



Joined: 25 Aug 2014
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2014 2:02 pm Reply with quote
octopodpie wrote:
How were the food truck options compared to the woeful lack of food options last year?


One thing that a lot of people didn't seem aware of was that down the street, about 10 minutes walking distance, was an apartment complex/shopping center with more eating options (Quizno's, Chipotle, Italian and burger places, a Whole Foods, etc). I went over there a couple times myself, and guided a few folks there since I'm familiar with the area. I can understand why JX might not highlight that (brings more biz in for the food trucks, which were pretty good IMO!), but... yeah.

If they stay in the same venue next year, I'd want them to bring in some sort of presence from San Mateo's ramen places. Some of these ramen joints are downright legendary in the bay area, and considering the crowds ramen brought in for JPOP Summit, I think it'd be a blessing to the show.
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Asrialys



Joined: 12 Dec 2006
Posts: 849

PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2014 2:45 pm Reply with quote
Almost didn't go this year, since the only reason I would have gone was for Gen Urobuchi, and I had other sudden plans for the weekend. But I was one of the Sudoku contest winners and ended up going Friday. While it seems Saturday and Sunday were better-attended, the attendee and vendor presence was certainly different from last year. I think Sega was the only returning industry exhibitor. VIZ had a panel, but no booth. FUNimation, Crunchyroll, and Yen Press went elsewhere. Aniplex only had a panel as well. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to experience much of the festival part, with most of the interesting stuff (and parades!) occurring on Saturday and Sunday. Things seemed sparsely-attended on Friday...

For whatever reason, Kinokuniya, usually the only vendor that sells autograph boards, didn't have any to sell (at least on Friday). At least Japan Expo still provided one.

Anyway, got Urobuchi's autograph on the Japanese booklet for the Madoka Rebellion movie and Shinji Aramaki's on the board Japan Expo provided. Wish I could have thought of something for Aramaki to sketch...
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Dfens



Joined: 08 Feb 2013
Posts: 186

PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2014 2:50 pm Reply with quote
Good thing I decided to skip this Con, it looked lame and the guests and events didn't impress me in the slightest. From the pictures I saw it was the same Con as last year with not much to see or do. Wanted to see the Knights of Sidonia exhibit and all it was some little section of screen shot pics and some posters yeah real draw dropping to make me want to pay to get in.

I don't really see this Con surviving here unless they step it up to the level in France which I don't see them putting up the money to do so. Also add to the fact they don't have the guests/music acts to draw in large crowds of people willing to pay and travel.

As for the autographs looks like it still pretty messed up with little improvement over last year.

Cutiebunny I know you mostly go to cons for autographs but the guests have limited time to sign stuff they are not their to sign your entire collection, give other people a chance. That's why the one per guest is actually better for everyone. How would you feel if I said ok I have a wad of cash and will pay any price to the Event and only I got autographs and no one else did how would you like that?

Even if I wanted to see the guests they had and get a autograph the premium tickets sold out right away so you were shut out anyways since everyone learned last year without one your shit out of luck. Buddy of mine wanted to get to the Con early to line up until he learned that his only chance was the lottery which I told him he would be wasting his time.
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Asrialys



Joined: 12 Dec 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2014 3:20 pm Reply with quote
Dfens wrote:
Even if I wanted to see the guests they had and get a autograph the premium tickets sold out right away so you were shut out anyways since everyone learned last year without one your shit out of luck. Buddy of mine wanted to get to the Con early to line up until he learned that his only chance was the lottery which I told him he would be wasting his time.

I only had a one-day pass and was able to get the autographs I wanted on Friday, even when one-day and Zen passes weren't being accepted by the scanners in the beginning. Some sessions did fill up quickly, but that was probably due to a difference in available tickets per guest, especially the artists who do sketches. I wonder if Shinji Aramaki actually got through everyone on Friday...

