2017 Convention Recap Review

2017 Convention Recap Review

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Katsucon – National Harbour, MD

Katsu is one of those cons you just have to go and experience to really understand what makes this great. Its main strengths are the venue and attendees. The venue is the Gaylord Convention Center and Hotel in National Harbour Maryland just outside of DC. The surrounding area is just beautiful. You are right off the river bordering Virginia with a view of a beautiful coastline including a Ferris wheel and impressive bridge. The scenery outside is fantastic for all sorts of things especially if you are looking to get photos of your cosplay done. Now what’s really special is inside the Gaylord is this 13 story glass dome of sorts. Inside is this mini village and it’s just stunning. The only way to explain it is it feels like a section of a Disney world or something was cut out and put in the place. It’s got little shops, a Starbucks, a gorgeous fountain with light shows at night. Oh and I guess there is this gazebo that shall not be mentioned anymore haha.

This venue has such a diverse set of locations with different themes that no matter what your cosplay is, you will find a setting and/or backdrop that’s just perfect.
With this almost perfect cosplay venue, it brings in several big name cosplayers. And I’m not talking as guests, this is one of the few cons popular cosplayers go to actually just attend. So many pictures and videos get produced here you have definitely already seen stuff from it whether you realize it or not.

I’ve mentioned a lot of cosplay related stuff so far and that’s because Katsucon’s biggest strength is its Cosplay scene. It has a fairly big artist alley and dealers room, and panels and events are decent, but the cosplay people is really what people travel all over the country to see.

I don’t have many complaints about this con. Hotels can be hard to get because of high demand but that’s not the conventions fault. And no bad experiences with the staff or security. Everything seemed very well organized as a whole.

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I would recommend this con if:
-You cosplay
-‎You like seeing Cosplay
-‎You enjoy making new connections
-‎You like to party

I would not recommend this con if:
-You just want to merch/art shopping
-‎You spend most your con times at events/panels
-‎You want to spend a small amount of time and money at a con

 

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Anime Boston – Boston, MA

AB is a classic con to those in the New England area. It always pulls in big numbers, big guests, and hosts some of the best events and panels around. In the past, it’s had some organization issues but we’ve seen some positive changes this year.

The weather this year was snowy and bitter cold for basically the entire weekend, so getting people in the con as quickly as possible was important. And fortunately, AB stepped up to the plate. The longest line I heard of the entire weekend was only 30mins long with the majority of lines being 10mins or less. With the size of this convention and the not so ideal options for entrances, the staff really made the most of it. On top of this, the security team still remains as the best security I’ve seen all year hands down. Fantastic job for really pulling a 180 on the organization of this convention, keep up the good work.

As always the dealer’s room and artist alley were fantastic. You’ve got some of the best artists around coming here and some really big names studios in the there. If you like anime merch this is the place to be. On top of that, the events and panels are fantastic. A very full and diverse schedule, excellent organization and epic main stage setups really make the events here shine.

There is a good cosplay scene here, however, if you like organizing meetups and photoshoots this may not be the best choice. Not many spots for photo shoots or meetups are available and the convention center itself has a slightly confusing layout that makes it hard to find people. Despite all this, you will definitely see a lot of well-known cosplayers from the area.

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I would recommend this con if:
-You love buying merch
-‎You love browsing for art
-‎You enjoy events and/or panels
-‎You prefer one-day con experiences

I would not recommend this con if:
-You are there for just the cosplay
-‎You dislike traffic and confusing directions (both to and inside the con)
-‎Get stressed out by crowds

 

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Connection – Hartford, CT

Is it an anime con? Is it a Comic Con? It’s actually both plus even more. However, if you go to conventions you will know that this is one of the most controversial cons in New England. In the past, they have suffered from poor organization among other issues. This year the people still going were hopeful for some positive changes.

