Article by PatrickD    (01-02-08 03:31 AM)
Looking back on 2007, there was a lot happening in the anime world. Our convention database lists 251 events taking place in 2007. That's up from the 217 we listed for 2006. While it's not humanly possible for us to cover everything related to every event, we'll take a look at some of the significant events along the way.

The year 2007 got off to a rather rocky start as Anime Tour for the Cure rolled into Las Vegas with the promise of promoting awareness for breast cancer and raising money for research. Unfortunately, reports from the event descried it as falling far short of its promises and prompting the promoter to skip town.

On January 17th, news came in that Llamacon, a small one-day convention in western Massachusetts, would be postponed. (We still haven't received word about when it may be held.) Germany's AnikiCon was canceled two days later followed by the Kami Kon fisaco on January 20th. (More on that later.) On the 27th, Gen Con So Cal, Garden City Anime Festival, and Anime Express all canceled, making January 2007 clearly take the record for most convention cancellations in one month.

This began a year that seemed to have a higher than average number of canceled events. ShikkariMatsuri, Houkocon, FanimeCruise, Rochecon, East Meets South, YamiCon, Holicon, AniZona, and Shichimencho each fell victim to cancellation or long-term postponement. Anime-Arkansas was the latest cancellation of the year, with the announcement reaching AnimeCons.com less than 30 minutes before midnight on December 31st.

Kami Kon popped up in December 2006 and was scheduled for late February in Nashua, New Hampshire. It immediately created controversy in New England since nearly all the content on the site had been copied word-for-word from the web sites for Anime Boston and ConnectiCon. Although the text was replaced with new text, the convention still seemed to promise more than it could deliver (including day care services for children). Many people found its claims to be outlandish and some reported that the hotel said they had no signed contract with the convention. On January 20th, the convention announced its cancellation.

February's New York Comic Con stirred up a bit of controversy with its list of nominations for the "First Annual American Anime Awards". Perhaps the most notorious nomination had the film Akira listed as a comedy. The actual awards ceremony was very well attended by those in the anime industry and fans alike. IGN streamed a video feed live while The Anime Network aired a tape of the show later in March. At only an hour in length (and shorter if you don't count the excessively long taiko drum performance at the beginning), the show seemed to fly by. However, we have yet to hear any word about any American Anime Awards for 2008.

In March, MomoCon had to shut down a day early after fireworks were found inside and set off outside the Student Center building at Georgia Tech.

April brought a bit of good news. At closing ceremonies of Anime Boston 2007, Patrick Delahanty (Hey, that's me!) announced that the New England Anime Society would be creating Providence Anime Conference, the world's first anime convention for people 21 and over. This limited registration event promises "academic, professional, and industry-related events in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere."

The following weekend, Anime Matsuri was held in Houston, Texas. The convention had invited me down to run some events for them, but unfortunately they stopped returning e-mails in mid-March. Although I had made several attempts to contact them and waited as long as possible, I eventually had to announce that my programming would be canceled. Although I was not there personally, various reports from the convention confirmed my suspicions that the convention was "disorganized". Apparently one guest even walked out and went home!

Unfortunately, the troubles of 2007 continued in May when Michael McKeithan, an Animazement attendee, was reported missing. His family had not heard from him since Sunday, May 27th when he used his cell phone on Interstate 40. Tragically, he was later found dead in his car after an apparent suicide.

Among the announcements leading up to Anime Expo was the news that the continent's largest anime convention would have a screening of the new Transformers movie on July 2nd, two days before the nationwide release. Although it was big news at the time, many theaters around the country also started showing the movie on the 2nd.

Houston's AtsuiCon was held on the first weekend of August. On Saturday, people were called into main events and told that if they could not raise $12,000 within two hours, the convention would have to be shut down. Fortunately, everyone was apparently in a generous mood and the money was reported raised in about 30 minutes.

