If you’re an anime fan who loves going to conventions, then you’ve probably heard this topic somewhere before. Anime conventions have been around since the late 90’s and early 2000’s, of course back then the con attendance was a lot smaller. Now in 2017 there are so many anime conventions all across the U.S. and even in various third world countries.
Some of them are along the mainstream circuit, while others keep it simple and traditional. Some of them are large in attendance, while others only have a few hundred people. Some of them are well-known, while others are lesser-known. So now the question remains; do you like going to a big convention, or a small convention? The answer to that question can be based on a number of things; the price of the badge, the distance you’re willing to travel, which events or panels you’re thinking about attending, and so on.
There are some Pros and Cons (no pun intended) of going to either a big convention, or a smaller convention. Allow us to break it down…
Big Anime Conventions
- Have an attendance of anywhere between 10,000 – 100,000 people (Cosplayers)
- Have lots of events, panels, workshops, and items in the Dealer’s Room
- Have big name guests
- Have a big budget ($50-$100K or more)
- Last 3-4 days
When you’re talking big anime conventions, think of ones like Anime Expo, Otakon, San Diego Comic Con, and more! There’s lots to do at anime conventions of this size, of course at the same time, there’s Pros and Cons that come with these massive events.
- There are lots of cosplayers, so that means you’ll get to take lots of pictures
- You get to meet big name guests (like Steve Blum and Johnny Bosch)
- Lots of panels/workshops
- Have host hotels for extra panel room
- With cons of this size there’s bound to be a LOT of traffic
- Overlapping panels/Booked up hotels
- Higher badge prices
- Big autograph lines
Big anime conventions are pretty cool to go to, because you get the chance to meet tens of thousands of others who are passionate about anime as much as you are. That’s not to say that cons this size don’t have their own fair share of problems, but in the spirit of fandom-hood, follow all of the rules given at the con and you and your friends will have a safe and wonderful time!
Small Anime Conventions
- Have an attendance of anywhere between 1,000 – 3,000 people (Cosplayers)
- Don’t have as many events, panels, workshops, items in the Dealer’s Room
- Have at least one big name guest and some newer voice actors
- Have a smaller budget (at least around $50K)
- Lasts 1-3 days
Smaller cons are like how all anime conventions used to be back in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. They’re more catered to the fans and fan-centric, plus you’ll have a much higher chance of getting autographs from your favorite voice actors. Like bigger anime conventions, smaller ones have their own Pros and Cons.
- Cons of this size are much easier to manage, meaning less con drama
- The atmosphere is more relaxed, almost like a meet-up group
- You get ‘one-on-one’ encounters with your favorite voice actors
- Lower Badge prices
- There’s not as many con goers, meaning not as much cosplay
- There’s not as many panels/workshops, meaning less variety con-wise
Smaller cons give you a chance to make lasting friendships with your fellow con-mates. Sure there may not be as much to do at smaller conventions panel-wise, but it does give you the chance to have those one-on-one encounters with your favorite actors and voice actors.
At the end of the day, the final decision about which size con to go to, is going to be up to the fans themselves. Try going to both and see what the experience is like on both sides. Keep in mind that there are also some ‘mid-sized conventions’ as well, they’re like smaller cons but with a mid-sized budget and a mid-sized amount of panels, cosplayers, and other events. Both sides may have their ups and downs, but in the end, they’re still anime cons that we love to go to.