Saturday, October 17, 2015

Impressions of Liberty City Anime Con 2015 Part 2

Please read Part 1 of the review before reading Part 2

I know people were a bit confused about the convention promoting it as a NYC convention when it was in White Plains. It didn’t make sense to me to promote it as such, but it is understandable, since their objective is to eventually have the event in the city. At least the convention organizers picked an area that was opened on the weekend near an open mall with food (unlike Hartford, Connecticut).

When I first walked into the building hosting the event, I saw people checking in. That was when I realized it was the hotel receptionist or front desk and the convention was taking place INSIDE the hotel. It wasn’t a separate building that you had to walk blocks to. It wasn’t connected by a bridge or a walkway. It was the hotel’s meeting and event rooms. Because of that, Liberty City Anime Con Inc. chose the perfect convenience for attendees, who were staying at the hotel. So, that’s a plus in my book.

Moving along, I saw a sign for registration for the con. I was actually impressed to see the sign and another similar sign for Main Events. Why? Because they weren’t the paperboards we used for our science projects, it looked like they were professionally made.

When I asked where to pick up my badge, I was directed by a volunteer or staff member (I could not tell the difference) to a table with laptops lined up and a small printing device. First, let’s talk about the appearance of the volunteers or staff. Basically, all the people helping out with or at the convention had identifiable t-shirts. Thank GOD! I’ve been to physically larger conventions and you can’t tell who’s an attendee and who’s a volunteer. This is not good when trying to find help, which Liberty City made it easy for me. They were readily available to assist me.

During pick up for my pre-order, I was asked for my ID and received a nice keepsake, a plastic badge with a sticker label that had my name printed on it. I was expecting a plastic card holder and a paper print out or wristband. They provided a lanyard and program guide, which I will talk about later, so the badge gets bonus points from me! After receiving my badge, I noticed a monitor that displayed information about the con. I’ve seen these at other conventions that were able to make use of this technology. It was good to see that this con was able to as well. At least it saved them money and space for displaying the physical signs.

Onto the Dealers Room! It was pretty much what I expected, but I didn’t expect to see random empty tables. I’m going to assume all the tables were paid for and maybe it was too early in the morning. The layout was a circle within a circle and there was no space left unused. There was a variety of items available for purchase including a vendor that sold Nendoroids and Gundams. I was very happy to see a booth that sold figures, model kits, blind boxes, etc. of mainstream series. I feel such a vendor is essential to a dealers room because you want to be able to cater towards the fans of mainstream media. Probably the only vendor they were missing is someone who sold a load of mainstream character plush and accessories? Regardless, I believe there was a good selection of dealers to suit the different needs and interest of fans.

After checking out the Dealers Room, I had to go downstairs to the artist alley. It really felt like an alley. It was a narrow hallway lined up with artists along the wall, which included a Cosplay Repair booth. This was quite useful because cosplayers did go to the booth for some assistance. While following the walls, I encountered a panel room, which had an identifiable sign. Even though it is a paper sign, it was easy to spot out compared to the names of the rooms.

Next was the Video Game room, which was where the labyrinth of discombobulation happened. I found the name of the room, but had no idea where it was…there was no floor plan or map in the program book. I asked one of the staff members and he gave me the wrong directions. He told me the video game room is past the pool. Well, I found the pool, but following the wall...I encountered the emergency exit. At least, I know where to go if an emergency actually happened. So because of the lack of a map, which is an important piece of information to have in a program book (very surprised it was missing), I decided to look through every corner of the Artist Alley floor to find it. Well, I did…find it in a corner…past and behind the elevators. No, there weren’t signs pointing to this hidden corner. So, basically, if you didn’t bother looking, you couldn’t tell that there was a room behind the elevator.

Once my 4 hour adventure concluded, I had time to reflect on the overall convention. From my single day experience, there were things that needs to be improved. However, I do see potential in growth. The organizers had many of the basic essentials of a convention to cater towards the needs and interest of fans. There are things fans don’t see, however, that are requirements to have a successful convention such as budget management. To further the growth, the organizers would have to do some improvements such as the ones mentioned above and if financially possible, move to a location that has foot traffic like the Penn Pavilion(explain where this is for non nyc'ers). Overall, it seems to have been a successful first convention and I wish the organizers much success in the coming future.

© 2015 Linda Thai

Photography by Linda Thai

For more pictures, check out the Something Deeper: Anime, Manga and Comics Page on Facebook

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