Sunday, June 11, 2006

A-Kon 17 - Day Two

Went to my 2nd and last day of A-Kon yesterday with Ed and his buddy (work-related crap keeps me from returning today, but that's a rant I care not to make). Arrived just in time for lunch then plunged back into the madness.

One thing that has always struck me about A-Kon (and AnimeFest as well) has been the diversity of the attendees: young and old, straight and gay, white, black, yellow, brown (not to mention a fair amount of green, blue and purple). Anime/Manga culture has spread to a wide cross-section of America.

Very cool.

Caught some good video (as well as some bad). Outstanding was The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, not yet available in the US. It is practically a cult religion in Japan I gather. See the separate post for more info. Searching on YouTube will pull up some fan-subtitled episodes.

Also amusing was Hare and Guu, a frisky and colorful comedy, and Desert Punk, a comedic scifi adventure series. Both are available in the US.

I bought (on Ed's recommendation) the first DVD of a series that's been out for a while called Last Exile.

The other great find I made this year was Green Tea Pockie. Tastes just like green tea ice cream, which if you've never tried, you need to.

Because of scheduling, for the last couple of years I've gone to AnimeFest rather than A-Kon. Looking back and comparing the two:

  • A-Kon is a bigger event (maybe the biggest anime festival) and has been around for longer. The dealer room area in past years seemed to have more stuff, if you're into that (though this year it didn't seem to have as much). Being in downtown does mean you can wander off and (maybe) find food outside the hotel complex. Still, this part of downtown is a little dodgey, so you won't want to wander too far.

  • A-Kon is more of a pain in the ass to get to (for me) since it's in downtown Dallas at the Adam's Mark Hotel, and driving/parking is a bitch. Hotel parking is ALWAYS full. For several years they did it at the DFW Hyatt, which for me was a much better venue (though parking was more expensive).

  • AnimeFest is held in Reunion Center Hyatt and I can take the train from Fort Worth, which ends up right at Reunion. being the smaller event (but don't be mistaken -- it's still pretty massive) AnimeFest seems a little more easily navigated -- not so overwhelming.

  • Both suffer from occasional breakdowns in organization; managing the pre-registration registration (a contradiction, I know) sucks at both events. Still, both are pretty much fan-run events, so lapses like this can be understood.

This was the 6th year of doing the anime convention thing. My sons, each in their turn, have been the driving force behind attending. It's been fun but as they get older, I'm not sure how much longer we'll make the effort. So far I'm not sure whether or not we'll do AnimeFest at the end of the summer or not.

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