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SilverMiko

OTAKON 2011 Convention Feedback

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You guys know the drill but for those who don't-

This is for Otakon 2011 Con Feedback- what you liked, what worked, what didn't, Ice cold water $1!! Was something so awesome you just have to let us know? Did you see something that might be an issue? Let us know!

Constructive criticism please, no flames/trolling.

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I wanted to say that I had a wonderful time at this year's Otakon, as I've had every time that I've gone over seven years.

The only issue I really had with this year's con was the Saturday afternoon AMV contest/Fullmetal Alchemist Movie Premier. There were way too many people trying to squeeze through one small lobby, and while I understand that there are some scheduling issues, there must have been something that could have been done differently. In specific, I believe that the up escalator from the lobby should have been turned off because it was creating a safety hazard, and there should have been staffers on the second level keeping people from standing around gawking at the crowd. On the whole it was a minor issue that had the potential to turn into a very severe issue, and I would like very much to see it addressed.

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I have a few issues:

- There was a problem on Sunday afternoon with the security guards (blue shirts) forcing part of my group out of the convention center. My group and I had split up during the latter half of the con and were to meet up on the 4th floor to go to Con Feedback. While the half I was with was already upstairs waiting, the other half was down by the Otacafe and was forced out of the building by a guard that told them "Otakon is over, you have to get out." When one of my friends tried to explain that they were on their way to meet with us, he was told that she didn't care and that he and the rest needed to get out then and there. My main issue is how con goers can be forced out of the convention when it was technically still going on? My friends were stuck outside for almost an hour with no real way to contact me as my phone is kind of old and all of my texts were delayed going both ways because of reception. From what I've heard from several people they had issues with the "Blue shirted folks" as well, myself included.

- The cycling on and off of the AC on Friday. There were some parts of the building (the Otacafe for example) where it felt cool and comfortable for a while and then suddenly it got very hot and stuffy; and it wasn't crowded at all. I heard some people comment how it felt uncomfortable and I actually left because of how hot the building felt.

- There were still people stopping to dance and take photos in the middle of the walk way. And it wasn't just people trying to take a "quick" photo and go on their way, there were people setting up tripods like the not blocking the hallway rule didn't apply to them because they are "professionals".

I enjoy Otakon and have been attending since 1999 but seems like it's the same issues every year with security and people blocking hallways.

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So glad this thread is finally up!

First, I want to say I had a great time at Otakon. It's my 4th year now, and I always look forward to these 3 days. I can honestly say that when I finally walked into the BCC, a huge smile emerged onto my face - I felt at home in some odd way. It's really something I can't explain.

I would like to send a big thank you out to the staff - all of the ones I encountered answered my questions as well as they could, and were very courteous and kind. I'd like to send a special 'thank you' to the male staffer working the Information Booth by the Registration area on Friday night for letting me use his phone after mine died and my brother was an hour late to show up to our meetup spot - if anyone can get in contact with him, please tell him I sincerely appreciated it. I was crying before and almost teared up once the act of kindness had happened. It was incredibly incredibly nice on his part. I had only asked for a nickel because I was 5 cents short for the payphone, he offered me a dollar before I asked if I could borrow his phone. Above and beyond.

I only had two issues, but one of them is out of the con's control so I don't feel the need to really elaborate on it. I was hit on quite a bit over the weekend, which bugged me slightly, but it happens.

My main problem, however, was the hallway over Sharp St. I believe - in the past there had been tape on the floor, with arrows, and it was clearly designated as a no walking zone, with staff monitoring the hallway and making sure people knew. I remember even listening to alabaster/Jim talk about this on the ANN podcast he did a few weeks ago. Yet this year, there was no tape - there were people blatantly stopped along there just chatting with friends, taking pictures, etc. That hallway is my least favorite to walk through, and it was even worse this year. I couldn't really yell/tell people to move out of the way because my voice doesn't carry well, and I knew if I tried it would be in vain. But seriously - the lack of tape/acknowledgement of a no-walk-zone there this year bugged me horribly. :|

All in all, I had a wonderful experience at the con, and have been toying with the idea of gofering in the next year or two to help give back to the effort. Can't wait to see everyone next year!

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I have a few issues:

- There was a problem on Sunday afternoon with the security guards (blue shirts) forcing part of my group out of the convention center. My group and I had split up during the latter half of the con and were to meet up on the 4th floor to go to Con Feedback. While the half I was with was already upstairs waiting, the other half was down by the Otacafe and was forced out of the building by a guard that told them "Otakon is over, you have to get out." When one of my friends tried to explain that they were on their way to meet with us, he was told that she didn't care and that he and the rest needed to get out then and there. My main issue is how con goers can be forced out of the convention when it was technically still going on? My friends were stuck outside for almost an hour with no real way to contact me as my phone is kind of old and all of my texts were delayed going both ways because of reception. From what I've heard from several people they had issues with the "Blue shirted folks" as well, myself included.

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I also don't mean to doublepost, but I can't edit (past the 5 minute rule) so I'll add this here.

I went to the Madoka Magica premiere, which was awesome. I was a bit peeved that we started 30 minutes late, but it was understandable due to the amount of people who wanted in the room. The only thing that really got to me though was how disrespectful some of the fans were who asked questions to Atsuhiro Iwakami. The show itself is a bit messed up, I can admit, but asking an honored guest who traveled to be here and was excited to share this product with everyone if he was on drugs? I was so embarrassed to be in the room at that moment. A lot of the questions were actually not on the smart side. It was all stuff that he really couldn't answer, seeing as he was only the producer. Questions about character design and story were skitted around. I just wish people had more common sense.

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A few big issue that I saw.

1 to many Elevators and Escalators not working.

2 No sign saying what type of cooking oils that the food that the BCC was selling was cooked in.

3 The Line for Cosplay Burlesque maybe it's time for moving this to another location say 1st Mariner.

4 Large Photo shoots taking up way to much space in the Charles Street Entrance (Safety Issue, over heard a few BCC guards complaining about it).

