We had a blast at Anime Iowa this year. It’s a fun show in the middle of Iowa, with a killer guest lineup, and one that I continue to enjoy attending. Want to hear all about it (including the adventure I had to endure that almost prevented me from attending?), check out the links below:
– PART 1: Where the weather kept myself, and most of the other guests, at bay. In fact, one guest wasn’t able to make it BECAUSE the weather was so bad.
– PART 2: Where the guests and I got rowdy, had fun, went to the pub, and played Cards Against Humanity.
– PART 3: Despite being tired, I lead a 9am panel and sold for an entire day. How did I make it through? Click here to find out.
– PART 4: The final day of the con is always the most exhausting. But despite all that, Steve Blum bought me dinner and kept me company at the airport. Really nice guy.
July 4th is a time of fun, family, BBQ, and explosions in the United States. That’s right, it’s independence day!
But instead of celebrating my freedom in this country by blowing up a portion of it with loud / colorful devices of destruction, I decided to be productive and attend a convention instead! Hanging out with friends, fans, and selling comics…yeah, it’s not too far off from what everyone else was doing. Minus the selling comics thing, maybe. But anyway, here’s the weekend I had:
I had a half day working from home, so after I finished up my daily duties I grabbed my (ridiculously heavy) luggage and headed out to Rosemont. The blue line is a straight shot out there from my place, and after a short train ride I walked to the hotel to get my badges and drop off my stuff. The guests had space set aside for them against the far wall of the convention, and I quickly set down my stuff and ensured the comic guests could all be next to each other.
After that, I headed to the hotel room and started doing some sketch cards. I was premiering some new designs (Furiosa, and Spider-Gwen), and needed to put the finishing touches on them. After a little bit, my good friend and fellow comic guest Russell Lissau (OLD WOUNDS, THE BATMAN STRIKES) arrived and we grabbed some food and hung out at the bar. He was soon followed by Steve Horton (AMALA’S BLADE) and Steve Wallace (NO COUNTRY FOR OLD KOBALTS). The gang all hung out at the bar, and then retired to one of our rooms to catch up and hang out. I went to bed kind of early because I wanted to hit up the gym the next day.
An early morning work out is how I like to start my first day of a convention. It gives me energy, wakes me up, and keeps the adrenaline going from the night before. The gym is usually empty when I do a convention – I’ve noticed the gym is particularly barren at anime shows – but this time the gym had a handful of people.
After the workout and a quick shower, I met the comic guests downstairs for a hearty breakfast, and then we went to the floor to set up.
Table set up for Anime Midwest
The comic guests of Anime Midwest. From left to right: Russell Lissau, some creepy bald guy, Sean Lindsay, Steve Horton, and Steve Wallace
Fridays are usually strong sales days for me. I have a lot of friends and fans visit, but particularly this Friday I was selling the new Albert the Alien trade, as well as several box sets for some of my other series. It was a great strong start to the weekend, and exceeded my sales expectations for the day.
We broke down a little early before the floor closed, since we had panels to do. The guys regrouped at the bar for a quick drink while pizza was being delivered, but I spent the evening chatting with my friend Lauren (Geek Girl Chicago). I ended up having dinner with her instead of pizza with the guys – mostly because we were both talking about my favorite video games, and our favorite experiences in the Fallout games. We were both psyched for Fallout 4, and couldn’t wait for the game to hit!
After dinner, I headed downstairs for our first panel of the night – Writing Comics! We did it Q&A style, fielding questions from the audience. It was a well-attended panel, and the fans appreciated learning everything we could share about our experiences working in comics.
Russell, Steve, and Steve (and myself, taking the photo) doing a “Writing Comics” panel
After that panel there was a little more downtime before my final panel of the night, Self-Publishing 101. I took the panel solo, talking about how to make comics yourself. It was a fun time, another great opportunity for attendees to ask questions, and I even got topics about selling strategies and self-promoting / branding at a convention.
After the panel ended, it was time to relax in the room for a bit. I got a phone call from my buddy that was crashing with us this weekend that he had arrived, let him into the room and the group of us crashed almost immediately. It had been an exhausting first day, but also a great one!
Morning came earlier than any of us wanted, I think, but we got up and had some breakfast before opening our tables to the masses of the show. Traffic was a little light in the morning, but that was partly due to the fact that many attendees were up late at the dance the previous night (and also partially due to some movie premieres that were happening that morning).
