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SMOF News, volume 1, issue 13
Line management problems are back too, and news in brief.
More Badges, More Problems
Although it’s a much smaller show than New York Comic-Con (which is held over four days in early October), the three-day AnimeNYC has scores of fans looking for events around anime, manga, cosplay, gaming of all kinds, and other Asian pop fan-favorites through the weekend. There were a few hiccups. Registration lines were long on the first day and fans that showed up early on Friday to pick up badges were forced to wait hours to be admitted.
Despite the first day problems and lack of many of the biggest publishers, fans PW encountered were happy to be back at a Con and thrilled to see their favorite anime voice actors, manga authors, cosplayers, and take part in gaming and other fan activities.
“Much smaller”, in this case, means “merely 50,000 or so attendees”. (PW reports 53,000; Anime News Network says attendance was capped at 50,000.)
ANN’s reporter on the ground described the line issue in more detail:
Attendees had begun lining up ahead of the convention opening, and as New York's PIX11 reported during its morning news segment, that line wrapped around the block. Long lines at large conventions isn't exactly unheard of; Anime Expo dealt with a similar issue in 2017. However, that NYC block grew to seven (or approximately half a mile) as congoers snaked around in convoluted angles and continued to wait to get in. Eventually, all the jokey displays of playing the Squid Game card-flip challenge would wane and the queue, including some who had stood in line for four to five hours, devolved into a mass of humanity. This is a scenario that is most reasonably described as "dangerous." According to multiple attendees I spoke to who were in line at the time, frustrated ticketholders began pushing toward the doors.
The issue was that badge pickup and vaccination checks had opened two days before the convention, but people who had already picked up their badges were stuck in the same line as people who hadn’t. Separate lines which were supposed to have been in place on Friday were not implemented until Friday and Saturday.
And there was a problem very familiar to anime con attendees:
Anime NYC showrunner and founder Peter Tatara shared the logistics of the event, and what led to Friday's multiple-hour wait. The issue, according to him, was primarily attributed to the staff's underestimation of demand.
"We, of course, knew how many fans were coming, but we didn't expect the vast majority of our Friday and 3-Day Badge holders to arrive very early on Friday morning and overload our Crystal Palace entrance," Tatara said. "The convention's events began at 1 PM on Friday and doors to the building itself opened at 10 AM, but a tremendous number of fans arrived well before then, which caused a backup that only continued throughout the day. I want to be clear though – the fans are not to blame. This was Anime NYC's plan failing to meet our fans' demand."
Hours-long lines to get in were once a standard part of the experience of large North American anime conventions. Though a few epic instances were caused by technology or logistical issues, the main cause has been simply not being able to handle the throughput at badge pickup. Things have improved in recent years as conventions have managed to add enough people to keep the lines moving faster, so it is disappointing to see one of the most visible conventions out there fumbling such a well-understood problem.
The Premios Ignotus (fan-voted awards for speculative fiction published in Spain) were awarded at HispaCón 2021 last weekend. Video of the ceremony is on YouTube; for a simple listing of the winners, official accounts direct people to this report at Locus.
Discon III, this year’s World Science Fiction Convention, has posted an agenda for this year’s business meeting (PDF). Items of note regarding the Hugos and related awards are:
Keeping the Best Series category from sunsetting (E.1)
Keeping the Lodestar Award from sunsetting (E.2)
Keeping the number of finalists at 6 per category permanently (E.8)
A new proposal to add a Best Audiobook category (F.8)
A new proposal to restrict series to only 1 episode per finalist category (F.1)
Weekend of November 26-28
Loscon 47/Westercon 73, Los Angeles, California, USA
Chambanacon 50, Normal, Illinois, USA
Chessiecon 2021, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
UK Ghost Story Festival 2021, Derby, UK
Winter Wolfcon 21 (gaming), Chicago, Illinois, USA
GobbleCon (gaming), Burlingame, California, USA
MAG 2021 (gaming/anime), Erfurt, Germany
Atlanta AnimeDay, Duluth, Georgia, USA
Comic Con Stuttgart, Stuttgart, Germany
Comic-Con Special Edition, San Diego, California, USA
Chicago TARDIS 2021 (Doctor Who), Lombard, Illinois, USA
Starbase Indy 2021 (Star Trek), Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
Weekend of December 3-5
Smofcon Europe (con-running), Lisboa, Portugal
Weymouth Steampunk Christmas, Weymouth, UK
Midwest Furfest (anthropomorphic), Rosemont, Illinois, USA
Dragonmeet (gaming), London, UK
Shorehammer (miniatures gaming), Ocean City, Maryland, USA
Anime Frontier, Fort Worth, Texas, USA
Nashville Anime Day, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, USA
For the Love of Sci-Fi 2021 (media), Manchester, UK
Geek Days Lille (media), Lille, France
Emerald City Comic Con, Seattle, Washington, USA
L.A. Comic Con 2021, Los Angeles, California, USA
Naiccon 2021 (media), Nairobi, Kenya
Mini-Mini Con (media), San Antonio, Texas, USA
Weekend of December 10-12
RADP 26 (Disney theme parks), Walt Disney World, Florida, USA
PAX Unplugged (tabletop gaming), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Anime Pasadena, Pasadena, California, USA
Tekko 2021 (anime), Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
Yama-Con 2021 (anime), Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, USA
Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo, Chicago, Illinois, USA
Ocean City Comic Con, Ocean City, Maryland, USA
TFCon Toronto (Transformers), Missisauga, Ontario, Canada
Weekend of December 17-19
DisCon III, the 79th World Science Fiction Convention, Washington, DC, USA
Sac Gamers Expo (video games), Sacramento, California, USA
Power Up South Bend (video games), South Bend, Indiana, USA
Holiday Matsuri (anime), Orlando, Florida, USA
Con+Alt+Delete (anime), Rosemont, Illinois, USA
AnimeFest 2021, Dallas, Texas, USA
Comic Con Revolution, Ontario, California, USA
Fan Party vol. 5 (media), Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico
Weekend of December 24-26