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I had a blast this year! I was kept busy over the course of the weekend and barely had any downtime. It was exhausting but it was also really fun. xD

The only real frustration I had for the whole weekend was that the lineup for some of the panels were unclear and confusing. A group of us wanted to go to the Peter S. Beagle Q&A on Friday which was scheduled right before the Nobuo Uematsu Q&A, in Panel 1. There were already some people lined up along the wall and I couldn't find anybody with a staff badge/shirt or gofer badge nearby giving direction so we lined up too.. maybe it's because I'm a good little sheep who likes to follow the rules. We found out later that most of the people who were lined up were in line for Nobuo Uematsu that wasn't for another hour and people for the Peter S. Beagle panel could have just walked on in at any time. There was no indication of the line moving or that we were allowed in, nobody told us (or shouted in our general direction) that the line was for Nobuo and not Peter, and it wasn't until I got out of line to go up to the panel entrance and ask (after someone finally came over trying to direct the Nobuo crowd) that we learned we didn't need to be in a line at all. It felt like it was just assumed that we should know this unwritten rule of "if nobody tells you not to, you can go in," but with the line already forming, who's actually going to cut in front of everybody and try the door and go in like it's nothing?

I just felt like especially since the hallway was so small compared to other locations (it got very hot and crowded very fast in the hour before Nobuo's Q&A) there should have been a clearer system for the lines for Panel 1 & 2, like somebody there before hand separating people who were waiting for Peter vs. waiting for the panel who came after. Or at least somebody saying we didn't have to wait or something. I was very surprised because I remember in previous years there being clearer queuing systems, or at least a spec ops or gofer with a sign saying "LINE FOR ____ STARTS/ENDS HERE". And because nobody was there to tell us otherwise, we assumed the line in front of Panel 1 half an hour before Peter's panel was for him and queued up.

I know there wasn't allowed to be tape on the floor because of the new carpet, but there definitely needed to be something going on there. @-@

Also, for the congoers who aren't good little sheep like me, you might want to make sure you always have someone guarding the entrances to events and locations that aren't open yet. My boyfriend met up with us Friday with a bag of prints and other swag from the Artist's Alley.. about an hour before it was open. Apparently nobody was at the entrance he went to to tell him not to go in and he didn't realize he wasn't supposed to (it was his first year getting to the con so early). He's the kind of person who does assume "If I shouldn't be doing it, there should be people or signs telling me so," so he just went in and bought a bunch of stuff and nobody confronted him about it at all. (I fussed at him about it after that and made him promise to be more mindful of the rules for the rest of the con - ironically, if we had had the same attitude with the Peter S. Beagle panel, we would've been on the right track..)

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I want to thank you all for another awesome con. Not only were the staff helpful and knowledgeable, they were sincerely willing to help. I felt that our feedback from last year was taken seriously as there were some positive changes that made this year a little more organized. I felt that lines were more clearly marked than they have been in the past. More information was given when there were delays or schedule changes. The Guidebook app was amazing.

What didn't work was the line outside of Video 1. The taped lines were very narrow. It was impossible to follow them comfortably, even single file. Not to mention that the room clear was directed through the waiting line. There was no staff in the lobby to control the line. People were joining the line as it moved instead of going to the rear of the line.

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- There was a problem on Sunday afternoon with the security guards (blue shirts) forcing part of my group out of the convention center. My group and I had split up during the latter half of the con and were to meet up on the 4th floor to go to Con Feedback. While the half I was with was already upstairs waiting, the other half was down by the Otacafe and was forced out of the building by a guard that told them "Otakon is over, you have to get out." When one of my friends tried to explain that they were on their way to meet with us, he was told that she didn't care and that he and the rest needed to get out then and there. My main issue is how con goers can be forced out of the convention when it was technically still going on? My friends were stuck outside for almost an hour with no real way to contact me as my phone is kind of old and all of my texts were delayed going both ways because of reception. From what I've heard from several people they had issues with the "Blue shirted folks" as well, myself included.

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Another great year at Otakon! Loved the new space for the Otakon dance. It was far easier to find my group when it was time to call it a night. I thought the staff did a wonderful job during the course of the con. My fellow participants were such a good natured group - even in Sunday's crowded dealer room when people bumped each other there was nothing but good humor.

My only issue is, my daughter told me that the sister of a friend who didn't pay for a membership got into BCC under the guise of needing the restroom. Now, on the one hand there were alot of closed areas to her, however she could easily get into the videos. I was shocked because I couldn't get into the lobby closest to the Inner Harbor prior to actually getting my badge and I was carrying a printout of my registration. I didn't know until the ride home or I"d have reported her 'cause its not fair to the rest of us. I think this needs to be looked at. Also, this year I didn't notice anyone trying to buy our badges on Saturday night. If you were able to put a lid on that, I thank you.

Looking forward to next year. Now the post con depression sets in.

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Thanks to all the volunteers who gave up their time so we could play all weekend long.

The schedule was packed with outstanding events and guest and music and video.

I saw one amazing staffer move a sea of people away from the exit for Video 1 just prior to the FMA movie. I thought there was no way she could do it, but she got it done. Really amazing work.

Thursday's badge pick up was fantastically smooth and super fast.

The concerts I saw, Eyeshine at the street festival, Chemistry and Kylee had the best sound mix I've ever heard at Otakon. Excellent work and great concerts.

The new space for the dance was an outstanding improvement.

Some of the staffers were rude, more this year than any prior year from what I saw. (Maybe it was the heat?)

The AC seemed very inconsistent throughout the convention center.

Most of the events I attended started late. I know stuff happens, but a little planning and more concern for punctuality could go a long way.

Inconsistency with the escalators being turned on and off, (or were they broken?) Does Otakon get money back from the BCC for failed service?

