I spent this past weekend at A-Kon, one of two anime conventions held in the Dallas area and the longest-running convention in the US (AFAIK). I had fun spending time with my sister and meeting with a couple friends, which is typically the highlight of any convention anyway, and also went to a pretty good panel on Kon Satoshi given by Helen McCarthy and Daniel Briscoe, but honestly I probably won’t go next year.
Though A-Kon isn’t too bad, I just don’t enjoy it as much as I used to. For one thing, the novelty has simply worn off, I can get much of the stuff in the Dealer’s Room online, and most of the art in the Artists’ Alley isn’t worth buying. Most importantly for me, though, A-Kon just doesn’t bring in guests that I care about.
Here, I prefer the other Dallas convention, AnimeFest, which despite being smaller does a better job coming up with interesting panels. Mainly, I’m interested in hearing from Japanese people – that is, the ones who make these comics and cartoons. I couldn’t care less about American voice actors, webcomic artists, and so on. No doubt there are a lot of logistical difficulties in bringing someone halfway across the world just to give a few panels over a weekend, but AnimeFest has done just that for several years now. Katayama Kazuyoshi came last year, and Sato Dai has come a few years in a row (and has always been very entertaining and informative). I may still end up going to A-Kon next year, if I have some friends to go with or if they do come up with a decent guest, but otherwise I’ll just stick with the smaller convention.