If we had a "strangest combination of the year" award, we'd give it to Naruto Trek Convention. Announced in September, the two fandoms will collide in Fort Lauderdale, Florida this March.

In October, the new New York Anime Festival stirred up some controversy when they announced that they would be hosting the USA competition for the World Cosplay Summit. The worldwide competition had not taken place in the United States for several years after the previous American team received poor treatment (including being abandoned without a translator in the streets of Japan) during the previous final round of competition. NYAF assured contestants that they were aware of the situation and that WCS officials had promised that a similar situation would not happen again.

Later in October, the Pennsylvania Convention Center posted a notice on their web site that TandokuCon had been canceled. After a couple days, the notice was removed and TandokuCon said it had been posted by the PCC "due to an error". For people who had their doubts over whether the convention was a scam or not, this only added fuel to the fire. The convention's cancellation of Crispin Freeman without mentioning it on their own web site reinforced these thoughts. When the convention took place in early November, it seemed to be plagued with problems. Although some people had a good time, people were flooding their forums with complaints. The convention, which seemed to be lightly staffed to begin with, seemed to leave its volunteers to handle the complaints on their own. Eventually, the convention's web site was taken down completely and it seems unlikely that there will be an attempt at a second year.

In mid-November, Steve Pearl, the former moderator of the rec.arts.anime.info newsgroup and "American Otaking" passed away. Steve had regularly posted information about North American anime conventions on anime newsgroups. Those newsgroup posts were referenced extensively when the convention database used by AnimeCons.com was created. While it's unfortunate that Steve is no longer with us, it's good to know that his work will live on.

There was also a bit of news here on our own site. In 2007, AnimeCons.com underwent a site redesign and also introduced our worldwide convention map, an expanded reports section, a forum where convention planners can advertise open staff positions, and an ad swap program for anime conventions.

In terms of attendance at conventions, AnimeCons.com has continued collecting attendance figures from anime conventions around the world. Sometimes a convention will report the total number of paid attendees and other conventions will report the total number of people with a badge (which includes paid attendees, staff, guests, dealers, and others). We strongly encourage conventions to release both figures. Whenever available both figures are available, we list them on this web site.

In the event one convention's total and paid numbers fall in the range between another convention's total and paid numbers, we will give preference to the total number. Our reasoning is this: Even if people didn't pay, they are still a part of the convention. Staff, guests, dealers, and press are able to enjoy a convention just as much as paid attendees...and they each take up seats and hall space just like everyone else.

The ten largest anime conventions in North America during 2007 were as follows:

  1. Anime Expo: 44,000 estimated total
  2. Otakon: 22,852 paid
  3. A-Kon: 14,500 estimated paid
  4. Anime North: 13,500 estimated total
  5. Anime Central: 12,769 total; 10,987 paid
  6. FanimeCon: 12,000 estimated total
  7. Anime Boston: 11,500 total; 10,559 paid
  8. Sakura-Con: 11,000 estimated total; 10,500 estimated paid
  9. Anime Weekend Atlanta: 10,200 estimated total; 9,825 paid
  10. AnimeNEXT: 7,100 estimated total

The two largest conventions saw slower than average growth. Anime Expo grew about 3,500 people in their Long Beach location. Otakon only saw and increase of 550 people after lifting their attendance cap for the first time since 2004.

A-Kon grew by 2000 people while Anime North and Anime Central grew by about 1000, increasing the distance between A-Kon and the fourth and fifth largest conventions which seemed to be dwindling over the last few years.

FanimeCon came in at sixth largest again this year with Anime Boston a close seventh and Sakura-Con in the eighth position. Dropping to the ninth largest is Anime Weekdend Atlanta which was in the seventh position last year.

AnimeCons.com would like to welcome AnimeNEXT to the list as the tenth largest North American anime convention of 2007, slightly edging out Katsucon which had an estimated 7,100 total attendees (6,200 paid). Also closing in on the list is Ohayocon which reported 6,240 total attendees (6,124 paid) in 2007.