During the slower period, I was able to hang out with my Albert the Alien artist Gabo, as well as our new artist friend Ali Cantarella (The Hasty Pastry). She loves baking, and made me a very tasty cookies and cream rice krispie treat! It was as delicious as it sounds.
Ali Cantarella made me a cookies and cream rice krispie treat. It was as delicious as it sounds!
At noon I had a panel called “Kickstarter for Beginners,” and I invited Ali to join me on the panel since her book was also funded through the platform. The two of us fielded questions and talked through our approaches to crowd-funding, and how we ran our campaigns. It was very insightful, and she had some great insights from her experience. People in the audience were asking about Kickstarter in general, but some wanted to know how to fund their own projects (and most of them were not comic related, which was interesting).
After the panel, traffic had picked up dramatically and books were flying off the table. I sold through all of my box sets for @$$hole!, and also sold through all of my Killer Queen anthology books. I didn’t think those wold move, since they’re pricey books, but they flew off the table. People loved them!
I also started selling through copies of The Fan, my first horror book. A lot of people who bought it the previous day even came back to ask when the next one would be coming out (the answer: there’s no planned sequel, but I do plan to partner with artist Nicholas Ramio again soon).
Someone bought a box set. These sold super well throughout the weekend…until I sold out!
Towards the evening, traffic started to slow again as attendees started making their way towards panels or dinners. But since I was next to the Channel Awesome crew, it was a fun opportunity to goof around and make some funny jokes. The bulk of us were in a (not kid friendly) web movie called Dragonbored, about a guy so obsessed with a video game that he brings his character out into the real world. Think “Last Action Hero” meets “Conan The Barbarian,” but intentionally funny.
We started coming up with goofy story ideas for the sequel (and since the star, Doug Walker, wasn’t at the show – we decided it would be like a direct-to-DVD sequel with goofy cheesy story and focus on the supporting cast, instead). The story went something like this:
Worried about his friend, Malcolm downloads Karl from the Skyguard game on his mobile game app. However, he accidentally brings something else from the game back with him. Now the two must partner together to defeat this new game evil, and put everything right.
Scenes we discussed occurring included:
– Karl and Malcolm having to battle a giant off-screen monster
– Fard and Trevor, trying to fire each other
– Brian going back in time to find the programmer who disappeared in the post-credits scene, and deciding he never wants to come home again…until he discovers there are no hot pockets in the past!
– A phone call appearance by Rachel Tietz
– Somehow bringing the intro character (Rob Walker) back, possibly as a background character or cameo
Suffice it to say, we had a lot of fun coming up with ideas and taking pictures.
Hanging out with Fard and Karl – great guys, who’re super funny
Hanging out with the Channel Awesome crew (and somewhat of a Dragonbored reunion). From Left to right: Fard Muhammad, Malcolm Ray, me, Karl Custer, Brian Heinz, and Lewis Lovhaug
Dragonbored 2 fun: Malcolm downloads Karl from the mobile game app
Dragonbored 2 fun: Karl covers up product placement while Malcolm reacts to something off-screen
After the floor closed, it was time for a quick bite of dinner before running off to my final panel of the evening: An Evening with Trevor Mueller. This hour-long panel is an opportunity for me to relax with fans, have fun, and tell goofy stories for an hour. I told some fan-favorites (most of the audience were new faces, so that worked out well), and I topped it all off with showing some of the fake movie trailers we made for our wedding. Voice actor Eric Stewart caught the last 10 minutes or so of the panel, and opened his panel saying how funny it was. It was a great compliment, and left me feeling great for the rest of the evening.
After the panel ended, it was time for some late-night relaxation. I went to the green room and hung out in there for most of the night, catching up with fellow guests Spike Spencer, his wife Kim (and talking about her great new projects!), Eric and some of the 4Star guys. A woman named Highwire was our liaison, and she bar tended the room – making some very tasty peach flavored drinks. I even popped into the rave for a little bit, but didn’t stay too long. I did have another day of sales ahead of me, after all.
The final day of the show always starts with a slow morning. Not necessarily in terms of traffic (although, that was the case since the show was premiering another movie Sunday morning), but because Saturday was a late night and you’re typically pretty tired. It’s also a little bittersweet, because you know at the end of the day that the weekend is over and tomorrow you have to go back to the real world.
