In honor of the complete freedom of summer, my best friend and I decided to con hop between both Animegacon and ALVCC this weekend (June 14-16). Neither of us was able to attend either con on Saturday because she had work and I had my PRAXIS I exam (Grr!!!), so I can only tell you about Friday and Sunday.
This is the second year for Animegacon, which was held at the Las Vegas Hotel last year. My friend and I were really impressed with the quality of the guests considering how new the con was (I got to meet my favorite voice actor, Quinton Flynn). There were a few other headliner guests, such as Vic Mignona, but I missed that panel.
Having attended larger anime conventions, such as Anime Expo in L.A., where you have to wait in line sometimes up to two hours just to be seated for a panel with a headliner, it was really refreshing to walk right in. This, in combination with the friendly vendors in the small exhibit hall, is why we decided to revisit them this year.
But there were a few hitches. First of all, their dates were the same as ALVCC. This meant that not as many people (read as hardly anyone) attended. On Friday we were part of a crowd of maybe 70 people. On Sunday, we were members of a proud 40. This made the vendors less friendly, some seemed even downright grumpy and/or desperate. They paid all that money for artist/vendor tables at an abandoned con.
Secondly, they were at the Riviera, which is nice and all, but unlike their set up last year wherein you passed all the panel rooms on your way to the exhibit hall, and each panel room had its own whiteboard listing the panel schedule, at the Riviera I don't think I saw the panel rooms. There were umpteen ballrooms being used for other things unrelated to the con, and there were no whiteboards. This may have had something to do with the hotel or whatnot, but it was not user friendly and discouraged us from trying to hunt them down.
All in all, they didn't have a lot going on, there weren't a lot of people, and they weren't in a great location. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and go next year, but not if they're at the same place and/or they share the dates with ALVCC.
As for ALVCC, I had a lot of fun. There was a much smaller proportion of cosplayers (30% as compared to the 70% at Animegacon), but there was a lot more vendors and a lot more going on. Unfortunately I missed Jim Lee and Stan Lee, and let me tell you I came awfully close to blowing off my exam to see them. But I DID meet Steven Gordon, an animator that did the story boarding for the films Anastasia and the Swan Princess, and also the series X-Men Evolution. This was an unexpected bonus that made me absolutely giddy. Not Jim Lee signing my 1993 X-Men trading cards giddy, but close.
Anyway, the vendors and attendees seemed a lot friendlier, their prices seemed more reasonable, and size wise the exhibit hall was about half the size of Anime Expo. Which is saying something.
The final score is thus:
I will attend both conventions next year, ALVCC regardless of date and guests, Animegacon however is on probation. Best of luck to them both. Lets see how they weigh in next year. *ding ding!*