One criticism I have, though, is while Urobuchi's Friday autograph session still had quite a few tickets available, they put the people whose QR codes weren't working aside and gave everyone else their ticket. What if they ran out before the system was fixed? Would they guarantee us a ticket?
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octopodpie
ANN Associate Editor


Joined: 02 May 2011
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2014 5:06 pm Reply with quote
Cutiebunny wrote:

If you're referring to parking, then yes, if you decided to get food offsite, you had to pay for parking. JX did not charge a fee to the-enter the park. For example, if you went to grab some drinks from your car that was parked in the parking lot, you weren't charged a fee to get back inside.


This is good to know. Most of what I saw made it sound like it was an at-the-door re-entry fee, not an issue of parking costs.

I was hoping they'd pull out more than just four food trucks but that's still a great improvement from last year: convention food. The latter of which shut down by six.

Do you think the 5, 10, 15+ minute early entry made any kind of difference in getting into panels or autographs? The autograph system still sounds really convoluted compared to the simple line-up type stuff. Especially if attendance is under 10k.
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dracilcegon



Joined: 30 May 2009
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2014 6:11 pm Reply with quote
I enjoyed it just as I enjoyed last year. Last year was all about Dempagumi.inc (and given how much they've blown up, good luck seeing them outside of Japan again) and I had a seriously awesome karaoke session with some friends (some that I'd just met) as well.

This year, there weren't any major guests that really stood out for me except Urobuchi for his autograph as I didn't want to deal with the mess at AX. Based on my estimates on attendance and the one autograph policy, I decided on the last day to just gamble on prereg instead of an essentially guaranteed autograph with the zen badge. It worked out fine and I got my autograph on Saturday. Also went for an additional Izumi autograph on Sunday for nostalgia's sake.

I wasn't initially interested in most of the music guests though I gave them a fair shake for the most part. I heard Akira Yamaoka was popular, but I had the most fun with A for-Real at both their lives and at the panel. The other musical acts played it pretty straight, but A for-Real was all about the fun, energy, and crowd interactions, which is what I look for in live performances. Just like Yanakiku at J-pop Summit, handing out vegetables to the audience seems to make them happy (we actually brought our own leeks for the Sunday concert). For the most part the premium badge people didn't take advantage of their seats so by Saturday we just started taking over those spots when the it looked like no one was showing up.

The other reason we were there were for our cover group friends who performed on stage on each day, and those were fun as expected.

More tents in general would've been good for the outdoor stages, and the dueling stage setup for both the panel/martial arts and the main/cultural stage were not ideal, especially the former as anyone who attended Urobuchi's panel could attest. The panel itself was a copy of the one at AX so we just left early.

Food-wise, while we did eat at the trucks in the day (Saturday lines were pretty long for all of them), for dinner, we just walked 5 minutes to the nearby restaurants. And if you really wanted to, you could just park a few blocks away as well and not deal with the $10/entry parking fee.

In a way, it's probably better to think of it as more like the J-pop Summit Festival in SF except in a less accessible location and not free + a few con trappings (a sad game room, and slightly better dealers). The two obvious winners for dealers were Sekai Project and the Karakuri puzzle box guys. I spent hours playing with their puzzle boxes and eventually bought two of them, and they'd also sold out of some of them by Sunday.

I'll also say that, as with other cons, how much you get out of a con is dependent on how much you put into it (generally optimistic attitude tends to help). It also definitely helps to make friends with other frequent con-goers. Aside from obviously being able to meet up with old friends, if guests are a shared focus, this can be useful in more ways than one.
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Cutiebunny



Joined: 18 Apr 2010
Posts: 444

PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2014 9:20 pm Reply with quote
Dfens wrote:
Cutiebunny I know you mostly go to cons for autographs but the guests have limited time to sign stuff they are not their to sign your entire collection, give other people a chance. That's why the one per guest is actually better for everyone. How would you feel if I said ok I have a wad of cash and will pay any price to the Event and only I got autographs and no one else did how would you like that?


