Well it's been a long time coming but I am now fully done with all of the conventions that I had announced early last May. It was a good selection of conventions overall and I enjoyed my times at them, so I might as well post some verdicts:
- Castle Point Anime Convention took place under extremely wet weather and at a new location after 10 years of being at a college campus, which kinda ruined the excitement of entering the convention (but the original location had a lot of waiting and having to navigate outside to go into all the different buildings so it was a better decision overall to relocate it to a convention center). The weather cleared up in the evening as it was getting dark, so it was a relief that I didn't have to endure the poor weather more than once. The con's interior and layout was all in one room, with the different sections divided using black curtain walls. Meanwhile, the artist's alley/dealer's room was decently large but overall felt smaller than CPAC 2017 by virtue of being in a more open space. And of course there was the game room, which was located opposite of the artist's alley/dealer's room and had a selection of Japanese arcade games (mostly rhythm-based ones) as well as Pokémon Battle Spot Singles matches being broadcast live on TV. I stayed for about seven hours before I left to go attend a small party my friend David was having in a nearby hotel, before driving home. It didn't have the same overall spirit of CPAC2017, but I had a good time regardless.
- EMCon and CPAC2018 took place on the same weekend, which was tiring as hack, but thankfully the drive there was not a science project like with CPAC and the clouds had cleared away, presenting sunshine for the entire duration of the con. Since I was all worn out after CPAC just the day before, my ability to walk took a hit and I could barely keep standing throughout the convention. Plus I ended up at the con an hour early, so I had to stall in the the car until guests were allowed in. I did run into some friends selling at the different booths, but overall the artist's alley felt much weaker than 2017's EMCon buy virtue of only having about three to four actual artists (the rest were just dealers selling off different things). Plus, the special guest voice actor that was set to appear was only present on the first day of the con while I was at CPAC, which meant unlike last year I had to go without being able to meet a celebrity (not a big loss, but it's kinda a bummer). As for the final verdict, EMCon 2018 was OK, but it feels like more could be done to improve for 2019. And with it's small attendee number, I did not snap any cosplay photos.
- AnimeNEXT 2018 last week was a blast, even though there were some new decisions made to this year that came off as strange to me- though they were done with good intentions. The artist's alley was massive and had a great ordeal of artists to check out, including several that I'm good friends with. It also was filled with cosplayers, resulting in what may be my biggest collection of cosplay photos yet. What struck me as odd was how the artist's alley and game room were located right across from one another, and you had to leave through the game room if you wanted to return back to the main hall (previously, there was an entrance and an exit from the artist's alley/dealer's room into the hallway and the game room was located elsewhere in the convention center, up two flights of stairs no less), so that was a bit strange. It was fun and all, for sure, and it was good to get to another major convention not long after CPAC. I will say though that the "cosplay wrestling" was dumb as heck and I couldn't watch it for more than ten seconds without cringing. At least the ride home was entertaining thanks to the sun setting in the distance- it felt very conclusive to an otherwise long and event-filled day.
- Eternal Con 2018 felt like a less intense CPAC2018. Like EMCon, it was not focused on anime and I went (as usual) for the artists. This year I didn't get any fanart prints, just commissions, comics, and in one case a print of an original character. The artist's alley was laid out much differently, with only four isles, two of which were only one-sided, which made the alley feel much smaller than Eternal Con 2017. I did run into two of my friends selling art there after seeing them both individually at CPAC and EMCon, so that made it worth the visit, plus I met some more artists (and for the first time, got a commission of a WARMAN character instead of an Aozora's Adventure character) and unlike last year, got a decent number of cosplay photos instead of skipping it entirely (only about 30 photos total, again I'm not much of a comics person, though off course I couldn't resist snapping the three people cosplaying as Scott Pilgrim characters. Another huge plus for this year's Eternal Con was that the Wi-Fi inside the convention actually worked, so I was able to post updates onto Twitter and Instagram as I interacted with the various artists. I left about five hours into the convention; thankfully it wasn't pouring outside this year so I could leave without having to try and keep all my goodies safe and dry. It was a good con overall, but AnimeNEXT 2018 felt much more epic, by virtue of being larger and out-of-state.
There's one more con that I'm planning to attend soon this month, and it'll be another Long Island-based con, so I won't be announcing it since (aside from the Long Island Retro Gaming Expo), conventions from Long Island don't have that many attendees. As for cons in the second half of the year, the ones I'm interested in and definitely plan on attending aren't 100% set yet. There's also Otakon, but to get there would take me five hours of non-stop driving- even more than AnimeNEXT, so until I'm fully comfortable with spending the evening in a hotel and have both lots of money, an improved sleep cycle, and a well-powered laptop to check up on all my sites and such when I'm out as my phone isn't enough for that kind of job, that convention is a no-go. My goals are to attend aside from the aforementioned Long Island Retro Gaming Expo the following cons: New York Comic Con 2018, DerpyCon 2018, and AnimeNEXT 2018 before the year ends and I spend several more months convention-less until the next May.
If anything comes up, you guys will be the first to know. With that said, till next time.