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Answerman - How Have Anime Conventions Changed Over Time?


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Akamaru_Inu



Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 56
PostPosted: Wed Jul 17, 2019 1:25 pm Reply with quote
Now if only cons would clamp down on the bootleg merchandise being sold in their dealers' rooms... Like there is SO MUCH. I go to cons to do artist alley boothing with my friends and it's not even worth looking in the non-artist section of the room because it's all bootlegs or stuff you can buy at any other booth in the room. So many damn bootlegs and cheap knockoff merch and few legit sellers with real interesting items.
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Greed1914
It's Over 9000!It's Over 9000!


Joined: 28 Oct 2007
Posts: 3329
PostPosted: Wed Jul 17, 2019 1:31 pm Reply with quote
I'd say that probably the most noticeable changes to my local convention can be traced to the internet. For example, the AMV contest used to draw a crowd comparable to the cosplay masquerade, but now that the videos tend to end up online shortly after, it's now down to just one of the screening rooms. The screening rooms themselves barely draw anyone compared to before since a quick look at the schedule reveals that it amounts to somebody logging into their CR or Funi app, picking a recent show, and pressing play. Honestly, it's hard to see the point of that when most of the attendees could just break out their phones and accomplish the same if they needed to kill some time.

Personally speaking, the internet has also changed how I approach the dealer room. I haven't bought anything at a convention for years because I know I can get it cheaper through an online retailer I trust, especially if it's a disc. The whole "get it while you can" appeal that used to apply to my convention experience just isn't there these days. On the flip side, it seems like the sheer number of conventions out there means the dealers don't feel the pressure to sell while they can. Sunday used to be a time for bargain hunting, but now I'm maybe see a few items with a couple bucks taken off so they don't have to repack them, but the prevailing attitude seems to be that even if they don't sell this weekend, there is always the next.


Last edited by Greed1914 on Wed Jul 17, 2019 2:24 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Lord Geo



Joined: 18 Sep 2005
Posts: 1715
Location: North Brunswick, New Jersey
PostPosted: Wed Jul 17, 2019 1:34 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
Now, DVDs and Blu-rays are only sold in a handful of places, and dealer rooms are filled with apparel, figures and accessories.


And, sadly, that's kind of hurt the appeal of dealer's rooms in anime cons for me. No matter how young or old an anime fan I was or am, swag just doesn't really appeal to me much. Sure, there are exceptions every now & then, but what I go to a dealer's room in an anime con for is, well, anime. Unfortunately, that's not what seems to sell at cons anymore, oddly enough, so today cons tends to have 80% swag, 20% actual anime. As Justin said, though, manga tends to be found all over, though even that's starting to be overtaken by swag, honestly. Hell, even video games aren't as easy to come across at anime cons, with your only exceptions being a notable local retailer, who sadly are likely charging too much in an effort to take advantage of unknowing con-goers.

At the very least, that's resulted in either me saving more money than before, or me simply relying on only a handful of booths... Like the Discotek booth at Otakon.
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Mr. sickVisionz



Joined: 28 Oct 2007
Posts: 2041
PostPosted: Wed Jul 17, 2019 2:10 pm Reply with quote
I've only been to one convention (Anime Weekend Atlanta) but I've been about 10 times or so over 15 years. I can agree with the feeling that not much changes outside of it getting bigger attendance, an ever more diverse demo, more "professional looking", and pricier.

One thing that's my con specific (or maybe not) is the introduction of alcohol. AWA takes place attached to a hotel with a bar. In the past the bar was open, closed at like 11PM or so and that was that. If you were drinking, you bought your own. About two years back I guess the hotel saw so much success with anime themed drinks that they decided to open minibars throughout the hotel lobby and keep them open until like 1 AM or so. Late night has been chaos in a way that 18 year old me would have loved but 36 year old me kinda thinks is commercial suicide and a bad ANN article begging to happen.