People throw cash at cons all the time, some of it openly, but a lot of it happens privately. I'm one of them, especially at charity auctions. So, no, it doesn't bother me if you had a wad of cash and were able to buy all the autographs or finagle some deal with the con. While never publicized, under the table deals happen all the time. That's how things work; People who have the most money and connections get the most perks, and those that don't get the remainder. Rarely do "true" fans get anything.

For a con that is selling premium badges and touting the benefit of having additional chances at getting autographs as a selling point, it makes no sense to tell people who shell out the funds for those passes that they're limited to one autograph/guest/con. If anything, the premium pass attendees should be allowed an autograph per guest per day. Every other con that offers multiple tier badges understands this concept. Acting under the assumption that people are paying those fees for a T-shirt and a cookbook is foolish.

The premium pass did allow me to attend one of the master classes, which were limited to 10 attendees. These were just hour long sessions where a guest could do or talk about whatever they wanted for an hour. Kanayama chose to give drawing lessons, while Matsumoto spoke about his illness and Urobuchi about the creative process. The downside to attending these was that you were then prevented from getting an autograph from that guest, even though the guests did not give out autographs at their master class session.
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Vapors



Joined: 27 Jul 2003
Posts: 137
Location: Bay Area

PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2014 10:04 pm Reply with quote
I enjoyed the article and pictures and would like to put down a few thoughts and things I noticed while at this year's Japan Expo. I went with their Gold Premium membership but I only went on Friday and Sunday since I had a prior commitment on Saturday. I generally had a good time and got some memorable moments.

Venue: This year's venue was in San Mateo rather than Santa Clara, which probably meant they could take guests to San Francisco much easier. Plus the 49ers new stadium was across the old venue, and they had a game on that Sunday so traffic would have been terrible. As the writer said the venue looks to be designed for a more festival-type atmosphere with outdoor areas and the ability to accommodate food trucks. On Friday there were three trucks (grilled skewers, general japanese food and crepes) plus a shaved ice stand. No Ramen or sushi though, although google maps tells me a 10-15 minute walk west of the venue would yield several Japanese and non-Japanese options (including a really popular ramen restaurant). There was also a cafeteria on the grounds too, I think they served standard sandwiches and salads and whatnot. Lots of parking since all it is is a sea of asphalt surrounding the event center.

Weather: This year was pretty lucky for weather. I'll echo what others have said and hope they make more efforts to get shading. The main/cultural stage was exposed to the sun as was the autograph area. Granted the temps were around low to mid 70s and there was a light breeze on the days I went, but had there been hotter temps, we would be hearing a lot more bad buzz. Although "bad weather" in this part of California means mid 80s with no humidity, so it's not lethal or anything unless you are fair skinned, old or young.

Vendors: Due to last year's substandard attendance, there was no Funimation, Udon, Yen Press or Crunchyroll this year. Sega was there with Hatsune Miku games, a company called Japanime Games was there with a lot of tabletop and card game demonstrations and Key/Sekai Project was there. Sekai had a really good con it seems as almost all of their items were sold out by Sunday morning. You could pretty much go through the vendors and inspect most everything in a little under an hour. There were a handful of artists in their artists alley. One thing that stood out to me was that there were no vendors selling anime DVDs/Blu-Rays or Manga. Zip. Zero. None. There was a vendor selling music concert DVDs of Jpop/rock but nothing for physical media of the stuff that got most of us into this hobby. I thought that was pretty telling. On the other hand, plenty of figures, wallscrolls, posters and costumes to peruse.

Autographs: This year, they had a policy of one signature per guest for the entire festival. This is probably in response to last year's expo where the main people who would be grabbing sketches and autographs were all the premium ticket holders since they were given early access. This new policy enabled all the premium holders to essentially get their fill of sigs and sketches and be done by Saturday at the latest and then allow pre-reg who paid normal price and even walk up attendees a change to grab autographs and meet the guests. While this does devalue the premium membership, I thought it was good they were giving everyone a chance to get something unlike last year where the odds for a normal walk up attendee was stacked. Also, some guests had short lines, so even if you did get one sig earlier, the staff would allow you to go in to grab another if there was still time and the line was not busy. So that's how I got a sig and sketch from Izumi Matsumoto. They did have some slight computer issues at the beginning on Friday with some computers going down and whatnot and only one printer to handle ticket duties, but I was able to get my sig tickets with no issues in the end. Still not sure why people profess to be confused by their ticketing system.

