I hate to say it, but I think Anime is dying or dead and it just does not know it yet. This has been a bad year for the Anime shows we have gone to. Not that they are not being attended, not that there are not people running around in cosplay, but that the economy has taken its toll, and the kids are not spending. While Akicon 2012 was a lot of fun, it didn’t seem as packed this year, and the vendors were not happy. Akicon put the vendors in a garage this year and expanded their vendor base as well. More vendors less people (not sure about less people, Akicon does not publish attendance statistics, but it didn’t feel as packed as last year), less money, and vendors were packing up and leaving Sunday morning. Artists alley people were pissed off, vendors were talking to vendors about the show, and yeah the vendors being in the parking garage was really a shock to them. Add to that Steamcon IV being across town and the audience was split, we had people in Anime Cosplay at Steamcon, and Steampunk Cosplay at Steamcon IV. It ended up being an interesting weekend with people scooting back and forth between the two shows.
There were some awesome things out of Akicon though, it was awesome having room this year to take pictures. That was the best thing that could have happened. The downsides though were noticeable this year. While we have at times one down year, Akicon just didn’t feel right. Lots of cool things, lots of neat people, lots of fantastic cosplay, and tons of cool stuff to see and do, Akicon is well worth attending. The real question is what does Akicon do at this point? After a horrible Sakuracon 2012, an ok Kumoricon 2012, Akicon 2012 really summed up the year well. Anime is dying, nor is it staying static, gone are the majority of characters like Sailor Moon and Death Note. They have been replaced with Doctor Who cosplay, steampunk cosplay, and a ton of other costumes that are no longer reflective of anime as it was a couple of years back. Instead we have Yaoi and Nazi Uniforms (and no the vendor would not let me take a picture of his booth either, probably for good reason as he talked my ear off for 30 minutes about how everything Nazi is not bad), it was just a downhill Akicon this year. I am glad I went, don’t get me wrong, but the reality is that after a year of bad shows in the Anime industry in Washington and Oregon, one has to really wonder if Anime is just kaput.
Change happens, but is Anime changing to fit with the times. From the vendors viewpoint if you were dealing in wall scrolls and soft cushy anime plushies not so much. The vendors that I saw that were successful were feeding into the cross over by bringing a ton of differing items, from Doctor Who to even classic marvel items. The Anime Con’s here are becoming a general pop culture convention. While they might show anime videos, there is also Larping, and a ton of stuff that generally does not fit the genre as we knew it. Akicon didn’t even ask the vendors if they wanted to purchase a booth for next year when the show was over. Akicon is going to have to find new digs if they want to grow, and they need to do this on a weekend when there are no other shows in town. Maybe we need a way to coordinate conventions so we don’t end up walking over each other’s shows.
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