Stop the silliness. For example, we stayed at the Hilton. We picked up our badges on Thursday and went to use the walkway back to the hotel. A staffer at the door said we were not allowed to go through. We went outside the door next to the walkway and entered the walkway from the outside door. I asked the staffer if this was Ok and he said that it was since we didn't go through the door he was guarding. This is just stupid and a waste of a staffer.

Also, I got stopped going into a room by a staffer checking badges, stopping the entire line, because my sticker was placed on sideways. She pointed this out to me as if it were my fault. I know you are watching out for counterfeits, (though I'll never understand why you don't just do a better job of checking them at the BCC doors), but really, hold up the line for this?

At the Tekken movie, (which started late), we were reminded every couple of minutes that there were no cameras allowed and that we were not even allowed to have a cellphone out. During the movie the theater was patrolled by gestapolike staffers telling people to put away their phones anytime they saw one. This really distracted from the show and the enjoyment of the event. I would think that the difference between someone reading a text on their phone and someone making a bootleg of the movie should be obvious, even to volunteers.

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Mostly everything was fantastic. It was my first con and I plan to return for years to come.

Panels were great, i'd like to see a return of the Mythbusters: Anime and Fanfiction panels. They were awesome.

I loved the guests you got this year, amazing job... i'd like to see Lisa Ortiz make a return to Otakon again someday, although I know y'all don't like doing repeat guests... but you should try getting other famous English VAs!

The Gaming Hall was excellent... very good game selection... I could go on but you get the gist of things! I'm really excited for next year! I would try Katsucon, but that's in February and I can't skip school to go to a convention. Damn you, education! *shakes fist*

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More panels of the BrentalFloss + Abridged Panel nature! That's what comes to mind at the moment.

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This honestly was the best Otakon so far I've been to.

I was surprised the con finally passed the 30k mark, because while I noticed more people in general it didn't seem more crowded. But then everyone and their mothers came this year so maybe I was expecting it.

I honestly loved the scheduling this year, there was obvious effort to not make too many thing conflict, though there will always be a conflict with super popular events (I'm sorry but why does noone seem to realize this). It was a good idea to put Uncle Yo at 1:30. Though I think Sunday could be utilized some more.

Dealers room was meh this year; it seemed like all the vendors were only selling what was popular. I can understand why, it just sucks. Not really their fault. Artist Alley made me mad I bought mochi the day before.

Matsuri...once again I apologize for the DuVal Anime Club's fail. If there is a matsuri next year and they apply for a booth I can promise they'll be a stellar booth. I actually somewhat figured the festival would only be okay, because everything goes wrong the first time you do something, but I can say I had fun because of all the people there. I mentioned this somewhere else, but I would love to help turn the festival into something amazing.

All the panels I went to I enjoyed except for the How To Rock the Rave panel, and that's only the para para portion. If I had done the hooping part like last year I know I would have had fun. Akuma Recruitment camp and Uncle Yo were hilarious, Project Cosplay and Gyaru Culture were informative, and para para 101 was downright fun.

I also enjoyed the AMV contest and Iron Editor, though I'm disappointed I couldn't have entered the contest myself. -mutters about stupid computer not reading .mkv properly- All the entries were good (though I disliked that Ouran one in sentimental. That's why AMVs with lots of subtitles are BAD. They're distracting).

All the staff I encountered were wonderful, especially the BCC staff. It was kinda cool to see them going OMG CAN I HAVE YOUR PICTURE like the rest of the attendees.

I didn't go to the rave and I'm glad I didn't, because if I had I would have had so much fun I wasn't going to be coming out 'til one. Next year when I get a hotel!

I was disappointed the meetup fell through, though I think it'll be impossible to have a good para para meetup with no problems at Otakon. Either you do it inside and disturb videos and panels, or do it outside in the heat and risk heatstroke. Ah well. Maybe I'll make a para exhibition panel or something in the future instead.

I can't think of any outstanding problems that were the cons fault actually. I think this is the first year I can give the con 10/10. The ones I can think of are the attendees, and even that wasn't so annoying. The main thing I heard the entire weekend was Ice Cold Water, and that didn't bother me because 1) It's hilarious, and 2) I was going to hear it anyway! XD

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I wonder if there a way to get in touch with the panelists. I missed quite a few panels due to a full room or a schedule conflict.

I think it would be helpful of the name of the lead panelist and a contact email where listed right in the program so we could get in touch with them to ask questions or get additional info if we were able to attend. I try to get this info for the panels I'm able to attend but can't do it otherwise.

btw, the ones I'm most interested in is Costuming for Competition and Beyond & Faking it/costume cheats.

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everything at otakon was great :angry: but my only problem was that a girl got in to the con by telling the gurad that she was going to the bathroom and the day before my mother wanted to leave the con throu a side door i don't think its right if you a let in a girl without a bagde and you don't allow a person with out the door! otakon needs to beter who has a badge and they need to get and not allow a girl who doesn't have a bagde casue if you allow this one girl you don't know what she going do!

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More panels of the BrentalFloss + Abridged Panel nature! That's what comes to mind at the moment.

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This is my 6th otakon and my 2nd year as gofer, and I have this agreed with other - this year otakon rocks. I love the variety of panels and workshops and the FMA movie premiere is just unbelievable (none of my friend believe me when I said that on my facebook status!). The registration this year is also rocks (all thanks to Registration staff and gofer) and being as a gofer, I get to see few more behind the scenes this year for different ops and appreciate even more on all the planning and execution these staff has put up to make this a great con.

The only thing I would suggest is a better system of line control. The FMA movie premiere and AMV contest are classic examples. Those who really want to go, are the ones who first line up 2 hours before. But those who comes in after either not sure where the lines are or if they need to be a line. So for FMA, by 5:00PM, the staff realize the problem and had to then remove all the photoshoots people and any people who are not for FMA, but yet, I feel like it's already too late. When the door is open, pretty much everyone just become disorganize group and flop to the front to get in....I know there are some people who are pissed off b/c of this and I am not quite sure how to resolve this either. At least I think we should have the "end of the line" board like they did in the AM for entrance woudl be nice. At least the new comer would knwo where to line up.

