Don't Get SMAD... Get GLAD: Anime Revolution 2016
written by Justin Prince (@prince_justin)
Back to my favorite Canadian convention, it was time once again to cover Anime Revolution in beautiful Vancouver, BC. Temperate weather and a Tim Horton’s on every corner, I love making the trek up north to visit my incredibly polite pals from the land of Moose and Maple leafs.
Taking place once again at the Vancouver Convention Center, the layout and programming is by large unchanged. This isn’t a bad thing by any stretch of the imagination mind you, the notion of “if it ain’t broke” plays heavily into this convention. Attendance felt steady to last year’s numbers. I don’t have the final attendance numbers yet, but from the crowds in the contention center to the long lines to get into some of the most sought after panels, this show is the biggest little con around.
As with previous years, the two big panels that mattered most to me was the Swimsuit Contest and the 70’s Dating Game panel. Raunchy and hilarious, this is not the panel you want to take your grandma to.
The energy at AniRevo every year feels like it hits new highs each time I go. This year is without exception. The fans and fellow Anime and Manga geeks that get together are some of the most welcoming fans I come across at cons. Maybe it’s the inherent politeness of being Canadian… maybe it’s all the free donuts I got when they accidentally bumped in to me… but regardless of what it was, I can’t help but feel super welcome every time I cross the border for AR.
The vendor hall is still the main attraction for fans. Various booths selling all manner of merchandise from officially licensed products to unique fan art cover almost every inch of the brightly lit hall. I noticed that while most of the booths are still fan art related vendors, there was a wider variety of vendors selling all manner of goods.
While I managed to browse through most of what the con had to offer, I did end up spending a pretty penny over at Siamurai. Last year I picked up a pair of their pants after LG’s Savi-chan bought a pair of her own (check out her OOTD from last year). This year I ended up picking up three pairs myself with our team even joining in on the fun, Lei and Riri took the plunge with me grabbing some samurai chic to update their wardrobe with.
Like previous years, there is considerable foot traffic from tourists… primarily the ones from the cruise ship. This created a huge festival like vibe outside the convention center. From other convention attendees to random onlookers, everyone was soaking in the atmosphere full of cosplayers posing for pictures and dorks like us recreating popular memes thanks to a portable bluetooth speaker.
One thing I wonder is why the convention doesn’t try to set up official events outside? With all the tourists and this festival vibe they have going on, they could have some kind of attraction set up to draw people in… perhaps random onlookers would be interested in checking out the convention and purchase a badge.
This is a party con through and through. The rave is always jumping and sits as one of the highlights of the con. Lines are long and rival those of popular nightclubs! It’s a testament to these folks can do and a major accomplishment each year I attend.
From the perspective of a cosplayer, one thing I noticed this year that I have never noticed in previous years is the lack of a Cosplay Repair Station. Maybe there was one and we didn’t find it? But no matter where we went, one never did turn up. Conventions these days, especially here in Seattle, always have some manner of a Cosplay Repair Station set up for fans to fix any sort of wardrobe malfunction that comes their way. The inclusion of on at AR would be the perfect addition to an already fun show, this tells the cosplay community that “hey, we at AR love you and want to make sure you can fix those pants!”
Overall, it’s the people that make this con worthwhile. I’m still floored whenever I meet a fan that sincerely loves what we do at Lifted Geek. Talking to them, hearing how much they love our coverage and the photos we take, the high fives and looks of admiration make doing what we do worthwhile. I love the people… I love the fans. Despite sticking primarily to the vendor hall and two main events… I still had a freaking blast. When it comes to going to a convention, that’s honestly what matters the most right? Did you have fun? My answer was a resounding yes!