Panels: As someone noted earlier, panel rooms in some buildings are not soundproof, so there would be times where outside noise would impair your ability to hear what the panelists were saying. Another problem, was that one panel area was in the same place as the martial arts groups and demonstrations. This would be a really big problem when the soft spoken Matsumoto was trying to talk over a yelling sensei and his student training. Biggest crowd I saw was the Draw Battle between Akihiro Kanayama and Felipe Smith which had a pretty packed audience. I also took part in the Masterclass panels being offered for Kanayama, Gen Urobuchi and Matsumoto. They were first come, first served and limited to 10 people. This essentially means that the premium badge holders were the main people to attend these events. I thought this was a pretty unique idea and took awhile some memorable moments during the convention. However, it seems that this was something that wasn't fully formed since nothing concrete was communicated to us attendees, staff and even the guests. Each guest took about 45 minutes to do vastly different things.

- Kanayama led us in a short class on how to draw Kimba the White Lion. No paper and pencil was provided so some of us improvised using the ticket sheets and normal pens. Nothing ground breaking being taught, a very basic how-to-draw class, but having your teacher be a 40+ veteran of animation is a pretty cool experience. No sketches, autographs or photos occured.

- Matsumoto led his time by discussing about the painful medical condition he has been coping with over the years called Spontaneous Cerebrospinal Fluid Leak. He has been battling painful headaches, insomnia, sudden writing that his hand would do and hallucinations. He related how manga characters he was creating would appear before him and say they were going to kill him. He went to get help medically and physically but no one knew what to do until his sister found a newspaper article relating about the condition he would later be diagnosed with. He then told us he was developing a new manga series that would relate his experiences. It would be a reverse Kimagure Orange Road where the main female protagonist would have two men who have feelings for her while she is battling and coping with this condition. He also showed off some rough sketches of said works. Afterwards, we all got to have a picture opportunity with him.

- Urobuchi spent his time discussing how Madoka Magica came to be. Not sure if this was the same stuff he shared on his panel at AX or on the Saturday JX panel, but he should his rough notes that would lay the groundwork for the series. Something that surprised me was how simple his story summary was. There were bullet points describing some of the rules and plot points in the series including the big twists that occured. He next showed his descriptions of each of the five females characters. He kept their points mostly to personality as he said he had no idea what each character would do in the series. Homura apparently had the most detail as she was the character who knew everything in the story. Urobuchi then described how he would then merge the characters into the story and would write how the characters would react. Being a Madoka fan, this was pretty insightful. There was then a give away of some figures of Sonico and light novels written by Urobuchi. Afterwards, he signed some things and took photos.

I really liked the Masterclass panels and thought this was probably the most worthwhile thing to get out of Japan Expo. Price wise, $120 is steep, but I don't think you can get too many opportunities to hang out and learn from two veteran artists and a popular writer that often. Plus I got my things signed, met all the major guests and received some awesome sketches along the way. Shopping was sparse and the cultural panels are neat but are mostly there to kill time. I can't say I would recommend this to a newbie anime fan or someone who is curious about the fandom. I would say go to Fanime or Anime Expo or even some smaller cons (like Sacanime or Kraken Con). But if you are a big sketch person or are an older fan who lives and breathes anime and manga, then maybe going is worthwhile. I hope they come again next year and improve upon some of the issues we've pointed out, cause they have a much better guest list than Fanime and none of the crowding issues like AX.
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Vapors



Joined: 27 Jul 2003
Posts: 137
Location: Bay Area

PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2014 10:15 pm Reply with quote
Cutiebunny wrote:


The premium pass did allow me to attend one of the master classes, which were limited to 10 attendees. These were just hour long sessions where a guest could do or talk about whatever they wanted for an hour. Kanayama chose to give drawing lessons, while Matsumoto spoke about his illness and Urobuchi about the creative process. The downside to attending these was that you were then prevented from getting an autograph from that guest, even though the guests did not give out autographs at their master class session.


