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Unread 03-28-2013, 12:20 PM   #1
Hime no Toki
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Anime Matsuri 2013: Feedback Thread

This thread is for posting your thoughts/opinions on Anime Matsuri 2013!

From your experience this year, what were the pros and cons? What were the highlights and lowlights? Would you return again next year?

Also, you can discuss the particulars of the convention, such as the events, panels, masquerade, dances, etc., as well as what you thought about the con and hotel staff, the guests, convention space, food, dealer's room, attendees, and whatever else pertaining to this year's Anime Matsuri!
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Unread 04-01-2013, 08:55 AM   #2
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Cons: Not sure if it was what I was wearing that weekend, but the place felt hot almost all over. And it didn't help that the hallways to the panel rooms and artist alley felt pretty cramped. I probably lost like 10 lbs just sweating them off, haha.

Pros: It was good seeing some new vendors in the dealers room, it's always good to see some fresh faces. And kudos to inviting the food trucks this year and having them just across the street. This made getting food very accessible.
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Unread 04-01-2013, 01:29 PM   #3
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Cons:

While the Hotel itself was bigger, the convention area was not. The Dealer's room and Artist alley especially suffered because of this. Compared with last year's venue the space they were given was ridiculous considering the amount of traffic that would going through. It was absurd that you couldn't stop to browse without possibly holding up traffic.
Even the lobby was pretty bad, what with the spontaneous dance numbers that would break out on one side, the games set up on the other, and it really being the only area where people could get pictures without fear of totally blocking traffic. If I was going to sum up the whole con with one word it would be "cramped".

Trying to get to the floors above was a headache. Between the congestion around the elevators which never came and were always packed ( I heard elevators got sunk because of the amount of people trying to get on) and the only set of escalators which stopped running at one point (expected I know), it was a wonder anyone got where they needed to go. And yes the fact that the DJ was placed right off the escalator which was also right near the main hall where the big events took place did not help the situation.
The quickest and sometimes only way to get down from above if you weren't too high up was to use the stairwells to get back down. However, the space was tight and the steps were precarious, especially with people going up and down passed you. This was not a issue for me since I had flat boots on but I imagine it might have been a problem for other people with less forgiving footwear and cumbersome costumes.

Also, I understand and appreciate the security, but being stuck in entrances because security is waiting for two or more people to retrieve their badges from wherever it is on their person was annoying after the first couple of times. While alone this would not have been a horrible thing, it overall added to the congestion and feeling of being packed on top of each other.

I don't know about the timing or spacing of the panels since I didn't even try getting to them after I missed a few because I couldn't get to/find them. I did notice that because the panel rooms were so close together that the waiting lines would merge together at which point it became confusing where the lines began and which line was waiting for what. I didn't even bother trying to get in line for autographs even though I very much would have liked to. Also the lack of descriptions on panels did not help matters.
Some of the events were placed in rooms that were too small for the amount people who be there and thus the con funk was pretty bad. For example the sleeping samurai and gaming rooms became unbearable after not to long.

Dealing with all the homeless people was a little unerving, especially when you are in costume and carrying around your bags and prop.

Having to deal with rude unknowledgeable staff.


Pros:

The things I did enjoy about the venue was the outside location. There was plenty of parking places aside from the one for the hotel. Also, there were plenty of places to eat nearby and the food trucks outside were a great place to grab something. The outside entertainment was also a plus and a nice break from the stuffy confines of the hotel ( I agree Robbykun, the interior did seem a little more warm then expected, thank god I had my fan). I also enjoyed that there were a lot of great locations for cosplay photoshoots that were within a short walking distance.

I was also happy to see a wider variation among the vendors, as compared to last year where it seemed like the majority of the vendors were carrying more or less the exact same merchandise. And even though I did not get a chance to see any of the guests, I did think they had a great lineup of people. I am still crying over not getting Matt Mercer's or Johnny Yong Bosch's autograph.

