So as you can see, Anime-Expo also referred to as AX in their community, has recently published an article based on its 2019 reflection. As I was reading this article, I grew pretty frustrated with the way they said some things. This is simply an article reviewing their reflection, my full Anime-Expo review will be released on a later date.
By referencing back to the 2017 reflection as I was unable to find the 2018 reflection, there was a noticeable lack of statistical data this year. It becomes difficult to ascertain if the difference in numeric data between 2019 and any other given year was an improvement or not. Sure, big numbers can be a good thing, but managing it is an entirely different beast. While I do not have the ability to speak on every attendee’ behalfs, there most definitely was a mixed reaction towards their experience at Anime-Expo purely based on the sheer number of attendees and Anime-Expo’s lack of infrastructure to house this crowd properly. Conversely, I did hear rumours that they have reserved the other infrastructures nearby such as the Staple Center which would have definitely helped the situation in the future.
What ticked me off mainly was specifically the music section of the article. It used the phrase, “Music fans were no doubt pleased as this year’s concerts,” while in fact, they only had two concerts; Aqours from Love Live at a smaller venue compared to 2018 and Yoshihiro Ike, a musical composer most noted for his works on Anime games. According to a few Aqour fans that I know, they didn’t mind the smaller venue as the price was similar to those of the previous year. The Novo which was used this year only had a capacity of 2,400 people compared to the Microsoft Theatre which was used last year and could house up to 7,100 people. On the other hand, a huge factor that could be attributed to the change in venue could be that the concert this year was exclusively Love Live Aqours versus last year where other Idol bands also performed as well. While I don’t blame Anime-Expo for this potential reservation mishap in regards to the Microsoft Theatre, I believe they could’ve managed it better, or at the very least, not overexaggerate the fan’s comments.
Despite the article having some issues, they did acknowledge some of the mistakes made this year, such as the disastrous lines on day one and the Artist Alley being heavily cramped during peak hours. While they claimed that these issues will be fixed by Anime-Expo 2020, I am still rather skeptical if the potential solution will be for the betterment or detriment of the convention such as the increased entrance security which was intended for the safety of the attendees, but created a huge backlash with the extremely long lines which might be the result of security overestimating the attendees count for day 1; however, it seems that Anime-Expo has asked for feedback from the attendees of the event after Anime-Expo 2019. Let’s hope that they’ll put the attendees’ feedback to good use.
While Anime-Expo has mentioned their volunteers being very impactful to the convention, from what I’ve seen on social media, and during the convention, there were mixed reactions towards the volunteers by both the attendees and myself. I noticed that many attendees complained and suggested, “adding more volunteers.” Merely adding more volunteers isn’t just going to work; If the main issue with the volunteers is their lack of training and communication skills, it’s only going to make the situation worse especially if Anime-Expo continues to add more bad volunteers. There’s also another issue that needs to be tackled, what can Anime-Expo do if a volunteer makes a mistake? Assuming the mistake isn’t too severe, volunteers come to help under their own volition so you can’t punish them too severely as doing so would discourage other potential volunteers and you can’t let it slide too easily as doing so would only make it seem like you’re lax. Hence, a possible solution is to include a volunteer’s name in some form of a website page or a dedicated volunteer page in the AX guidebook. This suggestion would potentially allow making complaints and compliments easier to link into a specific volunteer than generalizing the entire volunteer team as well as a way for AX to manage their volunteers more efficiently.
Overall, my reception of the Anime-Expo 2019 reflection has been rather neutral. I was initially expecting heavy exaggerations and stretches in complementary statements, but that was not the case this year, thankfully. I still have my skeptical thoughts of how AX will handle the situation for 2020 but, I’m hoping they will eventually regain the lost trust of many previous attendees overtime.
Be sure to look forward to my full review of AX 2019 alongside my friends, Sopix and Kay, with reflections of their first AX in the foreseeable future.