Usually when a brand new anime convention starts off, usually doesn't start off the best.. From my experience from going to Kintoki's first anime convention in the Hyatt in Sacramento, the turn out was great and there was stuff to do, and I really enjoyed what was there. There was plenty of promise and good vibes for Kintoki-Con, and I was excited to come to Kintoki-Con's return after a year off of convention.
Kintoki-Con was not held this year at the Hyatt, but was held at the Holiday Inn in the Capitol Plaza. This location was great for near by food and other cosplay needs, as it was right in-between the K street mall and Old Sacramento. To me Johnny Rockets was the easiest and most convenient fast food place because it was the nearest to the hotel. Inside the Holiday Inn hotel, the hotel itself was rather small. If I were to compare the size of the convention space with any other anime convention I attended, it would be like going to Anime on Display size. It was a dramatic change from the spacious place of the Hyatt to something more small and cramped. Kintoki was using two floors of the hotel for the convention. The first floor was mainly used for the mostly everything while the second floor was used for panels. While I did enjoy the few perks the hotel had to offer, breakfast and the pool, switching from the Hyatt to a much smaller size was very off putting and more of a downgrade from what Kintoki-Con started with.
While I was walking around the convention floor, I popped in the Dealers Room. It was pretty small, but big enough to walk around and see whats on for sale. The venders that were there were selling all the anime goods, like plushies, love pillows, manga, gundum models, and much more. I didn't have a problem or any particular obstacles that hinder my experience in the dealer hall. I did talk to some of the venders and they explained while it was nice that there wasn't any problems or big traffic, they were hoping to have more of a big turn out for more sales. The size of the room where the dealers hall was being held in, was small to a medium size room. Nowhere near the size of say fanime or any other mid to big convention out there. I would even go out to say this was smaller then Sac Con's Dealer's Room.
Video Game Room
While the main video game room is where most of the consoles and games were at, there was also two other areas in the convention that had video games as well. Near the back of the convention was the arcade of various games including Dance Dance Revolution, and next to the main video game room was a another dance game set up with the Wii. It was rather interesting to see the video games setups broken up like that instead of having everything in one giant room. The video game room was a pretty medium size room and enough to hold all the consoles and games in. There was a stream set up in the back of the room to stream some of the tournaments over on twitch.tv's website. Most of the tournaments were free to enter and all of them went very smoothly. It was really relaxing being in the game room, and there wasn't much to worry about other then waiting in line to play your game depending on which console you were playing on. Overall the game room was fine. Nothing that really stood out, it was there for people to come in and play games. I would say with video games divided up around the convention was easy to accesses any type of video game without no worries or waiting in lines to play your turn.
Most of my time when I was at Kintoki-Con, was spent in the artist alley. I am always amused and I rather enjoy buying stuff from the artist alley more so then the Dealers Room. Artist Alley was the biggest room used up from all the rooms I have seen in the hotel. I walked in and checked out some of the artist great work. Walkways were a bit narrow, but because the attendance at the convention wasn't as bad as other anime conventions it was easy to navigate though artist alley without blocking someone's way. The artist that were there offered a wide range of different assortment of goodies. Anywhere from drawings, wood carvings, trinkets, pins, and much more. Like the venders in the dealer hall, some of the artist were hoping for a bigger turn out rather then what they expected. Never the less everyone was very friendly, and very kind while going around looking at whats for sell. Having the artist alley with the biggest room in the hotel was a good move on Kintoki's part.
Most of the main events that were held was in the biggest room of the hotel, where the sign ups were for the cosplay contest was held. The room held many big events from the Masquerade to learning how to dance to Kpop with plenty of room for people to move around in. I attended some of the events and enjoyed my time to not only sit down and relax, but also being entertained. I checked out the Masquerade, Idolmasters dance group, learning how to dance to Kpop, and much more. I can tell everyone that was in that room for some of the main events were having a lot of fun and possibly the best part of the convention. For the size of people that attended the con, this room and everything that was going on in it felt pretty fun and a relaxed atmosphere.
The Swap meet was held in a small room near the video game room and the front of the hotel. It was probably not the best room for a swap meet, but given with what rooms to work with, this was the best Kintoki had to offer for the swap meet. Once it started there were a good amount of sellers showing off used goods on all things anime, video games, plushies, and much more. I would say the most amount of people that can go in and take a look around were about 5-10 people at a time before someone leaves and another takes it place. From what I understand people in the swap meet were having fun, talking to people and selling goods. While the swap meet was going as planed, it still felt like the room size hinder the possibility to be even better.
While I did not attend many panels, I did went to a few. What struck me was that I didn't realize the panel rooms were very small. I did not think the rooms for the panels would be this small, but this was size that were left to work with. With that being said, that did not stop from the panels from being fun. It seems like even in the most unpleasant of times during the panels I attended it was still fun to sit down and have fun at the panel. There were a few minor hiccups when it came to some of the equipment that was being used, but the people presenting at the panel were more then capable to roll with it.
With all this being said about every possible room and activity during the convention, I have to point out the mistakes that the convention made. One of the biggest blunders Kintoki Con made was that the registration was not ready on time or set up for people right away. I saw that people were in line for hours waiting on the staff to be ready for registration. I have overheard the staff were there since 10 am, but for some odd reason was not prepared for people to come in around noon. The price for getting into the convention as a attendee was priced at $40. Now I can understand if this price was set for say Sac Anime or any other mid-major convention, but for what Kintoki was offering and the size of the convention itself in the Holiday Inn hotel, it would be smarter to price it lower around $20 for the weekend instead of $40. A common theme I kept getting from everyone who did sell either it be with from the Swap Meet, Dealers Room, and Artist Alley was that they were hoping a bigger turn out. With people who attended last Kintoki Con, many expected a bigger turn out since it was off to a great start two years ago. While on paper there was a ton of things to do at the convention, in action there really wasn't. During day one, when both the Artist Alley and the Dealers Room were closed for the day, there was literary nothing going on at the moment except in the main events room and panels. The video game room was late on opening up, and people were wondering the halls with nothing to do. There were several times where I was left bored out of my mind and instead hanged out with friends to have my own fun. Most of the people that were there for Kintoki-Con said that they were there only until Sunday where they left for the Japan Pop Summit in San Francisco.
With everything I have said, I did have fun, but not as much fun as I had hoped for like the first Kintoki -Con. This year's Kintoki-Con took a step back in some areas especially with the size and hotel space. There is still potential in my opinion for Kintoki-Con to be the new and better Sac Con, but this is not in the right direction. What really hurt this convention was not having a lot to do in any part of the day. Sure there was the usual troupes that a convention should have, but outside of that there were not as much going on to really to make the $40 entry worth it. Hopefully next year Kintoki can learn from its mistakes and come back with a slew of great ideas and fun for everyone to have.
I been informed by the Head of Kintoki Con on a few things I did not know upon writing this review on a few things I missed:
"We work with a much smaller budget than year 1 due to the financial complications we had after our first year. This is also the reason why we had to skip a year. Also JPop Summit announced their dates after we had signed our contract with the hotel, so that could not be helped.We did do a poll after Year 1 as well and at the time of the poll people selected that July would be better than June; however now theey are wanting the June date back for Year 3."