Thoughts:

The Hotel was impressive and overall it was a good con, though not great. For me the highlights of the convention were the people I meet/hung out with. Despite the low points, I will still be back next year if I can make it.
However,I do feel that they should try to find another venue either in Houston or back in the Woodlands for next year with a hotel/convention center combination to accommodate for the amount of guests, special attendees, and events that are being held. While the Hyatt had a lot going for it, there were just to many issues that don't have any sort of fix.

Last edited by A14jojo : 04-02-2013 at 10:46 PM.
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Unread 04-01-2013, 02:20 PM   #4
onikitsune
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Cons
Packed hotel elevators(luckily my room was on the 7th floor, wasn't that bad of a walk up stairs), hotel didn't have luggage storage, high traffic in the artist ally, confusing panel lines that would merge, no descriptions on panels, wasn't much to do on Saturday, never did find the Karaoke room and I was really looking forward to that.

Pros
I liked being able to see the lobby/Artist Alley/line for Cosplay contest from the balcony, the Brony Karaoke panel, Erin Fitzgerald in the Persona 4 and Scary Cool panels, food trucks, nice photo shoot locations, Dealers Room was huge!
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Unread 04-01-2013, 05:13 PM   #5
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Pros:
- always good to see a good number of vendors/dealers/artists
- food trucks just across the street

Cons:
-a bit warm in the lobby.
-panel locations were close to each other and finding them was kind of difficult
-very crowded and cramp. Twas a bit tedious having to to go up and down flights of stairs or wait for the elevators.
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Unread 04-01-2013, 11:16 PM   #6
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My biggest complaint was the Hyatt's lobby bar. It is supposed to be a lobby bar, where alcohol is served. Turning it into a junk food depository was a bad idea. At the very least, it could have been used as an actual lobby bar in the evening. I am seriously tempted to call the host hotel for Akon and make sure that THEIR bar is staying open.

The other thing that was terrible was having all the bemani machines around the lobby. Really the lobby was a disaster since it was the only open area where you could find a spot that you weren't on top of other people constantly. People would line up to play them and there would be no room to walk by, plus it was really noisy. This also didn't help with the temperature of the hotel. It was an oven. I spent almost the entire weekend outside since it was so horrifically warm indoors and so beautiful outdoors.
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Unread 04-02-2013, 12:52 AM   #7
Angii
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Essentially going to repeat what everybody else said, but eh.

The hotel itself was cramped with very little room, causing for some serious heat issues in which I had to go outside just to cool off, and then come back in, deal with security, and rinse and repeat. While I understand the purpose of security, I also have to complain about just how strict they were. My mother and I were checking into the hotel, bringing all of our luggage in through the parking garage, and we got carded. My mom doesn't get badges anymore as I'm plenty old enough to handle myself at a con without her following along, and I hadn't gotten mine yet, so we had to argue with the guard on how we were guests of the hotel, had a room key, and that it shouldn't matter if we're with the con (which, when you're carrying a wig stand with some pretty eccentric wigs, I don't see how he thought we weren't), we should be allowed to come in the hotel.

Also, I don't know if I was the only one who had to deal with it, but I had to check some of my props twice into weapons check just to please security and their need to have the proper color wristband around my weapons, which I thought was just stupid. Yes, I'm totally going to be safe with my staff on Friday, but on Sunday? No, totally going to hit people with it because I have the wrong day's wristband attached. /sarcasm

The positioning of Artist's Alley was horrible, and as I've said several times to people I was with, I'm sorry for the artists stuck in it. There was no room for people to walk by, and for those in the cramped up little room, I'm sorry that I couldn't properly peruse your wares, because I couldn't stand being in there for too long. The Dealer's room was okay, although I didn't really go down there and check it out, so I can't say anything definite. The one time I did go down, though, it seemed rather nice down there.

