by Rob Balder
June 6–8, 2014
Big, loud, hot, and amazing. Dallas’ huge Hilton Anatole plays host to one of the ten largest anime cons on the continent, and the match-up between convention and venue is about perfect. This event ranks up there with DragonCon for the overwhelming spectacle of cosplay, but unlike DC you can actually get an elevator.
That’s partly because of the hotel’s sprawling design, in which almost everywhere you want to go is on the ground floor or accessible by a flight or two of stairs. But the combined great management of the con staff and hotel staff have a lot to do with it as well. A-Kon truly has their act together in terms of scheduling, instructions, volunteers and management, and they really should be commended because it’s hard to handle a crowd that size at all, let alone as well as this.
Our only complaint this year was that the hotel kept out the food trucks until after 9 pm, and tried to cash in on the crowds with a concession monopoly of overpriced hot dogs and crappy barbecue (by Texas standards). When the food trucks finally rolled in, they were so swarmed it took an hour’s wait to get anything at all. Not cool, Hilton Anatole. 😛
The programming has something for everyone, and the size of this con attracts some top talent in voice acting, game design, art, and writing. They also had two full J-pop bands (Ra:IN and GEEKS) performing. You could go there and never leave the massive gaming rooms. The dealers, artists, and exhibitors rooms alone would be worth making the trip. But A-Kon is just fun all around. If you can brave Texas in June and 25,000 screaming otaku, this con is definitely worth the trip.