Linus Lam Network News
convention coverage report of
Animation on Display 2014!

Welcome to another edition of Linus Lam Network News for 2014!  This news report covers our trip to Animation on Display 2014 for a huge weekend of anime and manga enjoyment and a whole lot more!  Held at the Hyatt Regency Airport Hotel and Convention Center in San Francisco, California over the weekend of January 25-26, Animation on Display 2014 saw lots of attendees ready to party on with a bunch of dedicated artists, live performances, gaming events, cosplay fun, and plenty of opportunities to hang out with fellow anime and manga fans. Our exciting trip to Animation on Display 2014 starts here!  Coverage you can count on, here at Linus Lam Network News!

Highlights: Various live programming events kept the attendees well-covered throughout the weekend. Guests of Honor included Cristina Vee, Martin Billany, Ken Pontac, Michael Sinternicklaas, Tommy Yune, Noelle Stevenson, and Melissa Hutchinson. Main events included Hideo Musical Extravaganza, Video Game Speedrunning, Concerts, AnimeMyu, Video Game Musicals, Cosplay Contest and more. Panels and workshops included Voice Duels, League of Legends Voice Actors, Writing for Animation, Comic Manga Production, Sketchfest with Gingerhaze, Inside Voice Acting, Indie Video Game Development, Dubbing Process, Robotech, Web Comics, Cosplay Cosmetology, Geek Professional Networking, Cosplayb Photography at Cons, Digital Arting 101, Hello! Project, Wotagei Japanese Idol Concert Cheering, Turning Fandom into Academic Success, Creating and Publishing a Book, Creating Continuity and the World Bible, Composing for Animation and Video Games, Animation for Songs, Philosophy in Anime, Creating Villians You Love to Hate, Women in the Video Gaming Industry, Fan Fiction Iron Chef, and more.
Cosplay: This year's trip to Animation on Display saw lots of inspired costumes from numerous anime and manga characters and more! Chart-topping displays for this year included characters from Kill la Kill, Dangan Ronpa, Vocaloid, Attack on Titan, Black Butler, Sword Art Online, BlazBlue, RWBY, Pokemon, League of Legends, Frozen, and much more! 
Please check out more cosplay photo coverage from our Animation on Display stock convention archives!
Report: Animation on Display 2014 kicked the new year off to a nice start with plenty of guests, events and workshops. The venue has changed from the Japantown Center in Northern San Francisco to the Hyatt Regency Airport Hotel next to the San Francisco International Airport, though not much of a shock since the Hyatt was also host to Yaoi-con 2010.

Registration was a blast, nice and fast with no line when I arrived to pick up my full-weekend Pre-Reg attendee badge on Saturday around 12pm noon.  At-con Registration prices were $35 for full-weekend or $25 for Saturday or $20 for Sunday. I wasn't able to get the official AOD Hyatt room on time but managed to nab a decent-priced room at the Holiday Inn Express hotel just a short block away. Other than that, everything went pretty smooth and pleasant. One of the main ballrooms contained the Dealers Hall, Artists Alley, Featured Gaming, AOD Cosplay Photo Area, and Autograph Session Area. One hallway led to the video screening room, panels and workshops, tabletop gaming tournaments, and video game rooms. Another hallway led to a few more panel and gaming rooms and then to the outdoor large tent where big events such as concerts and cosplay contest were held. There was plenty of space to walk around and hallway traffic seemed very nice and relaxing. A far cry from the crowded rush and push of bigger conventions.

Asking the AOD Chairman Hank Wong, a few staffers, artists, dealers, and random attendees how they felt about the location change, they all acknowledged that while they liked the beautiful Japantown location, the hotel and parking situation simply wasn't big enough to support the attendance growth.  The Hyatt has more space for both artists and dealers, larger panel rooms, more parking options, an accessible outdoor pool, and pretty good digs for cosplay photoshoots on the side.  Artists agreed that they didn't feel cramped into tiny spaces like last year.  Dealer merchandise sales were a little slow and somewhat lower or break-even than last year presumably because of less spendthrifty attendees who could not find a ride to the new location but they didn't have to worry about outside competitors located in Japantown's mall area. Volunteers were scarce but momentum from staffers helped drive the events. Having not been to AOD since 2010 when it was still back in Japantown, it's difficult to gauge how well it'll do next year, but most attendees seemed excited and the overall turnout seemed to reflect that. The Knuckles Sports Bar and center dining area provided fairly reasonable food and drink options and more sit-in or fast-food restaurants are within easy walking or driving distance outside the area.

AOD was nice enough to host a pre-show party for attendees ready to celebrate their otakuness. Swap Meet was held on Friday night from 8:30-10:30pm and Video Game Speedrunning started at Friday 8:30pm. As Saturday morning attendance rolled in, I saw a considerably larger portion of the gaming area now dedicated to League of Legends. Alpaca plushies of all sizes are a big trend in cute collectibles and many dealers had plenty in stock. Project Diva Vocaloid gaming systems were set up in the center area of the hall and gathered a pretty good crowd. The Cosplay Contest had plenty of nice skits, the most notable of which included Attack on Titan characters dancing to KPop group Shinhwa's "This Love" dance and the intermission's Angel Hearts Cosplay concert dance performance featuring members dressed as Vocaloid characters that resulted in a few excited male attendees to bust out their glowsticks and amuse the audience with their highly choreographed Japanese-style audience cheering routines. It was nice to see an AOD-branded Cosplay Photo Area. I do think though that AOD needs a new larger entrance banner; it seemed kind of oddly placed above the ballroom entrance.

If a smaller and relaxing anime convention early in the year is for you, then by all means, come visit Animation on Display in the San Francisco Bay Area and I'm pretty sure you won't be disappointed. It doesn't offer the shopping and dining conveniences of Japantown, but you will find more available parking and more hotel room options. It's a bit of a culture shock, but I'm sure it'll do fine in the future.

Come check out more cosplay and events photo coverage from our Animation on Display stock convention archives!

Be sure to visit the next Animation on Display!

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