Year in Review: Conned Out

I knew I was done with cons this year when I started to think of next year’s schedule with priorities like “take it easy” and “cut down.” I attended 6 cons this year: Anime Boston, Animazement, Anime Next, Anime Expo, Otakon, NYAF. I could have increased it if I wanted to hit that Momoi concert or Anime USA. Anime Next was kind of a non-con for me since it takes place in my back yard, but every other con required serious traveling and some sort of living arrangement, usually in the form of a hotel room.

It has gotten to a point in my con going life that it doesn’t really matter; I can have fun at almost any con, with or without friends, guests, or most things that gets me excited about con in the first place. It sounds bad but I assure you it is just a phase; because I still get excited about cons. I’ve gotten to know a lot of people and traveled a bit thanks to them, and I don’t see myself stopping.

However, I see cons increasingly as a resource-intensive and time-intensive endeavor that should be taken only because it’s better than the alternative. For example, this year at Anime Expo it was pretty awesome. I had a good time despite the strenuous schedule. I was in good company and the food is always great in LA. I met a bunch of new people, albeit briefly. It costs probably twice as much to go to AX than any other con I went this year, but it was worth it. On the other hand, Anime Boston was not really worth my time, despite that I had free housing and it only cost me $40 round trip travel. I had the most fun hanging out with a bunch of dangerous people, but I didn’t need a con to do that. Not to knock Uematsu, but it just wasn’t doing much for me. The logic goes, thus, if I went to 2 cons like AX and skipped out on 4 cons like Anime Boston, I come out ahead, with less fatigue. It’s something to think about.

Too bad you basically needed three arms and a clone to fully enjoy AX this past year. It was such a loaded thing for someone like me that it came down to doing a lot of on-the-field planning and quick decision making, and then you still miss out on all kinds of stuff. I guess because I had press creds I had added options such as press panels and things like that, but overall it was a tough con. A lot of fun, but tough. I could not have had a better crew, and we scored some memories. Good times.

As to 2011, I’m leaning away to Anime Boston and towards PAX East, which takes place early march. This is mostly because I can hitch a ride easily and crash with people I know, but also because it’s like I go to the most cons among my friends but I’ve just never been. Too bad that does nothing to improve my schedule next year…

Sakura-con is a con I want to visit; Seattle has elements that attract me, and I have some local ins to help me get around. The problem is just that it always runs against some other thing. But even before that, it has to have guests. While it has a good track record of that, it is not a sure thing.

On the other hand, Anime Expo is a fairly sure thing. Only thing standing in my way is just a matter of pulling the trigger and managing costs. Or in the case where they don’t announce a guest that I have to see, I can always just ignore it. Knowing how it will go, most likely I will just get a tweet about it the night I head down to Animazement.

Animazement I will most likely go again, since it’s the con that runs on memorial day weekend that nobody goes to, because there are like 3-4 other cons that week including Fanime Con. Fanime is the “Gainax” con so it’s always worth going if you’re into sakuga, but Animazement is more vacation-friendly in the sense that San Jose is probably less exotic than Raleigh. Considering how I’ve never been to Fanime though, it might be worth the trip once at some point.

Anime Next, Otakon and NYAF are things I can’t really escape. I guess it will be another task to tackle these cons with minimum burnt-outage. As you can see I still has a ways to go before I can call it quits!

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