Did they get better? My answer would be, yes? I heard a lot of complaints but in my personal experience, I had no problems whatsoever. Ticket pickup was almost instant, I never had to wait to get inside the con. The staff was super friendly and I had no issues with the security. Honestly, I feel like people were looking for reasons to complain but I couldn’t find any legitimate ones with the exception of one. I’ve heard from several accounts that elevator access was being denied to handicapped people. There are stairs everywhere and it’s very hard to navigate if you are handicapped. This is a serious problem that is hopefully being dealt with.

The location is pretty nice as there’s a lot of glass for natural light, great for photos. There’s also a great surrounding area and even a science museum that’s next door. There is also several great places for meeting groups and for photos or just meeting up in general. Parking was fairly easy and even though you’re in the middle of Hartford you only have to drive off the highway for about 2 minutes.

The DR/AA was pretty standard, they did have a really nice gaming room though I gotta say. The rest of the events are pretty well rounded, with the highlight being their deathmatch. Don’t quote me on this but I believe CTC has the only non-anime exclusive deathmatch at least in New England. The host was super energetic and it was some of the best moments from the con. All in all, I had a great time. If you are worried about the controversial talk, I’d say give it a try before reading too far into that.

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I would recommend this con if:
-You are a cosplayer
-‎You like gaming
-‎You enjoy a wide variety of geek culture
-‎You love deathmatches

I would not recommend this con if:
-You are handicapped
-‎You just go for merch
-‎You are looking for a cheap con

 

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Cosplay And Photography Expo – Nashua, NH

After missing a year in action Nerd Calibur has brought Cosplay And Photography Expo (Otherwise known as C.A.P.E.) back and better than ever! Although a small convention CAPE is like no other small con i have been to because its filled with big name cosplayers and photographers.

while the DR/AA is very small what you really should be spending your time on is the panels. These panels are hosted by very well known people in their respected field. I checked out a foam armor panel hosted by my personal canon Aquaman, Spectra_Cos. I went to a hair styling panel by none other than the queen of wigs Cowbuttcrunchies. and lastly, a photography panel hosted by the extremely talented Athel.jpg and Dave Yang. I seriously learned so much from these and made the whole convention worth my price of admission.

Also, a very noteworthy part of this convention is its pirate ship. Yes, you read that right. There is a pirate ship in this conference center and is open for picture taking. it also has a bar inside of it that plays host to an after-party Saturday night of the con.

Even though its small, its priced very cheap and with these big named panels you really can get more than your money’s worth at this convention. Things like a bigger DD/AA will come in time, right now CAPE is doing a lot of things very well and we look forward to seeing where they go from here.

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I would recommend this con if:
-You like panels
-You appreciate getting to know new people
-You like pirates

I would not recommend this con if:
-You only want to buy merch
-You aren’t interested in cosplay or cosplay photography
-You aren’t good at finding stuff to do

 

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FanExpo Boston (Boston Comic Con) – Boston, MA

Big changes for Boston Comic Con, or should I say Fan Expo Boston. Many however, including myself, will continue to call it Boston Comic Con for probably a few years now out of habit. With a new name and a matching location to PAX East BCC was almost unrecognizable. But was it a good change, or bad one?

Let’s talk about this location. Although this new space is very big BCC used very little of it. in fact, almost the entire convention was put into one of the main halls, including the main stage that was curtained off in the corner. BCC is known for being one of the best places to get merch, and that still holds true. However, the entire convention is very cramped. Meanwhile, you are looking into empty convention halls asking yourself… why? Now we know there are logistics and money as well as other factors involved in this, but the fact is there was simply not enough space for this con. Also, let’s not forget BCC was constantly turning attendees away to their main events, and turning people away who have been waiting an hour plus to see said events. BCC please please please fix this.

Ok, now that we got the ugly out of the way lets talk about the good stuff. as always Boston Comic Con does a great job of pulling in guests and especially Comic related guests. The amount of quality vendors is outstanding. things like organization and planning were all pretty good as well. very smooth operation getting into the con. honestly, all the problems that this con has a very fixable, and we know they have to power to make those changes. if they can this will be better than ever, but as of this year, Boston Comic Con really took a step back in the overall experience.

