Category Archives: Anime and Manga
Oni-Con 2006 final impressions
<![CDATA[Now that I've had a week to reflect about Oni-con and get caught up with all the stuff that I ignored during that weekend, there are a few comments I can make. Attendance was 4000-4500; about 1000 more than last year. The ‘con was short-staffed. Really. Could have used more security, more registation personnel. There needed to be actual communication between Con Ops, Security headquarters, Registration and the Green Room. Even designated runners would have helped if phone or radio wasn’t an option (but see above, not enough staff). There needed to be better communication with potential staff and tentative staff schedules ready at least a month before the ‘con. Security didn’t get an email until about a week before, and there were no schedules for where and when security would be needed that I’m aware of. After-hours registration was a mess. Security had a box of pre-reg badges sent up when the registration tables closed, but the badges were sorted in order by confirmation number. Nobody HAD their confirmation number. We spent about ten minutes per person sorting through badges to find them for the people who came late; we had nothing to correlate names with confirmation numbers to find them easier. Con Ops being in a separate building from the convention was confusing, at best, and potentially disasterous at worst. Registration had people coming to get volunteer, press, and industry badges and most of registration staff had no clue about these “special” circumstances, all of which should have been handled by Con Ops. The dealer’s room seemed to be a bit…limited… in selections, and short a few vendors. I think the food situation with the George R. Brown and Aramark may have had a little something to do with that, though. The stage lighting in Main Programming left a LOT to be desired, and at times make seeing presenters and cosplayers difficult, as well as making photography…well…interesting. Granted, it wasn’t all negative. I was able to attend several Voice Actor panels, and had a great time listening to the actors and actresses answering questions in their own spectacular ways. What I watched of the walkon Cosplay was mostly excellent. From a security op’s standpoint, congoers were mostly cooperative and usually willing to comply with requests from staff. Most people put up with scheduling snafus and delays with little outward complaining, and appeared to leave the convention center in clean condition, picking up after themselves and not leaving trash around. I also have to give thanks to the George R. Brown staff, who was attentative to not just trash pickup, but providing water coolers to the staff rooms and generally showing a pride in their facility that just wasn’t there at Park/Grand Plaza last year. All in all, I think that Oni-Con 2006 went off well. The band, 12012, was well received (although not my kind of music), the guests were great, and the congoers generally seemed to enjoy themselves. Many thanks and applause for the ‘con adminstration, especially Lee, for their hard work. Next year will be even better — If you’re reading this, bring a friend or two or three, and introduce them to the wonders of Anime!]]>
Oni-Con — the first two days
<![CDATA[I've got just a second to write--got to get ready for church in a few minutes, but I wanted to give some impression so far during Oni-Con.
The Con started Friday, and I got there about 2:30. Security head told me to go check on registration and keep an eye on the lines there; no problem. Well, pre-reg was moving slow, and walk-in was too. I ended up helping with the walk-in badges; I have a loud voice and people could hear me when I called their names! There were a few irate con-goers who were annoyed at having to wait in line so long, but nobody was really a cause of problems for the staff. So, at this point, I’m not sure if I’m security or registration staff…
I did get to see the Amano Cosplay Showcase on Friday afternoon. There were some amazing costumes entered, and the attention to detail was fantastic. I can’t say which costume won (I’m not real familiar with Amano’s designs) but they were all quite impressive. Those are the first pictures in the gallery that I’ll post soon.
Went home about 11:30 Friday night, and back at 9:30 on Saturday. Back to registration to help there. Calling out names again…I’m going to lose my voice before the weekend is over.
Attended a voice actor panel on Saturday afternoon. Scott McNeil, Johnny Young Bosch, Carrie Savage and others talked, joked and gave their stories to an attentative audience. The Q&A was fun; Scott McNeil is a riot, and always has a ready answer and a voice to go with it. I stayed through most of the panel, and got some good pictures of some of the actors, as well as a few of con-goers in costume in the panel room.
Saturday evening the cosplay contest went well (although quite long). I helped with seating as security, and then got to take a front-rwo seat to show pictures of the walk-on costumers. I didn’t stay for the skits; most of them are usually inside jokes or involve series that I haven’t see or have no interest in. Went back to registration to follow up, and ended up playing security escort for the registration close-out. Got to sit around the green room after that, and watched Ultimate Avenger 2 on Cartoon Network, then I went home.