But I digress – we had a quick breakfast and headed to the floor for a morning of sales. I was mostly sold out by this time, but was able to move a few more books before packing it in for the day.
Come buy comics from this handsome guy
Overall, Anime Midwest was a really fun time. They had a killer guest lineup this year, well attended panels, and there’s always a lot of fun and energy!
2012 convention season started off with a bang, as Anime Milwaukee always sets the benchmark and sets it high for the rest of the shows I’m going to attend for the year. This year was no exception, as they set the bar even higher than ever before! So without further delay, below is the full convention report for the awesome weekend at Anime Milwaukee!
Thursday was mostly spent at the office (and we were having a team celebration / competition, too), but I had to duck out early to make my train. Despite not being listed on the e-ticket, apparently AMTRAK won’t let anyone board less than 10 minutes before departure. So despite getting there while the train was still on the platform, AMTRAK refused to let me board.
Upon going to a supervisor to complain (I would have left earlier if it was on the e-ticket), I was informed that the train had already left by the time I arrived (a lie) and then the supervisor proceeded to walk away without actually addressing my concern.
A 3 hour wait later, and I was on the next available train to Milwaukee. Not the way I wanted to start my weekend, mind you, especially since I was missing an all-guest dinner at the show. AMTRAK owes me free food (and or a free train ticket) and an apology, damn it.
Anyway, I eventually arrived at the show and was taken up to the guest suite where Spike Spencer (Neon Genesis) and Alan Evans (Rival Angels) were hanging out with many of the volunteers, staffers, and awesome people that make the show possible.
I can’t stress this enough: having cool people running the show is essential to making a fun weekend. Another important component: awesome attendees.
I’ve met Spike at several shows last year, but we’ve never actually hung out. He invited me back to his room for some red wine and good conversation, but I was so exhausted (and still a little ticked off about AMTRAK) so I took a pass.
Since I was staying with Alan, we piled into the car and headed home to catch some z’s before officially starting the show the next morning.
An early morning found Alan and myself heading to our favorite breakfast place, this little local bagel sandwich spot. After acquiring our morning sustenance, we headed for the convention hall.
This year the show was in the Frontier Center, across the street from the Hyatt Hotel downtown. This was nice, as the space was larger than last year. And it was needed, because the volume of attendees had grown quite a bit since last year as well.
Alan and I started setting up at the show, and found out that we were both on corner spots – which meant we both had two tables each! Now, I’m never going to complain about free tables, but I do admit that I was pleasantly surprised. It was a bit of a challenge, however, since I didn’t have two-tables worth of stuff with me at the show. I improvised as best as possible, and came up with a solid display.
My booth set up at Anime Milwaukee. Yes, that is my stuff spread out over two tables!
A little ways into the day, guest relations came and asked me if I would mind giving up one of my tables for another one of their guests – Robert Axelrod (Power Rangers). Now, normally this would warrant a “no” on my part, however there were a few factors to consider here:
1) I wasn’t planning on having two tables anyway, so as I sold out of books I would look spread thin
2) I could easily get away with a single table, and having a neighbor might be good company
3) Robert is a draw at the show, so worst case scenario he would bring people to the table I could sell to. And that’s not a bad thing at all
4) And not to overlook this important part – dude, it’s Robert Axelrod! The dude voiced Lord Zedd!
Suffice it to say, I said yes to having Robert as a neighbor and we had a blast all weekend. I had met Robert several years earlier at other anime shows – in fact, he and I saw the Star Trek movie together at ACEN, and sat next to each other high-fiving every time Kirk did something awesome. Which, let’s be honest, was most of the movie.
I did my sales thing throughout the day, and by noon had actually outsold my entire Friday the year previous. Suffice it to say, sales this year far exceeded what I did last year at the show. And Robert was a great table mate.
At one point, an attendees gave me a free un-opened box of pocky (Japanese candy) and eventually Robert became wise to it’s existence. “Oh, can I have some of that pocky?” he asked in a non-Lord Zedd voice. “Absolutely,” I replied, and we tore through that box in minutes.
At the end of the day we closed down the floor, then headed over to opening ceremonies with the other guests. Several voice actors were there including the very talented Wendy Powell (Full Metal Alchemist), Chris Cason (Full Metal Alchemist), Uncle Yo (web celebrity), and Doug Walker (www.thatguywiththeglasses.com).
