By Nathan Stout (of AccordingToWhim.com)
Weekend before last was AnimeFest 2012 in Dallas Texas. AnimeFest is one of the many Anime conventions in the US where young (sometimes awkward kids) spend a weekend of madness, reveling in their favorite past-time... Anime!
As you may or may not know I have a business called Renegade Anime where I sell Anime model kits. I focus on Starblazers/Space Battleship Yamato, Macross, and Gundam. I sell them off the website, Ebay (sometimes), and mainly at conventions.
This was the first AnimeFest I have been to and I set up there as a vendor, selling my model kits. I haven't been to an 'all Anime' convention before. I setup at Comicons so I get good business from all ages. At the AnimeFest I found that 85-90% of my customers were under 21 years of age. This shifted most of my sales to the Gundam models I carried. I had a lot of Starblazers kits but those kids didn't even know what series that was. Needless to say I had most of my Starblazers models left at the end of the convention with requests for more (and larger) Gundam kits for next time.
The convention lasted from Friday until Monday and it was a beating. The convention itself was the same as most conventions, the beating came from the drive to and from there, it's location (downtown Dallas), and the length of the convention.
This was a big convention. Something like 9,000 people pre-registered and who knows how many people just showed up to attend without pre-registering. It was very busy at my booth and as a whole I did about 2,500 business (which isn't bad) but I do around 2,000 over just 2 days at the Dallas Comicon.
On the 3rd day of the show one of the guests was setup to sign autographs in the dealer room. It was none other than Robert Axelrod. You may know that he is was the voice in a bunch of stuff including Finster and Lord Zed in Power Rangers. I knew him more for his role in Robotech as Rico, the Zentraedi spy. The poor old guy was just sitting there, no one at his table so I grabbed the Robotech novel I am currently reading (Force of Arms) and had him sign it!
AnimeFest just moved to the Dallas Sheraton where the more famous A-Kon was held. A-Kon is now moving to the Anatole hotel (which apparently is bigger). I have been on the vendor waiting list for A-Kon for 3 years now and perhaps with the increase in size I will get a spot.
As far as AnimeFest 2013, I'm not 100% sure yet. It is a money making convention it just takes so much time and effort to get there and run it. I didn't have to put a deposit down on it so I have some time to think about setting up at it next year...