November 20th - 22nd, 2009
Nashua, New Hampshire

Convention Stats:
Location: Radisson Hotel Nashua
Event Year: Fourth
Reported Attendance: 1,446
Theme: "Epic Quest"
Costumes Worn:
Kamina, Gurren Laggan
Ravenclaw Student, Harry Potter
Fran of the Viera, Final Fantasy XII
Miku Hatsune, Vocaloid
Rachel Berry, Glee
Cosplay Chess: Kamina, King
Masquerade: "Night at the Museum"
Special Activities:
Artist Alley Guest Artist
21+ Dating Game Co-Host
Masquerade Performance Judge
Best In Show, Masquerade
Convention Photos:

Photo Credits:
Kurthy, Steve
For its fourth year, Another Anime Convention returned to the Radisson Hotel in Nashua. Known for being a fun and laid-back convention, this year's event was soured by the attitude and behavior of the con's staff, the professionalism of which has gone downhill since the convention’s inception. Security staff were witnessed being flat-out rude and threatening attendees on multiple occasions, and the convention’s refusal to police its often out-of-control young attendee base irked many older congoers. In addition, the maturity level of the programming and events was disappointing; most ended in 4chan-esque jokes or relied on the outright bullying of paying attendees. Also frustrating for veteran attendees is the convention staff's inability to accept criticism and take steps to prevent previous mistakes, both of which try the patience of those who see the same things go wrong year after year. Although this convention still has potential, its staffing and programing choices need to be reevaluated.

Shiva's Weekend Breakdown:
I’d had fun at this con in the past and was excited to see that it was returning to the beautiful castle-like Radisson once again. Unfortunately things were not off to a good start Friday night when we spent our wait in the pre-reg line with AAC security staff screaming, rolling their eyes, and berating attendees for the entire 20 minutes we stood in line. We were up against the wall trying to avoid traffic, but they had placed the registration table in the middle of a hallway where it was very difficult to avoid being bumped into. Everyone I witnessed was being cooperative and making a valiant effort to follow instructions, so the attitude of the staff was unwarranted and made everyone feel unwelcome.

After finally getting my badge, Ellystar and I wore our Harry Potter robes for a photoshoot and checked out the AMV Contest before heading over to Steve’s dance party panel. We had a blast, with a breakdancer named Dragon showing off some amazing moves and a talented poi raver entertaining us with his skills. After the party, Ellystar and I downed kamikaze shots and attended the Hentai dubbing panel. It had some really disturbing and occasionally hilarious imagery which was mocked Mystery Science Theatre-style. Before we could get too grossed out, we escaped up to PatrickD’s room to film our Year In Review for AnimeConsTV with Sketch, Doug, PatO and Bill Rogers. Ellystar and I had two tequila shots with sugar and lime before the taping and we enjoyed a wonderful evening hanging out with friends. You can watch our Year In Review episode with a really drunk Shiva HERE.

Saturday morning I wore my new Fran costume from Final Fantasy XII and got some great photos in the woods behind the hotel. I hung out with Sketch in Artist’s Alley and met some amusing steampunk artists who had a kiwi bird as their mascot. They were amazed that both Sketch and I had actually been to New Zealand and seen real kiwis, though I had to admit none was as dapper as their top hat and monocle-wearing mascot. That evening we got into our Vocaloid costumes for the masquerade and went to PatrickD’s hotel room to rehearse our skit since he had the most space. He was running a few minutes late and texted us to wait outside the room. While we did, a member of AAC’s security staff spotted us and proceeded to march over, inform us that he was “important” and threatened he could “make trouble for us.” We explained we were waiting for Patrick and asked what the problem was. The staff member claimed we were "lying" and threatened to "confiscate" our badges even though we were just standing in a public hallway. Suffice to say he scampered off pretty quickly when Patrick showed up, but we did not appreciate being harassed by a power-hungry teenager.

The masquerade itself was also poorly run; we sat in the green room for over two hours before we moved to main events and the show started over an hour late after staff bungled audience seating. Katy and Steve did a great job hosting as America and Italy from Axis Powers Hetalia, though they were commonly given the wrong information to read by the organizers. The worst aspect, however, was that for the third year in a row, requests to do away with the rude and insulting live commentary made via text on the video screens during the performances had been completely ignored because it “entertains the crowd.” When a newbie performer made a poor costume construction choice for her Princess Krahe costume, the screen scoffed, “Boob tape don’t fail me now!” encouraging the entire audience to laugh at her. No cosplayer deserves to be publicly humiliated by the convention staff during their performance, no matter how they constructed their costume. I was disgusted.

By Sunday, the maturity level of the attendees had taken an even larger dive as I observed them knocking people over and running full-tilt in and out of bathrooms past staff members who paid them no heed, while we were screamed at again for standing to the side of the hall talking. At least I got to be comfortable in my Glee costume, which is basically regular clothes. We made an appearance at the chess match, but by late afternoon I had about had it with drama, especially now that I was all out of tequila. I planned to head home, but Bill Rogers begged me to stay so we could all go out to dinner after ditching his handler who was driving him nuts. I agreed to stay since he and the other guests had made me laugh all weekend when I was otherwise not enjoying myself and I needed to laugh. PatrickD, Bill, and I piled into Patrick's car and had an amazing time with Michelle Knotz, Ellystar, and the rest of the crew. At least we ended the weekend on a high note, but I don't think I'll be back to this con.