On August 25th-27th, 2017, Crunchyroll held the inaugural CRX2017 aka Crunchyroll Expo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in you guessed it, Santa Clara, California. There was a bit of some skepticism because it was unknown whether or not they could hold their own anime convention especially with all these cons going around in the summertime. It would be difficult to get people to travel to a first year con. What brought some optimism was that they’ve gone to all the major North American anime conventions and have had some kind of presence. They’ve sponsored other events and had some of the best booths at these events. I’m sure there were people there collecting data on what to do and what not to do when creating their own convention.
First and foremost, there were quite a few wrongs at this event. From the beginning of the day to the end, there weren’t enough activities to keep the attendees engaged. There weren’t enough panels where it makes you want or have to go. There weren’t workshops or main events to keep everyone hyped. The days also felt shorter since the day started about around late morning to late evening. Most of the activities were people lounging around in the lobby area.
It seemed to me like the majority of the guests were either unfamiliar names or ones that weren’t engaging enough. It felt like more of an event ran by Funimation the way that a lot of the voice actors that attended were dubbed ones.
The venue was nice and all, but if out of town folks wanted to venture out, walking would take a very long time. Besides the convention center and the neighboring hotels, there isn’t much to do so food options becomes a bit tougher. For attendees, it felt pretty isolated, and it’s across the street from Levi Stadium.
The dealer’s room didn’t have too many things worth buying as the all sold similar things all from the same series. Diversity did not exist in terms of series, characters, and merchandise.
The one that stung the most was that Mag West also held their first event. They also held it the same weekend and also next door at the Hyatt Regency. Mag West actually had a gaming room that ran 24 hours while CRX failed to have any late night programming. Imagine if Crunchyroll decided to dedicate a room for gaming which would bring out all the gamers for casual play and tournaments. It did not help that on site registration for a Mag West badge was cheaper than an on site badge for Crunchyroll Expo.
There were those that bought both passes for Crunchyroll Expo and Mag West which means kudos to those folks for supporting two events simultaneously. There was some cross promotion though. Anyone with a CRX badge could go into the gaming room while anyone with a Mag West badge could go into the dealer room, and that’s the limitation with the badges. Honestly, if the two events fused into one, it would have been a more excellent con experience since people liked a bit of both and didn’t want to choose between the two especially those on a budget.
I felt like tons of improvement could be made for Crunchyroll Expo 2018. I’ll try to support the next one in hopes that things change for the better. At this point, they’ll need to overall a lot of things and think about logistics. They need to figure out what CRX can do to stand out against all these other conventions. It was nice that it was local though.
Written by: Timtastic