Last weekend, I attended Akon here in Dallas with my sisters and daughters. Akon stands for Anime Convention (not sure why there is a K). Basically, it is a large convention for comic, game, and anime lovers.
When I was in high school, I loved anime. My favorite series were Gundam Wing, X, and Cardcaptor Sakura (affiliate links). I dabbled in others, but those were my favorites. In those days, you had to work hard to get your Japanese animation. Many wern’t even subbed, let alone dubbed. I remember I had to search online for translated scripts to some of them so I could read along and understand what was going on while watching!
Since then, I have mostly pulled away from animation, mainly because who has time to watch anything other than The Game of
Thrones? However, in my wake, a love of animated shows from Japan, Korea, and other Asian countries was created in all of my sisters. One sister in particular is completely dedicated to all of the best animated shows. She even loves the animated computer generated vocaloids that are somehow international singing sensations and more popular than Miley Cirus will ever be.
Two years ago, my sisters went to Akon, and I would have went then, but I was feeling nauseous, exhausted and pregnant. This year, we were all ready to attend together! And it was a good time to go, because the convention was celebrating its 25th year.
The convention was held at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas, and if you ever have the chance to stay at that hotel, please do, because it is amazing! The hotel has many of the Asian art pieces collected by Trammell Crow scattered throughout the museum. We actually attended a session about Trammell Crow, which I’ll discuss later, but the hotel was just beautiful.
I’m going to have several posts covering the convention, because I thought it was a really neat experience, educational, and lots of fun!
Akon Convention Overview
Basically there are two parts to this convention. One part is just for people who love the same types of things to hang out and meet the people that make their favorite shows and comics popular. There was a good mix of both indie publishers and big names, which I thought was pretty cool.
The other part of the convention was education. There were many sessions where you could learn more about how to get into the industry, whether it was video game creation, voice acting, writing, self-publishing, or even creating your own comics. I didn’t really go to any of those panels, simply because this year I had a temperamental baby and an 8-year-old, but I believe I would really enjoy the educational classes if I was alone.
The convention took place over 4 different days. On Thursday, there was registration and a few opening events (we went to a masquerade dance). Friday was a lot of educational classes, but there were also numerous fun activities to temper the seriousness of the more meaty classes. Saturday was similar to Friday. Sunday was catch-up day and shopping day, and there was very little educational classes on that day.
What I Liked
I loved that there was something for everyone at Akon 25. If you liked shows, there were plenty of things to do, if you were there to
learn there was plenty to do, and if you just wanted to hang out in a silly costume there was plenty to do. They even had rooms for playing board games, which I was sad I didn’t find out about until the weekend was nearly over. I was impressed by the variety of activities for all age ranges.
I particularly loved the children’s programming, where you could drop off your kids for part of the day so you could explore (maybe attend an adults only session) and let your kids have a break from walking!
What I Didn’t Like
The entire event was disorganized. They were supposed to have a scavenger hunt, which I was really looking forward to, but didn’t because the event was so disorganized. When we asked for help, we usually had to ask several different people because no one knew anything. The printed schedule was also hard to read and not everything was in one place. You had to consult about 4 different sources to make sure you wern’t missing anything. Those issues made it a lot more stressful and a lot less fun.
I was also surprised that few of the booths gave out free things. Usually conventions have tons of free stuff to advertise their companies. Maybe anime companies are just too poor.
Later, you’ll get to hear about the artist room (so cool), the panels we attended (fun), if we broke a world record, and our costumes (super fun).
Have you been to any conventions like Akon? What was your experience like?