SacAnime 2014 creates nerd hype for the city of Sacramento

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Despite popular belief, neither Los Angeles, San Diego, or San Francisco are the capital of the great state of California. To find the true capital you actually have to look a little further north to find the humble little city of Sacramento. Easily one of the most overlooked locations in California, there are a lot of people doing a lot of amazing things to change that. The New Sacramento Kings ownership group is investing millions to build a new downtown arena and more investors are ready to spend even more to make our city a destination. All the money and business people in the world can’t make a shift like this happen, it also takes people like the SacAnime team bringing excitement and quality events to the capital city. SacAnime has been a staple in the Sacramento geek community for years, but it really feels like practice has been making perfect as each year the show gets better and better, culminating to 2014 where the event really seemed to go to the next level.

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Cosplay

The Force is strong in Sacramento’s Cosplay community. Creations ranged from extremely obscure to Deadpool. The cosplay community is definitely alive and kicking in Sacramento, but what was even cooler was the attitude of the costumed attendees. Even more so than other shows that have come through the area lately, the cosplayers were all unbelievably nice, enthusiastic about having their pictures taken, and chomping at the bit to help give ideas and share the secrets they used to make their props and clothing. As a normally dressed attendee and non cosplayer, it was inspiring, and actually spawned conversations on the way home about the thought of potentially wanting to cosplay at the next show. Now I can’t speak for everyone but as I experienced it, the SacAnime team created a very safe and positive cosplay environment. Rules were enforced and this resulted in a great atmosphere for everyone whether you donned cape and mask or socks and sandals.

Staff/Vendors/Event

Staff at the event was overall good. The people I interacted with on the press level were extremely helpful and knowledgeable as to the happenings at the show. On the ground floor there were a few times my team and I would ask a staff for location details or rules on how the autograph sessions were being ran, we were met with a little bit of confusion, but we’re always at least pointed to the direction of someone who could help us out. Understanding that much of the staff are volunteer this is totally forgivable. The vendors were also very good. The showroom floor was spaced well, I would have liked to have seen a little more vendor/guest organization. It was a little strange that they placed some of the amazing guests like Brandon Jay McLaren right in the middle of the floor at a normal looking table as opposed to a spot along the wall that was maybe raised to look a little more prestigious. The way it was set up I walked passed them once or twice before I realized who they were, mainly because I figured the special guests area would look a little glitzier. Another small gripe was the fact that the convention center was double booked with a Greek Heritage festival. It was nice that SacAnime passes got us into the Greek festival for some good (overpriced) food, but the location of the Greek Festival made the layout of SacAnime more confusing. Going around the Greek festival made navigating the event harder than it could have been and spaced things out further than they probably needed it to be. It was, however, almost worth it for look of the elder Greek people’s faces when Naruto and Sasuke walked by with a plate full of baklava.

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Special Guests

For a show of this size and stature, they did a great job finding some relevant and interesting guests to put on the bill. They found the sweet spot of pulling very respectable international figures from both the anime world and the video game world. Not only was it enough that they retained these great guests for SacAnime, they also did the best job I have seen to date in making them accessible to the people. Autograph sessions were not over crowded, and most of the guests they chose were generally just awesome people who you can really tell love interacting with the people. SacAnime was an absolute wet dream for any big Assassin’s Creed fan. For the first time ever basically each protagonist from the series shared the stage at the same time answering questions and sharing experiences. Cas Anvar, Amber Goldfarb, Noah Watts, Roger Craig Smith, Tiio Horn, and more lit up the star-studded panel. Even more relevant to the gaming world right now, given the firestorm of media attention, Tomb Raider herself Camilla Luddington and Crystal Dynamic concept designer Brenoch Adams were in attendance. There seems to be a fine line when it comes to these cons on what makes a great guest. Regardless of whether a guest is on the ‘A List’ or the ‘Z List’, what matters are that the guests are personable and want to be there, both of which was the case at SacAnime.

Final Reaction

SacAnime is one of the OG cons that in a unique way directly reflects the growth of the city of Sacramento. As our city grows SacAnime grows. Each year you can document things that SacAnime has done to improve, and you can tell it’s working by way of increasing attendance and attention. This is not a con that is capitalizing on the nerd hype in the city, this is a con that did its part in creating the nerd hype in Sacramento.

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Cory Vincent
Cory Vincent 434 posts

Forged in the crucible of awkwardness and self loathing, Cory somehow manages to get himself out of bed each day and make it a priority to spend life killing Beef and going H.A.M.

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