Hey Guys! It's been awhile since we've done an official con report (PK has been pretty busy with other things so please bear with us). Anyway, we decided to have a second go with Tennessee's largest anime convention, MTAC (Middle Tennesse Anime Convention). For those of you unfamiliar with this con, 2012 marked it's 12th year in effect. Last year was our first time going (you can refer back to our 1st report on MTAC).
Now that we're doing with the background story, let's begin!
[LOCATION]- This year, MTAC did a major upgrade and moved to the Nashville Convention Center located in the heart of downtown Nashville, TN. While the move did allow for more con space and a more lively area in comparison to last year there were a bit of downfalls that occured with the change. Our biggest problem (although we probably should have read the website in more detail) was parking. We were spoiled last year by free parking provided by the hotel due to its secluded location, but that wasnt the case this time around. The con hotel only had valet parking available ($25/day I believe) and we were too broke to pay that. Instead, we had to settled on $10/day parking, however no In/Out parking seemed to exsist unless you did valet or paid day AND nigh parking fees, which could easily run you over $30 a day. So basically we were at the mercy of what was in the area for food. In addition, there were very few (good) photo opt locations. No good photoshoot spots= Sad panda cosplayers.
[HOTEL] - The convention center was connected to the main con hotel the Renessaince Marriot Nashville Hotel. While it was great to never have to walkl outside for the purpose of the con, there was still a huge trek distance wise between the convention center and the hotel itself. Hotel wise, the staff were perhaps the nicest bunch I've ever had to deal with (especially in comparision to last year's hotel staff fiascal). However, the main gripe we had, and we're pretty sure everyone who attended can agree with us, were the elevators. For a hotel to have 6 elevators, they were by far the SLOWEST ones we've ever had to deal with. We were on the 14th floor out of 25 total and we ended up using the stairs more often than the elevators due to the extremely long waits. Thank goodness for the nice Bell Hop guy we got during Sunday's check-out who allowed us to use the staff only frieght elevators rather than waiting an hour to use the regular elevators. Coolest guy ever.
[STAFF]- As usual, the MTAC staff were rather disorganized. It was a breeze picking up our Press badges from the registration booth, however when it came to figure out where the Press/Media room was, NO ONE seemed to know where it was. We basically went on a scavenger hunt most of Friday and eventually came to the conclusion the room was a myth since none of the staff knew. It wasn't until Saturday afternoon that we found our needed room due to a fellow Press person. Other than that mishap we can't say much about staff, although they were a bit overly anal when it came to where exactly you wore your badge. It HAD to be on your upper chest area otherwise a staffer would throw a huge bitchfit, especially if you were trying to access the dealers room. Oh wellz. Moving on...
[CON-GOERS]- I must say that the crowd this year were waaaay better than last year. I'm not sure if I can credit this to the new spacious location or what, but there were no mishaps like last year. People were very nice as usual and I didn't see to many out of control weeaboos. So kudous to everyone who helped make the con atmosphere laid back.
[PANELS]-Despite only going to one panel (shame on me), I was still pleased with the programming available for the weekend. I've realized that since I'm a con vet, alot of the standard panels hold no interest to me. However, I think what really impressed me the most with MTAC this year is them using a mobile app called GuideBook. For those con-goers who had a smartphone, rather than having to keep up with your con booklet you could just use the app to access MTAC's info, which included a map of the con, schedule lists, in addition to some other useful features. Plus if there were any schedule changes the app would notify you. Overall it was very, very, handy, especially if you're the type to lose/are always looking for your booklet like me. I hope more cons follow in MTAC's steps and take advantage of the smartphone app wave.
[DEALER'S ROOM]-MTAC really stepped their game up and provided one of the best dealers room I've seen in a long, long time. For a second, I thought I was at AWA due to the sheer size of the DR. Unlike last year, there was a good variety of items for both old and new anime fans. I was surprised by the amount of Sailor Moon, DragonBall Z, Gundam Wing, YuYu Hakusho, Ranma 1/2, and other anime classics that I saw. Also there were a good amount of japanese snack vendors, so if you browsed around long enough you could figure out who has the best deals. The only major dissapointments I had with the DR is the lack of hentai, yaoi, and yuri. Although, they did have a mini 18+ section, but it was extremely small and only sold live action adult stuff and toys. Overall, I enjoyed the dealer's room and wished I was insanely rich so I could buy the whole place up.
[COSTUMES]- Major upgrade from last year. We saw some really great costumes this year. Plus we felt the amount of cosplayers in general had multiplied in comparison to the previous year. We also loved how there were a good bit of old school cosplays ranging from Outlaw Star to the more recent shows. There was also a surprising lack of your oversaturated cosplays like Naruto and Bleach (sorry guys, we like those shows but they are overcosplayed). Overall the cosplay scene at MTAC got a breath of fresh air that was much appreciated and needed.
[FOOD]- Being downtown had it's perks due to the amount of food places within walking distance. I think Nashville is a big fan of sandwiches due to how many Subways, Quiznoes, Panera Bread, and other local sandwich shoppes were in the area. There were also alot of italian resturants and pizza places that did delivery to the hotel. In addition, most places offered discounts and specials which is pretty good if you're on a budget. The convention center also had a Quiznoes located inside (which always had long lines filled with hungry con-goers), in addition to the hotel having their own mini resturant (although it was rather expensive and not that good selection wise). So overall, you didn't have to worry about dying from starvation even if you couldn't use your car throughout the weekend like we did.
[OVERALL RATING]- 8.5/10
Even though the new location brought on unforseen issues (and a few headaches), the new venue still managed to work out in MTAC's favor and mad the con more enjoyable than last year. I do think the con is still too small to be in such a huge place, but it'll only be a matter of time before the con gets so big that it will properly use all the space to its max potential. We also enjoyed MTAC's theme this year which was "World Apocalypse" and managed to create a new set of of nicknames. Last year, it was EmergencyCon due to the rave getting shut down. This year we dubbed it JasonDavidFrankCon, PowerRangersCon, ElevatorCon and the list goes on. So overall, MTAC did a good job and we would recommend others to attend in the future. And who knows, we may be back for a round 3 overseleves.
So based on what you read... do you agree, disagree, or simply don’t care?
We want to hear your thoughts.