This was my first time at ALA (Days 2 and 3) and I had a so-so experience. The only con I've gone to is AX (since '06) so this was my first anime convention other than the massive behemoth that AX has become. I'm hoping to find a smaller con that suits me well and I'm not so sure if ALA is it...
First off, I must say that everyone is so amazingly nice. The staff and congoers were all friendly, which definitely put a smile on my face. I mostly hung around the pool deck and lobby, which although crowded at times, were still great areas. Unfortunately, not many of the panels or guests of honor interested me so I only attended one, and ended up leaving another prematurely.
The dealer's hall felt extremely small to me. For the amount of people that go to ALA I was expecting it to be a bit... bigger? Nothing there really caught my eye. Though I didn't really have anything in mind, I was hoping to find one or two items that would make me go "oh! I never thought of wanting it but I know I need it in my life!" The only thing I purchased was a plushie which I now know is just an arpakasso knockoff... so I feel quite ripped off since I could've gotten a legit one for the same price or cheaper had I waited 7 months...
One thing I really enjoyed was Con Suite! Though I only discovered it on Day 3 I think it's such an amazing idea. It definitely makes ALA feel more intimate and it warms my heart to think we could get free food~
What really added some negative points to my ALA experience other than the abnormally large amount of people with con funk was the Doki Doki Maid Cafe. I'm sorry but please PLEASE invite a different maid cafe to ALA next year. They practically ruined my day 3. I would elaborate more on how horrible my experience was with them but I know they're not exactly affiliated with ALA. (But if you really want to know you could probably find my blog post through google or something...)
Overall, I really wanted to like ALA more but I think it may not be for me. I'm not into the whole ribbon collecting thing nor am I into spazzing out with other congoers over anime and manga. If I go next year, perhaps I should get a room and get drunk to really have a good time. But I don't think I should have to get drunk to fully enjoy a con... Though I didn't feel like ALA was too cramped (perhaps since I'm all too familiar with how overcrowded AX is,) I can only imagine that ALA would hugely benefit from procuring a bigger venue.
Last edited by chireiyu : 01-08-2013 at 02:36 AM.