Anime Conventions: A Guide of Sorts – Part 2

This post was written by Dark_Sage. He is Dark_Sage.


Another wordy con post. Oh, and the new poll is up.

Part 1:

Part 3:

Topics covered this time around: “I’m here, what now?”

Yes, we’re gonna need a Part 3. And yes, I realize there’s no logical progression to these topics. Let’s just say it’s because I’m an artist rather than a poor planner.


“I’m here, what now?”

Special Events

Opening/closing ceremonies

"Let me start by thanking..."
“Please allow me the pleasure of wasting your time.”

No thanks.




For this, a bunch of cosplayers get up on stage and act out skits for 30 minutes or so, then have a “fashion show” where cosplayers come on stage for 30 seconds, and show their stuff. The idea is that it’s a contest, so all the good cosplayers will show up and you’ll get to see the best the con has to offer.

But that is a goddamn lie.


  • The skits are more cringeworthy than… err, most people at an anime con.
  • The judges are in no shape or form qualified to judge others on their looks. Meaning, the best cosplayers don’t give a shit about going to the event.
  • It won’t actually start until an hour after they say it will. Combine that with the huge line to get in and you have a megas timesink on your hands.
  • Unless you brought a really expensive, really big camera and are sitting up front, you will NOT get good shots. The lighting is terrible for pictures.

That wouldn’t be all too bad if it were a Saturday afternoon and you had nothing better to do, but you’re at a con you paid to get into. Don’t waste 3 hours on this.


AMV Awards

Someone had to make this image.
Someone had to physically make this.

Certain cons treat AMVs as a feature, while others only include them as an afterthought. If you’re a hardcore AMV fan like I am (why the fuck did I get into fansubbing instead of AMV editing?), you’re gonna want to find out how much the cons care about them.

Unfortunately, there isn’t an easy way to find that information online, so you might just wanna find a staff person at the con and ask them if the AMV Awards have lines. If the answer is anything other than a “Yes, and you might want to start lining up now”, the AMV Awards will suck.


Game Room


The quality of the Game Room (really, just an arcade with a bunch of game consoles lying around) is highly dependent on the con. For example, Youmacon’s game room is worth going to the con just for that. But pretty much every other con I’ve been to hasn’t been quite so great.

If you’re into fighting games, you’re gonna love this place, cuz there are often tournaments going on over the weekend. If not, it’s a nice place to head to when you’ve got nothing better to do.

And yes, there's DDR.
And yes, there’s DDR.


Artist Alley/Dealer’s Room

Here is where you can buy shit.


Tips for the Dealer’s Room:

  • Know your prices before buying. Sometimes you’re looking at a good deal, but oftentimes you’re not. For example, anime and manga are always overpriced.
  • If you want to haggle prices, I’ve found figures are the most easily bargained for. You can probably knock $5-$10 off of each figure if it’s Sunday and the dealers aren’t hot on the odds of selling them for a higher price later on.
  • Cash is preferred by pretty much everyone and required by many. That’s because there are transaction fees for credit cards. You can use credit cards at some stands, but expect the ~3% fee to be passed onto you.
Feed me~
Feed me~

Tips for Artist’s Alley:

  • Sometimes you can work your way into a bulk discount if you really like an artist’s shit. Buy 2 Get 1 Free isn’t too terribly unfair a proposition.
  • If the people are part of a circle (generally Japanese or Chinese), grab their business card and check their site. You may be able to get their stuff cheaper online.
  • Most of the art sucks, but there’s usually some gold in those hills. I recommend going to each con’s Artist’s Alley, just to scope out what the fans themselves are making.


The Rave (they may call it something else, like “The Dance” or “La Taquería”, but it’s a fucking rave)


If you’re still in high school, go all out and try not to get raped.

If you aren’t in high school, I don’t know why you think it’s gonna be a good time.

I'd much rather stand still at a Radiohead concert.
I’d much rather stand still at a Radiohead concert.

The lines are gonna be long as shit, so if this is gonna be one of the highlights of the con for you, I suggest getting in the line an hour or two early.



Normal Stuff

Taking pics of cosplayers

You should probably learn the age of consent in the state sometime.

Remember this chart? Yeah you do.

how to take pics of cosplayers

Simple. Just don’t be weird about it unless you’re as attractive as me and can get away with it. This includes:

  • Ambushing people as they’re fucking eating.
  • Ambushing people as they’re doing other shit like running a panel or having sex in their hotel rooms.
  • Thinking you matter at all to cosplayers other than your ability to provide them with a +1 ego stat boost.
  • Being a fucking creepy fuck.

And I swear to god the next person I meet who uses an iPad to take pictures non-ironically is going to be out an iPad. You fucks are the only reason I support arming those social justice twats.



Do not want.
A bunch of people gather into one area for a short time so you can take pics of them. Boring.

Don’t plan a schedule around these unless you have a lot of extra time and want some generic group shot.



Fuck Yeah
Fuck Yeah

I’m a huge panel nerd, and for those of you who aren’t, I can’t even begin to imagine how you spend most of your time at the con. What, do you just play WalkCon the entire day, hoping for a sexy cosplayer to come into your view so you can snap a pic of them to schlick/fap to later? Are you one of those losers who brings your 3DS and sets up against a wall playing Mario vs. Sonic: Autist Brigade II? Please don’t tell me you go to the video room for anything other than sleeping in to avoid hotel costs.

Confused? Not a contard? Here’s what a panel is: some jackoff filled with self-importance decides to talk at people for about an hour about some topic that you only partially care about. It’s like the internet, except with people.

Calm your loins; it's not *that* awesome.
Calm your loins; it’s not *that* awesome.

Want to know how to sew for cosplay? How about a Jewish history major who wants to talk about how the sephiroth is used in Neon Genesis Evangelion… for one hour? Any stupid thing related to the anime fandom can show up in a panel and it often does. I plan my entire con around these damn things and you should too.

Oh, and the 18+ panels aren’t so bad, just so long as you go to them drunk. Everyone else will be toasted too, so expect to be in good company.

Expect lots of drunk people at the 18+ panels. It's the only way to make them bearable.



Up next in part 3: What to bring. And, uhh… whatever else I think of. Maybe we’ll trade Pop-Tart recipes. I like mine with Swiss cheese and jalapeños.

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