Because I was in the area of the convention venue with 20 minutes to kill before having to pick up some friends who were crashing at my place, I decided to have a quick look at the venue and pick up my entrance pass, since they had given the option of people picking them up four hours before the start of the convention to reduce queueing. So I got there around 14:30 (2:30 PM), an hour and a half before doors opened, and not surprisingly, I was the only one there.
I later heard that only few had come to pick up their passes ahead of time, and I can’t say I blame them; the only thing ‘open’ before 16:00 was the manga lounge, so with stuff like the anime cinema and game room closed (where people could go to kill time until everything else opens up), who’d want to leave home, pick up the pass, go home again, only to go back an hour or two later, when everything else opens? If I hadn’t already been in the area, I would’ve waited too.
In the end, when I returned with my friends, there was a giant queue, but in comparison with previous years, I think it was processed more quickly, thanks to their new system of barcode scanning. Double the amount of scanners and computers would still have been a plus though, since with 2200 prepaid guests, with only like two computers and scanners for prepaid people, even if they people manning them are super human and process a person every 10 seconds, that’s still 3 hours to process the entire queue. Part of the queue can be seen in the background on the picture to the right.
Anywho, after having waited for like 45 minutes, me and my buddies were in, ready to take a look around. We were each given a con-book, which was actually quite well made. There was a small editorial followed by the three-day programme and event explanations; something we had sorely missed in our Genki 2010 con-book (event explanations). It then proceeded with bios of all the guests, each ending with a small box for their respective autographs, which I thought was an absolutely brilliant detail!
I sorely missed a map of the venue though, but more importantly, I missed a page with the rules! This might seem like a minor thing to forget, but if no convention rules are handed out to people at a convention, they quite simply don’t apply :/
The rest of the day was spent walking around checking out stuff, though regrettably, I didn’t see as many events as I would’ve liked:
- They had some sumo suits they had borrowed from Bosei, but they didn’t really do much with it. Every time I looked inside, it was either completely empty or had only a very small group of people in it. Making a sumo tourney could’ve been super fun!
- The opening show was great and informative, but rather drawn out. The first video was funny, but the second one too long and rather pointless. The speech by the president of the union behind the convention was disorganized and long-winded. He had apparently written a speech beforehand, but during the first two minutes, he made a sidestep and said he lost track and then decided to crumble up the paper on stage and throw it away. Funny, but evidently a very bad move; he spent 20-30 minutes on stage saying stuff he could’ve said in only 5.
- The voice acting panel was, despite cancellations from two of the voice actors, pretty good. While I wasn’t a fan of any of the voice actors, I still think it was extremely cool that J-Popcon could get them to come, and the 100-200 fangirls would most likely agree with me. I felt kind of bad for Momoi Haruko, the only Japanese voice actor there, since only 1 in 5 questions were directed towards her, while the remaining ones went to Vic Mignogna.
- The anime dating game look pretty good, and there was no shortage of contestants (cosplayers). It did, however, seem a bit rushed with very little question time, but I might just have caught them at a bad time. It seemed like everyone, including the people asking, were just picked out of the audience, so I don’t know how organized it was. At Genki, we usually have people sign up to be the person asking questions, so they have time to think of good and funny stuff, while the people being asked are picked from the crowd. But people seemed to be having fun, so all good.
- I spent the next few hours in the game room, which was somewhat disappointing to me. It had a few cool things, like some music games and such, but it felt like it was 50% retro consoles and games, 25% Super Street Fighter IV (the Danish Championship was to be played the next day), and 25% really cool stuff, like being able to play Tony Hawk on a board-like controller or the 3-day workshop where you could help create a game. It’s not that it was bad, but considering the game room wasn’t alone this year, but cooperated with GamersLounge.dk, who has hosted several HeadStomper tournaments which are famous in the fighting game community of Denmark, the game room could’ve been SO much more than it was.
- I caught a glimpse of the Artist Alley just before it closed. All I can really say is that I feel really bad for the artists… The were placed in a corridor away from the main building, which was so narrow that if you stopped to actually take a look at their art, you be blocking everyone trying to pass, so you’d literally cause a potential fire escape hazard if you wanted to buy something.
- There was a concert by Momoi Haruko, which a lot of people seemed to like a lot. It was not really to my taste as the pitch was really high and the voice ‘cutesy’, which really makes my skin crawl… Despite that, it was really cool they [J-Popcon] set it up, though they were apparently hassled by fans who were mad about the lack of glow sticks, which is apparently a norm at Momoi Haruko concerts ;>.>
I spent the rest of the evening hanging out with friends, and unfortunately didn’t realize I had missed the Unions in DK panel until it had just finished. I spent the next to days raging over that, since I was certain it wasn’t to be held until Saturday. I went home with my friends at around midnight, since we needed to catch the trains while they were still semi-regular, so I unfortunately also missed J-Popcon After Dark; their version of Genki’s Otaku Hour. I heard later I hadn’t missed out on much though, since it just ended up with them rough-housing in the sumo suits and actually breaking one of them.
Thus ends the first day of J-Popcon. Holy crap that was a long post… OTL