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Animeland Wasabi 2014 Review

In Denver, there are two major anime conventions: Nan Desu Kan(Or NDK) and Animeland Wasabi. For many years the two conventions clashed on which was better. For the most part, Wasabi was the “discount” convention. It had nice turnouts, but there were usually a lot of problems that steered con goers away. Last year there was plenty of controversy surrounding Animeland Wasabi, so this was sort of a big year for them. I attended as a member of press rather than a regular person who pays to get in, so this review will contain opinions from myself and myself only as a member of the press. Please know that any negative thoughts reflected in this review are not intended to badmouth anyone involved.

While the location was interesting, the registration desk was relatively organized and lines appeared to flow smoothly. Fortunately, I got to speed ahead because of those press privileges. While the check-in was rather speedy, a large downside was the “badges” as they were not actual badges, but those indestructible wristbands you see at other events. Sure, these prevent more people from sneaking in and even stealing badges, but it was one of the biggest complaints from the attendees.

The layout of the convention was alright, but to be honest, if I didn’t have a friend working as staff I probably would not have been able to find anything since there was no map of the con or the Dealer’s Room. Sure, there was a map of the hotel but it quickly became a trial and error system. I have dealt with worse, but maps help a lot.

There were some interesting panels being held over the weekend. My personal experience with my own panel was lackluster as no one showed up outside of two people. I attribute this turnout to the lovely time I was shelved with, which was 9AM on the second day. I find panel timing is essential to who shows up. The typical person that attends these conventions rarely get up before 10AM which conveniently is when my own panel ended. Events like panels should be held after Noon or later into the night since that is when there is the most foot traffic. What was also great was that my panel was in the wrong room. Every room where panels were held had signs posted outside of them detailing a schedule of what was going on when. My room was mislabeled. It would have been nice if staff checked that sort of thing every so often since it was easy to mix everything up.

The guest list was one of the high points of Wasabi. Many voice actors such as John DiMaggio and Billy West were incredibly kind to people wanting pictures and autographs. I interviewed quite a few voice actors during the convention and you can find those here. There was a press conference being held with some of the Celebrity Guests. Sadly, circumstances that I cannot disclose took place and the regularly scheduled conference was canceled. Luckily, a new batch of guests were rounded up, these people were, musical duo Angel Anatomy, geek-specfic comedian Uncle Yo, Mormon Singer/Parody Enthusiast Warky T. Chocobo, voice talent Erica Shroeder and Danielle McRae. It was rather sudden, and the conference still went really well despite no one being prepared for the new guests. You can find the audio from that event here.

My second interview was with numerous people in the gaming industry as voice actors. Laura Post, Julie Rei Goldstein, and Lisle Wilkerson were the people being interviewed. Two of these people were last minute additions. They were great people and I am glad I got to interview them, despite being somewhat blindsided and unprepared for their addition. You can find that interview with Media Snobs here.

I want to say my biggest problem with Animeland Wasabi was organization. There were a lot of changes to the schedule last minute. Some could have been avoided while others could not. I understand something always goes wrong at these events but what can you do, right? After speaking with other attendees I can safely say that this convention went much smoother than last year.

 

My final verdict regarding Animeland Wasabi is this: If you live in Colorado, Animeland Wasabi was certainly a nice convention to attend. The guests were great, and the variety of panels were nice. This is a convention to look forward to for next year. If you want to read other articles related to Wasabi, there is the Dealer’s Room review here.

 

 

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