I have a love/hate relationship with Anime Expo, and this year wasn’t any different. It’s one of the biggest anime conventions, which means it’s the one con where I’ll see many of my friends. However, that also means having to navigate through overly-crowded halls and excruciatingly long lines. Admittedly, I usually spend most of Anime Expo feeling irritated by the heat and the crowds, but hanging out with friends make it more bearable.
I chose to wait until Day 1 (Saturday, July 1) to pick up my badge. I had a chance to pick it up on Day 0, but my boyfriend was working that night. I knew I’d end up waiting with him in line on Day 1, so I skipped the drive to Los Angeles the day before. Boy, was that a mistake. Enter: “LineCon 2017.”
When we arrived at 11 a.m., the lines were already long and confusing. We lined up on the side opposite from where we’d normally line up for badge pick up. That in itself should’ve been a red flag. But that line was already long, and there was tape on the floor to indicate which way the line should be wrapping around. We were in that line for two hours before we finally reached the front of the entrance. But to our horror, the staff told us to bring our line all the way to the end of the line on the other side of the building (where I’ve always been used to lining up for badge pick up). And that line extended several blocks long, deep into the heart of downtown LA.
So let me lay this out for you. We lined up on one side of the convention for two hours, only to be told to get to the end of the line on the other side, which took another four hours to get through. WHY did they even bother allowing us to line up on our side if they were going to dissolve it once we got to the front? Once we started heading to the back of that line, we were passing by people who arrived a full hour AFTER us. And somehow they were an hour ahead of us in that line. Please tell me how that was fair. Thinking about it still makes me angry. Especially when we were standing out there in the heat.
I was going to write about the rest of my experience at the convention, but I realize that this is already long due to my venting. I lined up at 11 a.m. and didn’t get my badge until 5 p.m. By then, I only had an hour before the Exhibition Hall was closed for the day. I feel bad for whoever had a 1 Day Pass for Saturday, because they couldn’t enjoy the convention at all. The staff offered passes for other days or refunds to them to make up for all the inconvenience.
Kotaku.com reported on this mess of a day, if you want to learn more about it. It blows my mind that it took a total of 6 hours for me to pick up a badge that I bough in advance. The most I’ve ever waited for badge pick up was 2 or 3 hours. This was absolutely ridiculous. By the time I finally got in, I was too exhausted and mad to do anything at the convention.
Aside from Day 1, I actually had a lot of fun during the next three days of the convention. I will write about it in a separate blog to disassociate the rest of the con from all the negativity of the first day.
Thankfully, Anime Expo learned their lesson and decided to mail out badges next year. No more LineCon. Hooray!