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I would recommend this con if:

-You love buying/looking at merch
-You like meeting celebs
-You enjoy cosplay/cosplaying

I would not recommend this con if:
-Panels are important to you
-You don’t want to spend a lot of money
-You get stressed out easily

 

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Popcult Anime Con – Framingham, MA

Popcult is a newer con only at its 2nd year. It’s still really small but it does have some promise with a lot of dedicated people behind it. Although small, it’s end goal is to be a mid-sized con similar to a con like Another Anime Con.

When it comes to small cons you really have to approach it with a different mentality, if you’re expecting a similar experience to say Anime Boston, you’re gonna have a bad time. Smaller cons offer different things like connecting with new cosplayers, artist, photographers, and general nerds alike. It’s also a good setup for seeing panels when you would normally be to busy to see them at a bigger con.

The events and panels were very charming, you can’t expect the same level of smoothness of operations however you can tell that there is a lot of heart going into these things and that’s really important. The crowning jewel for popcults events is their musical. This is unique to them and involves a lot of cosplayers from tons of different fandoms. It was very enjoyable and I feel like it should continue to be the set piece for this con especially as it grows

Outside of events and meeting people, to be honest, there isn’t a ton of stuff to do. The AA/DR is pretty small but expected, there are some decent places for photoshoots if you’re smart about it. But for what the con charges you can’t really complain as under the you get what you pay for model holds true here. If you’re in the area and looking for an inexpensive way to spend your weekend I would definitely recommend checking it out. I look forward to see how they grow.

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I would recommend this con if:
-You like meeting new people
-You like supporting organizations with potential
-You enjoy checking out panels and con events

I would not recommend this con if:
-Merch is the only thing you’re looking for
-You live more than 90 minutes away
-You prefer lots of options for entertainment

 

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Colossalcon East – Pocono Mts, PA

Colossalcon now has a younger brother to the east in PA rightfully called Colossalcon East. In its debut year, CCE pulls off quite the turnout as well as overall experience. If you didn’t know already CCE is a water park con held in the biggest indoor water park in the US. You’ll find all your typical con rooms in the connected building for your Dealer’s Room and Artist Alley along with your panel and event rooms. But just being honest that’s not what people are here for.

For a con that’s more focused on the water park side of things as that’s what makes it unique it does a very decent job at providing a good sized DR & AA and events like a costume contest and rave. Across the board all these things were very on par, nothing special but honestly they could have put a lot less effort into this side of the con and people wouldn’t have cared all that much at least in my opinion.

So if you’re wondering, yes, people do Cosplay for the water park. The cosplays are built for water park use mind you, however, some may only be suitable for pools and such and not rides and slides. It’s really neat seeing swimsuit/summer versions of all these characters we know and love. For the most part, there are not canon versions of these characters so a lot of them are original designs which adds a lot of uniqueness to all the cosplays. As a cosplayer myself, my suggestion is to not go big, Do something that’s more practical than anything. The only people taking pictures are professional photographers so you’re not going to be stopped like a normal con. Doing groups in the setting is a great way to maximize the fun and attention you will get as well.

CCE is very different to a normal con, you should approach this as less of a regular convention and more of the best nerd/cosplay meetup ever. You’ll probably find yourself spending a lot of time in the hot tubs just talking with friends, and honestly, it was a really refreshing compared to all the other cons I’ve been to this year. Also, they have a killer arcade where you can actually do photoshoots. Overall it’s actually one of my favorites. I’m definitely looking forward to coming back here for this

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I would recommend this con if:
-You like waterparks
-You love hanging out with friends
-You enjoy being adventurous

I would not recommend this con if:
-You want a typical con experience
-You don’t like or care about waterparks
-You are a Cosplayer that doesn’t want to make waterpark appropriate cosplays.

