Ohayocon 2011 Review: Some kind of difference
When it comes to anime conventions, there's something quite the same about each of them; they all have guests, they all have dances, masquerades, video games, etc. Many of these cons grow, get lots of attendees, and are quite a bit of fun for everyone.
Only about a dozen, however, ever get over 10,000 attendees. Something about Ohayocon makes fans come back: and with about a thousand new friends every year. Despite our gentle knocking of the rave last year, we thought it was pretty awesome. This year was great too: and with those dance problems solved.
We went to Ohayocon for the second time this year, also setting up our own free photobooth. The press relations staff were great at helping us have a place to take pictures, and we got to take hundreds of people's pictures all weekend.
view Ohayocon 2011 pictures
The dances were among the highlights this year. Although I may have wished the formal ball lasted longer (I can't have everything I want), the music was well chosen, and there were many awesome formal outfits. Both raves had great DJs as well; you could feel the floor shake (let's consider that a good thing). They could fit a lot more attendees in the dance room, solving the biggest problem I noticed from last year.
Events started in a reasonable amount of time, and there were signs everywhere to help direct people - always a welcome relief compared to getting lost in such a large convention space. Staff, with a couple of exceptions, were inviting and friendly, keeping the convention orderly.
Ohayocon had tons of panels, but that's to be expected with thousands of attendees. There was always something interesting to see or do.
Several attendees had said the masquerade skits were disappointing (and we agreed), but that can't be blamed on the convention. There were still tons of amazing costumes to be found all weekend.
If you attend several cons, you may have noticed that Ohayocon's crowd seems a little more mature, or a little older, than the ones you might see elsewhere (probably 16 to 26 year olds, rather than 14 to 24 year olds). Just like last year they seem to be a little more mellow... while playing Morton's list, we couldn't get so much as half of the large stairwell to sing the pokemon theme song. In the end, though, that's probably a good thing.
Just as we mentioned last year, the Hyatt is always a clean, nice looking convention center. I'm still curious as to why the convention uses mostly the Hyatt rather than the large attached convention center. In my experience, upscale chain hotels are significantly more expensive than government-owned convention centers. Convention centers owned by a regional convention authority tend to give significant discounts to 10,000-person conventions, thanks to the economic benefits they bring. I'll update this if I hear anything.
Don't misunderstand: the space is wonderful, as keeping things in the Hyatt keeps events closer together, and keeps attendees near the food court and their hotel rooms. Last year's very long walk to the main events ballroom wasn't necessary this year, as the Hyatt had finished a new/remodeled ballroom.
Gaming looked a little better this year; watching people dance with the XBox Kinnect games was cool. Still had less than we expected, but maybe we just ask for too much.
Ohayocon is something few other cons can replicate. Bringing together over 10,000 attendees, keeping people safe, and creating a fun weekend is no easy task, but Ohayocon is as smooth as Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper. Looking forward to 2012.