Same thing for panel, other than the panels at the Hilton, there is really no line control for panel 1 + 2 in BCC. I actually been call out one time by someone who are in line (or reallyl people who sit by the door) and then tell me the end of the line is the other side.

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I have a complaint about CES Security, while I was off duty and roaming around the con, I've observed some rude CES guards, one was stationed at the Hilton and I was walking through the Hilton and this guard told me "Show me your badge!!!!" and I said "Excuse me, I'm staff." and she said "I don't care who you are, show me your badge!!!!" and I said "Ma'am, is there a more politer way to request that?" and she said "I don't need to tell you anything, show me your badge!!!!" so I showed her my badge and I then asked "Is there something you can say to me now?" and she said "What?!??! I don't need to say anything to you, we are only getting paid to watch you freaks, we don't need to be polite!!!" and I was highly upset about that. I observed the CES guard and she was demanding "Show me your badge!!!!" to regular con attendees, some came to me and complained as well asking me why they weren't as polite as Otakon staff.

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I had an excellent time at Otakon 2011! This was my 8th Otakon since 2004 and I

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I helped with the BtSSB/Alice show and saw some of the convention center staff bothering at least one of the models, trying miserably to pick her up when we were moving to a different room backstage. A lot of it just the "Hey baby, come here for a second. Don't ignore me, I just want to talk to you" crap, but they were older men bothering a teenage girl. She did her best to ignore them, but really, ew.

Kylee was amazing, and she seems like a really sweet and enthusiastic girl. She made me a fan, and I hope she has a long career ahead of her.

As an obsessed GACKT fan, thank you so much for showing Bunraku. It was the highlight of my weekend. I don't think seeing it in theatres is going to be nearly as enjoyable as it was seeing it with other GACKT fans. So much fun.

And thank you to the Otakon staffer who escorted me back into and out of the FMA panel to get an item I left behind. It was dumb of me to leave it, but I am very grateful you took the time to help me out.

Lastly, what happened to Scott Freeman on Sunday? I had to get out of the Hetalia line in order to not miss Kylee, but if it had started on time, I wouldn't have had to. I certainly hope nothing bad came up, but if he didn't show up just because, then that's very disappointing.

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This year was my first Otakon and I will be definitely be coming back next year!

While some people from CES were rude and demanding some didn't even care at all. Often times I'd pass a badge check point with my badge on backwards and they'd look at me and not even react. It was like "He look this guy has a green lanyard around his neck with a black toped badge holder! Looks good!" Those guys from CES sure were a mixed jumble. They didn't even deserve to have Mr. Uematsu's business when they provided him personal security at the Distant Worlds Concert.

I did notice that there were a lot of lazy people using the elevator in the sky bridge to the Hilton. Every single time I walked by it there was always a group of perfectly able people walking with not even a limp going over and using it. Even if one of them really was disabled why would the others need to used it when the stairs were right next to it? This is how the elevators break.

I also think you should reword the part of your line etiquette policy where it says "waits in lines can last hours". This seems to imply that it's ok for lines to form anyplace, anytime, for any event. Doesn't help how it doesn't mention the one hour rule I've been told about. Also the only time I ever saw a "line ends here" sign was during Thursday pre reg pickup. When those lines backed up the hallways and bridges it made the cosplayers wearing all out minecraft costumes look like Olympic runners. There was one point where I was stuck in a single file snaking line trying (and failing) to cross the bridge towards Pratt St. while there were about four of them going towards the fountains because there was a line of people taking about 1/3rd of the space.

You guys didn't have a time machine I could borrow either... B)

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This was my seventh Otakon. It has its high and low moments. Had fun, and I always eagerly await each and every following year.

I wanted to mention the following:

1) Art Show: This was the first year I had actually had bid on something in the art show. So I show up on Sunday to see if I had won or not. When I went to the art show info desk and went through the book of who bid/what, my name and bidder # wasn't there (I was bidder 1876). Actually there was a huge gap of missing #s throughout that book. Now again this was my first time in bidding, but wasn't that book supposed to have listed each and every single registered bidder, and whether or not they bid on anything, and whether or not they won anything? It turned around that the item I had bid on had enough votes to make it to auction. I'm just wondering my bidder # wasn't listed to begin with. I'm slightly concerned about the possibly bad record keeping and stuff. This leads me to the auction. I looked around at the items on the table to see if the piece I was interested in was, and sure it was... on a far table (furthest away from the auction seating). I had assumed that the item was just waiting for its turn for to be presented to the auction to be bid on. Now I was delayed to getting to the auction in the first place, arriving sometime around 11-11:30) but I sat there, and took in the auction for all its worth. The item I was interested in was still sitting on that table. 3-3:30 comes rolling in. I had the sense to finally ask a staff/gofer/volunteer person about the item still sitting there on the table, and it turned around that the item had already been put up for auction, but since no one bid on it, it would go to the next highest bidder. I asked if I could still buy/bid on the item, and they wouldn't put the item back out there... since they were running late and were rushing to try to finish as soon as they can. So I sat there nearly 3 hours thinking I still had a chance with that one art piece I was interested in, but it turned out in reality my chances were nil... all because I got there late... the item was already presented... and because I was ignorant/didn't ask questions. I *wished* the art staff could have either removed items that had been ALREADY been presented and weren't sold/bid on, or LABEL THE TABLES showing WHAT ART IS STILL UP FOR GRABS/STILL TO BE AUCTIONED and WHAT ISN'T AVAILABLE. Had I known the art piece I had already been presented, perhaps I wouldn't have gotten my hopes up/or go off and do something else.

