Review by Luna
Luna had the opportunity to travel to Fort Worth, TX this past weekend to join in on Project: Akon! This was the 28th year for Akon (formally known as Project Akon) and Luna’s third time joining in on the fun. This year presented new opportunity and new challenges including a 4 day packed convention schedule and a venue change.
This year, A-Kon moved from its location at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas, TX to the Fort Worth Convention Center in Fort Worth, TX. This new venue presented new opportunities and challenges for both convention attendees and staff. As Luna was working guest relations, she had a room in the Omni hotel, directly across the street from the convention center. So travel to and from the convention center was always a short walk away. However there were 4 other hotels within walking distance of the convention center as well as several others in the area requiring a bit more walking, or an uber or car. While not a direct challenge for Luna, parking was rumored to run anywhere from$12-$40 every 12 hours, meaning a convention goer could easily be spending over $300 on parking for the convention alone. The only ways to get from the airports in TX were either by Uber (Costing upwards of $80 per way) or by public transit. Luna isn’t a fan of public transit and the train to and from Dallas to Fort Worth runs once per hour. This made travel there a bit difficult especially hauling a bunch of stuff.
However, the convention center was HUGE. Everything was spread out, and very spacious. While that helps with crowd control it also makes walking a bit of a pain! Panel rooms were huge, providing plenty of seating for all convention goers. The main events ballroom was HUGE!! Rooms could be divided into several smaller rooms. The venue also featured the outdoor Water Gardens providing beautiful scenery for photoshoots. Texas is typically a very hot state, especially in the beginning of June. The convention center and panel rooms were kept very cool (almost cold) in some cases to help combat the heat. There were plenty of onsite food options and area restaurants ranged from cheap to expensive.
Venue Score: 2 out of 5
As Luna was working guest relations she has plenty to say about guest relations staffing and the guest list. The guest list this year was AWESOME! Several American voice actors, artists, directors and writers joined in on the fun. Eyeshine and Pentagon Japan preformed and Luna was able to add several autographs to her collection. The best part about A-Kon is typically the guest list AND the guests that just show up. Funimation is located less than 30 minutes from the convention center so a lot of voice actors tend to just show up. The artist alley also will feature several voice actors at their table on their off hours selling prints, taking selfies and signing autographs. These tables provide a bit more time to interact with your favorite voice actor when the autograph line is just too long.
Speaking of autographs, they were handled very well!! Several lines were out the door upwards of 700 people long. These lines had to be capped of course. The only suggestion would be not to schedule big voice actor names against one another. This creates a mess of a line when you have 3 or 4 big name voice actors at the same time in the same spot. Luna had the absolute pleasure of working with Chuck Huber and Joel McDonald this weekend. Both guests were fantastic to work with. Yes, Chuck Huber is a selfie king.
This schedule was JAM PACKED! There was literally something going on 24 hours a day. Most of the schedule was well spaced, and timed out though there were several overlapping events. For the first time, Luna was able to experience a 4 day convention. (We are still in recovery.) There were no opening ceremonies/ closing ceremonies for this convention which seemed a little odd, but staff was hard at work for most of the time so it was understandable. Panels were entertaining and informative even offering guests a chance to do some auditions with Joel McDonald and receive critique. This panel was very interesting and well attended as there were over 250 people there to audition. Joel offered tips to those seriously interested in getting into voice actor. Saturday night hosted an improv panel with Chuck Huber and an improv group. This event was absolutely hilarious!!! There were two concerts, a short rave, a formal ball and a masquerade spaced among the many guest events and fan panels.
Guest Lists/Autograph Score: 4.5/5
Schedule Score 3/5
Was there cosplay? Of course there was cosplay!! A-kon is the place for cosplayers to really strut their stuff. There were several gorgeous costumes through the weekend. Luna found some time to sneak in a little bit of casual cosplay with her Tenchi group. Once again, those Dallas temps will really wear you out if you out!!
Cosplay Score 5/5
Overall, A-Kon was once again very well put together and well organized. There were some hiccups but that is to be expected with any convention. The dealer’s room/artist alley offered plenty to do and see and saw huge crowds all 4 days of the event. There were plenty of places to shop and plenty of things to buy at A-Kon. If you attended for cosplay, guests, and panels or just to hang out and shop, A-Kon did not disappoint. As the convention falls back to just 3 days next year, pre-registration is already open!