I'd be curious if other cons kinda go on this trajectory of being like very kid/teen friendly and then turning more and more adult as they notice more adults are buying tickets.
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ResistNormal



Joined: 06 Dec 2011
Posts: 96
PostPosted: Wed Jul 17, 2019 2:36 pm Reply with quote
I live in the Boston area so the biggest change for me was after the Boston Marathon bombing. The added security theater caused a lot of tension between the con, attendees, and the surrounding business because the lines would stretch into the Prudential Center.

I still hate it, but it's way more manageable now.
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Ouran High School Dropout
Collector ExtraordinaireCollector Extraordinaire


Joined: 28 Jun 2015
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Location: Somewhere in Massachusetts, USA
PostPosted: Wed Jul 17, 2019 2:39 pm Reply with quote
After attending every Anime Boston since its start in 2003, I could have written this article pretty much as Justin did. It's uncanny. Smile

The number of vendors carrying DVD/Blu has gone down in recent years, but there are enough who return year after year to make it worthwhile. And I'll confess, my swag of choice is figurines, and I always manage to swag 2-3 a year.

But one thing Justin didn't mention is the dances, both formal and informal. At AB, the formal dance is also a charity event, and was and is a mainstay. As for the informal, well...let's just say that after one unfortunate incident back in 2012, it was permanently scrapped--and good riddance. No con needs that kind of trouble.
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Ouran High School Dropout
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Location: Somewhere in Massachusetts, USA
PostPosted: Wed Jul 17, 2019 2:40 pm Reply with quote
ResistNormal wrote:
I live in the Boston area so the biggest change for me was after the Boston Marathon bombing. The added security theater caused a lot of tension between the con, attendees, and the surrounding business because the lines would stretch into the Prudential Center.

I still hate it, but it's way more manageable now.

Roger that. It took a couple of years, but they have ironed out the kinks.
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Triltaison



Joined: 03 Jul 2011
Posts: 303
PostPosted: Wed Jul 17, 2019 2:44 pm Reply with quote
Mr. sickVisionz wrote:
I've only been to one convention (Anime Weekend Atlanta) but I've been about 10 times or so over 15 years. I can agree with the feeling that not much changes outside of it getting bigger attendance, an ever more diverse demo, more "professional looking", and pricier.

One thing that's my con specific (or maybe not) is the introduction of alcohol. AWA takes place attached to a hotel with a bar. In the past the bar was open, closed at like 11PM or so and that was that. If you were drinking, you bought your own. About two years back I guess the hotel saw so much success with anime themed drinks that they decided to open minibars throughout the hotel lobby and keep them open until like 1 AM or so. Late night has been chaos in a way that 18 year old me would have loved but 36 year old me kinda thinks is commercial suicide and a bad ANN article begging to happen.

I'd be curious if other cons kinda go on this trajectory of being like very kid/teen friendly and then turning more and more adult as they notice more adults are buying tickets.


AWA is also my regular con, and this will be my 19th straight year this fall. The lounge thing you're describing was actually to counterbalance the rave and ball activities on the opposite end of building. There weren't a lot of late night activities beyond the dances, hentai room, and video rooms, so they made a space to hang out and talk with friends. I'm not a drinker and am usually in one of the viewing rooms or manga library then, but I haven't heard about any issues in the lounge.
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TravellinMatt77



Joined: 26 Dec 2016
Posts: 57
PostPosted: Wed Jul 17, 2019 3:05 pm Reply with quote
I have attended Anime Central off and on since 1999. In my experience, as attendance has grown, the familial feel has drastically decreased. I used to meet new friends at anime conventions, but now I just meet up with old ones, and fewer of those old ones attend the convention anymore (either due to lack of time or--more often--lack of interest). And as Justin pointed out, anime conventions skew younger nowadays, so there aren't as many fans my own age. The convention forums were once a great place to meet new potential friends, but fans have largely abandoned them for Facebook (which, IMHO, doesn't as easily lend itself to sparking up a conversation). It's been disappointing, but I still enjoy guest panels, industry panels, and the occasional concert or anime screening.