The above list only includes conventions with a majority of their programming dedicated to anime and manga. Therefore, it does not include large events such as Dragon*Con and San Diego Comic-Con.

Notably absent from the list is New York Anime Festival. Although there are attendance estimates of "15,000" floating around out there, AnimeCons.com has not received a statement from Reed Expositions with an official attendance figure. Based on personal observations by a number of press, exhibitors, industry representatives, and attendees, an attendance figure of around 8,000 warm bodies seems more accurate. If a 15,000 figure were to be released, it would likely count the number of badges issued. Considering that dealers were issued up to ten badges per space and some press, exhibitors, or professionals were seen wearing up to three badges at a time, a simple badge count would seem to be an inaccurate representation of actual attendance.

As usual, AnimeCons.com would like to stress that the above list is not a list of the "best" conventions, but only the largest. There are many, many other great anime conventions out there worth checking out. Each year, thousands of anime fans have a great time at many of the smaller conventions that are out there and many people say that some of the smaller cons are their favorites.

As for what's ahead in 2008, there are even more new conventions in the works and most of the ones that survived 2007 seem to be returning. If the coming year is anything like last year, there are sure to be plenty of surprises along the way and plenty of interesting twists to talk about.

We encourage everyone to head on over to the AnimeCons.com Forums to talk about their experiences from 2007 and their plans for 2008. The forums are a great place for anime convention attendees, guests, and planners to come together to share information.

-PatrickD
AnimeCons.com Executive Producer
Co-Founder: Anime Boston and Providence Anime Conference
Host of The Chibi Project & Anime Unscripted™


 
Username Comments
Isaac Alexander 
Con Addict

Reg: 12-20-06

01-02-08 03:47 AM - Post#1924    
    In response to PatrickD

Great Recap as always Patrick. Thank you for doing it.

I just wanted to add a couple notes to it.

Besides conventions, were you planning on covering other type of anime events such as educational ones? For example, there was the new anime conference in Arizona.
Otaku University(http://www.animecons.com/events/info.shtml/1019)

Also, any plans to release another list covering cons in Europe?

Thanks again for all the work.

 
PatrickD 
Executive Producer
PatrickD
Loc: California
Reg: 12-07-06

01-02-08 03:52 AM - Post#1925    
    In response to Isaac Alexander

  • Isaac Alexander Said:
Great Recap as always Patrick. Thank you for doing it.


Thanks, I'm glad you liked it. I wish it wasn't so heavy on the negative stuff, but that seems to be what got the most attention...

  • Isaac Alexander Said:
Besides conventions, were you planning on covering other type of anime events such as educational ones? For example, there was the new anime conference in Arizona.
Otaku University(http://www.animecons.com/events/info.shtml/1019)


Sorry, I don't know much about that event and usually don't see many reports coming out of educational events.

  • Isaac Alexander Said:
Also, any plans to release another list covering cons in Europe?


Unfortunately, convention information for non-English speaking countries is too spotty for me to be able to assemble any sort of "top ten" list. I have a hard enough time just getting the con info, nevermind figuring out their attendance (or how they counted attendance).
-PatrickD
AnimeCons.com Executive Producer
Co-Founder: Anime Boston and Providence Anime Conference
Host of The Chibi Project & Anime Unscripted™


 
Isaac Alexander 
Con Addict

Reg: 12-20-06

01-02-08 04:44 AM - Post#1926    
    In response to PatrickD

I agree with you about how the report this year seems negative because of just the sheer amount of notable negative things that happened this past year. Along with the mentions you give, the year for anime companies in North America was also not good in terms of sales, and losing 4 companies. Hopefully this next year will be brighter.

I'm very disappointed by the lack of coverage of the education themed anime events in North America. Such a shame that they're not reported on more from the established anime press, as well as from the people that go to these events. Hopefully that will change in the future.

Edited by Isaac Alexander on 01-02-08 04:46 AM. Reason for edit: No reason given.

