written by Justin Prince (@prince_justin)
For as long as I’ve been an avid convention goer, I’ve hit Sakura Con in Seattle every year. For my group of friends, it has been our yearly tradition… staying true even now after myself and Riri decided to launch Lifted Geek. We’ve seen the high and the lows, how much this show has grown over the years.
As far as anime conventions go, Sakura con is still the largest and most popular anime convention in the Pacific Northwest area. Though attendance numbers never seem to hit the sheer “sea-of-people” levels of conventions like the recently held Emerald City Comicon and PAX Prime (both shows boast attendance numbers more than triple that of Sakura) it still manages to pack a good amount of fans into the convention center.
Looking at numbers isn’t always the best way to judge a convention, but I feel I need to point out that attendance felt a tad lighter than recent years. I think we can blame that partially on the fact that several other cons around the US were held that very same weekend. Lifted Geek alone had a presence not just at Sakura Con, but also Fan Expo in British Columbia, Anime Matsuri in Texas, and Wonder Con down in Anaheim. With three major conventions vying for fans… and Emerald City Comicon being just a week before… this years Easter weekend was a cup runeth over for geeky cons.
Looking over the events guide, one thing I noticed this year was the influx of themed photoshoots, it felt like instead of panels and Q&A (which the con did still have but on short supply) instead the convention’s events felt like they morphed into a series of cosplay gatherings. This isn’t new for the con, themed shoots and gatherings have been unofficially scheduled for the fans and by the fans in past years. Unlike some of the big events in the main hall, much of the tertiary panel rooms felt like photoshoot after photoshoot.
Two of the major events I had to hit were the Cosplay Contest and the h.Naoto Fashion Show… mostly for the fact that members of our crew participated in both. You can check out Riri’s article on the cosplay contest for the full play-by-play and hit our gallery to see the photos… so I won’t get too into it, but I will say I am incredibly proud of my best friend locking in the top spot in the intermediate category for her Moogle Queen Lightning cosplay. This was on Saturday and the biggest day of the show was packed as usual.
The vendor hall was packed with with all the usual geeky fare that usually populate the show, some highlights involve friend of the website Ken “enfu” Taya and his booth along with meeting Sakimi-chan in the flesh. I didn’t spend much time in the vendor hall, figure if you’ve seen it once you’ve seen it al… but making sure to check out the folks that matter always bring a smile to my face.
The one thing I can say about anime cons that beat out most any other convention is the sheer number of cosplayers that attend. While a lot can be had at other fan conventions, the ratio of cosplayer to plains clothes is dramatically higher at an anime con. Everything from (of course) anime to other geek-centric fandom was present and accounted for. As usual, the cosplay sat as one of the high points of the show.
While I worry a bit about the direction the con has been heading over the last couple years, it’s still a fun gathering I’ll continue to hit every year. Being with my friends in a positive environment full of like minded geeky folk always sit as the highlight of my con experience. I can’t say anything outwardly negative about the show, aside from the lack of panels… I still ha a good time with my friends, so I’d say it was a win. Oh wait, I do have one complaint… the damn “glomp circle” that takes up a huge portion of the courtyard and overall feels creepy. I get they want to foster a welcoming environment, but spin the bottle/gimme a hug? Yeah… creepy.
I was a bit exhausted after doing two cons back to back, but overall… it was another fun Sakura Con. See ya next year g33ks, you stay frosty and get lifted.