Anime Reactor 2004 - The Short Version

Well, I’m back from Anime Reactor, and I have to say that this convention has a much higher ratio of cosplayers to regular atendees than any other con I’ve been to. Counting Friday and Saturday, I easily took over 100 pictures, of which at least 80 are of cosplayers. I know I didn’t get all of them, and some were photographed multiple times, but that’s still a huge number for a con this new and relatively small.

That said, the con was not without its shortcomings. Security was lax or nonexistant in most areas, panelists failed to show up on multiple occassions, there was no con suite, all but two of the video rooms were practically microscopic, and the video-gaming room closed early every night. There were a lot of big-name guests, and while I liked the concept, the effect of how the con staff interacted with them seemed rather clique-ish. It was as if the organizers came up with the whole idea of a convention to fund their desire to hang out with their favorite names in Anime and Comics, leaving the convention itself as an afterthought.

This impression was not improved by the Den Of Sin, which required togas or some risque costume of all attendees; anyone could be turned away - the uncool need not apply. I didn’t like the idea of wearing a toga, so I just didn’t go, but I imagine I and many others missed a great mingling event thanks to arbitrary restrictions on what should be an open convention. The dance? Not me; DDR is as close as I get to that kind of activity. The convention also put a nix on all signs, so nobody could find out about room-parties, either. I guess hanging out is frowned upon.

As a side note, there was also no live art auction. While this surely worked in my favor for the one piece I bid on, it is a great disservice to the artists. The whole point of an auction is to try and goad people into bidding more than they might at a silent auction; I’ve seen this effect in action many times at Anime Iowa and Anime Central. Why not at Anime Reactor? The two people running the room decided there weren’t enough pieces to bother with a live auction. Asshats.

All in all, while I enjoyed the con, I was greatly disappointed in much of how it was handled. I’m never going to Anime Reactor again; Anime Central offers much more, and treats fans more fairly. Eat it, Reactor.