Wrote my thing while you must've put up your post. I forgot to mention, but yea they had this policy so I was not allowed to grab a sketch or signature from Kanayama after I signed up for his Masterclass on Friday. However, there was apparently a loophole as even though I got stuff signed by Matsumoto and Urobuchi on Friday, I was still able to sign up on Sunday for each of their Masterclass panel. While Urobuchi did sign afterwards, I do wish they had stuff by Kanayama and Matsumoto signed ahead of time since they wouldn't be such a big deal.
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Fi3o



Joined: 28 Aug 2013
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2014 2:45 am Reply with quote
I also attended last year and in fear of waiting in long lines just to get autograph session tickets, I got the Zen Ticket this year and attended all three days. (◎_◎) I honestly didn't see that many people with Zen other than on Friday in autograph lines. (=__=) Most premium ticket holders I saw were either Platinum and Gold.

Those items they gave out to Platinum and Gold holders have no appeal to me even if I had the chance to get them, so I was happy that they offered 3 tiers this year with the Zen tier getting only perks and no swag that I wouldn't want anyway. Since I was able to get the autographs on Friday, the extra lottery chance was absolutely useless to me... Although it may be useful for someone who couldn't make it on Friday.

Regarding 1 autograph per person, it's great that people who pay normal prices can get a chance. I think they allowed the exhibitors to get autographs too on Sat. & Sun.? (And of course their own staff members *cough* to get at least one?) (¬‿¬) However, I wish they would allow premium ticket holders to get an additional autograph from guests. Like maybe one additional autograph from 3-5 guest for Platinum, 2-3 guests for Gold, 1-2 guests for Zen if they decide to have 3 tiers again. I think they should also have like around 10 reserved seats for the Zen tickets. Although I was able to get pretty front seats for panels, it would be a great perk if this convention gets bigger in the future. Because I kind of feel like the additional $25 only saved me time on Friday so I can get all the autographs in one day and do other stuff Sat & Sun.

I didn't like having to pay for parking and end up spending $30 more. (= __=) that money could have went to get me more merchandise! And yes, I know I could've parked on the streets, but I live in San Jose and don't know the San Mateo area well. I drove around the housing area still under construction close to the Event Center, but they had 2 hour limit signs before 6pm. Agggh!! I wanted the convenience of walking back and forth from the convention to my car several times, so I paid to park... There were a few times that the staff didn't even bother to check tickets... what's up with that (o__o) maybe someone could've sneaked in through the pro/premium/exhibitor gate... LOL

I brought my own lunch/dinner on all 3 days to save money on food, but my food went bad on Sat. so I had to buy food from the food trucks. It's great that they have more food options, but the $8 croquette curry I got was a pretty small portion... I wish I had gotten okonomiyaki instead... it looked pretty big. (╥﹏╥) the kushiyaki food truck was closed at the time... I also noticed that kushiyaki truck was gone on Sunday, anyone know why?

------------------------------
My complaint list:

-The lighting in the Game & Live Programming Room is too dark, even though it's the Event Center's problem, I wish it had better lighting like in the panel room. Many pictures I took in the Game & Live Programming Room were either blurry or dark. Not Good.

-Panel Room area had bad placement just as many others have said. Martial Arts demonstrations ruined many panels. Gen Urobuchi's panel was super packed and I had to struggle to hear that french translator's already hard to understand accent (they really need to get some other translator who can speak more clearly!!! I had the same problem understanding him last year at Yoshiyuki Sadamoto's panel) , and he also had a hard time hearing what Gen Urobuchi was saying too because of the noise... _(´ཀ`」 ∠)

-Autograph area should have been indoors with good lighting. I was standing in the autograph lines literally all Friday and it got really cold at night. They had to bring in lighting after sunset, and those lights prevented my not-so-great digital camera from getting good pictures! Some guests were even wearing shirts (◎_◎) I don't know if they were suffering in the cold too... I had a jacket and I was still cold.

