This year’s Mizucon was held June 14-16 to lovely weather and sunshine at the Miami Sheraton hotel. Mizucon has always been one of my favorite conventions due in no small part from the tremendous effort and love their volunteers and staff put into it. But last year the followers of the con learned Mizucon was now under new management after an amazing run. And you know how most people react to change.
The new management was under an extremely reliable group called the Japanese Anime Investment Group that run conventions like Ikkicon in Texas and Anime Crossroads in Indiana and have investors as well known as AAA Anime (the only United States distributor that sells Good Smile Company merchandise) and Yes Anime (another distributor that is the largest in the Francisco Bay area), and the con chair himself owns a store and online retailer called Anime Pavilion, also an investor. To me it seems this well funded group and the staff would be capable of pulling off another hit this year. Well let me analyze how everything went.
In terms of activities available and use of space they get a thumbs up. There were the necessities, a video game room, maid and butler cafe, vendors room, artist alley, and plenty of roaming space. But the promise of karaoke and an anime viewing room went unfulfilled. The panel rooms were spacious enough but my panel room on Saturday lacked sound and the staff had to fetch me a cable and the likes. Needless to say I believe every panel room should be prepared prior to any presentation but the staff were constantly running around doing things and I could forgive them. The panels were varied enough so there was something for everyone to do. This abundance of activities made it unlikely for anyone who decided to look at the schedule to be bored.
I ended my panel earlier than expected and ended up improvising, lots of people showed up so now I have a new panel to host…
I loved the vendor’s room and walked out with some amazing deals and the vendor’s alley had great artisans but my funds were limited and I really wanted some merch. The video game room had Super Smash Bros. Brawl but other than that nothing interesting.
The cosplayer attendance was huge, I believe there were more cosplayers than casually dressed people, and the costume contest had great entries. The most impressive costume I saw during the convention was definitely the Alphonse Elric armor that won Best in Show.
What made the con was the attendees who were hanging all over the place because there were huge problems all three days of the con. All of them were largely the fault of the hotel who caused major inconveniences for the organizers, panelists, and attendees. I’ll break the problems down by day because there were plenty.
- Friday: Panel rooms were missing and the schedule was changed, panels were pushed back and moved around, and attendees didn’t know when certain panels were being held.
- Saturday: Solid schedule set but late night panels were cancelled because the hallway containing all the panel rooms was closed off early. The rave was shut down early for unclear reasons and attendees that were planning to stay late were made to leave at the same time.
- Sunday: The convention was made to end earlier than expected.
Needless to say, the con chair is now looking for a new venue for next year.
The new management of Mizucon definitely tried the best they could to create a good show and it was a pretty good show. Next year will definitely be better with a hotel capable of handling conventions, a larger staff and volunteer pool, and the knowledge gained from this year’s experience to make a show that lives up to the image Mizucon has held for so long. And I’ll definitely be looking forward to next year. All picture taken of the convention are below.