As a Utah native, Anime Banzai is my go to anime convention. But this year, my hubby and I decided to mix it up. Anime Oasis falls near my birthday and Boise isn’t too far from us, so we decided to check it out. We sprang for the con hotel because we wanted to get the full experience. We also took along a couple friends M & J. So, here’s the highlights!
Thursday and the Long Drive
The con goes from Friday to Monday, but being over 4 hours away, we decided to go up Thursday after work. We didn’t get there until after 11pm but the drive wasn’t bad at all. We all crashed at the hotel except J, who was too awake so he took a late night walk. This is important later….
Anime Oasis Friday
Friday morning we woke up at a semi-decent time and got our badges. We pre-registered so we just had to pick up our badges, which made it quick. In his late night wanderings, J had found a donut shop called Guru donuts. We decided to check it out, and damn, it was worth it. Everything we got was delicious! We made it back to the con in time for Trina Nishimura’s panel. Griffin Puatu ended up being there as well. That panel was so fun! We got some lunch, then came back to the con and went to Bryce Papenbrook’s panel. It was really interesting! It was cool getting to know him and hear all about his projects. We ended up going to get our wall scroll signed right after that because he just happened to go back down to the autograph table after.
Dealers Room and Artist Alley
I have to say the dealers room was disappointing. The almost complete lack of manga and anime itself was hard. We were all looking for manga of some sort, and only one dealer had any. Anime Haus had a couple boxes, but none of it was actually out on display and most of it was older. The dealers room had some great models as well as the plethora of plushies, which is always good, but the lack of media was disappointing.
Artist Alley was pretty good. I found some bookmarks from Space Dandy sold by Arts by Jamie. I was so excited because I’ve never seen merch from Space Dandy. In general though, there was a lack of anime art. There was a lot of pop culture, which is fine. But when I can only find one art print from 7 Deadly Sins and I have dozens of supernatural prints to pick from, at an anime convention, somethings wrong. What I did find, I loved. Just not a lot of variety.
The viewing rooms sounded great, but they were so tiny! We tried to watch things a couple times, but most of the time, people already had something on that we weren’t interested in or the rooms were full. After dinner was Cherami Leigh’s panel CONfessional. She was actually still on the plane on her way to the con so Bryce and Cherami’s husband hosted that panel. It was not what I was expecting, but it was funny. I would definitely recommend looking up the video’s. Here’s the link to the first episode.
We also played Cards Against Humanity that night. It was so fun! We made some new friends. Unfortunately the line was so backed up we could only play one game, then had to rotate out. It’s definitely a panel that needs to be expanded. That was day 1!
Anime Oasis Saturday
Saturday we went back to Guru donuts because we’re sluts for good donuts. We came back to the hotel and put on our cosplays. I went as Tohru Honda from Fruits Basket, with Chris being my Kyo Sohma. M went as Blue Snow from Shimoneta. J didn’t dress up. Prepping ate up most of our morning, but we did manage to make it to the Fruits Basket Tea Party. I was so disappointed by it. It was one of the events I was most excited for. But Chris and I were literally the only ones in Fruits Basket cosplay. It seemed like a lot of people were just there for the free food. Sigh….
Anyway, that day we went to Cherami’s improv panel. Chris, M, and J all participated and had a blast. It was so much fun!
J & M improv
After lunch we all ended up crashing at the hotel, took a nap that ate up the rest of the day. After we finally woke up, we went to late night improv (18+). It was fun for about five minutes. After that the same few people kept going up with the same lame jokes. There were several moments that would’ve been great to move on to another game, but it kept going and going. Body humor is only funny to a point and sex itself isn’t funny. No one seemed to care about actually being funny, just making crude gestures or trying to shock people. Which wouldn’t bother me if it was actually clever, but it was just dumb. So, we got some popcorn and headed back to the room where we watched Terminator two.
Anime Oasis Sunday
Again, guru donuts, yummy, etc. We cosplayed again, same characters, so long morning prep. We then went to Cherami’s autograph signing which was fun. Line was long, but that is to be expected at cons. She was so nice! And so short! Especially next to her husband. After that we grabbed some lunch, then hit the pool. Living in cold northern Utah, we haven’t had a chance to swim since last summer, so it was fun to just relax in the hot tub and splash around in the pool. The Free! photo shoot was at the same time, so it was fun to watch them take pictures.
We were planning on going to Bryce Papenbrook and Cherami Leigh’s Sword Art Online panel, but the line was soooooo long, we decided to go to the AMV contest instead. It was our first event in Main Events. Sorry to use the word again, but disappointing. The AMV’s were all very amateurish and not as well done as the ones usually seen at Anime Banzai. We left a few minutes early to go check out the VR room. That night we went to dinner, then hung out with a friend who lives up there that we don’t see much.
Anime Oasis Monday
We didn’t dress up Monday, because we have a tradition of sweat pants the last day of Con’s we go to. First, we went and got Bryce’s autograph for J and M who hadn’t been with us Friday when Chris and I got ours. We hit the dealers room and Artist Alley one last time before heading home. All of us were pretty tired and ready to be home.
Overall, I definitely enjoyed the con. My favorite part, hands down, was the voice actor and actress panels. I would consider going back to Anime Oasis simply for the cast lineup. There isn’t a lot of security around them and they had a lot more panels than other cons we’ve been to. Everything else felt overhyped. A big part of it, I’m sure, was our expectations, which weren’t quite met. Anime Oasis, you were fun, but Anime Banzai is still my favorite.
Have you been to either?? What’s your favorite convention?