Can you believe it has already been 3 years since I’ve last been to my local convention? Anime Revolution last ran back in 2019 due to the outbreak of Covid-19. Well, Anime Revolution was finally back in 2022 and people were excited, to say the least. So how does the con hold up in 2022? What has changed? Read on to find out!
It was a beautiful morning in Downtown Vancouver as I made my way toward the Vancouver Convention Centre. For once, there was no line outside for the convention as it looks like most badges were picked up on the previous day, or maybe it just happened to be Friday morning. This was an area of improvement in previous years as the lines were known to be long for badge pickup or to buy new badges.
Once inside, the lineup for badges was pretty sparse and well organized. There was a general line for both badge pickup and sales. On the right side, there was an Infobooth area used to pick up premium passes and also our press badge. As with previous years, we were fortunate enough to be able to obtain a press pass in order to attend the convention. Just as before, that does not mean we will give the convention a favorable review or a general thumbs up, we’ll still be sharing our honest opinions on the convention.
After picking up my badge for the convention, I headed downstairs to make my way to coat check in order to drop off my luggage. I was actually headed down to Seattle in the evening and brought a weekend’s worth of clothing and such with me. The coat check area was located near the middle of the line for the dealer’s hall which was quite long as seen above. Needless to say, people were certainly excited to release their inner splurge as this may be the first convention they’ve been back to in a long time. It was nice to see that the line was quite organized and as the dealer’s hall was opened, people were let in at a reasonable pace.
However, the lineup for the main events hall was a bit of a different story. Can you tell based on this photo alone where the start or end of the line was? Well, this line snaked quite a few times and had some markings on the floor as well as some barriers. The problem was that there wasn’t enough staff to watch the majority of it as people made their way through it. In addition, there was no marking for people with premium badges even though they had priority access. They just simply had to know to make their way all the way to the front and walk by everyone else while getting stared down. This was made worse as not all the volunteers knew about premium badges or press badges. This has been a common occurrence in the past and still seems to be an issue this year.
Of course, once you made your way inside, you’ll quickly find the main events hall which was quickly packed and most seats were full. This was just for the opening ceremony so you can already see where this is going for the majority of the weekend. The excitement was very palpable once inside as the ceremony started with multiple guests speaking as well as AniRevo staff. The biggest guests this year included Ouro Kronii and IRyS from Hololive English and they had a prerecorded message during the opening ceremony. There were definitely some superfans there based on the response they got. 🙂 An unfortunate reality is that this room is just not big enough given that people were turned away at the door as the room met capacity.
With just a few hours left before I had to make my way down to the airport, I decided to head down to the dealer’s hall once it was opened to take a walk around. My initial impression while smaller than years past and a bit emptier. It was still a decent space and had a lot of people pass through. They could definitely use the space a bit better here as there was a stage area in the back near the artist’s alley. It was quite loud and I could see how it may be detracting people from looking to pick up some art. Imagine having to sell art all weekend next to some loudspeakers because that is what it felt like.
I would say after going to three conventions this year that the biggest cosplays have to be Genshin Impact. As you can see above, there are quite a few Genshin cosplayers and hopefully, you like Genshin because you’ll be seeing a lot of it. Try playing a game of counting Genshin cosplayers and you’ll end up with a very large number by the end of any con. (Trust me, we did just that at Otakuthon 2022.)
With very little time left, I had to make my way out to the airport to catch an evening flight down to Seattle. Let’s just say the airports are not exactly in the best shape right now due to demand and lack of operational staff. Since I had to leave, I was able to coordinate with my secondary correspondent and my photographer for them to help experience the rest of the convention.
Some of the feedback I received was very similar to what I had experienced on Friday when I was at AniRevo 2022. The lineups were a bit of a mess at times and people were lining up everywhere to try to make their way into different event halls and panel rooms. This is partially due to the design of the convention center and the way lines were set up. The main events hall was also too small given the size of the events that it was hosting. This was experienced in prior years even with ticketed events. Maybe it’s time to consider using a bigger hall for main events or moving some of the rooms around. Again, it’s hard to fault them entirely since plans for AniRevo were on hiatus for the past 2 years due to Covid.
The worst of the bunch of lines from what I heard was for the IRyS concert which was not a ticketed event and had a line that reached outside the convention center. The general consensus was that they needed more staff and volunteers to oversee the line as it got quite large and was hard to know exactly where you needed to line up. Not to mention there not being a cutoff for when the room would likely be full. If anything, this has been a constant problem I have seen in the majority of conventions I have been to. On one hand, it is hard to gauge how much space you have and how big a line has to be. On the other hand, it would be great if you can somehow find a balance.
As stated previously, the IRyS concert was the most attended event based on information from our other attendees and from some friend groups. The room was very packed and people were very excited. It goes to show how popular VTubers have become in the past few years. The combination of conventions and VTubers has certainly grown as both AniRevo and Otakuthon invited VTubers this year.
So what are anime conventions like in 2022? Honestly, not that different from previous years for better or for worse. It really is great that fans and guests alike can finally attend conventions again. Is it worth getting out there and going to one? I’d say it is if you’re willing to accept the risks. They are busy and there will be a large gathering of people but it is certainly a fun experience with others. Is AniRevo 2022 perfect? No, I wouldn’t say so but it is enjoyable and also happens to be my local con as well. It could really work on some of the organizational aspects especially when it comes to lineup management. Of course, this can be said for a lot of conventions, and really it is hard to not think that having to cancel multiple years leads to a different experience. It was certainly a breath of fresh air to see an anime convention back in Vancouver. Once again, thanks to AniRevo for inviting us this year and we hope to be back next year as well!
See you all in 2023!