Another Anime Convention is a growing anime and gaming convention held annually in southern New Hampshire. It features the standard con fare: panels, concerts, gaming, cosplay contests and performances, a combined artist alley/dealer's room, dance, formal ball, and several 18+ events.
or its fifth anniversary, AAC returned to the Radisson Hotel in Nashua, aptly nicknamed "The Castle." To celebrate, the convention’s theme was “Gothic Horror,” although similar to past themes, it was reflected more by cosplayers attending the convention than by the convention itself. Unfortunately, the only “horror” at AAC 2010 was the convention itself, which instead of improving with age has deteriorated from a really enjoyable local event to an obnoxious, poorly run, immature debacle. Gross errors bogged down the entire weekend from unavailable and incorrect program guides to abandoned guests, and a masquerade mishandled so atrociously by its organizers that they stopped the show halfway through to apologize to everyone in attendance for their own incompetence. The aggressive and rude attitude of the convention staff continued to escalate from last year, and attendees behavior has gotten so poor that it culminated in several con-goers stealing and setting fire to a Hetalia cosplayer’s flag. The entire convention has become a disgrace, and nothing could convince me to ever attend AAC again.
After several poor experiences at this event in 2009 I was reluctant to return. However, I had enjoyed AAC in the past, so when Sketch was invited to bring his TARDIS to the event to be used in the masquerade and we were invited to help entertain the audience during the show, we decided to give it another shot. Friday morning Sketch and I arrived and with Katy’s help we assembled the TARDIS in main events. Sketch and I set up shop in Artist’s Alley but were unable to get a program; due to printing errors, only attendees who arrived on Thursday got one. It was pretty useless anyway, as many panels changed times, rooms, or those running them did not show up. That afternoon I was helping Christa with a photoshoot in the conference room when one of the guests was struggling to sit. I helped him get a seat and check his e-mail, but seemed to be in poor health and had no one to assist him. Afterwards I directed him to his panel room; even for those without his physical challenges, it was difficult to navigate the con as none of the rooms had signs posted outside unless the panelist made the sign themselves, which most did not. Some guests’ panels sat empty because attendees were without programs, accurate schedules, or appropriate signage to direct them. It was a boring day until Steve’s party panel, which was fun mostly because we were tanked.
Saturday I wore my Rosette costume, but there was nothing much to do but wander. In the halls, attendees were once again out of control, running around and blasting music from boom boxes which drowned out panelists with open doors near them. Con security staff witnessing this did nothing, but they did continue to rudely demand badges from people just walking down the hall. That evening we changed into our Doctor Who costumes to entertain the masquerade audience while the judges decided on awards. When we arrived at main events, however, there was a huge drama where certain staff members wanted to block us from performing because it was “unnecessary.” This was incredibly inconsiderate since we’d been invited to the convention for this purpose. Ultimately somebody said God Knows What to somebody else and the whole thing was back on. The masquerade itself was an absolute disaster; to start, the director had failed to organize, test, or many cases even UNZIP the audio files sent to her by contestants prior to the show. The staff attempted to blame their lack of preparedness on the fact that a band took too long using main events, but the audio should have been tested and organized weeks ahead of time and ready for playback before the show. There is no excuse for that but sheer laziness and it is abhorrent. As a result, the vast majority of skits had the wrong audio or it became messed up halfway through and the performance needed to be restarted. The lighting crew similarly didn't have time to test their cues ahead of time and they were rife with errors, and the list given to the Emcee was completely out of order. I felt terrible for the young and nervous performers who had to worry about their tech going wrong, being announced incorrectly and having to perform multiple times. Even WORSE, no one on tech staff bothered to secure the stairs up to the stage to the platform, and two performers hurt themselves pretty badly when one was carrying another and the stairs slid out from under them. They lay in a heap, not getting up for several minutes, and nobody on staff came to see of they were OK. Finally, the masquerade coordinator, in a display of complete unprofessionalism, interrupted the show more than once to apologize for her own inability to run the show. It was too bad, considering some of the performances themselves were pretty good and deserved a more well-organized show. I especially liked the Majora’s Mask skit and the girls who performed a Moulin Rouge parody that had the audience on their feet. As for our own skit, it’s a good thing they did not cancel it as they DID need the filler between the show and the AMVs; it was a silly thing that involved the Doctor Who cast dancing around like nutcases, but the crowd loved it.
Sunday I wore Miku and helped Steve and Lindsay advertise their trivia panel so ensure people showed up to it. That afternoon I helped to break down the TARDIS with several nice guys who turned out to be AMV editors I’d competed against for years but had never actually met: Bashar of the Ages and Lantis. I’d admired their work for a long time and it was awesome to actually chat with them in person. Similarly, they joked, “We always wondered who Shiva was!” After packing up the car we hit up Steve and Lindsay’s trivia panel, which was fun and the winners received free passes to Anime Boston, so it was worthwhile for those who participated. That afternoon we headed home; we had enjoyed hanging out with friends but the convention itself is no longer worthwhile.