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Wai-Con 2009
Sunday Blog Report

by Jon Hayward,
Writing convention reports on a daily basis is hard, we're not like conventions elsewhere with multiple industry panels. Our content here tends towards analysis and sharing information on what the convention was like. And watching cosplayers play with the MC, but I digress.

The convention was opened on time and there was a line up again! However everyone was orderly and soon flooded the convention, hungry for more of that Wai-Con action offered the previous day with the gaming room being a particular target for many attendees. I can't say too much else about the Sunday morning as I will go onto explain.

Ultimately the Sunday of Wai-Con 2009 started off well, I can happily report that 40 people attended the Anime News Network Australia panel and were subjected to the first run of my presentation. I do apologise profusely for subjecting these people to human trials but the feedback I have received will ensure a better and more entertaining presentation in the future. Plus it was great to find out that people are actually interested in what we do here.

Next on the books was the Madman Panel, a pile of awesome announcements and some vague hints made for a interesting panel. I was then on the panel for Anime Blogging and straight into the other panel I was running that day. “Webcomics: Why Anime webcomics suck” had a fantastic attendance, unfortunately I couldn't get a headcount but the crowd I hope was vaguely entertained and the audience was more than happy to get into the spirit of things.

Actually, I'm starting to suspect that's the deal with this year's convention. The attendees were excellent, showing none of the issues that they had the previous year. From what I saw, people were friendly, considerate, no jostling around trader tables, and no drama with camera shots. It was excellent. I was fortunate enough to make my way around the convention for interviews with the cosplay mc, John Robertson. People kept on coming over to see what was going on, chat with him and the sheer amount of fangirls was amazing.

Unfortunately I didn't get to the cosplay, we were covering the fansubbing panel. But I did get time to walk around the convention chatting too many of the stores. Easily over twenty traders including locals Empire Toys, Fantastic Planet, Tokyo Underground and White Dwarf Books. Plenty of artists, one group in particular producing a impressive looking art book and of course Madman Entertainment among others. Most of the traders I talked to were very happy with how the weekend had went and many of the artists had sold out of their stock by the end of Saturday!

On the downside was the selection of the traders hall, it was a Schrödinger's hall, equal parts awesome and not awesome until you observed what was actually for sale. A large range of well priced anime merchandise, great selection of artist sketches and prints and Madman had brought along fifty pre-release copies of “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time”. On the down side was a distinct lack of figures, gachapon and random anime merchandise. There was a few gashapon, but not much in the way of selection. In fact most of the selection of any merchandise leaned towards incredibly popular series like Naruto and Death Note. This could be a sign of people stopping taking risks with importing goods from Japan but it will be interesting to see if this trend continues across Australian conventions.

It must be quickly noted that the convention was very hot, the PCEC was having issues dealing with the large crowd and although the air conditioners were turned up high we still ended up plastered in sweat and almost dehydrated. Keeping enough liquid in the system was a difficult task and did not make for a nice smelling reporter by the end of the convention.

The end of the convention was capped off with the closing ceremony, highlighted by the president paying for the right to dance with the MC while he was wearing a blue ball gown in order to avoid public embarrassment. The auction was the usual, with pocky being auctioned for ungodly amounts, a awesome looking consketch piece getting a very decent price and a amazingly large hamper of donated items from the traders going for $550. Not too shabby. But the real highlight was the attendee numbers. 3190 individuals in total over the entire weekend. Wai-Con was successfully moved to a different time of the year and doubled their numbers. That's the real win here, and thanks to the anime fans of Perth that made it happen.

Ed's Notes: Massive thanks to the other ANN|AU news staffer, Ryan Blackmore (aka deathwombat) and John Robertson for helping me out heaps of the weekend.

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