We’re back for another year of our local convention. It’s always surprising and cool to see the growth or changes from one year to another. As with previous years, the convention takes place in the Convention Center in Downtown Vancouver just a few steps from the Waterfront Station.
As expected, the line was quite long for people picking up their badges for the convention. Anime Revolution has gotten better each year with the lines in terms of shortening the time they have to wait. I can’t really think of too many solutions but maybe badges being mailed can be something they can do in the future. Picking up the Press Badge which acts sort of like a VIP badge is quite fast as there is a separate line for it. I will note we received a press badge for attendance. That doesn’t mean we will give it a favorable review as we’ll still give our honest experience at the convention.
One of the places, we almost always visit together first is the dealer’s hall. It’s nice to go see it and note anything one might want to pick up over the weekend. Not to mention, it’s a good way to pass the time and to meet up with people you may know. I spent the majority of this weekend with local friends and a friend that flew in to attend the convention. Overall, the dealer’s hall is similar to previous years with a variety of shops setup.
The booth that really stood out was the AniRevo booth selling their own merch. There was a surprisingly large amount of it and we even picked up some lanyards as the design and art on it were very good. As you can see, the booth is quite stocked and has a big variety of goods to go around. Just in case you needed a Senmei umbrella, they’ve got you covered.
They even had a variety of other goods including mousepads, stickers, shirts, and even acrylic stands. Let’s just say there is definitely a Japanese influence to the merch and definitely looks pretty good. If nothing else, they are certainly good at branding and design for their mascot.
They even have cars on display including an AniRevo car. It looks pretty good and makes for a nice display. There was also an assortment of other vehicles and other things out for display in the dealer’s hall aside from just the various shops. This includes the artist’s alley and various tables and a small stage. This area was used for tabletop and card games in addition to other games. There were also lines for guest signatures and autographs.
The definite highlight of AniRevo this year was definitely the selection of guests that were invited. This included the musical guests of Asaka, Tam & Akai Ryusei, and yanaginagi. To say the musical guest list was impressive would be an understatement. This concert was an additional cost and required a separate ticket. It seems a little on the expensive side considering the cost of the convention already. However, it was understandable just based on the guest list for it and it was pretty much a full-length concert. The biggest highlight was definitely yanaginagi which is the main reason my friend travelled up to AniRevo 2019. This was an amazing concert and was definitely worth every penny considering the performance.
Just the lineup here gives you a pretty good display of how many people attended this concert. This doesn’t even include the VIP and priority lines at the front. It stretched out passed the corner on the left and was probably the most attended event at the entire convention. In between the various panels and events including the concert, we attended press interviews that will likely be posted sometime in the future with the guests. It’s always a cool experience to talk and learn more about the guests of honors.
In addition to the concert, there were a whole bunch of screenings and panels going on throughout the convention weekend. Some of them were definitely must-attend events including the guest Q&A and the live recording show they have each year. They bring in a sound director and get the guests to live voice act lines. It’s actually really cool if you’ve never seen it before. It gives you a good glimpse into the roles that VAs and a sound director play during a recording session.
Now let’s talk a bit about the things that could certainly be improved. One of the biggest things is dealing with lines. This a bit of a problem in every single convention I have ever been to. Just having dedicated areas for lineups would help a lot. Even with marked areas outside of rooms, if attendance gets too big, it starts taking up space that makes it hard to move in-between areas. This is especially true for capped panels where the lines are longer than the number of seats.
Overall, I would say AniRevo 2019 was an improvement over previous years with a more streamlined pickup process and just making better use of space. For a local convention in a city as small as Vancouver, this is a well-run event for the most part. The guests are treated with respect and the staff and volunteers are very helpful and friendly. They do need to work a bit on figuring out lines and dealing with other issues but overall the future looks bright.