After months of reporting its progress along with a week of prepping, the AOD 2017 weekend was finally here. Between March 18 -19, I had the chance to meet industry figures, learn about the trends in video games or anime while having a good time with some new friends.
If you enjoyed Kraken Con, Fanamie, Heroes & Villains or just enjoy going to cons then this was your perfect weekend. The event had vendors from all over Northern California while artist were present to sell copies of their work and celebrities were present.
The Vendors and Artists
AOD had about 40 merchants along with 35 artists set up in the Exhibit Hall selling a verity of goods. From figurines, old video games, and collectable merchandise are among the many gems in this treasurer trove. Even if you had no shopping agenda, it’s still fun to look through all the cool stuff and meet the many artists. Those who were hanging out after 7pm could visit the Swap Meet outside the hall and checkout all the merchants.
There was no shortage of activities during the weekend, from board games to foam sword fights and video games. There was always something to do during AOD Con and saying “I’m bored” was unacceptable (plus it means your doing con wrong).
The Portland room offered a verity of board games to play or guests could bring their own and start a play though with a few friends.The Sedona Room offered a verity or arcade and multiplayer console games while hosting several tournaments that were organized by Twitch. The most popular games being played here was either any verity of Street Fighters or Tekken along with Overwatch. On the patio, friends or random strangers could duke it out in a round of foam sword fighting.
Plus it’s never an anime convention unless there is a room dedicated to screening some of the greatest films. Viewers could stop here to watch an episode of Saga of Tanya the Evil or Sailor Moon at any time during the weekend.
Gamers who wanted to prove that they are the best could sign up for any of the tournaments that were being held in the Sedona Room (based on the players preferred title). The first tournament was at noon and it had players duke it out over a round of Street Fighters V followed a Guilty Gear Xrd Tournament at 2pm. The next tournament pitted BlazBlue: Central Fiction players against each other while everything came to an end with an Overwatch Tournament.
The Sunday tournaments were not so much focused on beating the living day lights out of someone but instead focused on others styles of competition. Overcooked makes its debut at AOD as players competed to make the best dish possible. This was followed by a good ole fashion Rocket League Tournament.
Cons are not just about playing video games and going into bankruptcy after buying a bunch of collectable memorabilia, it’s also a chance to gain some insight. AOD Con organized a series of panels that discussed a verity of topics such as career advice, insights form an industry leader along with the history of video games and anime.
These are some of the panels I got to checkout during the weekend.
The Foundation for the Preservation of Gen 1 Pokemon hosted a series of panels in which they shared “their insight” into the world of pop-culture. The topics ranged from a look at why dubbed anime is superior to anime with subtitles to why fandom is a cancer. Also since they had one of the first panels and were super loud, their information is correct according to the rules of the internet.
Fans who want to turn their passion into a career, the panels of Steven Savage was the perfect source for advice. One panel was more of a networking event as attendees meet with others who are seeking the same career path. He was joined by several authors on his Sunday panel to discus the benefits and challenges of self-publishing a book.
Gamers who want to get into the industry, there were several panels that discussed the subject. David Hollin discussed the inspiration behind creating Pokemon Go along with the story of its development. Dom Nguyen and Andrew Schroeder shared their story of how they turned their passion into a career.
Many have been wondering what the future of the Robotech series now that Sony is planning a live adaptation, Tommy Yune hosted a panel that explained what fans could expect. Spoiler Alert: It’s all good news as fans could expect a lot of new Robotech merchandise and collectables while Yune is confident that Sony will create a faithful live action adaptation.
The AOD weekend offered more then just insightful panels or a plethora of activities as there was also several live events. Aivi & Surasshu were joined with Super Souls Bros along with Team Hideo and Ayakashi for the musical performance.
The one event no one should have missed was the Masquerade, a cosplay show and contest that has become one of the most iconic events of AOD. 20 performers either presented their cosplay skills or organized a short performance based on their outfit for the audience. Each performer was competing for the title of either Best of Show, Best Production or Best Craftsmanship.
Note: I was only able to attend the Mascrade and Ayakashi performance.
Of course no convention story is ever complete without mentioning all the amazing cosplayers that were present. Some worked for authenticity while other added their own personal style. It was not just a photo op with your favorite character but also a chance to learn some tips for anyone who is trying to make their own costume.
If you had a chance to check out AOD 2017, share your story in the comment section below.
Disclaimer: AOD provided us with passes for the weekend.