2) Charity Auction: I'm happy that the convention raised so much money for Japan. However, I wished the convention could have handled such an important event better. For example, why leave it for Sunday, when you could have scheduled for it a Friday, or Saturday... to attract more potential buyers. Even more so, I wished there were more seats/space. It felt crowded. I loved the atmosphere during the auction, especially during the charity items. I know that the auction hours were extended, but apparently even more time was needed. I was disheartened that the auction finished late... and that the charity items left by that point weren't being sold/offered at their highest potential. By 3-3:30 PM, there weren't much people left, and while some of the items may not seem like much to some people, they could have gone for more money than that. Take Uematsu's autograph. I'm sure it could have gone for more than the $200 or so that it went for had the item been auctioned off earlier when there were more people still around/or if the auction had been on a different day. By 3 PM, I felt there was a rush to try to finish up the auction quickly, and what the items could have gone for was affected greatly. And I could see why the charity items went offered along with the normal art auction items, but perhaps the con should have held it as a separate session.

3) I felt the convention center staff/security were friendlier/more informative this year... except on Sunday right around 3 PM. After I had left the art show, I was going upstairs to head to a bathroom or head to con feedback session. A convention center staffer asked me which way was I was going. I got the impression that he was going to ask me to leave the convention center no matter what I told him I was doing, so I told him I was leaving.

4) I loved the new Otakon backdrops. It makes the convention panels/events seem that much more special/significant in a way, something like a sports press conference with the teams/event sponsors in those backdrops.

5) Panel Room 3: Well in general I think it's safe to say that people try to get on line early for certain events to not only ensure themselves of actually getting IN the room for the panel, but to try to get a good seat as well. Because of the runway and the resulting seat configuration, filling in the seats in a timely/orderly fashion is more interesting/time consuming (versus if there was no runway). I applaud the convention for trying to fill in all the seats as quickly/safely as possible, but sometimes it wasn't fair just where we ended up getting a seat. People that might have gotten into the line early/when there say about 100 people ahead of you might have gotten stuck in the middle/rear of the left section while some people that got on line late/when there were 300 people ahead of you got "lucky" and ended up on the right side of the closer to the stage because the left section was "full." I know the runway was used for the fashion shows/Cosplay Burlesque, but perhaps if it weren't going to be immediately used, then it should have been disassembled. The runway created a weird divide in the room for events that didn't have any particular use for it. And of course more seats could have been put into the room (if it didn't violate the fire codes) resulting in a better room seating configuration, which getting people moved in/settled in wouldn't have taken as long.

6) Friday afternoon: I think it was the first time that the dealer's room line (just before/ and for about an hour/hour and half after it opened) ended up going past/around the registration area from the autograph area, and I had wished some staffers were directing the line when it got that long/got to that area~point. In fact, some people were entering the dealer's room from said line, while others were bypassing it altogether by taking the stairs/escalators by rooms 327-329 and walking the shorter distance that also had no line (I saw people approach the dealer's room entrance stairs from that direction as I was approaching it from the autograph area). That and some people cut onto the line since there wasn't "supervision". Definitely needs better line control.

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Whatever you guys did with the Pre-Reg line for Thursday this year, do it again. I loved how fast it was. Also keep the rave where it was this year, so much more room! And the last thing from the top of my head, make sure you have two ways to get downstairs to the Dealers Room like you had this year. Sped things up a lot.

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There was one point Friday morning when a staffer over by the walkway going across the road from one building to the other only letting people move in one direction on it, saying the walkway was too crowded. I couldn't see exactly why, but it looked like a bunch of people were taking photos on it. Either way, I was heading to Panel 1 just on the other side of it and had to walk way out of the way to actually get to it.

That's the only real problem I had.

I also wish though there was a better way of giving out the AMV creator badges and the fan parody creator badges. It was largely my own dumb fault for missing the give out times in the AMV Ops, but I never managed to get my AMV badge and missed the AMV contest due to crowds. It'd be WAY better if you could get them at registration.

Thank you SO much for keeping open the doors over by the Artist Alley that lead to the other building. It's so much easier to go from building to building there and has been a huge pain when those doors have been closed in years past.

The HD theater was amazing, it was seriously just like being in a real theater. Seeing Last Unicorn remastered in HD was beautiful. I was also super happy to discover that Full Metal Alchemist was getting an encore showing up there Sunday, since I hadn't been able to see it Saturday. Also, it was seriously awesome that it was even being played at all since it only JUST came out in theaters in Japan.

I know somebody complained that they wouldn't even let you have your phone out in the video room but seriously, I loved that. It bugs the heck out of me to have lights flashing on around me. It's incredibly distracting.

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Please...I must say, GET YOUR KIDS UNDER CONTROL!

I almost ran over children several times, because parents (which a lot of staffers were), were just allowing their kids to run wherever they pleased.

Just because they are kids, it doesn't give them the right to do whatever they want.

I constantly saw kids running up and sliding down the slanted walls/ramps (not sure what they are actually called)...IN FRONT of staffers, and no one said a word.

I would see people barely sitting on them (feet on the floor with their butts rested on the edge) get yelled at by staff to get off the wall though. They didn't say ANYTHING about the kid running up and down them though just a couple feet over.

Also, PLEASE, PLEASE do not staff/volunteer if you cannot handle the stress of the con! I would like to suggest that the Otakon site (or cons in general) emphasize how stressful being a staffer can be. Sunday morning my fiance got CURSED at by a staffer because he didn't hear him correctly (and might I add that he has a medical hearing disability) when we were picking up our un-sold artwork.

Also, a suggestion for con attendees in case anyone is like me: Please think about those 18+ wrist bands beforehand. I am horribly allergic to the type of material those wrists bands use, so don't make the same mistake that I did and not bring a medical note...or else you will (1) have to wear them on your wrists, regardless of what you say, or (2) just not get one since they won't allow them anywhere but on you ;)

As for a good thing, I also really loved how the Thursday pre-reg went! It was very smooth and efficient.

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Aish. Apparently in my continuing exhaustion I managed to reply to the wrong thread. The link to everything I wrote is /index.php?s=&showtopic=21825&view=findpost&p=245517">here.

