written by Justin Prince (@prince_justin)
In similar fashion to our Sakura Con 2013 article (dubbed SAOkura Con because of the sheer number of Sword Art Online cosplayers) Anime Revolution 2013 was filled to the brim with Attack on Titan cosplayers. Perhaps this is something to be expected for this coming Sakura Con? That is unless something new draws the attention of the anime loving masses. Anyway... back to it... Anime Revolution... going forward called AniRevo. Raised from the ashes of what was once the now defunct Anime Evolution, this marks the second year for AniRevo. Held at the beautiful Vancouver Convention Center, the scenery is stunning, reminding me of a mini San Diego Convention Center. From the outside looking in, it looked VERY big, but to be honest the convention was more modest in size.
The vendor hall held the typical merch booths you'd find at your local anime con, the artist alley, and a maid cafe off in the corner. They utilized the space fairly well and it never felt too packed. A wide range of vendors and artists, there was alot to see in the vendor hall, it wasn't too overwhelming though and I felt like I was able to see all they had to offer. The maid cafe was the most unique part of this hall, off in the corner behind curtains was a maid cafe featuring super cute girls in maid outfits playing games and performing on a stage for the patrons of the cafe, rules were strictly regulated and attempting to ask the maids out off hours and take unauthorized photos was prohibited, but being press I was able to take photos inside, though I did not have time to partake of the services, it looked fairly authentic. The artist alley was one of my favorite places to hang out, unlike other cons this one seemed to blend right into the rest of the vendor booths. Notably I met Akira Kirai, a talented illustrator from home town Seattle (check out her DA here and her FB page). Two talented and crafty ladies we met sharing a table were quite memorable as well, Annika and Emily had one of the most eye catching artist alley tables at the con and we are pleased to totally promote their stuff! Check their links here for Annika (Etsy, Blog, and Tumblr) and Emily (Etsy, Behance, and FB page). One boothe in the vendor section I loved hanging out at was the Bellator Entertainment booth, featuring some strikingly realistic air soft armaments, the ladies of Bellator Entertainment (the Canada's first sponsored all female airsoft team: Team Danger Close) were drawing folks to their booth just as much as the guns were, these ladies are as bad ass as they are beautiful, definitely check out their Facebook page and give them a like.
I didn't hit many panels the first day, in fact I didn't hit many panels at all during the convention. Aside from getting in to Canada fairly late in the day (stupid traffic) and having issues with getting into the hotel and parking... I just wanted to take photos and meet cosplayers. Day one was mostly photo taking and browsing the vendor hall.
Getting my badge was pretty much easy, there was no line at the info booth and I was able to get mine and my sister's badge with ease, our friend was not listed as media and had a regular 3-day badge and even her experience was pretty easy. Getting our badges took up literally less than 10 minutes of our first day, that was much appreciated. The entire con was relegated to simply one long hallway with three ballrooms housing panels and two others for autographs and the vendor hall, utilization of space wasn't bad but I feel that their main hall got filled it way too quickly. Perhaps they could have utilized two conjoined ballrooms to make a bigger Hall A with smaller ballrooms for other panels, even though my access to panels was more so unrestricted, being designated as press/media means I did not have to wait in lines and I received priority seating right up front for panels, I felt that many con goers were forced to miss out on some of the events, which is a shame.
Two panels I attended that were very memorable were the Cosplay Contest and the That 70's Dating Game panel. The Cosplay Contest featured some impressive costumes, some were so jaw dropping I was forced to yell "what?!?" while adamantly clapping. The Cosplay Contest was not unlike many other cosplay contests that came before, a panel of judges pick favorites while the crowd "oohs" and "aahs" at the craftiness of it all. Cosplay darling Jessica Nigri was one of the special guests attending and judging the competition. Come late night the 70's Dating Game panel hosted by cosplayers Savi and Jam (of Team Danger Close) and MC'd by Boriz "MC DayDreamer" Safi was a raunchy laugh fest full of penis drawings and absolute what-the-fuck-ery. This was very raunchy and I wish I got it on video, the title is pretty self explanatory, much like a 70's dating game a bachelor/bachelorette asks a panel of four single men/ladies a series of questions and picks one at the end of it all. Not to be taken too seriously, it was a blast and from the reception it looks like it was a hit last year as well... I see myself coming back for this panel alone!
Saturday night also had the rave, like many other cons there is always some sort of late night rave/dance for congoers to get totally sweaty and rage to some music. DJ kept the hits coming and it felt more like a nightclub than a con rave. On the plus side, the music was killer and the vibe on the dance floor was alot of fun, we were dancing to some great music and I was having a blast, MC DayDreamer was back again with DJs Mikxster, H-Boogie, and Starcom. On the down side though, the limited space of this room forced the organizers and convention center security to manage the traffic going in and out of this room, this was a problem that could have been rectified if they had a bigger space, I understand the need to run crowd control... in my younger days, your boy Justin Prince was a nightclub promoter in Seattle and I have seen first hand what it was like to run and manage a line. This line could have been better managed but I felt they did a great job given the space they were forced to work with and the sheer number of attendees that wanted to get their groove on. Aside from the sheer number of Attack on Titan characters, there was alot of great cosplay there, make sure to check out our article on cosplay posted just a little bit ago right here.
Overall, for a new convention I felt they did a bang up job. There were a few hiccups and like I mentioned earlier, there was alot of folk turned away because of rooms filling up. Maybe next year they should look into combining two rooms to make the main Hall A a bigger space that way folks aren't forced to be turned away. The Saturday Night rave had its share of hiccups but overall was a fun event. Just a few notes, utilizing the space better and planning out room sizes would be very beneficial for this convention. It's only their second year so it's hard to really come down on them too hard, but for our Canadian neighbors (neighbours?) to the North, I hope this con continues to grow and gives us in the PNW two huge anime cons to hit every year. The space is gorgeous and I would most definitely come back just to attend a con here.