-Autograph ticket line was about just as bumpy as last year... Is their system buggy or something? They had a problem with Zen tickets on Friday when we went in, I didn't know if mine had a problem, but I got mine looked at while waiting in line. They also had to shift lines or computers several times because their computers or software keep dying (=__=) It was also chaotic getting the papers with only one printer. They need to change the setup next year.

-Having an outdoor area is great, but the sunlight is too harsh, and there was toooooo little shade. Japan Expo should explore other event center options in the Bay Area for next year~~~♪♪ Please!

-Not really a complaint, but Hero Hiroka gave me a bad impression... She didn't show up for her signing session on Friday or the Game Show at the Panel Room on Sunday, and those are only the ones I know about.

-----------------------
Positves:

-It's still a small convention, so it's great that I was able to get seats near the front for all the panels I attended Sat & Sun. At the same time, I also feel bad for the guests who didn't have good turnouts... Every panel I went to had low to okay turnout other than Gen Urobuchi's super packed panel.... Oh.. popularity...

-I have followed anime, manga for a long time so seeing older guests like Izumi Matsumoto, Akihiro Kanayama, Shinji Aramaki was great. It's been so long since I have seen those series they worked on. I'm also into video games so seeing Daigo Ikeno, Akira Yamaoka were great too. I hope they can invite more writers in the future, Gen Urobuchi woot! I don't follow music that much because I'm already busy following anime, manga, video games, but I really liked ILU Grace. I hope JX USA can someday bring more famous guests like the french JX (= o =) I'm super jealous they got Hideo Baba, Shinji Mikami, Shigeru Miyamoto, Ryozo Tsujimoto, etc... booo~~

-All those cultural performances are still great, I wish I could've have gotten an ikebana to take home... sigh
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vermilionone



Joined: 21 Feb 2009
Posts: 42

PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2014 5:46 pm Reply with quote
I was really disappointed with the show. It went from a slick, professional con with too few attendees to justify all the stuff they brought out to Fanime 1998. I don't mind the smaller event, but I do mind that it felt like it was run far more poorly.

The only area that seemed to making an effort to be engaging was the Wabi-Sabi cultural exhibition, which was smaller but still spectacular this year. The artists were happy to discuss their creations with people and the staff attending the area knew about the art on display and were effective at creating an interactive space.

On Friday, the martial arts/Panel room was mostly empty and the fact that it smelled like rotting garbage was readily apparent, even the volunteer minding the place was frustrated that she had to spend the whole day in the room. It's hard to understate how abysmal the Gen Urobuchi panel was. The martial artists were so loud that the translator had to ask someone to tell them to quiet down since he couldn't hear the people sitting next to him.

Regarding that translator, I think they need a new guy. I get that he's their premiere French translator and has translated for ALL the big guests as he was quick to point out last year, but this was another year of him mumbling his way through panels and being rude to the audience. As a person who speaks in public regularly, I'd like to add that he should check beforehand to make sure he knew how to run a powerpoint presentation and play a video with the equipment on hand.

The music space was okay on Saturday, but pretty crummy on Friday. There were two stages facing each other across a lawn; they were sufficiently loud enough to interfere with one another during events. On Friday there was a train that passed every twenty minutes or so, at that. The same noise problem cropped up with the Akira Yamaoka concert, as DJ Kage's set was at the same time. Whenever the band went for quieter moments, you could clearly hear the "beep beep beep untz untz untz" from the opposite stage, and I'm sure they were drowned out by the heavy guitar on their side.

Food was crummy, mostly snack items. At one point, there was a 45 minute wait for white rice.

By Sunday, I gave up entirely. I was there for an hour picking up stuff from the dealer's room before it closed, and then left.
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