Short version:

Pros: Staff, Lost and Found, lack of meme shouting, lack of graffiti (that I noticed)

Cons: Rude locals, rude attendees, bcc staff, trash everywhere, inconsistent information from Otakon staff, rave bag check, confunk, lines.

Now, its 4AM I should really be asleep, even though I've slept probably 28 of the last 48 hours if not more. Yay conplague!

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I only have one major complaint, and I hope this gets addressed next year, but I went to attend the showing of House at 12:30am Saturday night with two friends because two of us interested in seeing the film, and the third who had already seen it told us it was worth watching and he wanted to see it again. Things started off bad enough with whoever was in charge of the room not being able to turn the movies subtitles on and had to stop the movie twice to fix this. The other thing was even worse, a large majority of those in attendance seemed to be there to do nothing more than yell stupid comments and dumb jokes as loudly and as repetitively as they could...

It was so bad that one of my friends left 15 minutes into the showing because he found all of the derogatory banter being yelled out during the movie (and a good bit from two idiots seated directly behind us) insulting to a film he was already a fan of and couldn't deal with an audience that was so painfully obvious in their immaturity to appreciate. I ended up leaving about 10 minutes later myself because it just seemed to get worse and worse and frankly I was there to actually watch and enjoy the movie, not listen to mouthbreathers shouting stupid memes and making stupid jokes the whole time. Some girl even said to me as I was walking out of the video room, "How can you leave during such an awesome movie?" and I had to hold myself back from responding with "Because everybody won't shut the **** up!" because I was so irritated at not only the actions of the attendees being so disruptive, but because not a single staffer did ANYTHING about it! I made it known was going on to the staffer standing outside the room who was checking for wristbands since the showing was 18+ but my other friend who did stay through the movie told me the situation never changed during the rest of the showing when he got back to our room.

I understand the convention atmosphere can bring this sort of behavior out, especially during a showing of a movie that has the notoriety that House has; but there is a big difference between a fun midnight audience crowd and having to suffer through what the audio version of /b/ would be. My friend addressed this at the feedback panel, but I feel it should also be addressed again here, this was just absolutely ridiculous and uncalled for on every level. As a former movie theater employee for over three years, I've kicked people out of movies for being less disruptive than the trollish crowd acting up in this showing and I hope Otakon can do something about this next year because it really ruined what I hoped to be a good movie experience at the con.

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I felt the new dance area was a huge improvement, but it was extremely hot down there. I also felt that staff at the dance were ruder than normal.

I also think the Matsuri festival could have been a lot more. Hopefully this becomes a bigger event in the future with more stalls, etc...

The Chemistry concert was amazing, I hope Otakon can continue to get more like it. Perhaps Asian Kung Fu-Generation?

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I had a fantastic time at my fifth Otakon, as always, but there were a few things I thought worth mentioning:

- Thank goodness for the Hilton. The AC in there? Fabulous.

- Crowding. I know this is a big con, but it felt more packed this year than it has in the past. My group and I have never been locked out of so many panels because of full rooms before -- and it's not even like we were trying to get into the Hetalia Ask a Nation one or the Uematsu Nobuo Q&A or anything.

- Last-minute scheduling changes. There are 3 must-see events for me every year: the AMV contest, Iron Editor, and Anime Parliament. Letting the mod for the last one know only at the very beginning of his event that his time would be halved because of an industry panel being moved up? So not cool.

- Please let Disorganization XIII bring back their Spoiler Panel! We were super bummed it wasn't on the schedule this year, when our under-18 group member's age was no longer an issue.

Looking forward to next year!

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I've been going to the con since 2000. I've had good and bad experiences over the years mostly with line control. This year I enjoyed the con more then I have the past couple of years.

The good:

Line control at the autograph panels was much improved. The barricades that were used work like a charm from what I could see. Staffers didn't allow people to walk down the hall unless they were going to the panel and only one hour before the panel was to start. The barricades were high enough where you couldn't just break the line by walking over them like the floor tape thing which in all honesty never worked for me.

Having more then one autograph session for Chemistry and Sixh.

The staff was friendlier then last year.

Having a door open between the dealers room and artist alley was a big plus.

The bad:

I know you guys couldn't control this but as a special needs person having the elevator at the main entrance not working for half the con was a potentially dangerous inconvenience. Taking a walker on the escalators was scary business.

The crowd. People who think the place wasn't crowded apparently didn't go anywhere near the fountain. The sea of humanity crammed into that area would have gotten the place shut down if a fire marshall had walked in.

People sitting or laying on the floor directly outside of the exit to the dealers room. This is a safety issue. There were times where you couldn't walk a few feet from the door without having to step over someone. Neither the staffers at the door or security asked these people to move back closer to the wall. This was an issue by the autograph rooms also. People sitting in the walking area, sometimes in the middle of the floor, while waiting to get in line for the dealers room.

People taking pictures while blocking the bathrooms. Why would you want to pose or take a picture of someone standing in or across the door to the bathrooms?

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this was my 5th otakon and i loved it :) however i do have one tiny issue

this is the second year the I have needed a badge allowing me to use the elevators. I pick up my badges on thursday and bot years there has only been on person running the special needs line. is there a way to staff more help at that part of the line also at the elevators there was no one checking to see if they had the badge. What was the point of me waiting in line for a sticker it appears i didnt even need. I had a few times where an elevator was too crowded with people who didnt have the special needs sticker for me to actually use it. in past years i have seen staff of the convention center and the convention its self prevent things like this from happening.

One last note . what i was able to enjoy of the matsuri festival was fun but it seemed like too many tables were late seting up and in an hours time were out of things and leaving.

Other than that I had a great con staff was as always excellent and events ran smoothly :)

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Hi there, I just registered my account here to say a few things.

This was my 4th Otakon and like always it was amazing, so much fun and everyone was very friendly, especially the staff.