Opening ceremonies started off with some entertaining actrs, and meanwhile behind stage all of the guests were hanging out and catching up. I hadn’t seen Doug since Kollision Con the previous year, and Uncle Yo I hadn’t seen since the previous year’s Anime Milwaukee. Good people, all of them. Eventually the time for the guests to shine came about, and individually we all went out onto the stage to entertain the attendees for a few minutes. Having nothing prepped, I just pitched my panels for the weekend. Doug, on the other hand, addressed the troops and made them do exercises. Why didn’t I think of that?
Right after Opening Ceremonies we (Alan, Doug and his family, and Uncle Yo) grabbed dinner real quick, and then had to head back to the show for my first panel of the weekend, An Evening with Trevor Mueller. Everyone we went to dinner with was there, along with some awesome attendees who wanted to hear funny stories about conventions, my life, and comics. A good time was had by all.
After the panel ended, we all went our separate ways and went to bed. The next day I had an 8am panel (closing the show Friday, opening the show on Saturday) about writing comics, so I was curious what the turn-out would look like.
8am was an early panel to get up for, but Alan got me there on time (and then left to go home and “work on comics” – which I took as code for “take a nap”). Surprisingly, the room was not empty. However, it also wasn’t full like our making webcomics panel was last year. As the hour progressed, the room continued to fill up and by the end of the panel I would say there were 30-40 people in the room.
After the panel ended, Uncle Yo met me out in the hallway and Alan eventually joined us. We continued conversations from the previous night, had a few laughs, and then went our separate ways so Alan and I could man our tables.
Anime Milwaukee brand root beer. You can’t see, but behind the bottle is a vendor selling a mountain of pocky. Delicious!
Sales on Saturday started off much slower than the previous day, but there were also 2,000 people queued up outside trying to get a one-day pass. Sales were still plenty strong, and I eventually sold out of the new book (@$$hole!: Volume 1).
Saturday night we hooked up with Doug and his family again for dinner, then went to Spike’s panel “Don’t Kill your Date (and Other Cooking Tips”), which was a riot. Uncle Yo joined us after finishing the judging for the Masquerade, and the group of us were laughing and enjoying the hijinx of the audience, and the entertaining answers from Spike.
At the end of the panel we all headed down to the bar and mingled with fans and friends alike. Some of the other guests eventually joined us, and we closed the place down and then headed home. Alan and I had another early morning panel the next day, and our beauty sleep would be needed.
9am, Making Webcomics. Last year Alan and I were greeted to a room filled with people – which was a pleasant surprise beyond my wildest expectations. This year, it was Sunday, so the crowd was a little lighter. However, the people who were there were in high spirits and eager to learn.
Alan and I did a fantastic panel, then packed up and headed back out to the floor. Robert showed up after this panels, and turned to me to say “This time I’m supplying the pocky,” and produced a box of milk chocolate / almond pocky.
If 10 years ago you had told me I would be sharing a box of pocky with the voice of Lord Zedd, I would have called you a liar. And I would have been wrong.
Sunday was pretty slow sales wise, so I spent most of the time chatting up friends and fans I had met throughout the weekend. One friend came up with her boyfriend and requested a commission sketch.
A commission I did at Anime Milwaukee on the final day.
Around 4pm the floor closed up. Robert packed up his things and asked if I would be attending closing ceremonies. Since I had a train to catch (and didn’t want to miss again), I told him probably not and we parted ways.
Alan and I went to a local burger place and downded some delicious / greasy burgers and seasoned fries, and then went to the train station. We said our goodbyes (I’ll see him again in April at both C2E2 and ACEN), and then I hopped on the train and headed home.
Anime Milwaukee continues to set the bar high for all conventions in the year. In the three years I’ve been a guest there I’ve seen the show grow by leaps and bounds, and every year gets bigger and better. The fans are great, the attendees are awesome, and the volunteers / staffers putting the show on put their all into the show. And it shows.
Thanks so much to Anime Milwaukee for having me out as a guest again this year, and hopefully I’ll be back again next year as a guest as well. You continue to put together an excellent show that keeps expanding, and it’s been an honor to be a part of that growth.
If you love anime (or even kind of like anime) and haven’t been to Anime Milwaukee, shame on you. Buy tickets for next year as soon as they go on sale. Pre-reg. You’ll have a great time.
