Twice a year, anime fans in the Northern California area flock to Sacramento. For this summer Sac Anime, some usual attendees may have been pulled off to Dragon*Con instead, while others were tired from last weekend’s slew of conventions, but the crowd still showed up in full force.
Sac Anime is known for bringing in some great guests, and this summer was no exception. In addition to the often-attending but always welcome Johnny Yong Bosch and his band, Eyeshine, there was Josh Grelle, who fans will recognize as the voice of Armin in “Attack on Titan,” many voice actors from “Assassin’s Creed,” and even Rodger Bumpass, best known for voicing Squidward on “Spongebob Squarepants.” Of course, one can’t forget Mark Sheppard, known for playing Crowley on “Supernatural” as well as smaller parts on nearly every science fiction show imaginable.
Due to troubles organizing the guests and various press outlets, the convention had difficulty organizing interviews, so while I couldn’t land an interview with Bumpass or Sheppard, I did manage to get a quick interview with Josh Grelle, which you can see below.
Of course, to meet any of the guests, fans would have to wait in line for the autograph sessions, which got lines stretching far outside the building. But attendees braved the blazing sun and long waits in order to meet their guests of choice. Most provided one free autograph, with additional ones costing money, while pictures, voice messages, and so on all depended on the guest in question. Mark Sheppard had his own booth in the dealer’s hall, though a single picture or autograph would cost 30-40 dollars from him; an expected price at comic conventions, though unusual for those used to Sac Anime’s system.
The guests also held a number of panels, which once more resulted in very long lines as people waited to get in, though they found it to be worth it. There were other fan-run panels as well, such as the Cosplay Wrestling Federation, and the Geek Fashion Show. There were also no less than five Homestuck-centric panels, with varying degrees of quality and hosts in actual attendance, which most convention attendees agreed was overkill.
There were plenty of game rooms scattered throughout the convention, with one for tabletop and board games, one for arcade games, and even the video game rooms split with a variety of fighters, rhythm, and various other games. One room hosted games of Cosplay Chess, featuring cosplayers as the pieces to move around on a large board. Most game rooms held tournaments at various times, including the “Gamer’s Gauntlet” on Sunday for those who hoped to have the skills to win consistently at a range of games.
And of course, we have the cosplayers, who were in attendance in a wide range of great outfits. Many wore costumes from the series of the guests they had hoped to meet, so there were a fair amount of “Assassin’s Creed” cosplayers, as well as plenty from “Attack on Titan,” and a lot from “Supernatural” as well. Though the costumes weren’t limited to those, with characters from a vast variety of series, games, and movies.
There were cosplay gatherings held at Sac Anime, organized by fans and approved by the convention. However, attendance tended to vary, depending on the amount of organization, and gathering organizers reported a lack of communication from the convention. In one case, the gathering organizer never appeared, leaving yours truly to take control of the Pokemon gathering (in the name of Team Rocket, of course).
Later into the nights, the convention offered karaoke, a swap meet on Friday, and the Starlight Ball on Saturday. Those looking for dinner could find a few good places to eat nearby, although both the deli and Subway right across from the convention center closed surprisingly early.
At one point, the convention was plagued by a man standing outside the hotel with signs and shouting at people for being “sinners” in need of God. It got to the point where he drove someone to nearly attack him, though the altercation was narrowly avoided. He was an unwelcome nuisance, harassing the attendees under the assumption that he had some sort of obligation to do so, though thankfully he didn’t stick around for too long. Though there were people with similar signs at previous conventions, they tended to just stand off to the side with signs and occasionally asking for an “amen.” Actually shouting at and harassing attendees is not acceptable.
One noteworthy addition to the convention was signs posted around telling people to keep the convention safe, and report bad behavior. There were a few concerns about the behavior of certain attendees raised before the convention, so it was nice to see the con listen.
Each day provided something a little bit different, as well as plenty of people to meet and see. The convention was always full of attendees, and good times were had all around. In spite of a few hiccups (and I’m not referring to people cosplaying from “How to Train Your Dragon,” though there were plenty of those too) the convention was a successful one, and proved very enjoyable. In half a year, the fun can begin again with Sac Anime Winter.
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