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Anime Convention Survival Guide!

What do you need to know to survive at a con?

Welcome to the Anime Vice's Anime Convention Survival Guide. BigHeart711, sickVisionz and I are here to give you some tips. BigHeart711 and myself are rookies. My first anime con is Anime Expo (2013) while my partner, BigHeart711, visited Momocon andAWA for one day each time. The first experience is all we need! sickVisionz was our expert with plenty of experience, and he helped us out.

Hope you guys and gals have a fun time! Be sure share your moments here in Anime Vice!

Do Your HW!

AX's Map
AX's Map

It sounds cheesy, but it will save you a lot of time if you planned out how to get to con and what to do at a con. If you're traveling by car or metro, check the maps. Some Anime Convention's Websites (like Anime Expo) include directions on how to get there by freeway or public transportation. If you have a smartphone, be sure to follow the Anime Convention's Twitter to stay inform of events.

Before the con starts, check out the brochure or program list where they list events, panels, and guests of honor. You can make a voice actor/guest list and pull up their AnimeVice/ANN page to see if they've done any voices that you like, then check to see if you have something that they can autograph related to it. Our expert sickVisionz has one advice: don't be rigid, be flexible with your schedule. Explore and try a lot of cool things that these conventions offer.


Here's a checklist of things to bring as well optional things. In BigHeart711's experience, bring a good camera because Nintendo DS and old cellphones produce blurry pictures. Also, they will be doing bag checks. Be sure to review the Anime Con's FAQ to see what you can bring and what you cannot bring.


  • Backpack / Carrying Case
  • Legal ID and Con Badge
  • Cash (Depends on your personal budget after the mandatory stuff.)
  • Credit Card or Debit Card
  • Camera
  • Cellphone with good internet connection
  • Hand Sanitizer


  • Poster Tube - To protect your posters from being damaged
  • Pen and notepad
  • A light snack and a bottle of water
  • Extra Plastic Bags
  • Stuff to be autograph



sickVisionz at AWA 2012
sickVisionz at AWA 2012

You should ask if you want to take a picture of someone unless they're posing for the crowd and it's clear that there is a photo session moment and once it's done, they won't want to be bothered too much. This is usually the case for big groups who are doing like an entire cast of a show and aren't going to constantly be all together. Just be civil and things will probably be OK.

Need Help? Need Directions


Don't be shy. Ask the folks who don the volunteer outfits. They are here to make things go smooth.

Booths and Exhibition Hall

Shop Smart!

Shop Smart!
Shop Smart!

If you're going to buy something, we suggest walking around the whole place first and seeing what everyone offers and for how much. Nothing sucks more than buying something cool at the first vendor booth, then walking like 100 ft and seeing another vendor selling it for $20 less. Also, a lot of things can be sold cheaper online. If you have a smart phone, check the price.

Check the industry booths because they give out some free swag with their contests.

Check the Fan Art Gallery

These folks are jumping in the industry with their works that ranges from doujins, portraits, and more. When you buy some or compliment their art work, it makes their day.

Panels and Autographs

Tom and Kerry at AX2013
Tom and Kerry at AX2013

When looking at the list of programs and guests of honor on the website or the brochure, plan ahead. Lines form quickly. If you want to meet your favorite VA, line up 1 or 2 hours ahead of schedule. There are times when the staff makes a cut off due to maximum room occupancy. Don't worry or be gloom, there will be a next time. Life is full of surprises.

A lot of these industry panels give out free swag and prizes while guest of honor panels are hilarious. You'll get to see the voice behind the character come to life. For autographs, some conventions will charge money for them.


sickVisionz: Some autograph sessions require pay while some don't. Others give priority to those who pay or if you buy some paraphernalia, you can get more signatures.

Break Time

Even during the day, plan for some downtime. Don't jam pack panels and stuff back-to-back unless you're a workaholic like Taka. A lot of funny stuff happens in the hallways and open spaces during down time. We have many ways to unwind after a busy day at cons. If you have friends or a big group, hit up a restaurant, diner, or a bar. It's nice to socialize a bit. Some folks who don't have cars will take and metro to rest at home. Those with family members can wind down by sharing their experiences like what swag they get. There was a topic made by Sexytron in our community, How to Deal with Post Con Depression, where you make a scrapbook of your adventures.


