On March 18th-19th, 2017, Animation On Display moved from the Santa Clara Convention Center to the Marriott in Santa Clara, CA. Although the venue overall was smaller, the convention actually felt bigger. I actually loved the hotel venue as it was the only event in the venue. Panels, gaming rooms, dealer’s room, and more were more accessible. In the 2016 edition, the convention center not only hosted this convention but also a dance contest which also meant that con attendees had to go through the competition just to get to the other half of the con. This year, AOD staff made sure that this kind of mishap would not happen again.
As a gamer, I really loved the gaming room. They expanded the room and added Japanese arcade cabinets. It didn’t feel cramped like the year before as there was space to walk around. The speed runs got to have their own room.
I got to relive my childhood by playing some of the classic fighting games such as Super Street Fighter II Turbo, Street Fighter II: Rainbow Edition, X-Men: Children of the Atom, Marvel Super Heroes, SvC: Chaos, and X-Men vs. Street Fighter. I had such a blast playing casuals. The best part was that it was all on free play. The only downside was that on one of the Marvel vs. Capcom 2 setups, the kick buttons didn’t work on the player one side and not all characters were unlocked which sucks since I’m a Sentinel player.
The organizers also finally expanded their tournament offerings. Street Fighter: The Movie was replaced with the more popular tournament game, Street Fighter V. There was a stream for the tournament which brought some great local talent through. Of course, they ran tournaments for BlazBlue and Guilty Gear just like they did in previous years, but this time, they ran the most current edition. Playing on stream a few times along with doing commentary was a blast.
The newest addition also included a 3 on 3 team tournament for Overwatch. It brought huge crowds. I loved seeing new alliances form from strangers that just met. Learning the game on the fly was quite the experience.
What I didn’t do the year before was attend all the panels I wanted to due to the dance competition being between the panel area and the main area. This time I attended three panels which included an 18+ JPop idols, Dir en grey, and an overall JPop idols one. I learned a lot and am still discovering new artists because of these panels.
I actually felt like the dealers’ room and the artists’ area got a bit smaller. I wasn’t able to locate merchandise I really wanted. The swap meet felt kind of small to me too.
Personally, this was the best AOD I have attended due to the huge improvement over the execution of the event. Although Lotus Juice was unable to attend, this event was awesome overall. The volunteers and staff did a fantastic job as well. This venue was smaller but felt bigger. I appreciate the venue having more food options inside the hotel and across the street. I think moving it out of a traditional convention center and into a hotel venue was the best thing they did just to accommodate everyone.
Written by: Timtastic