Anime Expo 2017: SPJA apologizes for Day 1 ‘LineCon’

Anime Expo 2017
Long lines are present in any large anime or comic book convention, and Anime Expo (AX) is no different. But on Day 1 of Anime Expo 2017 last week in Los Angeles, the line to buy badges seemed excessive and extended outside in the hot weather. In addition, everyone entering the building went through a slow bag check. This is different than five or six years ago.

But the world is different than five or six years ago. The Society for the Promotion of Japanese Arts (SPJA) issued a statement explaining why the wait felt longer to get inside Anime Expo 2017 than previous years.

“Balancing enhanced security with treasured parts of the AX experience, like cosplay, moved Prop Weapons check outside the event. To accommodate the extra time bag check would require, SPJA opened registration on Thursday, a full day earlier than usual.  The registration line moved quickly, but the separate bag check line slowed and then merged. Immediately, SPJA reorganized the lines and opened more bag check stations.”

SPJA fixed many of the problems by Day 2.

“For Day 2, many more bag check stations were added, fans were asked to bring fewer bags to the event, and shuttle routes were changed.”

The statement also went on to acknowledge the changes in the world influencing security at AX.

“Given recent world events, for everyone’s safety and security, there was no choice but to implement bag checks.  SPJA is deeply sorry that doing so made the first day experience so difficult for many.  We deeply appreciate the patience everyone showed yesterday.”

Some attendees received an extra badge or refunds for their troubles.

“Some one-day badge holders who were not able to enter the event until late in the day were given substitute one-day badges for another day at AX, or were given refunds if they were not able to return another day.”

The SPJA has made AX feel more secure than ever. On the other hand, the long wait outside did seem cruel to those who could not make Day 0 to pick up their badge (especially if they already paid for the badge).

Regardless, AX is headed back to the Los Angeles Convention Center in July 2018. The SPJA will get another year to prepare for the crowd. For an event that attracts so many people though, resolving the Day 1 waiting issues will be a challenge. As repeated above, today’s world is different than before. A little bit of a “LineCon” might be necessary.

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