 
Sfcsu 
Attendee
Sfcsu
Reg: 02-12-07

01-02-08 11:58 AM - Post#1927    
    In response to PatrickD

I would also like to comment on a positive, and possibly local, occurrence - small one day events. I myself attended three small, but very fun events this fall - Yuricon, Zenkaikon, and Shikkaricon.

Yuricon probably had only around 150 attendees, but it only goes to show that a small group of people with common interests can make for a great day.

Zenkaikon in its second year had around 600 attendees and they are expanding to a second day. The programming was good and the costumes were (I think) exceptional for such a small, and young, crowd.

Shikkaricon was also a second year event on a community college campus. There was sufficient programming, and even though there were a lot of last minute changes most people seemed to have a good time. There were a few rocky bits - but that happens at any event at a school, it went off pretty well. I am looking forward to seeing what the organizers come up with next.

I would also like to comment that all three of these cons were also fair to their dealers by selling an appropriate amount of space for the size of their attendance. These local grass roots-style events are a great indication that anime fandom is alive and well and does not only come out at the huge events!
Su
Science Fiction Continuum
www.sfcontinuum.com


 
SyFyCon 
Con Regular

Reg: 12-27-06

01-02-08 03:45 PM - Post#1931    
    In response to PatrickD

With all the negative feedback on the animecons ML, I'm surprised Janicon did not get a mention with its $35,000 debt.

 
Kimichou 
Attendee
Kimichou
Loc: PA
Reg: 01-28-07

01-02-08 05:14 PM - Post#1934    
    In response to Sfcsu

  • Sfcsu Said:
I would also like to comment on a positive, and possibly local, occurrence - small one day events. I myself attended three small, but very fun events this fall - Yuricon, Zenkaikon, and Shikkaricon.

Yuricon probably had only around 150 attendees, but it only goes to show that a small group of people with common interests can make for a great day.

Zenkaikon in its second year had around 600 attendees and they are expanding to a second day. The programming was good and the costumes were (I think) exceptional for such a small, and young, crowd.

Shikkaricon was also a second year event on a community college campus. There was sufficient programming, and even though there were a lot of last minute changes most people seemed to have a good time. There were a few rocky bits - but that happens at any event at a school, it went off pretty well. I am looking forward to seeing what the organizers come up with next.

I would also like to comment that all three of these cons were also fair to their dealers by selling an appropriate amount of space for the size of their attendance. These local grass roots-style events are a great indication that anime fandom is alive and well and does not only come out at the huge events!



We're glad you liked our event =). Unfortunately Shikkaricon will not be returning. I posted specifics in the Shikkaricon thread on here. Thanks for your support!
~~Shikkaricon Con Chair/Founder~~
Otakon, AnimeNext, Takii Staff




 
D-chan _ 
Con Regular

Loc: Upper Darby, PA 19082
Reg: 01-31-07

01-02-08 07:44 PM - Post#1939    
    In response to Kimichou

Very nice report, Patrick! Here's hoping TAKII makes it into your year-in-review next year (for extremely good reasons ^_*).
The Asian Karaoke Idol Invitational (TAKII)
http://takii.pdnmz.com
"Taking Asian music & video gaming fusion festivals to the extreme twice a year!"


 
Drorain 
Con Addict
Drorain
Loc: Massachusetts
Reg: 01-18-07

01-02-08 09:00 PM - Post#1942    
    In response to D-chan _

good report Patrick, 2007 was a rough year for many cons closing up shop. It's to bad, but there is bound to be consolidation in an over-full market.

I lolled at the kami kon thing, that was hilarious how fast it came and went.

Heres to a great 2008!
I'ma Designer! PowderKeg Graphic Design
I'ma Blogger too! Holy Carp!