As far as events and other things went, I have to say that it was a confusing experience between just locating the proper room and knowing when exactly that event would take place, or in the case of the AMV contest, if it would happen (Which, again, so sorry for anybody who entered. The staff should have been so much more professional with their equipment than what they were) and even once you got to a panel, whether or not they had the equipment they needed or if the room was set up was questionable. The elevators were a mess that just a simple line and line leader to help organize traffic flow would have been nice and easy fix (Also, every time staff called a "staff elevator" for 5 people, I wanted to punch somebody in the face.). I had friends working in certain panels that they couldn't bear to stay in due to con funk and heat, and the games in the lobby didn't help keep things from being cramped.

Complaint on my mom's side was that the venue wasn't favorable for anybody who wasn't a heavy sleeper, as all the noise traveled upwards and into the rooms.

My verdict?
The location was the downfall. While an excellent idea in concept, once in application the hotel was not favorable for artists, cosplayers, staff, or security alike. The con area decreased in favor of having more people attend, which unfortunately, doesn't make a lick of sense to me. The photo areas were fantastic, but unfortunately, all the convention panels and events were held inside, and therefore held the mass of people that prevented air circulation and trapped all kinds of body heat. Security was simply trying to do its job, but they ended up more in the way than anything else, and con staff seemed utterly clueless in how to assist panels (from what I saw) and in helping set up those panels.

tl;dr: Con was cramped and hot and bad. Not coming back next year, but I also can't anyway since I'll be in a different state. :P
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Unread 04-02-2013, 03:52 PM   #8
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While I rather enjoyed myself this past weekend, I can understand why so many people had issues with the con. Before I get started on my personal review of the con, let me say that I hadnít been to a convention in several years, so my experiences may be biased.
Pros:
The attendees- my last con experience before this one (Onicon í09) was TERRIBLE!! I remember the attendees that year being especially immature and douchey. Perhaps thatís why I was pleasantly surprised by the behavior of AMs convention goers. Everyone I interacted with was courtesy and polite. There were only a few instances when I overheard juvenile insults and complaints being thrown around. And thank god, no memes constantly being shouted throughout the lobby!
The dealerís room- I actually liked the fact that the dealerís room was in the basement of the hotel. I know that this was a little off-putting to some attendees, but I like that this allowed the DR to really spread out and take advantage of all the room down there. There were lots of different vendors, and I especially like that there was a little concession stand set up down there in case you got a snack attack.
The food trucks- These were a lifesaver!!! The hotel restaurants were overpriced and underwhelming, so the food trucks really helped. The food was on the pricey side, but definitely worth it IMO. The chicken and waffle truck was AMAZING!
The Marvel Cosplay contest/ World Cosplay Summit- While I found the main cosplay contest to be underwhelming (mainly due to the teenagers behind me who couldnít keep quiet) I was blown away by the MCC and WCS. The entrants in both of these competitions were phenomenal.
Cons:
The lack of space-like others have stated, everything was very, very cramped. The hotel, while nice, just didnít have the space to accommodate a convention as large as AM. Artist Alley in particular felt like being squeezed in a smelly, sweaty vise.
The elevators- I feel really, really bad for the attendees who were on the higher floors. I had it pretty easy on the 9th floor, so the times I had to climb up from the lobby were only a little exhausting. For those who had rooms on the upper levels, I can only imagine what it was like having to climb the stairs because of the lack of elevators.
Security- I completely understand the need for security and weapons check, but there were a few overzealous staffers (I believe they were hotel staff) who were really rude to attendees. I got yelled at as soon as I walked in the doors for not having my sword checked. The staffer clearly saw me struggling to get my badge on over my wig while juggling my wallet, phone, and AM guide.
The con layout-I realize that this was mainly due to the lack of space in the hotel, but having the con spread out over multiple levels was really confusing. When you take into account the lack of elevators, it made getting around the con really difficult.
Overall, I enjoyed my time at AM and canít wait for the next con.
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Unread 04-02-2013, 07:59 PM   #9
yamibakura03
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Angii View Post
Also, I don't know if I was the only one who had to deal with it, but I had to check some of my props twice into weapons check just to please security and their need to have the proper color wristband around my weapons, which I thought was just stupid. Yes, I'm totally going to be safe with my staff on Friday, but on Sunday? No, totally going to hit people with it because I have the wrong day's wristband attached. /sarcasm
Your not the only one. Im pretty sure other people had to deal with it as well.

