A Saturday At Sakura-Con 2023

Yup, Another Convention Blog

Just like I started my Emerald City Comic-Con blog post, I am starting this one with my small journey getting there. A lot of the details are the same honestly. I woke up, I ate breakfast, got dressed, and then went out the door. The difference this time is I was able to watch an episode of anime before I left. The second episode of Heavenly Delusion was available on Hulu this morning, imagine that, so I had to watch it before I left after all. It was another really good episode and it’s strange to think that I probably won’t watch all my seasonal anime until I come home at about 6 pm or so. 

The differences being this time was I was prepared to just jump and go with some rest in between. Last time, I had to make sure I printed out a lot of things beforehand just to make sure I had it all on hand. My bank visit to take out some cash was pretty quick. So was my trip to just getting there honestly. There was way less time standing around the logistics of getting there. I didn’t even have to wait around for the light rail car to move. It moved only about 4 or so minutes after I got a seat. I’m kind of amazed by how everything seems to be lining up. I hope that isn’t a sign for anything else to go bad or worse as I slowly get into Seattle. 

I’m just going to say it, the trip there was way too easy. I showed up at the convention and just easily got my badge for it. Almost no questions asked besides having my id and COVID card with me. At Emerald City, I had to go through a metal detector and its so strange that Sakura-con doesn’t have the same thing. Maybe it is just the different energies between them and a lot more trust at Sakura-con? I guess I really don’t know but I don’t want to think about the implications of people actually carrying real weapons into Sakura-con at all. Kind of a nasty bit of business to think about isn’t it?

Around Seattle and Outside The Convention

This is yet another interesting one to think about. For instance, I didn’t have to walk around Seattle much right? I got off at my light rail stop and then the convention was only a couple blocks away. I didn’t see that much of the Seattle streets because I was mainly in one convention building or another. Still, there were some gunky and worrying things. There was a homeless person sleeping in a nicer area for instance. Some of the streets were pretty dirty and trashy in places. Something which was cleaned up by the time I went home.

My favorite part of every convention is the people watching and seeing all the people watching in Seattle was a lot of fun. Especially when you have anime fans who are in cosplay just eating at normal restaurants to where there characters would never go to or just acting completely out of character while smoking a cigarette or drinking. Especially when said cosplayers are heroes who are pure of heart which is a reason why mos to fuss generally like these characters. Then you have the crossover of real human beings who are full of flaws and there you go. 

What was the most interesting part of having the new convention center there was that it was next to the Paramount Theater where Hairspray is currently going on. So in the point where I moved from one building to another, there was also a crowd of theater people waiting to get in to see their play. Honestly, theater people and anime fans might not be the weirdest combination ever because I am sure there is a massive crossover. Or perhaps there was at some point. But the entire interaction of people in these cosplay costumes and people being well dressed for the production they were about to see was pretty funny.

In general, I was happy that a lot of the scammers were just gone. Last year there were a lot of people trying to sell to anyone who could listen to their CDs of their music. Or just plain scam people for money because they can. I get it because the hustle is real, but they provide a bad atmosphere that no one would ever want to be around. What I do miss compared to last year though is the pep band. As a band person, I love listening to some good stuff and a convention feels like a good place to carry some of that energy that pep bands usually bring with them. So I guess in general, not having them is a positive but everything has a negative too. 

Inside The Convention

This is a point where something felt off during the convention until I went to the Arch building or just went into the exhibition hall. The energy of the convention was pretty low for a lot of it. Maybe it was because I wasn’t where all the people usually are or it could be because I find a good way of navigating around the newer building that not many people have discovered yet. Or it could be because not many people want to go to panels because they are here for the cosplay meet ups and/or spending money at artist alley and the exhibition area. Point is that I didn’t get a lot of the energy that I usually like by being at conventions. 

I think it had a lot to do with having the convention be at two buildings. Logically, it makes a lot of sense right? Especially if Sakura-con is getting more and more busy with people. I was able to move around at all points pretty easily without worrying about ramming through people or being stuck in a place because people don’t know how to walk in walk ways. That was nice. But until I went into specific parts of a convention where people in cosplay preside where things were actually wall to wall people in cool cosplays, it felt so empty. I guess that just means more room to grow and this is just the start of some aspects of growing pains. Something which I am too but in the moment it was bad.

Back to cosplay, it’s kind of amazing how encroaching other influences are at this convention. The main thing is anime right and there is a lot of anime variety including a lot of Soul Eater and Evangelion all over the place right up to newer cosplay like Attack on Titan and so much Bocchi. Then there are the hololive cosplayers that are everywhere as well as so much Genshin Impact. I like it even if I don’t know everything that I see and honestly, I don’t think I should know everything that I see at all. As a very online person who can’t stop being on twitter when I have time, I know anime a lot whether I watched it or through osmosis. I want surprising things. 