Anime Central is this coming weekend, and it’s my favorite show to attend. I’ll be a guest again this year, which is excellent. I had such a fun time at this show last year, I can barely contain myself.
ACEN has always been an interesting show for me. Even before I was a guest, it held a lot of unique experiences. I went for the first time in college with my friends (who still attend), and met a whole bunch of celebrities, ate a lot of pocky, bought more manga than I have room for on my bookshelves, and also saw a girl get arrested for “prostitution.”
I’ve also met some of my greatest friends at this show, including comic writers Russell Lissau (The Batman Strikes, Shrek, Strawberry Shortcake) and Josh Elder (Mail Order Ninja, Starcraft, Reading with Pictures). These two have been extremely encouraging of me in my professional comics career, and have been great friends outside of the field as well.
Last year I did several panels (I was scheduled for 3, I think I ended up doing something like 9), had an absolute blast, and met a bunch of new friends and fans.
There’s even a video of me addressing opening ceremonies – about 2,000 people. And I had to go on stage after the star guest of the show, so no pressure. This year, though, I’m more prepared for my opening ceremonies speech.
I was so nervous. Not because of the crowd, but because I had to follow Vic on the stage. The man’s a entertainer by trade. I just sit at home and write comics while trying not to get clawed to death by my cat.
They haven’t announced my panels for this year yet, but I’m sure it’ll be on some fun and entertaining / semi-educational topics. And no doubt another panel about funny conventions stories (of which I could tell for HOURS).
The show’s in Rosemont, Il this weekend, and I hope to see you all there!
The show finally announced a tentative panel schedule for me this year. I’ll be doing the following:
3-4pm: Webcomics: The good, the bad, and the ugly
3-4pm: Reading with Pictures
6-7pm: Trevor Mueller and the panel that still won’t be named
Please note these panels, days, and times are all subject to change. But will hopefully have the final panel list soon, since the show is this weekend!
The convention season is upon us, and there was no better way to start it off in 2011 than with a show like Anime Milwaukee.
Last year I attended this show for the first time, which was located in a student union on a college campus. Attendance was kind of small (about 1,200 people), but fun times were had by all. It IS an anime show, after all, and fun and cosplay are the name of the game.
Despite the smaller attendance, the show was profitable – namely because I was able to stay with my good friend and fellow comic creator Alan Evans (Rival Angels).
This year was no different, except Alan and I were invited back by the show as guests. Oh, and the venue changed to the Hyatt in downtown Milwaukee. Oh, and the attendance went way up (estimated 3,000-4,000). So, basically everything changed. And it was still an awesome and profitable show.
I apologize in advance for not having a lot of pictures to supplement the convention experience review below, but I was spending more time focusing on sales and meeting fans than photo taking. Next time, I’ll try to magically grow another set of arms so I can do both at the same time.
After a long day at the office, I hopped a train up to Milwaukee to stay with Alan, his wife, and their three cats (who are much more affectionate than Waffles, I must say). Alan and his wife are gracious hosts and opened their home to me for the weekend (and I’ll be doing the same come C2E2, but more on that later).
Since it was late, we stayed up chatting and catching up a bit, but went to bed soon after. We had a long weekend ahead of us filled with anime fans!
Alan and I arrived at the hotel and set up our tables in artist alley (AA). We got to the show a little early to set up before the VIP attendees were admitted to the show floor, and to chat up with some of the fellow exhibitors that we’ve met before at other shows – and some new ones, to boot.
After the show opened, Alan and I began doing our thing: informing the masses about our various merch on the table, specifically our books. Being guests of the show was certainly a draw for many of the fans who attended the show on Friday, although traffic was a little on the lighter side. Sales reflected this, but since last year was lighter on sales (still profitable, though), this wasn’t anything alarming.
During the down times, Alan worked on some art while I made some commission sketch cards and chatted people up about the panels I had over the weekend…and about comics and anime in general.
My first panel was that afternoon, and the attendance for the panel started off a little light. You would think a panel titled “Writing for Comics” would bring in some more perspective creators, as it was an extremely well attended panel the previous year. Understandably, I was a bit nervous. However, after about 10 minutes of starting the panel the room quickly filled up and my fears were alleviated.
After the panel Alan and I finished up our sales portion of the show for the day, and then we had our guest duties.