Oni-Con 2006 Announced
<![CDATA[From their website,posted 20 feb 2006:
This year, Oni-Con will take place October 20-22 at the George R. Brown Convention Center. Information on hotel rooms will be coming ASAP. It’s good to know that last year’s hotel fiasco isn’t going to stop a good thing…
Oni-Con is over…for 2005…
<![CDATA[Well, if you want my take on how bad the hotel was, and what I thought of the con, click the [story:onicon-over read more] link...
Oni-Con has come and gone for 2005, but I believe that the biggest “con” I saw all weekend was the hotel. As in, con game. The Houston Grand Plaza Hotel (formerly the Park Plaza Reliant, formerly the Sheraton Astrodome):
- doesn’t know how to run a convention
- doesn’t care about their paying guests
- doesn’t know what a legal contract entails
- wants to make sure they go out of business
- wants to be shut down by the Fire Marshal and/or the County Health Inspector
- wants to hide their ownership even though the information is public record
- wants to be the worst-recorded hotel in the history of Houston
- is in violation of state law regarding motor vehicle towing
- will possibly be the target of at least one, any possibly more, lawsuits
Based on some preliminary research, the new owners of the hotel seem to be a holding/investment company called Yazdcorp (I’m not kidding). Know how I found this? A quick Google search to find the new website, and The WHOIS record for houstongrandplaza.com, which was created on October 3rd of 2005. About three weeks ago. About the time that Oni-Con was informed of the change of ownership.
I will clarify: the address in the WHOIS record appears to be a residential address; the phone number is registered to:
Town & Country
10405 Town And Country Way
Houston, TX 77024
which is near the location of a now-defunct mall in West Houston that this company (Yazdcorp, that is) purchased in 2003 to redevelop, then sold in 2004 to another company which is going to raze it.
Oh, one more note before I move on to my actual take on Oni-Con: I called the hotel on Saturday, not identifying myself in any way. I stated that I had heard that the hotel had changed ownership recently and I would like the name of the new owner. The person who answered the phone transferred me to the manager on duty, who then stated that he could not tell me the individual’s name. When I specified that I was simply looking for a company name, and not any individual, I was again denied the information. Well, Mr. Bob Yazdani, I hope you’re happy….you have managed to make some serious problems for your company….
Now that the important information is out of the way….on to the Con!
Well, from my standpoint, there’s really not that much to report. I was working Con-Ops from 2130 to 0200 Friday/Saturday, then 2000 to 0200 Satuday/Sunday. Which means that the dealer’s room was closed, most of the panels were over (I couldn’t leave Con-Ops anyway), and the only thing left to do was watch the cosplayers come and go from the concert and cosplay contest. I finally got to browse the dealer’s room for an hour or so on Sunday, but the lighting was so bad and the space so cramped that I really didn’t want to stay long to dig through the DVD and manga selections. I did see one or two “This Hotel Sux Sale” signs on dealer booths, and some interesting t-shirts, but I didn’t end up buying anything.
I walked through the Artist’s Alley (for those that were left, anyway) on my way up stairs to at least look at the programming rooms, but mainly looking at the exceedingly long line waiting for autographs from Phantasmagoria. The gamers’ room had already mostly cleared out, and the video rooms were shut down–another hotel mistake made that happen–so I prowled a bit longer, made sure the car wasn’t towed, and chatted with some people in Con-Ops a little longer before taking off for a family get-together.
I have to say this for the Con admins, especially Alyssa, Drew and Keely: I am extremely impressed. These people were dealing with the hotel staff from Hades. (Actually, I think Hades would be nicer…at least there you expect rude and inconsiderate staff…kinda like Dick’s Last Resort.) I hope that next year I can be more involved in the planning of the event, and hopefully get to see more than just a few hours of people walking by…although that can certainly be fun too!
PS: for all those legal types out there…I do not represent Oni-Con, nor any individual or company involved in sponsoring, working or otherwise paying money to be involved in the conference. My thoughts here are my own, and any information I have posted is publicly available via the internet–mostly using Google and ReversePhoneDirectory, with a quick stop at the Harris County Appraisal District.]]>
<![CDATA[I should have posted this much sooner....Oni-Con is coming soon! October 21-23, to be exact. Oni-Con is “Houston’s Original Anime Convention” and will be held at the Park Plaza Hotel (Now the Grand Plaza Hotel) next to the Astrodome and Reliant Stadium.
I’ll be working several days of the Con (except for a prior commitment on Saturday evening…but I should be back after that!)
See you there!
A-Kon 2004 pictures
<![CDATA[I just added 112 pictures from A-Kon 2004 to the gallery. Most of them are Cosplay, but there are a few of the 15th birthday cakes! Enjoy!]]>