Then some bad things. I have some complaints about some of the showings in this convention. There was only one video room. What the hell? At least that one video room in particular was showing things like Gundam Reconguista in G so there were some aspects of actual culture there. You know, the culture that I kind of belong too because while I do keep up with a lot of modern anime, I like watching older anime a lot to top things off for me. Last year, I saw Venus Wars at Sakura-con for the first time and I don’t think that this new set up would allow me the chance to watch retro anime there anymore. This could change in the future but the new layout really did screw with a lot of things in my head too.

To top things off on a good note though, its great to see so many people from so many diverse age rages walking around the convention. Just like it is great to see not just newer cosplay but a lot of older (allegedly) cosplay as well too. I liked that there were some elderly gentlemen still wandering around the con as well as grown ups with their kids. Sure the convention is going to be packed with older teenagers who can drive themselves and young adults, but they aren’t the only people that watch anime. People from all walks of life enjoy anime in the ways they want to and that was shown here despite some aging out of video rooms with retro anime. 

Some Panels I Visited

I started off my morning by going to a Cutie Honey panel that was halfway through. You know, just to start off my own convention experience on the right foot with some retro anime. It was how I did it last year with a 1970’s anime panel that was wonderful. Yeah, this panel wasn’t anything like that. True, I went to this panel when the content of it was already delivered and it was rambling and babbling about Cutie Honey with other magical girl anime now and then. But, the whole thing was just a complete mess honestly. Which is part of what happens when you have normal people wanting to do panels right? It would help if the person giving the panel actually knew about Cutie Honey. Once again, I could have appeared at a bad time. 

The next panel I went to, Track Attack! – A History of Japanese Railways, was fantastic. I loved it. Yes, this was another fan created panel but one really passionate about trains. In one hour and fifteen minutes, this was a brief but comprehensive look at how trains came to be in Japan as well as how much trains affect Japanese culture. Considering how trains are a huge part of anime one way or another, it’s amazing to see how that happened as well as some really cookie commercials about trains and how songs that appear in train commercials in Japan change so much of the top 20 music culture. Yeah, trains are that huge of a deal there. No wonder trains are so prevalent in anime. 

After that is a panel that I only stayed in for a little bit and it was a badly done game show panel. LIke specifically, a panel where audience members went in and tried to get their other three group members to guess anime characters or just anime without using key terms. Yeah, it was heavily cringe and I left with a bad feeling as a whole leaving it because so many things, topics, and/or slides that were skipped  are things that I know a lot about and these younger fans don’t. So I left following a few rounds and I felt so disillusioned by it for a bit that I almost went home and never wanted to go to Sakura-con ever again. Luckily I didn’t and my opinions improved over time and I started to have fun again. 

It was the next panel that changed my mind and it was about a Manwha author called TurtleMe that I know nothing about. It was an official panel held by Yen Press focused on TurtleMe, but it was mainly about the creative process and how he got to where he is today. A famous author that started out by working in finance and it was his writing one day after work that led to where he is now. Plus a lot of focus on how his story, The Beginning After The End, is an isekai but how it played with a lot of isekai ideas. I was really fascinated by the whole thing and I want to read his work because of how passionate and analytical he is. I wish he had a bigger crowd. 

Finally, the last panel I visited was the Crunchyroll Industry panel. Yeah, it was a panel showing the anime currently airing right now that apparently a lot of the audience haven’t watched yet. I guess there is a reason for why these panels exist for people who aren’t as online for me or research anything there either. The whole energy in the panel was fantastic, plus I was able to talk to some kind people while waiting in line. As in, sitting down and just enjoying the moment before hand on it there too. Plus, I saw one of my friends I haven’t seen for a full year for a quick moment too. So the best conclusion to my trip at Sakura-con 2023. 

Exhibition Hall Acquirements, Leaving, and General Thoughts

I went to the exhibition hall between the last two panels I went to and yeah, I didn’t acquire a lot of newer stuff. Mainly a Zeta Gundam model kit that was the only Zeta model kit they had, a copy of Daimos, and then Crusher Joe the movie. That was it. I visited Artist Alley in the other building for a few minutes but I didn’t have enough money on my budget to buy anything besides the Wendys I got through the drive through on my way home. My mission was to find a copy of Daimos and I did it. After that, I simply got to the light rail station, rode on it for a bit, drove my car home, and then that was it. I made it home around 6 pm as I intended. 

This convention visit wasn’t as good as Sakura-con 2022. I think it was because of the growing pains. The appearance of the second convention center building really changed the game for conventions in Seattle. Especially since there are two buildings now and Sakura-con wanted to use both. I do not think this convention was as well planned as the previous ones because of that fact. So yeah, growing pains. I still enjoyed it though even if it wasn’t the same. I also plan on coming back next year and possibly being one of those elderly people that still likes going to cons. That one is in progress at the moment but I hope it happens. Anyway, my convention season is over except for the smaller more local convention that I might check out. So for now, check out writing convention blogs. 

Until the next one whenever that is. There is a smaller convention in Seattle.


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