I however, think it might be time for you to maybe expand to a 4th day like Anime Expo? Perhaps Thursday? Since so many people go there on Thursday anyway, I feel it would be better to have at least some programming on that day...like having more popular panels and events on 2 days instead of one, or the REALLY big panels/events being on three days.

Sorry if this is not an option, it's just my opinion. I just know that me and a few of my friends felt a bit rushed trying to get to an autograph signing that appeared to only be on Friday and not on any other days. S:

As for the Matsuri festival...

Please, please, please, next year could you try and get Taiyaki and Takoyaki ? I know that there are so many people who would want to try taiyaki and takoyaki for the first time, as they are pretty amazing. :)

Oh, and Goldfish scooping/karaoke/fireworks like a real Matsuri. C: Aha I know that it's probably impossible to get all of that, but it's just exciting to think about.

All in all, Otakon 2011 was a big success, and I really look forward to next year!

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well for an idea, no matter how bad some may think it, is to prevent lines from forming no more than 30min to 1 hour prior to an events start time. reason is alot of people form lines WAY far in advance which in turns causes an overcrowded issue at points in the BCC which in turn is a fire/safety hazard. I remember that years ago staffers at both Ota and other anime cons would not allow people to get into lines for that long but as time passed this seems to have been laxed upon. If the attendee's don't like this then tough but I think its time for staffers to get a bit tougher on some things like the lines.

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I cannot complain about the photo gridlock traffic mainly because I was unknowningly contributing to it. I must apologize for my actions. I'll try to consider my surroundings next time.

I didn't have any unpleasant staff problems. Anyways, what else is there...

Good:

-Pre-reg line. Thankfully, it didn't take that long.

-Panels. Many varieties this year. While I didn't get to attend Touhou Project, Making Your Own Anime at Home, & a couple of others, I did get to attend the Abridged panel & the Fine Print: Madoka panel. Both were very enjoyable. I also attended some other panels, but I'll save that for Panel feedback.

-Video Game Room. Bemani cabs. 'Nuff said.

I can't really say anything bad about this year. But then again, I'll probably have to attend a few more cons before I notice.

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The convention center heated up when a large group of bodies coalesced in one place. The stairwells were cool, but the Dealer's Hall was much warmer. It comes with the hot summer temperatures, unfortunately.

My big complaint, again, is the sub-titles. I spend the most time in Video 2, and either the sub-titles were too low, or the person running the room could not figure out how to turn them on. Please have a printed instruction card on the equipment to assist the people with its use.

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This was my second time at Otakon (although the last time was back in 2004). I think I got to see and experience so much more this year.

The only time I got really frustrated was the Cosplay Burlesque line. It was crazy long, and at times not very organized. The way the line wrapped around was also blocking others from entering the HD video room. Might be time to move the burlesque to better(bigger) location. There also seemed to be some issues with seating and that caused the show to start late. The show was fun once we finally got in.

Some of the panels I attended weren't worth the wait in line, but that's what the panel feedback form is for ^_^

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Hey Otakon goers & Otakorp. I know this is late, but I do have a few bits of commentary from the 18th Otakon I'd like to share.

First, I had a fantastic time up there, though commuting to & fro was a nightmare not of my nor your doing. I reluctantly passed on the Closing Ceremony to check out the charity auction, which I thought was a rousing success, and I would hope something like that could be done again for 2012.

Also good was that pre-registration went berry well again this year, even for those who waited early in the Charm City heat...oh, and it was HOOOOOOOT. Most of the panel lines seemed to be handled well too, notably Panel Room 3 events, and the Madoka premiere. What didn't work was the way the dealer room line was formed on Friday--what a mess!

Now it also comes to my attention that the Otakon has birthed a new meme in one of the dudes selling bottled water along Pratt. What are we going to do about this?! I already say it's annoying.

Other than that, I thought the programming, albeit one of the most overtly stacked schedules in quite some time, was quite cool! Now if we can only get in a crossplay for guys panel...

That's all for now, but I do promise better things next time goers!

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For the most part I was selling in the Artist Alley, so I didn't really walk around as much to experience the con itself (sadfais, because this was my first Otakon).

Because of Artist Alley I had a bit of a stressful time (but that's a WHOLE 'nother thread lol), but the con itself wasn't so bad. I unfortunately couldn't make it to certain panels and autograph sessions though (Nobuo T-T *sniff*), because of timing or because the lines were too damn long (and I hate wasting my time in line).

To start from the beginning though, getting my badge went amazingly fast! Of course, instead of waiting during the day in the gross heat, I waited until about 5:30pm to get mine. I just went in, waited for like...5 minutes, and bam! ^_^ Thanks to the barcode system!

On the downside to that though, the Matsuri Festival was kinda...pitiful? I was actually looking forward to it before I got my badge, but it seemed very empty and lackluster (I was expecting lots of cherry blossoms and hanging lanterns and things hahaha). Also it took me a while to find it, so maybe some signs for next year? Also, would it be good to have a committee for this? Because a Matsuri Festival is a whole event all together. As others have said though, it was the first year, so I can understand that it'll have some kinks to work out.

As for the rest of the weekend, it seemed okay. There were parts of the convention center that needed serious traffic directing though. There was one point on Friday the skywalk in between the two main buildings was PACKED and I almost passed out because it was hot and smelly (it's not fun when you're armpit level with everybody V_V).

Also, I've been seeing A LOT of people just sitting around in the convention center throughout the weekend. Maybe the cause of no space in panel rooms? Or just no interesting ones? Again, I really can't say because I didn't go into any of them, but this is the first time I've seen con-goers just sitting around. D: That's not good!

In general though, the con was pretty nice! I didn't have any run-ins with rude people or terrible staff which is surprising because I usually have to deal with one or the other at other cons. I don't have much more to say about it, but I'll definitely give Otakon another try! :)

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I had a great time this year, kudos to the Otakon team for putting together another great weekend. This was my 11th Otakon and I think it went the smoothest out of all of them.

