Who knew a 2 day con without guests could be so fun! Anime-Zap! was held in Peoria IL on Jan 7-8. This was the cons 3rd year running and I have to say I was happy with what they had.
First of I have to say that Peoria is a desolate wasteland. There was literally no people out in the town, I could have sat in the middle of an intersection and played a game of chess with a friend without interruption. Nothing was open, we walked around town looking for food and nobody was open and it was 4pm on a saturday! besides the town being void of life the hotel itself was pretty nice. Very friendly staff and clean rooms. Pool was a plus and just overall decent hotel.
Registration was simple enough, no long lines, quick service and easy to get through. What did kinda disappointed me was the fact there were no badges instead people got wristbands. I know its a smaller con and only for 2 days but Badges are awesome to collect and add to the memory of what con you’ve been to. I keep all my badges!
Dealers Room/ Artist Alley: **
I was quite surprised by the size of the dealers room for a con so small! They had a lot of good sellers and overall had your basics you’d expect at a con. The artist alley was Awful! not that they didn’t have any good artists, they did. Its just the artist alley was placed in the hallway, this wouldn’t be a problem if all the events and panels weren’t held in rooms linked to the hallway! So CROWDED, it was really hard to get a chance to just look at an artist table or even get by when people were lining up for an event. There was literally no room. The whole con was pretty much forced into the hallway. they should have put the artist in the dealers room. there was definitely enough space for that.
Gaming/Otaku Shack: **
Gaming was pretty much non existent except for a few consoles to play. what was interesting was the Otaku Shack! this was a Manga Library where people could just come in a read some manga. Great idea, a manga library is something that should be at every con! somewhere to just wind down and relax. They also had table top gaming but I didn’t really see much action going on there.
Panels were well done and fun. There was a lolita tea party which was nice to relax at(not that many lolitas though). The auction was exciting and funny. The masquerade was one of the shortest I’ve been to. Skits were alright, there were some notably good cosplay. The formal dance was nicely done, great lighting and music that set a fancy mood. The rave also was pretty sweet, with some fun music and crazy lights! Overall panels and events were done well despite the size of the con. Well organized.
Overall from being a 2 day convention, Anime-zap! sure did squeeze in a lot of fun. Surprising attendance and fun events. I can see this con getting bigger and eventually doing 3 whole days. Maybe they should think about switching locations but overall I had fun.