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22nd February
written by Andrew Evans

This was our third year at AOD, the small but growing anime convention based in our home city of San Francisco, and was another great year spent at SF’s Kabuki Hotel. The location is fantastic for a convention since the Japantown Mall is attached to the hotel. Tons of great food ranging from sushi to crepes to fusion-themed curry pizza is on the same block as the dealer’s room and artist’s alley; and plenty of Japanese music, designer clothing and curiosities as well. There’s also a Safeway right across the street for cheap munchies and party supplies.

The con space is somewhat constrained by the size of the Kabuki Hotel, but there were plenty of rooms for running con events. They even had a separate game room with huge blocks of time dedicated to Rock Band. The panels & speakers for this convention were extra entertaining, with a few great giveaways and some informative lessons. The anime rooms had some great series to show, too – we stayed for a few episodes of Black Lagoon. The dealer’s room / artist’s alley was rather small, but packed with great cosplay supplies and collectables.

The cosplay at AOD is fantastic, although we didn’t have a full-time photographer for this con. The venue provides a lot of small outdoor spaces with bamboo and fountain themes that make great backgrounds for photo shoots, and the piano area in the hotel’s downstairs makes a great space for meeting random people and getting funny cross-over shoots. So, if you’ve been thinking about cosplaying, this is a great con to start at!

The only unusual thing about AOD is the age distribution. It skews even younger here than for normal anime conventions, and that’s saying something. To give you an idea, they had a special panel on Sunday for the old, ancient, grey-bearded anime fans ages 25 and over.

The party scene was great, with a few good room parties to hit up. Bring some extra cash, as getting drinks around Japantown can be pricey, and party-runners may want guests to chip in to help defray the costs.

All in all a great convention – we’ll definitely be there next year. Will you be joining us?

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