AX 22 Post-Thoughts #8 – In Conclusion………..

September 10th, 2022 in Anime Expo 2022, Rants by

It was interesting to find a report or a postmortem or one person’s view about AX 2022 and what they thought of it. They laid out a laundry list of issues that needed to be addressed before the next one, but it seemed to acknowledge that a lot of the problems appeared to be endemic to the nature of expos and may not be solvable, like the long lines.

Yes, not only were the long lines were an issue, but crowd control and not having enough support staff would appear to be of a greater concern. No one should be threatened with arrest because of standing in a line or not moving fast enough to keep the Fire Marshall from shutting down the venue. In fact, according to the report, “…Crowd management was so poor on the first day that the Los Angeles County Fire Marshall halted attendee entrance to AX within an hour of opening.” My personal concerns were more aligned with not being able to get into certain venues. As in years past, AX does ask for the opinions of those who came, as to what they would like to see or have done at the locations and other ideas.

A lot of what happened (and went wrong) was a response to the pandemic. I really didn’t like the ‘late’ start time, but that may have been due to getting people to actually show up. I do remember in years past being able to slide into an 8 am showing of original ‘Astro Boy’ and, yes, there were probably no more than 20 people watching, so the higher-ups are looking at a better use of the rooms. So, how about TWO showings of that World Premiere episode? Aside from reducing the congestion of the line, it would feel like AX really cares about you. Yes, yes, yes, I know that a lot of this depends on what the parent company is willing to do, but, holy guacamole, flexibility would be nice.

I would also like to point out that I was shut out of the “Made in Abyss”, but when I got home and to the next day, I was looking at my anime sites. Well, stab me vitals, if it wasn’t there, patiently waiting for me. So much of an advantage or being treated to something special. I am also aware that part of seeing the specials here is sharing with 300 other oxygen breathers the wonder of how the story unfolds in a crowd setting (I mean, when Kaseki from the “Dr. Stone” premiere looks like he could grace the pages of ‘GQ’ in a three-piece suit, you have never heard such hooting and applause!)

I have been a big advocate for what I called “Second-Chance Sunday”. I know, I know, AX doesn’t always end on a Sunday, but the idea is still a good one. The last day is usually a half-day of some ilk or caliber and it is hard to get folks to show up on both ends, so why not use these venues to give folks another opportunity to get to something, like the taiko drum event or the “Made In Abyss” session (where people were turned away in droves).

Another area of huge concern was Artist’s Alley, where everything went wrong. Between severe overcrowding and poor air circulation, it was almost a replay of “Apollo 13”, where they have to put a square air scrubber into a round hole to take care of the carbon dioxide buildup in the confined space. But the Alley is in a parking structure, so I have a hard time understanding why the air levels were so bad. As to the crowds, you bet yer ass it was bad. I was looking for an artist that did Ariel pins and even though my daughter gave me excellent direction, it took for-fucking-ever to get TO them. If I wanted to actually take it all in, take a powder, chowder.

Here’s the funny thing: attendance was DOWN. Are you kidding me? Therre were time there was total and complete gridlock. If there was an emergency of any ilk, either there would be mass hysteria or a panic that would make Armageddon look like Club Med. And Security was having a meltdown that people weren’t moving. Moving to where? Even you guys couldn’t force yourself into the logjam of humanity to move it along, so don’t scream at me.

Also on the list that was a huge issue were the street vendors. They appeared EVERYWHERE you turned; there were hot dog or sausage stands at every exit and if you were not careful, you could burn yourself on them, it was that packed. At times, it felt like I had to run the rat maze to be able to get to the bus stops. Perhaps the two years off caused both issues and no immediate solution to resolve the crowding, but it appears that the staff have a ton of logistical problems to attend to.

Now, there is going to be AX Chibi. This is happening in Ontario CA in November, at their convention center, and it may not have the impact of its older brother. I notice that the room rates are less expensive than at the center (And no, Matt Damon, fortune does not favor the brave) and it’s only for two days, so I do not know if whatever went amiss at AX is going to be an issue at AX-C.

Here comes a scary thought: is it time to leave this venue? Has AX even outgrown the crypto location? I mean, there is certainly a lot going for it to be there, but if congestion and sidewalk paralysis is going to make the Fire Marshall soil themselves, how about somewhere else? But what IS that ‘somewhere else’? The Queen Mary? The Rose Bowl? LAX? An attendance cap? Less there, so there is more room?

I was of the opinion that the 18+ booths in the Exhibit Hall should be completely elsewhere, not only to make more overall room, but then, perhaps people wouldn’t have to wait an hour or two for their smut fix, but we get to that point of where to place it.

The thing is, these are not new problems, but there doesn’t seem to be anything really in place to do something about it. More staff? It’s a start. Better educated staff? That’s a big plus. It’s not enough to have a presence, you need to be able to make a real difference in the situation. It’s just that all I have are ideas and no real way to understand what they are thinking, if they are really thinking at all. Well, we will see more the next time I go as to how they approached the nuts and bolts part of it. Toodles.

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