 

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Another Anime Con – Manchester, NH

AAC is in my opinion, is the perfect mid-sized con. If you don’t know what that is that’s possibly because most conventions either stay small or grow till they become one of the city’s headliner events. The 5-15K attendee range of cons is sparse and it’s a real shame. When done right, you have a well organized and diverse schedule that’s worth your time. You have a great showing of cosplayers. And a Dealer’s Room and Artist Alley that doesn’t take you 5mins to go through or 5 hours. Accomplish all this you’ll have all the stuff you love at a big convention, with a setting that’s more fit for meeting new people and lower stress and costs. AAC does this almost perfectly.

Despite being way up North in Manchester NH I’ve met several people who travel 5+ hours to go to this con. Even with a travel time like that this con is a real bang for your buck. AAC has some really stellar programming and staff and even pulls in some big name guests as well. This can really has all the things you love at a big con, just less of it with sacrificing little quality.

This con also has some really quality cosplays, way more than you would expect from a con this size. The area also as a great outdoor area that’s great for big and small photoshoots as well as meetups. There are also lots of great restaurants within walking distance too. I really don’t have many critical things to say about this convention. I unapologetically love this con.

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I would recommend this con if:
-You love cosplay
-You love meeting and hanging out with friends
-You like events such as Deathmatches and AMV contests

I would not recommend this con if:
-You don’t like Cosplay
-You don’t like going to events

 

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Rhode Island Comic Con – Providence, RI

I’ve been trying to place what I think about this con for a while now, and I think I’ve finally figured it out. RICC is a good con, but not for cosplayers. As a cosplayer myself it took me awhile to realize that most of my issues related to the con would have been resolved or less if I wasn’t cosplaying. Since this convention has moved to the DD & RI Convention Centers they have has several organizational issues. And at this point, it’s getting pretty inexcusable. This year with AB and CTC improving they were hope that RICC would follow, and while some things were better, the other things were somehow even worse.

Looking beyond its organization issues there is a lot that’s great about RICC. What’s most impressive is it’s guests list. Quite possibly the single best gathering of celebrities at a con on the entire east coast. And in New England, no one even comes close to matching what the RICC has to offer. As always they also have a very big and diverse Dealers Room and it’s easy to spend loads of time there. There’s a sky bride that takes you to the mall right from the convention so that’s very convenient. Parking is surprisingly easy although getting inside the con itself in the mornings is not.

Events are also still a problem, also suffering from the problematic organization. The good news? All these things are very fixable, and one day maybe they all will be, but right now RICC has a lot of problems, but there is definitely still reasons to go. Just be prepared for it to be a little stressful.

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I would recommend this con if:
-You love meeting celebs
-You like look at and buying merch
-You live 60 minutes or closer

I would not recommend this con if:
-You like Cosplay or cosplaying
-You like going to events
-‎You don’t like stressful cons

 

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AnimeNYC – New York City, NY

NYC has been trying to get an Anime Con to stick for years and years, And I think they have finally done it. Organized by Crunchyroll and individuals who have run conventions in the Javits center. After going to RICC just a couple weeks before ANYC is the exact opposite being one of the best orginized conventions all year. Oh yeah, it’s also ANYC’s debut year.

Even though they don’t have the numbers to fill the Javits like NYCC does, they definitely got a huge so amount for its first year almost selling out their tickets for all 3 days. Not only was the staff great, but the attendees were great. Everyone was really excited to be here and it was so obvious how many people wanted to have a good anime con in NYC and they were really enjoying themselves

ChrunchyRoll really used its connections by bringing in most of the biggest anime studios with them hosting big booths in the DD as well as producers and voice actors with them. The artist alley at this con was one of the best ones all year as well partly due to the wonderful attitude this con was boasting. There was not a single thing during the weekend that would point to this being a debut con. It was very professional, had lots of entertainment, and most of all was loads of fun.

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I would recommend this con if:
-You love merch and looking at booths
-You like cosplay
-You don’t mind big cities

I would not recommend this con if:
-You don’t like stressful travel
-You don’t like NYC