During convention season it’s easy to find yourself trying to keep up with a deluge of latest updates from the likes of the SDCC, MCM, Otakon or Japan Expo. Whilst we love these colossal events (and all the madness that comes with them), we are also careful not to assume that they are the be all and end all when it comes to everything anime, cosplay, manga and pop culture.
That’s why whilst Viewster was reporting from the legendary SDCC this weekend, we also had members of the team over in London with Noodlerella for Hyper Japan. The event celebrates all things Japan, but at a third of the size of SDCC, we wanted to see for ourselves whether size really matters when it comes to getting into the crazy convention spirit (*spoiler, it doesn’t).
Five Reasons to Love Smaller Cons
Getting the Right Stuff
Less space, means less stuff, but not necessarily less choice. Instead of offering you every coveted item of merchandise under the sun, smaller events curate their independent vendors in such a way that you actually get a chance to look at everything that’s on offer—and think about what you actually want to buy before parting with your hard earned cash. No room for merch-regret here (see picture below for evidence)
Less Red Tape
At the smaller cons, the boundaries between the famous and the fans are much more malleable. So, as you deliberate whether to get the pink or blue fluffy alpaca, you can expect to see some of your favourite manga artists, J-pop stars or Youtube sensations just hanging out and also deliberating over which alpaca to buy. And what’s more: they’re often very willing to take a photo / discuss their favorite flavor bubble tea with you.
As much as the British love a good queue, judging by the line length at lunch time, you’d never be able to tell that Hyper Japan was in Her Majesty’s Royal realm. Smaller cons mean smaller queues which means your Onigiri gets into your stomach so quick, that you usually find yourself going back for more almost immediately. At Hyper Japan this meant that we ate more than our body weight in a delicious variety of macaroons, and were able to ride on an intense sugar rush all the way until closing time. Huzzah!
Spare your Feet
Famous for being physically punishing, the sheer size of the larger comic cons can mean hiking the distance of a small marathon just to get from one stage to another, so that by midday you’re ready to collapse into the nearest maid café. At Hyper Japan the only thing we were thinking about doing at midday, was busting some moves on the nearest DDR machine and rocking out to some of the live bands, our feet in prime condition due to everything being a manageable walking distance from each other.
Large events mean big crowds, which in turn can mean moving at a frustratingly slow tortoise pace, severe lack of personal space, and occasionally but not occasionally enough—strange smells. At Hyper Japan we had ample room to move with macaroon, sugar-induced speed whilst maintaining our own sense of personal space and avoiding any bizarre odors—with haste!
Do you know of any smaller conventions we should visit? Let us know below!