Glass City Center, Toledo, OH Aug 26-28
“I’ll give them this, I at least admire the effort.“
I hate to say it, but Maddie’s right… I’ll give them props for trying, and the show wasn’t a complete waste of time, but if I had to use one word to describe this convention, it would be “disappointment“.
It was a rush for us actually, I literally hadn’t heard of the show until about 5:30 Saturday night, when a post asking for help judging their costume contest came across my feed. Up until then, I’d seen no social media references, no posts, no idea that it existed. Nevertheless, while there wasn’t enough time to get out there Saturday, I figured Maddie and I could make the trip Sunday, so I ran upstairs, gave her a heads up, and we started pulling Isabella and Archduke Levouis for the next day. I couldn’t help but notice that the map they had on their Google doc seemed awfully small… Especially considering how large the venue was. Nevertheless, the photos looked reasonably active, and it was only an hour and a half to Toledo, so we would just hope and that it felt bigger in person.
The day started off well enough, I managed to hit a Toledo Burger King on the way there to use the breakfast coupon I’ve gotten at fantasticon. It was only good in Toledo, and I was delighted to actually get back into town to use it. We found parking on the city street, a mere half block away. We got ready and walked over to the building. We found one sign that said “event entrance”… But when we went into those doors, we saw a shockingly empty building. It was empty enough to make us wonder if we were in the right place or if things were still going on. We turned left, walked around to look, and couldn’t find anybody. We ended up outside and a gentleman in the parking garage directed us to the correct floor. The elevator deposited us right where we had started, and so this time we went right. We were able to find the entrance to the show that way, that we did have to ask one more time while we were in the building.
We apprehensively walked to the admission table, a plain table with no adornment, set against a black background. A guy dressed in a schoolgirl costume looked up at us, apparently annoyed that we were taking him away from his phone.
“Did you pre-register?“ “I replied no and he gruffly cut me off.
“ $20. CASH.”
Fortunately, that’s how I planned to pay anyhow, and Maddie handed him over a $50 bill while he distractedly rummaged around for her change.
There were no signs there leading around, although the very basic blocky map was available. We wandered into the first enclosure that we found, only to be pitched a professional photo op. Not what we’re looking for. We wandered a little further down and noted board games and video games in one section, and finally reached the other end of the convention space where there was a panel just about to get started. Around the corner was the oddly spaced dealers room, a small section comparatively but packed with an interesting variety of dealers. Nevertheless, the whole time, we couldn’t help but notice how empty everything was. Indeed, even in the dealers room, there were multiple tables that were bare, looking like they had hoped for more vendors than had shown up.
Things were a little easier once we got to lay of the land, but this is a small show, with not a lot going on Sunday. We sat and listened to most of the panel with ninja Dan, and managed to make it back for anime idol, I sort of singing and dancing competition. Another event though that was really poorly planned out… With large gaps between the performances. The moderator actually had to jump up and sing some of his own songs to pad the time and it really came off as clunky.
Not all was bad here. While the vendors room wasn’t huge, it did feature a really interesting and diverse selection of dealers. Maddie grabbed a really nice little charm from demon slayer, as well as a grab bag of stickers and prints and stuff. I made my way over to one of the booths to grab a stack of comics… Those are having a hard time going through the long boxes. The things were packed quite tightly, and I like dexterity and gloves. Nevertheless, I found a few Star Trek that I’ve never seen before along with some other fun stuff I’d been meaning to dip my toe in. These boxes in particular were set up as dollar boxes, but a note on the sign revealed they were actually dollar… or less boxes. Plenty of issues inside were $.75 or $.50, and that was actually a nice pleasant surprise. I got a pair of pretty chopsticks from my other daughter, and splurged on a beautiful dragon themed dagger for myself. That’s the thing about going to a convention… If the show starts this is disappoint you, it’s still up to you
I have the end of the day, I think they bit off more than they could chew. They tried to throw a huge anime show but weren’t prepared adequately for the logistics. There’s not nearly enough programming or events or even guests to justify their entry fee. I can understand why it Has to be that expensive, the venue isn’t cheap. But this is the sort of show that really should’ve been started off smaller, out of the HW Hall or a college gym. They could’ve filled that up just fine. It also needed some more promotion, and perhaps should’ve taken baby steps in growing itself. This is the sort of show that really would’ve benefited from joining forces with a local anime club or something like that. On its own, there weren’t enough volunteers to help guide and run events, and the entire flow of the layout is wonky and confusing. And they need better signage and more logic to how things are displayed. If I had any advice, it would be cut your ticket price in half (and reduce it even further for Sundays, when you’re n
Perhaps I’m wrong. Perhaps it was a wildly successful show and I just didn’t notice… Perhaps I was just there at the wrong time. I’ll give you that, Saturday would’ve been a much better day to go. If I’d known about it, that’s what I would’ve attended. But nevertheless, I’m seeing a lot of rough edges here… And perhaps it’s just because it’s their first year. I’m going to cut them some slack for that, but honestly… Unless I hear about some significant changes, I doubt we’ll be back next year.