It was a very eventful weekend for those of us that attended Anime Central's 15th convention. While this was one of my most memorable conventions, it also seemed to be one giant disaster after another.
* Acen was a month earlier than normal. I am aware of the reasons why this happened - It just sucks that it was earlier in the year. There were a ton of college students that were unable to attend the convention because of this.
* Several panels seemed to be placed in rooms that were completely ill capable of holding the desired attendance. They ended up canceling Anime Bingo so that they could move the LoL panel into a larger room. This was unacceptable for people who wanted to attend Anime Bingo. Acen was aggressive about rescheduling and moving panels without giving any notice.
* The separation of the game rooms was a nice idea, BUT they should have remained in the same area. It was not fun having to go across the street to a different hotel altogether just to find the other game room.
* LM.C ended up running nearly 3 hours later than originally scheduled.
* Overall the Crystal Ball was a total fail. Online it states that formal wear is required, and still, people wearing school uniforms were allow in. I'm sorry, but there is nothing formal about a school uniform. The DJ at the Crystal Ball had no variety to his playlist, and refused to take any requests. The snacks were lame, pretzels and water? For a formal event that you are paying $25 to attend? No. Just no. A meal and drink should be included in the event.
* Failure to mail panelist badges.
* There was one overly rude 'staff' member, Chad Adams. He was just flat out ignorant and I don't think his behavior was appropriate at all.
* Registration. MAPS, you've been doing this for 15 years now. When something doesn't work, you don't just keep doing it and hope it gets better. You FIX it.
* The evacuation of the Hyatt due to a guest removing a fire extinguisher. This cause a bunch of issues for the Masquerade and everyone preforming in it. Yes, the show was canceled. This show is listed as the main event of the convention, and canceling it was unacceptable. To say that people have spent a lot of time and money in their efforts for the masquerade is too much of an understatement. I've been a cosplayer for many years now and I've been there, spending many a sleepless night before the con trying to get everything as perfect as you can. If I had spent hours of my time, lots of my money, and gotten all prepared to compete and perform I would have been absolutely devastated. I know there were issues with the fire alarm and all, but there's no reason why the event shouldn't have continued after the fact. I understand stuff happens, things get delayed or moved, but the Masquerade is a core part of Anime Central.
Yes, the evacuation itself was handled very well. Once outside, though, it was a madhouse. No one knew what was going on, and everyone kept being moved from one place to another and back again.
However, The Department Head of the Masquerade did try and make amends for the issues caused by the evacuation of the Hyatt. You can find the open letter here. They apologized for the situation, and offered comp badges for everyone who was to preform that night.
The good things Acen had this year? There was only one thing that came to mind:
The Anime Central Guidebook App was very helpful, and kept updating through the con. To bad staff couldn't follow their own scheduling.