Reg line was painless, the few other lines I waited in over the weekend were not horrendous. I really appreciated that for the major/popular events the staff came through the line and estimated about where it might be cut off based on the room size. I don't think I've ever seen this happen before. Being told I could wait in line but there was no guarantee I'd get in based on my position was nice because it let me weigh my interest in the event and not waste my time in line if it wasn't important to me. Also, I wasn't terribly disappointed when I wasn't able to get in.

I know there were a lot more people this year, but the BCC and downtown Baltimore in general didn't feel as crowded as in the past. I didn't have to wait in any ridiculous lines to get food and my group of 7 was able to be seated for dinner across the street at the Ale House in about 15 mins (an impressive feat anywhere). I think with so much great programming, everyone always had something to do which kept the crowds in the hallways/streets low.

I don't think I attended as many events this year as I have in the past but the ones I did make it to were very high in quality. Great programming! All I can add is that I hope Bad Anime Bad can get a larger room next year, I'm never able to get in to that event.

No real complaints come to mind. There were a lot of rude/unruly attendees, as can be expected, but even they weren't as bad as last year.

I hope Otakon can keep this up for next year!

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Now it also comes to my attention that the Otakon has birthed a new meme in one of the dudes selling bottled water along Pratt. What are we going to do about this?! I already say it's annoying.

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There should be something like a poll to estimate how many con-goers are considering attending a certain panel. This can help determine whether a panel should be upgraded to a bigger venue and avoid potential overcrowding and disgruntled con-goers.

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There should be something like a poll to estimate how many con-goers are considering attending a certain panel. This can help determine whether a panel should be upgraded to a bigger venue and avoid potential overcrowding and disgruntled con-goers.

This was mentioned in the at-con feedback panel, and one of the responses was that the Guidebook App we used this year supports a 'thumbs up/down' feature for each panel. I'm not sure how much wiggle room there is for moving things around at the last minute, but there was some discussion of using this feature to gauge panel interest in the future.

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There was a big issue with the line for the AMV contest on Friday. I got into the taped lines roughly 30 minutes early, but towards the start the lines practically disintegrated and everyone just swarmed towards the door.

Lines started up only to break off halfway through the mob and there were no staff or gofers to help with the line.

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I've been reading over all the comments, including my own, and I've come to the conclusion that I have been way too negative.

There were times this last weekend when I thought that maybe six Otakons in a row were one too many for me.

But then I'd just be walking along the crowded hallway with all the other otaku and realize that there is no way I'd ever skip an Otakon! (I've already got my room booked for next year with a couple of roommates as well!)

I believe that the staff, volunteers, the hotels, even the BCC people, are doing the best the can and, for the most part, doing an outstanding job of it!

Thanks again Otakon. Sincerely, thank you everyone who gave up their time, not just this past weekend, but many other days throughout the year leading up to this past weekend, so that we could play and have fun.

I'll be back in 2012 to work my way past the photo shoots in the hot crowded smelly hallways, to line up three hours in advance for events that will probably start late, to find extra time to visit the Dealer's room to peruse overpriced merchandise when a guest panel is canceled, and, in the end, to have one of the very best weekends of the year.

See you in 2012.

(When does pre-reg open?)

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At the Tekken movie, (which started we were reminded every couple of minutes that there were no cameras allowed and that we were not even allowed to have a cellphone out. During the movie the theater was patrolled by gestapolike staffers telling people to put away their phones anytime they saw one. This really distracted from the show and the enjoyment of the event. I would think that the difference between someone reading a text on their phone and someone making a bootleg of the movie should be obvious, even to volunteers.

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At the Tekken movie, (which started we were reminded every couple of minutes that there were no cameras allowed and that we were not even allowed to have a cellphone out. During the movie the theater was patrolled by gestapolike staffers telling people to put away their phones anytime they saw one. This really distracted from the show and the enjoyment of the event. I would think that the difference between someone reading a text on their phone and someone making a bootleg of the movie should be obvious, even to volunteers.

The problem is, you shouldn't whip out a cell phone in a theater, period. I know, everyone feels that every text is life-and-death important, but take that outside.

The rule is simple; don't whip out cell phones, yet people act as though 90-120 minutes without their technology is like being asked to hold your breath.

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First of all, I had a blast, so don't take these as criticisms, just suggestions.

I didn't mind the cellphone restrictions during the movies. I realize that the con is a very social event, but but it is a movie. I think the bigger issue is that these shows are so packed, that you literally cannot go outside to use your phone. Trigun, for example, had some of the Bandai crew helping present and people flashing phones all around during a premier showing is probably serious business to them.

Some suggestions for next year:

Consider extending Sunday by an hour or two. By the time I check out and get all packed up and get a bite to eat, I maybe have time to see one movie, and I'm done for the day.

Alternately, run some of the theaters during the Con Feedback Session.

Is there any way the Mariner could be utilized more? It seems like some of the concerts and burlesque should be held there.

Using the Mariner more could free up Hall D (almost all day) from 9am-8pm, until the dance starts.

I saw that Trigun and FMA were both shown twice. I haven't seen that happen often, so what goes into determining if there will be reruns? It would be nice if we could get a sneak peak a few weeks before the con and be able to vote to help determine which should be rerun. Alternately, staff should keep track on Friday and Saturday of attendance, and save a few slots on Sunday for 'wildcard' reruns.

Does anyone else think that the con is starting to outgrow its 2.5 day span? If extending Sunday by a few hours is not an option, 2012 is the first year I will be picking up my badge Thursday. We used to have one-day badges. I wouldn't be opposed if there were a half-day Thursday/VIP badge that gave us either some unique screenings or catch an early premier of some of the more popular movies.

Some of the best stuff was show in the HD room. It would have probably worked out better to have made Video1 the HD room (is possible), as the screen is much higher and the room is probably twice as large.

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