Last Weekend our Ramen crew visited Anime On Display, an anime convention in Burlingame, CA. Here’s Eddie’s and Ramon’s take on the con:
Eddie from Ramen and a Half – Last time I went to AOD it was when it was still in San Francisco’s Japantown 2 years ago. The venue for this year was at the Hyatt Regency in Burlingame (see our Capcom-Cup 2013 video here to see what the place looks like). Since Ramon and I have been to this venue before, we were curious to see how an anime convention would utilize the space. Capcom-Cup was centralized in one location, where as AOD used a lot more of the hotel space. There was a dealers room, several rooms for panels and anime viewing, and a game room on the other side of the hotel that also featured live performances. The convention itself was not crowded, it had just enough people where it always seemed lively. The dealers room was not too big either, a good number of artists and dealers with a few industry booths. Personally, I dislike crowded conventions so i enjoyed being able to move freely here. The game room had a great selection of games like Capcom vs Snk 2 and Street Fighter III 3rd Strike on arcade cabs and a selection of games on console.
My only complaint about this convention was the parking. The official lot filled up quick and when we tried to go inside, we were soon turned away and told to park anywhere else “at you own risk!” Safe to say, the parking attendant wasn’t very helpful. So we hunted for street parking around the corner but I ended up parking across the street in the private lots with many signs everywhere warning you of the potential of getting towed if parked here. Honestly, it was hard to enjoy the convention with the fear of your car getting ticketed or towed.
My favorite thing about AOD was their innovative registration system. Unlike other conventions with a cutoff date for their pre-registration, you were able to register for a badge at anytime before attending and you were able to pick it up when you arrived. This reminded me of websites like Target, Walmart or Best Buy that allow you to buy something online and get it in-store with same day pick up. It was really convenient and just made the registration process so easy!
One thing I will miss about it being in SF’s Japantown is definitely the food. It was hard to get food at this venue that didn’t cost an arm and a leg. I hope in the future they will address the food issue. On a related note, the Maid/Butler Cafe had no food when I went but the servers there did serve tea and were really fun to hang out with. They would play games with their customers and just have a good time and talk to you as well. We were definitely treated like royalty. All in all, if you are looking for an anime convention that isn’t too crowded and just a nice place to chill plus meet some cool people, then this is for you.
Ramon from Ramen and a Half – AoD is a two day event but I couldn’t go on the second day because I was planning on watching the Super Bowl on Sunday. Fortunately, I had seen everything I wanted on Day One. Here’s three little gripes I had at the convention: Finding parking wasn’t too difficult to find, however, we were turned away by someone working at the hotel telling us that their parking lot was full. Even when cars left the lot, they still didn’t let anyone in. Another thing that annoyed me was that when Eddie and I picked up our badges, there were no more lanyards left, causing us to carry our badges in our hands. The worst was their decision to put the stage and the gaming area in the same room. You couldn’t play games without hearing some person “singing” which I couldn’t take after a while and had to flat out leave.
I picked up three commissions while I was there which was cool, but as it hit close to 6 pm, I realized I had seen all I wanted at AoD, making the last couple of hours a bit boring… or so I thought. A “bar” had opened up on the opposite end of the closed dealers hall and my friend and I got ourselves a drink and talked away an hour. When 8 pm hit, I went over to the gaming room where Super Soul Bros were performing. They made my day at the con, I sat near the stage and listened to them play for over an hour. At the end of the day, I left with a smile on my face – I got to see the Super Soul Bros. and got three commissions. Would I go again? Maybe… though I would probably just attend one day as I did this year.
Star Wars Darth Talon by AutomaticGiraffe @ http://automaticgiraffe.deviantart.com/
Aquaman Mera by Hachimitsu @ http://sunrise-oasis.deviantart.com/
For more on Anime on Display visit http://www.aodsf.org