Pros: I met awesome people I wanted to meet and I had fun getting items signed (especially from Johnny Bosch).
I also liked the food trucks outside the convention area because lets face it, the hotel food may taste good but the price is high.
dealer's room: I actually liked the variety of it and even bought some items I didn't think I will find it. The snack area where ramune and pocky was sold was great, I bought plenty to take home for the family.

Cons:

Just like Angii mention, security staff were overboard and took me by surprised when they pull me out to get my weapons check. I had the color band on friday and I even ask one of the staff members if it be okay for tomorrow so that I won't have to deal with it or go through with them again. She said it was fine, but saturday came and I wore the same outfit in the afternoon and I noticed people had other color bands which I was unaware of. Luckily, the guy who was there was kind enough to change the color band just to avoid any trouble from other staffs, but I didn't really didn't see the point in it since its already marked as safe.

Hotel: The hotel was lovely but god was it hot those days. I was sweating more then the usual in my outfit that I had to literally go outside and take some air. The elevators were cramp and I walked the stairs often but I felt bad for those who had their rooms in the other levels.

Panel rooms/events/ etc:

I was disappointed with the console rooms. It was not only small, but cramp and had the usual funk smell I remember enduring when I was a Game staff.
There were some areas I didn't know how to get there and the map didn't really help much, plus some panels started late.
After the bloopers panel on friday, I was sitting down waiting for the next panel and this staff girl was rude yelling at people to get out if they weren't 18+. Then she said for those who were staying to show some ID's, which we were ready to do so but she change her mind and rudely ask us to leave.
I understand your doing your job, but no need to yell at people especially in front of the VA's who were leaving from the previous panel. It made me not want to stay there if I was going to be treated like an idiot.

Saturday night: The concert lines for the events were huge. Not only did Eyeshine concert started later then the actual timing, but those who waited in line early (like myself) and those who got there late were confused which line was it for the show. It got sorted out later after we told a staff that the line next to the escalators were there first and the rest of the line was in the wall on the right side.

I also didn't realize there was this snack area nearby the Main event hallway, but it was really secluded and half of the time hidden by people who were standing there.

Thoughts: I liked the hotel and even tho I didn't stayed there (i stayed in the doubletree). I had fun spending time with friends and newer friends and I know I be back to AM the next year. I just hope they pay attention to their schedules and improved on their staff because half the time I asked a question, they didn't have any clues of what was going on or there were too busy.
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Unread 04-04-2013, 09:12 AM   #10
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Well I finally sat down and actually wrote a con report for this con, it's pretty close to what everyone else said, but I'll go ahead and post it: http://conreview.webs.com/apps/blog/...uri-houston-tx
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Unread 07-05-2013, 06:34 PM   #11
lunaladyoflight
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Anime Matsuri 2013
Hyatt Regency Houston
1200 Louisiana St
Houston, TX 77002

I had a good time at this convention, and I can't speak on price because my badge and hotel were comped for being a World Cosplay Summit preliminary winner. It was TOO cramped though. It reminded me of Youmacon which we have up in Michigan. The hotel is horribly laid out for an anime convention and it was hard to find our way around. The elevators became a TERRIBLE problem on the busy days, and we actually got harassed by bums outside the convention coming back from getting food.

I bought some nice things in the Artist Alley and Dealer's room, but the location was WAY too small. I'd recommend an attendance cap until they can move to a bigger location.
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