Opening Ceremonies was at the end of the first day for this show, and the theme was kind of a retro history. They had dancers up the wazoo for this thing – swing dancers in zoot suites, break dancers, lots of dancing acts. The entire staff of the show even came out on stage to sing some Journey songs. Meanwhile, back stage, Alan and I were mingling with two other guests – Doug Walker and Uncle Yo. These guys clearly knew each other from other shows, but were kind enough to let us into their conversations. And man, they were funny. These guys were on the entire time behind stage – and on stage, but I’ll get to that in a minute.
Eventually the time came for all of the guests to take the stage, and our direction was “keep the audience fired up for 30 minutes.” That was it. So after everyone came out onto the stage, the performers with the strongest personalities took over. I’m fine with sitting back and letting someone else energize the audience – especially if they do it for a living professionally.
After Opening Ceremonies, Alan and I went to go grab food and went back to his place to reflect on the day and crash.
The big convention day started with a 9am panel (before the convention even opened) with Alan and I talking about Making Webcomics. When we arrived at the show, the place was packed!
“Okay, one of two things has happened here,” I said. “Either someone lied to you about there being coffee, candy, or cartoons at this panel this morning, or none of you have been to bed yet.”
Alan and I put on a great panel, informative and entertaining, and then headed back to the show floor where his wife was watching the tables. By this time the show was in full swing, cosplayers out in force dressed as their favorite characters and buying everything in sight.
And I mean everything!
I started bundling Reading with Pictures (RWP) with my brand new book, Junkyard Chase, and the attachment rate was a good 90%. People couldn’t get enough of it. I started to get nervous because I was selling through my RWP inventory faster than anticipated, and I had a panel on it later that night!
This is a good problem to have, mind you.
As the floor was closing that night, I had to run to my RWP panel and finished off the day strong. I was starting to lose my voice, but my energy was high from the day spent selling. I put on a great show about comics in education, the role they can play, and how people can work to get comics in their schools and libraries. After the panel I sold through several more bundles, and then went out to dinner with Alan and his wife.
Rock Bottom was full, so we hit up a local burger joint and went back to the Evan’s home. Thinking quickly, Alan and I ran to a liquor store before they closed to buy materials to make Mint White Russians. After the adult drinks were made, we started making silly movie choices. Namely, we watched Jurassic Park 3 and Resident Evil 3.
Let me just say, RE3 was by far the worst of the two. But I’ve always had it out for that franchise. However, it’s never deviated more from the source material than it did with the third flick where Milla develops – get this – psychic powers.
Yeah, someone was snorting blow when they said yes to this movie.
And on that note, Alan and I went to bed. I had already made more sales (and made far more money) than I had from some of my largest shows the previous year, so Sunday was just going to be icing on an already delicious cake.
Thankfully we didn’t have any early panels on this day, so we were able to sleep in a bit. And after that “bad movie marathon” from the night before, who can blame us.
Attendance for the show was a little heavier than Friday, and sales were certainly stronger. People were starting to get a little tuckered out, and the weather outside had started to snow – so many people were taking off early.
Alan and I stayed throughout (what choice did I have? I had to give one of the final panels of the show again), selling the whole day away. In the afternoon Alan left for his first Rival Angels panel, which he said went well. Once he got back I ran to my panel about @$$hole!.
Last year I was late to this panel, and didn’t know what to expect. I was anticipating maybe 3 attendees at the panel, and as I walked into the room I saw about 50. I was so awe-struck I could barely speak, but I gave the best panel I possibly could.
This year was a little different, and we think the weather was probably working against us. The panel started with a handful of people, but eventually grew to about 20+ strong. I told my goofy stories about how the comic came to be, some of the real-life events that have shaped the themes, stories, and direction of the comic, and then told my hilarious convention stories.
People were in stitches.
At the end I thanked everyone for attending not only the panel, but the show. Attendees (and the volunteers who put the show together) make the show worth going to, and Anime Milwaukee was a very strong start to the convention season. They made some big shoes to fill by other shows of the year, and it was more profitable than most of my largest attended shows of the previous year.
Anime Milwaukee is a great show put together by a dedicated group of volunteers who know their craft, and the attendees are eager to meet guests and artists, shop for stuff, and yes – attend panels.
If you love anime, manga, pocky, or comics, then I strongly encourage you to think about attending this show.