Sakura-Con '14: post-con impressions


Lots to do, little to talk about

Whenever an event proves to be uneventful, less-than-impressive, or just generally underwhelming, I prefer to take a few days to really gather some perspective before unloading on it. That's not to say Sakura-Con was less-than-impressive, or uneventful -- it was a large convention and there seemed to be plenty to do. On the other hand, underwhelming might be an apt description of my experience, and that's unfortunate because it wasn't a bad convention. Allow me to explain. 

There was plenty of cosplay to be had, and the exhibit floor was fairly large, allowing anyone in attendance the opportunity to blow through loads of cash on their favorite anime, merchandise, costume essentials, and so on. Leaving the exhibit hall, you could stumble into their manga library and lose yourself for hours. Women in attendance could even drop a few extra bucks to be dressed up in a kimono, complete with make-up -- men too, I imagine, though I didn't see any try. There were also concerts, anime screenings and dubbed premieres. There was a lot to do, no denying that. So what exactly was the problem? The convention itself seemed dead-set on making our jobs as journalists as difficult as possible.

It's true that Sakura-Con provided us with passes to attend the convention, however those passes were provided with the expectation that we'd be there to work and share our experiences with you, our readers. Industry players such as Dark Horse, Funimation, Aniplex, Yen Press and others, were all on-hand to present their latest announcements, not only to the public, but to the press whom they rely upon to share that news with readers from around the globe. Practically every convention understands this necessity and guarantees members of the press an opportunity to attend these panels, as it is mutually beneficial to the industry, the press, and the public at large. Sakura-Con does not.

Anyone who has attended the convention will likely tell you of the difficulty they've had making it into a popular panel. Lines usually start about half an hour before a panel, though we were often encountering lines forming as early as 45 minutes out. As a member of the press,  we were expected to show up at every major industry panel to report on news and announcements, and most panels would be scheduled to run an entire hour. Unfortunately, many of these panels would be scheduled back-to-back. Seeing as members of the press were not being provided with guaranteed seating, a problem quickly presents itself. How can we be there to report on the news you need when we need to be lining up early for the next panel? It just wasn't going to happen.

We had also intended to interview several of the guests present at the convention -- as did several other major outlets, including Anime News Network. However, we were informed that, despite having had the opportunity to request one-on-one interviews, we had not been granted any. Word through the grapevine seemingly confirmed that no other outlets were granted individual interviews either, and that the only interviews to be had would be conducted in a group panel setting, with no offer of exclusivity. Rather than report the same exact interview as every other outlet, we opted to not take part in this process. It's enough to make you wonder if someone in the office dropped the ball, or got lazy and said "Okay, f**k it, let's forget about scheduling interviews and just do it all in one go. Nobody will mind." 

Ultimately there was cool stuff going on, but the fact of the matter is that due to these restrictions, we were left with little to nothing to report as a result. It's a shame really, and maybe the convention will take the appropriate steps to correct these issues in the future. Considering some of these issues have persisted for several years though, I'm not optimistic. Maybe we'll have some cosplay galleries to share with you guys to make up for it. Until then, all we can really do is apologize for the lack of interesting Sakura-Con related content, and assure you all it's not for lack of trying.

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Tim Sheehy
Tim SheehyContributor   gamer profile

Tim is the former Editor-in-Chief of Japanator, a content media specialist by day, and pro-blogger by night. His posts can be found scattered throughout the Modern Method network. Also, he writes... more + disclosures



Filed under... #Cons #Editorial #Sakura-Con



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