This Review of Amecon 2018 was written by Luke Fears
Amecon 2018, an anime convention, took place from Friday the 27th to Sunday 29th of July, at the Warwick Arts Centre in Coventry, and despite numerous set-backs and last-minute amendments, managed to be an overall good convention. This review will be separated into several several categories, with a score out of 10 at the end of each section.
Registration and Queuing:
Registration for the con began slightly later than scheduled, and a combination of large attendee numbers, and a low number of staff, led to a slow-moving queue.
The other predominantly sluggish queue was for the Bring & Buy Room, for both attendees depositing and collecting their items for sale, and for those looking to buy. Though the queue itself was not long, a one-in-one-out policy on a set number of people in the room led to lengthy wait times. This however was no fault of the con organisers, as the booking for the room initially scheduled for the Bring & Buy was cancelled by the university last minute, and a smaller room (initially to be used for Western karaoke) had to be used as a replacement.
However, despite these two instances, the rest of the queues around the con were short, well-organised and amiable.
Staff were friendly and helpful throughout the event, and for the majority of the time present where they needed to be. Con Ops were helpful when I needed to find the location of anything I needed to find.
A feedback panel after the closing ceremony gave attendees more insight into why issues occurred, and allowed them to air their grievances and learn what the committee intends to do about them.
Panels/ Events: The panels I attended were entertaining and engaging, presented in a professional manner by people who seemed to know what they were talking about. However these were marred by technical issues, especially of the sound system variety (though this led to some hilarious impromptu dubbing by attendees at the Yaoi panel).
The opening and closing ceremonies successfully hyped up the audience for the events of the con, provided an emotional farewell to committee members from Amecon’s sister convention Kitacon, and gave us much Chair-chan fan service.
The Masquerade was well-timed and showcased some brilliant costumes. I only caught the last 2 acts of Omake, but it ended on time and said acts were an entertaining dancer and singer.
Friday’s pub quiz had a decent level of difficulty throughout (excluding the purposefully impossible final round), though I would prefer more focus on anime/ manga and Japanese games than general film/ TV/ sci-fi.
Unfortunately, there were no events or panels running late at night, leaving you with little to do at night if you don’t fancy partying or gaming. Furthermore, due to renovations and room-booking issues, panel and event rooms were often changed, and on occasion without notification.
Parties: Parties on the Friday and Saturday were enjoyable, especially the 80s pop and metal parties on the Sunday. However, the cosplay ball was a mixed bag, with pluses being free Lindt truffles and non-alcoholic wine, and negatives being under-whelming music, no use of the stage or projector screen, no special events, and an extortionate bar.
Furthermore, the Final Cou drown party on the Sunday was disappointed, with a terrible set list of songs, and it being the only party, having to fit all the partying attendees into one room, making it very claustrophobic. This was also apparently due to room booking issues.
Guests: Jerry Jewell and Mirazie cosplay were lovely, engaging people and provided some great events. However these were the only two guests at the convention, with no anime Youtubers or music acts, leaving the events schedule feeling a bit more sparse and giving less variation to events.
Gaming: The video gaming room was excellent, with great competitions and a wide selection of games to be played in large open spaces. The only issue I had was the video game room not staying open till the end of the night, and closing early on the Sunday, leaving you with only the choice of the Cosplay Ball or traditional gaming.
Dealers: A great selection of sellers and artists, with extremely reasonable and low prices at a number of stalls, the layout of which left a wide area in the walkway. The Bring & Buy also offered several bargains and was well laid out considering the small space, but unfortunately was a little cramped at times.
Location, Facilities, Local Services: The Warwick Arts Centre is rather far out from Coventry’s city centre (about 15-20 minutes drive). However there is a reasonably-priced shop, post office, and pub onsite. The pub offered an inexpensive and tasty custom menu for the con with items named after various anime.
Transport links are good, with a taxi rank and regular bus services running late and early.
The venue itself was great for what was available, with appropriately-sized rooms for panels, ops, gaming, etc. Wise halls made travelling through buildings easy, and multiple air conditioners and fans were a welcome feature. However due to work on the university’s Warwick 20:20 project ran over, many rooms were unavailable, and rooms previously booked for events and the Bring and Buy were cancelled at last minute, or closed early.
Accommodation: I missed the convention’s accommodation application, so stayed in a lovely AirBnB. However from what I saw and heard over the con, accommodation proved to be an issue as several buildings were closed for refurbishments by the university after people had booked and paid for them, and were moved to accommodation 20 minutes away, which lacked disabled rooms. However others also enjoyed the accommodation, and the community.
No score as I did not stay at the con’s accommodation.
Fellow Attendees: No bad experiences with anybody, only good times, and great cosplays and meets. Everybody I encountered were friendly and helpful, with a great community feel felt by everybody. The only issue was some littering at night around d the outside area.
Final Comments and Score:
Overall the con was enjoyable and well worth all the negatives, despite being marred by the delay of Warwick 20:20. Due to the delay there shall be no Kitacon at Warwick next year, and if Amecon is to take place in 2020, it will likely be on a much smaller scale, or another location. Altogether I give this con a score of 7.5/10