by Jon Hayward,
Ed's Note: Before you start, if you would like to check out a range of pictures from AVcon, feel free to check out our gallery which for the moment is located here. I am also looking for other galleries and reports so if you would like us to link to them, please Email Me. (jon at animenewsnetwork.com.au)
This year's AVcon decided to throw a interesting problem into the mix this year. You see, after spending until 4am on Saturday night writing the day one report, I ended up getting down to the convention at midday on Sunday. Now this in itself shouldn't have been a problem, but let me list everything I missed.
- Three Episodes of Eureka Seven
- Captain Herlock
- Tales of Phantasia
- AMV Live
- The second Naruto movie
- Sunday Oztaku workshop
Among several gaming competitions, Sunday afternoon had things to do, but it was mostly sumo suit wrestling or cosplay watching or gaming. The anime (Ergo Proxy, Sol Bianca and the second InuYasha movie) was not to my personal taste, and it's much more fun to get around and meet the anime fans attending the convention itself. It was no a major problem, but I would have liked to see a little more in terms of general anime interest on the Sunday. In fact, some more panels or small events would have padded out the afternoon nicely.
This did not deter me. I didn't take any cosplay photos at all on the Saturday, and I wanted to take a closer look at the sheer range of cosplay on offer. I was also surprised because everyone had been saving their best cosplay for the Sunday due to the competition in the afternoon. Several standout costumes included Earth Girl Arjuna, a brilliant Rikku mage battle outfit, and my personal favourite, a complete Destiny Gundam. As for something completely amazing, one “Pirate Pete” was basically a Jack Sparrow cosplay, but he kept in character the entire weekend! But there was something quite odd, and this has only become apparent after the cosplay competition. There was no “doubling up” of cosplay; somehow the majority of people decided to all choose different characters to cosplay. There was two naruto cosplayers, but one of them was playing “time skip” naruto (orange and black) while the other stuck with the naruto we all know in love. In fact, while there was a few naruto cosplayers, they didn't act like narutards and there was no duplicates, plus somehow one young child managed to pull off the best looking Choji and won “best amateur cosplay”. We will have a more detailed report on the cosplay later in the week, so keep your eyes on the site.
The cosplay competition gave me the time to check out a few other places. The second separate anime hall was closed due to a problem with screening the cosplay. The “pulp fiction cinema” was half full with people watching Flames of Recca and Damekko Dobutsu, so nothing much had changed since Saturday. The traders hall was where I spent a larger amount of time. During cosplay the traders are more relaxed because the majority of attendees are watching the competition so it's a better time to see what they have.
I started off with Oztaku, who seem to be trying hard to promote their Tabukon but was not getting anywhere fast. However they do definitely have a good idea with their “Doujin-Con” (pronounced Dodgy Con) occurring on the 29th of July, five dollars for a day full of drawing and writing panels and a couple of anime streams so definitely worth a look. Madman was doing their usual brisk business and they only had the stock on display left, so the weekend was definitely not a waste. Shin Tokyo was the interesting booth, they had approximately a quarter of the space in the hall and had piles of manga, gundams, gashapon, plushies, wallscrolls and more, so they were basically the one stop anime shop. Actually from what I could see the only problem was that they were allowed to sell wall scrolls of reputable origin, but I will chalk that up to AVcon not having a dedicated Vendor's Coordinator this year and thusly not having enough time to correctly handle the vendors.
Pulp fiction, the local comic book store seemed to be enjoying having a larger store than their physical store. And while they usually have good stock, the shelf of Yaoi surprised me the most, but they did have quite a diverse collection of more reputable manga. Oddly enough their final “sale” offer was to exchange “manga for money” or they would start burning books, so high spirits all round.
Unfortunately the “unibar” traders room wasn't as nice, because it was held in the uni pub the room was not well lit, and it was not well signposted either. Apparently the room was not receiving much traffic at all so the traders were also a little bored and / or disappointed. Meatbag Manistore had to be the most interesting stall of the convention, offering stock for sale or buying stock no longer wanted by fans. But also their claim that if something you want is not in stock you will instantly receive a 5% discount if you order it from them. However their stock on the day was very standard and nothing instantly standing out, so definitely worth watching in the future. OzAnimart brought the gundams and one had to resist hard to avoid the plastic addiction. There were three smaller retailers in the room, but they looked extremely bored and didn't have anything memorable. The last major trader was TAmarket, who brought a large selection of keyrings, pendants, gashapon and a large selection of the pricier toy figurines, statues and collectables.
Finally we reached the end of the day, the AVcon auction and the closing ceremony being the only items left to run. The madman cinema held a healthy attendance compared with last year, about ¾ full, however the auction was a slight letdown. The items on offer were not very interesting and the attendees were not interested. This is a shame as AVcon usually has cool things to auction off, and this year did have cardboard ninjas, the rock that rocks and the massive banner which welcomed everyone to the convention. To be honest it looked like the fault could stand with “vice-ninja Slick” who didn't seem to be able to work the crowd, but considering he himself put in several bids on the banner, at least he was trying.
The closing ceremony had to be the hardest event I attended. It felt like it went on for ages, mostly due to last minute complications, but no effort was made to amuse the audience when everything broke down and the convener's attention was required elsewhere. On the other hand, due to the sheer number of volunteers, sponsors and thanks that was required to be covered, it almost makes a two hour closing ceremony and auction seem justifiable. One of the best moments was the conclusion of the “pirate vs ninja” scoring that occurred throughout the convention, with the final scores being separated by just under 50 points (Pirates – 1593, Ninjas – 1623). However this was before the “volunteer” award was given out and the volunteer coordinator deliberately withheld the result until the very last minute. But the final volunteer was a member of the ninja faction, assuring their victory at the convention. Unfortunately the numbers did not get over the 2000 attendees mark, upon which the convener would have had his head shaved, but approximately 1400 people walked through the doors over the entire weekend, so not bad at all.
However, it must be said that the night ended on a good note with a quick montage screened which had some of the highlights for the weekend. Somehow they managed to pack two massive days into a few scant minutes and it couldn't cover the whole lot, but it, much like the convention, was definitely satisfying and left me wanting for more.
Chris' ReportDay Two of AVCon. The weather was the same, and the lines were a little shorter, although that was probably because most of the people already had their passes. Everything was a go for the Sunday.
In terms of traders, everything was almost exactly the same, except for Madman, who had drastically reduced stock. Actually, you could say that everyone had drastically reduced stock. Nothing new on show, though, which was a little disappointing, as you sometimes like to see something new pop up on the second day.
There was a stackload of competitions scheduled, mostly for the videogames. Running the gamut from racing to fighting to first person shooters, there was maniacal fun for all to have, with some VERY awesome prizes to win. One can only hope that next year stands up to this year.
The final event was the closing ceremony, and while various technical issues and fluffing around meant it ran for a VERY long time, it was overall quite enjoyable. The auction was slightly disappointing, as for various reasons the traditional items like the last box of Pocky at the convention went for far less than last year.
Overall, the entire convention was very well run, and in many ways, despite its faults, it surpasses last year's convention. I can only hope that next year is even better, and I'll see you there!