What better way to enjoy Valentine’s Day weekend than with a convention? That seems to be the general thought around California, with multiple conventions going on that weekend – Grape City Comic Con, Katsu Con, Gallifrey One, and of course, Animation on Display.
AOD is a well-established convention in Northern California, and just made the move from a hotel con to the Santa Clara Convention Center. In previous years, it was held at the Hyatt Regency, and before that, at San Francisco’s Japan Town. But as the convention attendance grew, so did its requirements for room and space.
With the move, however, came a few small hiccups. The con happened to fall on the same weekend as two other (rather unrelated) events in the same place – a dance show and a bodybuilder’s convention – limiting the space that AOD could provide and creating larger crowds for all of the events. Fortunately, the three events managed to coexist in harmony.
The other issue was only for those who decided to book a hotel through the convention. For while the convention center itself was connected to a hotel, and there were several others within walking distance, the AOD hotel was a smaller one located a fair distance’s drive away. It seems that it was the only location to offer affordable rates for the convention, but they did offer a shuttle every half hour to take attendees to and from the hotel.
Those minor issues aside, the convention ran smoothly throughout the weekend.
The convention itself used some of the larger rooms in the convention center, mainly for the dealer’s hall and artist alley. Beside that was the video gaming room, where there were several TVs and consoles set up, as well as a large screen for speedruns throughout the weekend. Outside the two rooms was a small stage area, where there were several presentations and performances each day.
Heading upstairs, one would find several smaller rooms, set aside for panels and live events. There was a Maid Cafe being run by volunteers, beside a room for the guests’ autograph sessions. Two of the rooms were screening various anime series, while the rest held panels from attendee volunteers and convention guests.
Speaking of the guests, AOD found some great ones to bring in. Lotus Juice, the performer behind the music for series such as Persona, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, and Soul Eater, was a huge draw, with a concert on Saturday night. Hato Moa and Damurushi, the team behind the pigeon dating sim Hatoful Boyfriend, drew large lines as well, as did Spice and Wolf author Isuna Hasekura. As an anime convention, it was sure to bring in actors who have performed in anime, with both American voice actress Mela Lee and Japanese voice actress Yuu Asakawa in attendance.
Saturday night held two big events: the cosplay masquerade and the Lotus Juice concert. The masquerade featured cosplayers with fantastic costumes and performances taking the stage, bringing their best to the show. The Lotus Juice concert was described by all as a fantastic experience, as he provided music and a show that will not be forgotten.
In spite of some difficulty with the timing and location, Animation On Display managed to provide a weekend of anime and entertainment for its attendees. For those who love anime, cosplay, and the convention scene, it made for a fine Valentine’s Day weekend.