 
PatrickD 
Executive Producer
PatrickD
Loc: California
Reg: 12-07-06

01-02-08 09:51 PM - Post#1943    
    In response to Drorain

  • Drorain Said:
good report Patrick, 2007 was a rough year for many cons closing up shop. It's to bad, but there is bound to be consolidation in an over-full market


...and there were so many cons that ran well that mentioning them is kind of like a "dog bites man" thing. Happens all the time. Lots of cons had great guests, but if I started down that road the report would be 20 times as long and my hands would cramp up for a week.

  • Drorain Said:
I lolled at the kami kon thing, that was hilarious how fast it came and went.


There was more to it too, but since it dealt with the person running it getting caught selling scanned professional art as her own in TWO artists' alleys and being banned, I didn't feel like posting that in public. Oh wait, I just did. Oops!
-PatrickD
AnimeCons.com Executive Producer
Co-Founder: Anime Boston and Providence Anime Conference
Host of The Chibi Project & Anime Unscripted™


 
Ramothhe 
Attendee
Ramothhe
Reg: 12-30-06

01-02-08 10:18 PM - Post#1944    
    In response to Sfcsu

  • Sfcsu Said:
I would also like to comment on a positive, and possibly local, occurrence - small one day events. I myself attended three small, but very fun events this fall - Yuricon, Zenkaikon, and Shikkaricon.

Yuricon probably had only around 150 attendees, but it only goes to show that a small group of people with common interests can make for a great day.

Zenkaikon in its second year had around 600 attendees and they are expanding to a second day. The programming was good and the costumes were (I think) exceptional for such a small, and young, crowd.

Shikkaricon was also a second year event on a community college campus. There was sufficient programming, and even though there were a lot of last minute changes most people seemed to have a good time. There were a few rocky bits - but that happens at any event at a school, it went off pretty well. I am looking forward to seeing what the organizers come up with next.

I would also like to comment that all three of these cons were also fair to their dealers by selling an appropriate amount of space for the size of their attendance. These local grass roots-style events are a great indication that anime fandom is alive and well and does not only come out at the huge events!




Thanks for your great review about Zenkaikon, we do enjoy having you as a repeat dealer
Zenkaikon Convention Chair 2005-2011
Cosplay Co Chair 07,
Delaware Anime Society: C.hief E.xecutive O.taku
DE/PA/NJ and beyond!: Check out our PA Chapter!


Edited by Ramothhe on 01-02-08 10:18 PM. Reason for edit: No reason given.

 
zcat68 
Con Regular
zcat68
Loc: Tiverton, RI
Reg: 01-18-07

01-02-08 10:46 PM - Post#1946    
    In response to PatrickD

Thanks for the great report Patrick.

I personally (all natural pessimism asside) worry for the state of anime fandom. To an extent, it feels like there are more..."bad" (for lack of a better term) people entering the scene, who clearly don't have any intrest in anime, or the anime fandom at heart. I for one hope that 2008 brings a change to this trend.

 
Simon Young 
Con Regular

Loc: Portland, OR
Reg: 07-13-07

01-03-08 07:26 PM - Post#1949    
    In response to PatrickD

Fantastic recap of the year...with the hundreds of events that happened, I realize how difficult it must have been to summarize so many different conventions!

As a guest who has performed at several events and as a consultant who assists other convention planners/artists, I have to say that these release are extremely useful (not to mention interesting). While it is sad to see several conventions each year cancel or put on indefinite hiatus, it is very encouraging to see continued growth in anime/Asian culture.

Some other events that have happened on the industry side: I noticed many more Asian American and anime/video game inspired artists sprout up across the country. Many newer acts have started making appearances at anime conventions for the first time (such as The Notorious MSG and my own band, The Slants), joining long-time favorites such as Peelander-Z. It's great to see many conventions bring in musical guests in addition to regular programming, allowing fans to participate in more aspects of the culture.

The spread of convention culture has also spread into more of the mainstream news as well.