In regards to merchandise, I feel that the dealer's hall is still a good place to buy artbooks or photo books from a store like Kinokuniya, since many of those are difficult to find online.
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maximilianjenus



Joined: 29 Apr 2013
Posts: 1860
PostPosted: Wed Jul 17, 2019 3:06 pm Reply with quote
I predate the internet and for me the changes are far bigger.

Before the internet conventions were the only place to get new anime-related material, legal or otherwise. Internet killed the conventions because it made it so anybody could download/share anime related media.
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ResistNormal



Joined: 06 Dec 2011
Posts: 96
PostPosted: Wed Jul 17, 2019 3:11 pm Reply with quote
Ouran High School Dropout wrote:
At AB, the formal dance is also a charity event, and was and is a mainstay. As for the informal, well...let's just say that after one unfortunate incident back in 2012, it was permanently scrapped--and good riddance. No con needs that kind of trouble.


The City outright banned the rave, they tried it at a new location and it went under, The rave wasn't financially anymore.

The one that spiked and finally died down was the random screaming.
The Game, butt scratcher, marco polo ect.
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v1cious



Joined: 31 Dec 2002
Posts: 5920
Location: Houston, TX
PostPosted: Wed Jul 17, 2019 3:35 pm Reply with quote
This seems like a good time to promote Red Bard's video about the Yaoi Paddle. If you wanna know how con culture has changed between now and the early 2000's, this is a good watch Laughing .

Last edited by v1cious on Wed Jul 17, 2019 3:38 pm; edited 2 times in total
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catandmouse



Joined: 02 Mar 2011
Posts: 108
PostPosted: Wed Jul 17, 2019 3:36 pm Reply with quote
The first con I went to was Anime Expo in 2005 and 2006, then I took a 6 year hiatus and didn't return to AX until 2012. Since 2013 I've been attending AX for all 4 days, so I've lived through the line fiasco of 2015 (6 hrs waiting in line), and this past expo, day one it took us 3 hrs to enter.
Anyway, my point it that besides the increase of people, the biggest change I can remember was the ease of obtaning free swag in the olden days. The first AX in 2005 i remember you pretty much just walked to a booth and if they were handing out swag you got some. Nowadays you have to like them/follow them on some kind of social media, or do scavenger hunts to sign up to their newsletters. Swag is not as easy to obtain now.
Other than that, I honestly can't say I've seen much of a difference.
I go to so many different cons now that I've begun to recognize a lot of the vendors.
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Black_Kenshi



Joined: 24 Nov 2013
Posts: 8
PostPosted: Wed Jul 17, 2019 4:00 pm Reply with quote
The first convention I went to was AWA back in 2002, then took a long break until about 2009 when I went to Ohayocon due to going to college out of state and not having friends to go with (I went by myself at AWA, so I was really confused with what was going on). Since that point, I've gone to anime, horror, Steampunk and other types of conventions. While the general format of conventions have remained largely the same, there are a few culture changes I've noticed.

There has been a larger emphasis on providing a welcoming space for people on the LGBT+/GRSM and gender spectrums. It helps that the crowd is generally more accepting of that, but we have been able to express who we are much more freely than we otherwise could be in our home environments.

I've noticed a larger diversity of con goers and cosplayers as well (still not reflected in cosplay photo galleries though). As society has given PoC larger platforms to express ourselves, the races of those that cosplay has really spread over the years. The body positivity movements have also helped people of all shapes, sizes and shades feel more comfortable cosplaying to whatever their comfort level is.
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CorneredAngel



Joined: 17 Jun 2002
Posts: 824
Location: New York, NY
PostPosted: Wed Jul 17, 2019 4:16 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
What changes have you noticed at conventions? Let us know in the forum.


One thing that comes to mind right away for me - though granted, this is looking back at cons from ten or even fifteen years ago now - is how the *open* party scene is not a thing any more. There was a lot to say for actual flyers for room parties scattered around convention centers or taped up in hotels.
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