ANIME USA 2006
Anime USA last year, if you'll recall, got a bit of a thumbs-sideways from me because of their organisation (or occasional lack thereof). Once again, I noticed a bit of issue on this. However, all the negative seemed to be counterbalanced with positive from a separate department.
For example ... Artist Alley. Because of the sheer number of people, many artists were shuffled back into a little glass cage next to the AMV room. On the positive side of this, the AA staff were very kind in everything from delivering food to actually ushering attendees back to the more neglected areas. Not the best place to be overall, but the staff's willingness to compensate made up for it as much as was in their abilities ... in addition to them just being nice people.
Because of the concert, cosplay was bumped forward to the afternoon. This seemed to set the pacing of the con off a bit, but it also (as far as I could tell) took care of any tech problems that might have arisen from trying to set up for the concert itself. Cosplay coordination itself was great again this year, although the placement of the green room -- and this is coming from someone who helped with cosplay-wrangling -- was odd. It was hard to tell if it could be helped, though.
Actual panel placement was good for the most part. Things weren't too terribly difficult to find, and in most cases tech was taken care of pretty well. (There was one incident of conflict of interest re: microphones, but seriously, what are the odds?) Panels themselves varied between really good and really crap. To spare people in general, I won't say which were crap, but I will say that it was just poor advance planning that made panels lag and just become glorified mini-video-rooms.
As a panelist, I had a difficult time getting my badge -- I was pointed to no fewer than three different places before anyone had anything for me. This was true of last year, too ... while the reg line itself was very obvious, stuff for participants needs to be made at least a little clearer at the very start.
Now, I freakin' love the AUSA hotel, but it's impossible to park and/or get a room ... so size may soon warrant a new location. Hopefully they'll realise this sooner rather than later.
Dealers' room was good -- nice selection, but stuff felt (to me, at least) like it was bunched a little too close together to allow for decent movement of traffic.
Overall fun? Good. Overall programming? Good. Overall organisation? Again, eh. If it gets a bigger space and gets its head screwed on straight, AUSA can only improve.