Good stuff!
www.myspace.com/theslants
www.youtube.com/slantsvideos
www.theslants.com
www.laststoptokyo.com


 
Sfcsu 
Attendee
Sfcsu
Reg: 02-12-07

01-04-08 10:55 AM - Post#1953    
    In response to zcat68

  • zcat68 Said:

I personally (all natural pessimism asside) worry for the state of anime fandom. To an extent, it feels like there are more..."bad" (for lack of a better term) people entering the scene, who clearly don't have any intrest in anime, or the anime fandom at heart. I for one hope that 2008 brings a change to this trend.



I don't think the state of fandom is in trouble. As I mentioned before, small events on a local level seem to indicate that anime fandom is alive and well. I think the actual concern is the state of anime cons. There have been some obviously badly run cons, cons that are basically large dealer rooms, as well a few that seem like scams.

This is somewhat reminiscent (and I am showing my age here) of the Star Trek cons of the mid to late 80's through the early 90's. There were a couple good ones, some that were just large dealer rooms, and quite a few scams. The fandom survived, and still does at a local level, but the age of the Star Trek/Big Media Con every week (or even month) is long gone.

I also would like to see fewer occurences of bad and/or badly organized cons. In immediate future, I expect that the larger cons will probably become larger, as people who are afrid of bad cons will save thier money and travel time to go to a con with a good/stable reputation. These will hopefully stay more fan-centered than industry-centered. There will probably be fewer start-up cons due to the lack resources (monetary & personel). Small events - clubs, etc - will end up carrying the torch between the large cons.

But hey, who knows? We will just have to see what happens.
Su
Science Fiction Continuum
www.sfcontinuum.com


 
PatrickD 
Executive Producer
PatrickD
Loc: California
Reg: 12-07-06

01-04-08 12:40 PM - Post#1955    
    In response to Sfcsu

  • Sfcsu Said:
In immediate future, I expect that the larger cons will probably become larger, as people who are afrid of bad cons will save thier money and travel time to go to a con with a good/stable reputation.


I'd imagine it would be easier for people to find out about good conventions after I finish the new user-submitted convention rating feature.

Oops, did I just let that slip?
-PatrickD
AnimeCons.com Executive Producer
Co-Founder: Anime Boston and Providence Anime Conference
Host of The Chibi Project & Anime Unscripted™


 
Simon Young 
Con Regular

Loc: Portland, OR
Reg: 07-13-07

01-04-08 12:42 PM - Post#1956    
    In response to Sfcsu

  • Quote:

I think the actual concern is the state of anime cons. There have been some obviously badly run cons, cons that are basically large dealer rooms, as well a few that seem like scams.

I also would like to see fewer occurences of bad and/or badly organized cons. In immediate future, I expect that the larger cons will probably become larger, as people who are afrid of bad cons will save thier money and travel time to go to a con with a good/stable reputation.



This will probably be true...it seems that nearly every convention is run by volunteers (even some of the larger ones) because of limited funds. The "staff" therefore are generally running these events part time and sometimes do not always have the experience in handling such large programs/budgets/etc.

Working with larger, or at least events with a stable history, will also be a major concern for guests as well. My band was scheduled to perform/appear at several start-up conventions that had to cancel last minute due to over-spending the budget, postponing the convention because they didn't have reservations for the event, or other organizational problems. With advance notice, it usually isn't a major problem, these cancellations did leave us with huge debts (we had promises of being reimbursed for expenses that never came to) as well as numerous lost opportunities. I know of several other artists and guests who faced similiar circumstances as well.

However, these problems aren't only in the anime convention world. It happens all the time with on a smaller scale with clubs/venues or even large music festivals as well. Sometimes its because events try and expand or start-up too quickly, other times its staffing issues...

Ultimately, as time goes on, we'll find our favorite long-time events with solid history and experience behind them. Despite some of the setbacks, I still look forward to new events and can't wait to see what this upcoming year will bring!
www.myspace.com/theslants
www.youtube.com/slantsvideos
www.theslants.com
www.laststoptokyo.com


 
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