NorCal Anime Fun for Anyone
My first time at SacAnime was last January for their Winter 2018 convention. I really didn’t know what to expect for Northern California. Comic-Con has it all sewn up but is hardly user-friendly anymore. I liked it so much, I’m back again for Winter 2019.
I wished to try something a bit more homegrown with room to breathe. So far I’ve been blown away by the quality and voice actor pull that SacAnime is continuing to wield, with not only the perennial crowd favorite, Vic Mignogna who always drawing huge crowds, but many other voice actors from FUNimation, the gaming industry, and animation studios such as Disney.
Fans Come to Play…and Adults Play, too.
This was my second time going to SacAnime in January, which they refer to as their Winter Convention, and it was a blast! (Yes, they have a Summer convention in June, too.)
SacAnime never fails to deliver fun, excitement, diversity, and variety. Their philosophy and tagline is, “Fans Come to Play”. They strive to provide a safe, family-friendly environment, with top-shelf entertainment at a reasonable price. They do a very good job.
The age-range is surprising!
Of course, you’ll encounter the hordes of teens and early 20’s, but you’ll also encounter the 40, 50 and 60+-year olds, too. Some are there to support their kids and some, like myself, are there because of their own interest. It’ surprising how much anime draws and attracts through the age groups. And you’ll encounter many people with normal, adult jobs cosplaying.
Dressed for Anime Success
I met a San Quentin Correctional Officers cosplaying as Kakashi Sensei from Naruto Shippuden. A well-known tech writer was there with his daughter and they were dressed up as Elias Ainsworth and Chise Hatori from the Ancient Magus’ Bride. I also met an ESL teacher who was cosplaying as the homunculus Lust from Fullmetal Alchemist. Incidentally, she was there with her friend who runs a daycare center, and she was there with several little girls from her daycare…all of which were dressed as four-year-old Disney princesses. It was adorable! I encountered three legendary figures from the Silmarillion (Tolkien-nerds know what this is), a character from the most current Critical Role role-playing game, and several Darth Varders in studio-quality costumes.
Loads of Stuff to Do and See
You can go for just one day, or the entire weekend, Friday thru Sunday. If you opt to stay the entire weekend, you’ll have plenty to see and do. Find the Cosplay lounge and just watch the great cosplay, The events at every show are:
- Guests and Guest Panels.
- Autograph Signing.
- Photo Ops.
- Special Guest Q & A Sessions.
- Cosplay Areas to see and be seen.
- Tabletop Gaming.
- Gaming Competitions.
- Swap Meet of anime and gaming-related items.
- CCG Tournaments.
- Console Gaming.
- Tabletop Gaming.
- Boffer Fighting (Big, sponging swords used for one-on-one fighting).
- KPop Battles.
- JPop Battles.
- Karaoke & Karaoke Contest.
- Anime Viewing Room (watch new and favorite animes with others).
- VIP Lounge (For VIP Ticket Holders to relax in).
- Masquerade which is a Cosplay Contest & Talent Show.
- Music & Dancing.
- Cafe Hoshi (Maid Cafe with very tight singing and dancing by the staff).
- AMV original videos made by attendees.
- AMV Contest.
- Art Contests.
And…a huge exhibition hall full of original anime art, Japanese anime favorites, collectibles, cosplay accessories, fantasy makeup, wigs, a huge manga bookstore, and much more. Exhibitors vary each convention and new exhibitors pop up every year.
Very Organized with Personal Staff
SacAnime is very organized and gets more so every year. The details of how to approach a celebrity when asking for an autograph to what, when and how to give your favorite voice actor a gift. It’s very useful for first-timers and anyone expanding their activity in the convention.
Entropy is life, so there‘s no end to the chinks in the wall that emerge. The organization doesn’t take away from the fun, not one bit, but simply improves the flow and overall experience.
They have printable Schedule Grids for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. And they have a SacAnime App with all of this accessible on your mobile devices.
I explored and did more this year than last. For one, I cosplayed…albeit in a demure fashion. My hair is usually dyed teal to cover the grey and it looks fabulous! So, no need for a wig. Since there is so much leeway in what you wear, my costume was a floor-length 1860’s coat dress that I wore over a corset for a correct shape. I accessorized with fine jewelry to give it that authentic look. The many acknowledging smiles I received let me know I pulled this off well. Lol.
VIP Tickets or How Best To Visit SacAnime
VIP tickets get you to the front of the line, first seating, premium tote bags with souvenirs, and memorabilia specific to that year’s convention. The lines are long and the crowds are endemic, so getting first and to-the-front is great.
SacAnime offers two ways to get VIP tickets:
- Book your room through their partner hotels, The Sheraton Grand Downtown or The Hyatt Regency Sacramento. Once you’ve booked your hotel, then purchase your ticket for the convention and specify that you’ve already booked your hotel. You’ll give them your reservation # and they’ll cross check it and you’re good.
- Volunteer for a shift of 5 hours and they will upgrade your purchased weekend ticket to VIP status.
- Volunteer for two 5 hour shifts and you’ll get both your weekend ticket and VIP upgrade all at once. It’s a great way to meet people and get in the mood for the weekend ahead.
SacAnime happens twice a year, in January and in June and is the convention is the sister conventions to the Sacramento Comic, Toy and Anime Show (Sac-Con) and Bak-Anime.
I’m hooked and as such, I’ll be going back. Check it out, watch yourself some Voltron, Castlevania, or Fullmetal Alchemist on Netflix and I’ll see you there!