With anime conventions coming up, I decided to write a few blogs on different topics about going to a convention. I’ve been going to different anime conventions since 2007 and I think I’ve had enough experience to write a few guides on it.
In the previous Anime Convention Guide, we talked about the main events most conventions hold. This post will give you tips on how to tackle the exhibit hall and budgeting.
Before the Convention
Way before the convention starts, I like to start saving money. I know that even if I have a plan of what I want to buy, there’s always things that you don’t expect to see at the exhibit hall but really want. If you have a budget for exhibit halls only, add an extra $25 or so just in case.
A few days before the convention starts, it’s always best to come up with a plan. Without a plan you might end up missing good booths or over spend. Usually, a convention will provide a map of all the booths that will be set up in the exhibit hall and their locations.
Know the Exclusives/Early Releases
Sometimes, industry booths give out exclusive and/or limited products only at conventions. Other times, they will release manga or anime a couple of weeks early. Check the company’s social media pages to see if they have anything exclusive.
At Anime Expo 2013, Aniplex announced that they were going to sell Sword Art Online wall scrolls that were exclusive to their booths and conventions. I was lucky enough to snag one before they ran out. At Anime Expo 2015, Ray was able to buy One Week Friends 2 weeks before it was released to the public.
Also, look at industry booths to see if they have limited products. I had missed out on nendoroid purchases at Good Smile Company booths because I didn’t realize the figures I wanted were very limited. This is also true for other collectibles.
Visit the Industry Booths
From anime posters to buttons to lanyards, industry booths usually give out free swag. Sometimes they just hand it out to you and sometimes you have to actually do something. For example, Crunchyroll gives out free posters if you log into their computer to show that you are a member. Funimation and Daisuki also has similar promotions. At Anime Expo 2015, I got a Parasyte poster by screaming “I LOVE SENTAI!!!” at their booth outside the South Hall.
Last Day Deals
A lot of the exhibitors, especially retail exhibitors, don’t want to have to bring back all their unsold merchandise back to their store or warehouse. What they will usually end up doing is discounting the majority of their products. While it sounds like a good idea to wait until the last day to buy things, it’s also a risk. You don’t know what products they will have and if it’s a high profile item, it’d most likely be gone by the last day.
These are just some tips to remember when going through the exhibit halls. I’ll have another article on planning for panels. In the mean time, check out our anime channel: Spoiler Alert Podcast