Even though I’ve spent over a decade attending conventions, I don’t have much experience when it comes to attending small ones, and Anime Midwest is the third small convention I’ve ever attended throughout my entire congoing career. It’s really not fair to complain about what this convention lacks compared to the large ones I’ve attended (Otakon, ACen, AX, etc.) as small conventions lack all of the amenities that big conventions have like bringing in some of the bigger industry guests (especially those coming from Japan), lots of places to wander around and get lost while still standing on con grounds, and more people running around to photograph as you get lost. But this blog post isn’t meant to belittle Anime Midwest since I was pleasantly surprised as to how it turned out even though I didn’t really spend much time attending the con as I would’ve liked to.
If you’ve listened to this week’s podcast, you’ve already heard some of things that I liked about the convention which mostly centered around the fact that the program guide was pretty nice to look at and how they inserted a bunch of comic strips for you to read, and they plopped the comic online in case you lost your copy of the program guide or weren’t able to attend Anime Midwest this year. That’s the only useful information I obtained from the program guide since it wasn’t too helpful in telling me where the locations of the panel rooms were nor where the panels I did want to attend were located. There was a little diagram showing you the borders of the convention grounds (which, if you were coming from Anime Central, was super tiny and I thought that there wasn’t even a convention going on until I reached the main front doors of the Hyatt building), so instead of trying to figure out where everything was located, I decided to wander around and see what I ran into.
One of the places that I hung around for a little while was right behind the stairs where they reserved a good portion of the floorspace for people to have foam weapon duels with each other.
Another interesting observation was that there was a higher percentage of con attendees either wearing Vocaloid merchandise or cosplaying as a Vocaloid, a much higher ratio than what I’m used to seeing at any other large anime convention. However, the place that I really hung out for most of my time at Anime Midwest was the main tabletop gaming area where Gnome Games’ vendor booth was stationed, which also had its share of people showcasing their Vocaloid pride:
What I failed to notice was that Gnome Games also had a small corner of their vendor table that contained a small stack of Tanto Cuore sets and only spotted them right before I left the convention that Saturday evening. With that knowledge in hand, I brought all of my Tanto Cuore sets to that same room on Sunday afternoon and let those who were interested have a taste of Motto Tanto Cuore, and if you’re wondering how they were able to play the game even though the only available version is in Japanese, I taped onto each of the cards translations of the key text onto the deck sleeves. Suffice to say that everyone had a blast playing the game:
Since the president of Japanaime Games gave us a few copies of the Japanese Promotional card for the
Romantic Doki Doki Vacation version of Milly Violet at ACen this year for running a Tanto Cuore panel, I gave one to the winner of our Motto Tanto Cuore gaming session.
Although he had won the game, he told me that he owned no copies of Tanto Cuore, which I quickly informed him that this card is completely worthless without the first or second set. There was a gentleman who bought a copy of Expanding the House to the table immediately to the right of where I had my game set up who kept heckling him to sell that promo card for a reasonable sum of money (after I told him that it was easily worth a lot more than that since this version of Milly Violet didn’t come standard with a copy of
Doki Doki Romantic Vacation), which was probably the tipping point for him to grab a copy of the base set after I recommended to him that the promo Milly Violet that he received is the same one found in this collection, but it was redrawn for Doki Doki Romantic Vacation.
I would’ve played more sessions of Tanto Cuore, but Gnome Games announced that they were shutting down the place in around 30 minutes after I was done with my first bout of Motto. And with that announcement, I knew that it was high time for me to get out of Anime Midwest since they were also going to be shutting down the rest of the convention by this point.
In hindsight, this was the most pleasant experience I’ve had playing board games at a convention. Even though I’ve been at Gencon (the mecca of everything board game-related in the United States), I was always very relaxed throughout my entire time at Anime Midwest this year.
And then I realized why my experience was so pleasant: I had no other obligations I needed to commit to for this convention other than just hanging out in one spot and doing whatever I wanted, which is the exact opposite of a large convention because they offer so much interesting stuff for you to check out that you almost have no time to even take a breather before you move onto your next assignment.
So a small convention like Anime Midwest has its place for a person like me, although it is kind of bad that it falls at around the same time Anime Expo happens every year, so the choice rather clear for me on deciding on which con I’d attend if given the choice.
– Carl Dayagdag