Update (7/8/18): An updated version of “The State of the Con” has been published, you can find my thoughts here.
Anime Expo is rapidly approaching, and with the arrival of the AX schedule, I have now come upon one of the most difficult tasks I’ve had in recent memory: planning out my weekend.
While AX isn’t a 24-hour convention like Fanime, the top-tier talent and guests means that no hour is wasted. Just look at the options to choose from in a random hour I picked out from the weekend:
Voice actor workshops, cosplay tips, anime screenings and more, all overlapping in this 75 minute block. This leads to a series of grueling decisions as you begin scribbling out pro/con lists like a maniac.
Now, as a premier fan I do have the added bonus of early access to these panels. However, AX balances out the benefit of the premier badge by requesting premier fans arrive 15-30 minutes before the panel begins. Once the premier line has been filed in, any premier fans looking to get into the panel would have to join the general registration line and face possibly not getting in at all. I think this is a smart move to make sure that premier fans are still committed to whatever events they want to attend by giving up an extra 15-30 minutes beforehand to secure their place in line. Those of you who are familiar with popular panels can attest that 15-30 minutes is a small price to pay when many others may end up sacrificing hours of their day to secure a good place in line.
I was also recently notified of a premier fan exclusive panel with Japanese VA Junichi Suwabe, who has voiced title characters such as Archer from the Fate/Stay series, Itami from GATE and Dandy from Space Dandy. So far this is the only “exclusive” panel I’m aware of, but given that it’s with one of the bigger guests AX has this year, I’m pretty happy about it.
While the premier badge helps cut down significantly on waiting in lines for panels, there are still conflicts that cannot be avoided. Currently I’m going back and forth on a pretty difficult one: an overlap between Koji Igarashi’s panel and the premiere of Makoto Shinkai’s latest movie “Your Name”. Bolting to one would mean ducking out halfway through on the other, and the last thing I’d want to do is be disrespectful to the guests or waste a seat that another attendee would have used for the whole panel.
I will say in the last couple weeks I have been increasingly disappointed that the premier badge doesn’t get you autograph event privileges. I understand giving premier fan members a blanket priority on the limited autograph sessions could be a detriment to the general con-goers, however, I think that a ticket system could be a valuable addition in future years to lend even more value to the premier badge.
So, my march towards Anime Expo continues on. I’m getting more and more hyped by the day, and I’m sure that once the event gets here there will be even more to talk about in terms of Premier fan goodies! Stay tuned!
Are you currently planning out your Anime Expo weekend? How do you prioritize your events? Feel free to let me know in the comments, or jump into our Discord server to chat with us about it!
Value – $175/375
You can find part 3 of my premier fan experience here.