I recently attended Anime Banzai for the second time and figured it was about time to write up a review. I only discovered Anime Banzai last year after browsing through a list of Cons throughout the U.S. and happened upon one in Salt Lake City, which is about 15 minutes south of my house, and it was only three weeks away. I didn’t know there was a con in Utah, but apparently this one has been going on for six years or so and I’d just missed it. Needless to say, I made plans to go, and it was good enough that I not only returned this year, but hosted a panel as well.
So after the crowds at Katsucon I’d call Anime Banzai a smaller con, of about 2-3000 people. The content is pretty solid though to be honest I did leave a few talks due to poor quality of the presenter. Solid content, bad presentation. I know that sounds rude, but I speak publicly fairly often, and have been a technical trainer for years so it is almost physically painful for me to watch someone who is clearly uncomfortable, unprepared, or lacks the basic social abilities to speak to a crowd.
The photo above is of the registration area on Friday morning. Registration wasn’t horrible but could definitely be sped up by not printing names of con attendees on badges. Since you could just have them print a nickname on your badge this isn’t much of a theft deterrent. A line for cash and a line for credit, hand over the cash, get a badge. It’s a much easier way to get registration done and doesn’t leave attendees in line for over an hour wishing they were watching content instead of just hearing it from the room next door.
It probably sounds like I’m picking on the con, but I don’t mean to. It was fun and I’ll be back next year, just a few tweaks would make it stellar.
This is the merchant room. A great place to stop and grab Hi-chew, Pocky, Ramune and other assorted Japanese snacks and drinks, and at a good price too. There were also plenty of vendors selling figures, cosplay supplies, bags, t-shirts, DVD’s, and stuffed animals. Prices were a little higher than online but pretty standard for con vendors. I tried to talk a guy down for a figure he wanted $50 for, but he wouldn’t have it, so I kept my money in my pocket and ordered it online later. :)
This is my only shot of the video game room and it makes it look pretty lame although it wasn’t bad. The room was well used and had quite a few games in it. My bad for not getting better shots.
And onto the cosplayers!!
One of the guests this year was Chuck Huber who has voiced Shou Tucker from Fullmetal Alchemist, Hiro Nohara from Crayon Shin-chan, and Kululu from Sgt Frog, as well as many others. I really enjoyed his panels. This guy was likeable from the start and had a great sense of humor. He’s definitely one of my favorite guests I’ve had the opportunity to see, of any con.
Chuck Huber also used part of his panel to teach attendees about voice acting and gave some of them a chance to try it out. Epic lulz.
What’s up C.C.?
Great Ryuk and Rem costumes. I like the attention to detail on the Rem costume, right down to the feet.
These girls were throwing down the Hare Hare Yukai outside in the hotel courtyard. It drew a crowd.
I photoshopped the name off her badge to keep her from being Facebook stalked. :D
A huge stack of Ramune and Pocky. This was back in the staff room and I noticed it while getting ready to do my panel and I had to get a shot.
I’m sure this photo will pop up somewhere else on this site in the future.
No Face seems like an easy character to pull off as far as cosplay goes, I’m just sayin’.
Random shot of the hotel lobby with some people hanging out. Nothing to see here, move along.
This is a better shot because you can see the shenanigans in the courtyard out the window. There was always something going on out there.
This Ryuk costume is the best I’ve ever seen. The guy was on stilts and when he talked a hinge in the jaw allowed the mouth to move. It was epic.
Chuck Huber and Michelle Ruff signing autographs.
I saw quite a few Alice in Wonderland themed costumes this year. Classic, and awesome.
And some Vampire Knight cosplay to wrap things up. The dude cosplaying as Zero put his tattoo on the wrong side of his neck. Attention to detail brother! Attention to detail!
I did an individual badge scan for the Katsucon post, but the artwork didn’t change for Anime Banzai, just the color of the badge so I scanned a few of them as one large image. If that sounds lazy I’m sorry, I just didn’t want to clutter the page.
So all in all I had a good time at Anime Banzai. Like I mentioned earlier, I did a panel. It was called The Tokyo Otaku, and I just spent an hour talking about Tokyo, fun otaku like things to see and do there, and dispelled some myths about visiting Japan. It was fun and the room was full despite being scheduled opposite the Cosplay Contest. The staff that were in there told me they really enjoyed it so maybe I’ll update it and do it again next year. Hopefully in a bigger room with a better time slot. :D
If you happen to be reading this and attended Anime Banzai, tell us what you thought in the comments, I’d like to hear about other experiences. The more the better.