  • Thanks to BigHeart711 for doing the checklist and banner.
  • Thanks to sickVisionz for his write up in the cosplay, shop smart, and break time sections.
  • Thanks to Taka for taking on everything left over.

About the Authors

William Taylor (sickVisionz) wishes everyone a happy convention experience and says if you're contemplating on going to a con, take the plunge! Follow him @mrsickvisionz
BigHeart711 is a proud anime fan of the Blue Roses and Magical Mages! Follow him @MasterMenos
Kerry Chhay (Takashichea) is an Asian American Studies student who is a big wiki and anime nerd. He serves as a wiki mod in Anime Vice and an Admin in To Hollywood and Beyond Wikia(a 2nd home for Screened users). Follow him @Takashichea
Kino88 is online on May 7, 2014 at 6:17 p.m.
Girls Und Panzer!!!
Marshal Victoryon May 8, 2014 at 12:32 p.m.

Hurmm no mention of Taser Gun, Pepper spray, Or even sharping ones elbows when trying to buy stuff. These sound like much nicer affairs than say a comic convention or a gaming con.

takashichea moderator on May 8, 2014 at 1:04 p.m.

I forgot to mention that Tom and the staff are heading to Anime Expo this year. There will be an announcement in the later months. I'll be purchasing tickets.

For the Anime Weekend Atlanta 2014, and are attending the con in Georgia this year. For anyone heading to that convention, please tell us. It would be cool meeting folks outside Anime Vice. We could have a reunion and post it the front news!

I cut this out from the final draft. I had this experience with cellphones and internet access. Back in Anime Expo 2013, I wasn't sure when Tom will show up at Anime Expo because I had a 2 day badge. In the Blue Exorcist line, I ask Nick, a big fan of Attack on Titan and Animal Crossing from Oklahoma, to check Tom's Twitter. I notice he replied to my Twitter. I had to ask Nick to permit to use his cellphone to reply back at Tom.


That image was from Anime Expo 2013. When Tom and Sam shared their memories, the Girls Und Panzer tank was outside of the convention. I searched for a cool shot for Daniel. BigHeart711 did a fine job making into a banner.

@Marshal Victory:

That sounds like Black Friday, silly!

CapeBarneson May 8, 2014 at 7:10 p.m.

If one is heading to FanimeCon this year, prepare for the LINE! 0_0

That is all from me for now.

Supermutant2099on May 9, 2014 at 11:52 a.m.

Water bottles are good cause you can refill them either water fountains or water stations in con hotel. Even if you have one that can be used over and over again.

Also in the break: Don't be one of those that are up the whole 72 hours of con. Get even a few hours of sleep.

No con funk: Remember to shower too.

I never even thought of poster tube thing. I don't even buy a lot artist alley anyway.

takashichea moderator on May 9, 2014 at 12:05 p.m.


Oh thank you for adding tips we missed. I forgot about the shower thing. :) The poster tube came when I was reading people's past con experiences in this community. You get a lot of free swag including shirts, posters, and autographs. A lot of folks regretted not bringing one when they realize some of their posters have been crumbled in their backpack. If you have precious posters including ones that have been autograph, a poster tube would be great.

I tried to touch upon every section in the con. Last year, I only walk around the artist alley on my 2nd day only for an hour. I wanted to promote it.

We haven't touched upon hotels. For me, I live locally from AX 2013, so I can just hop on the Metro and go home. Feel free to suggest any advice about hotels.

Marshal Victoryon May 9, 2014 at 1:02 p.m.

@takashichea: Last gaming convention I went to guy pulled a T-shirt from my hands at a stall. Held it up proudly in front of the vendor to buy. He stood there smug in a suit. " sorry man its the last one an you might wear this, but it will get me laid."

Which is why this quote rings true to this day "Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing." — Robert E. Howard, The Tower of the Elephant (1933)

I said just loud enuff for him to hear. "Shame you have to bribe some one to sleep with you. Worse yet your not even worth a night in jail." Vendor rang him up an offered me as a favor a discount on ones they had tons of.Told her no thanks will not do ya the favor of doing trade with you. She acted bit shocked. But had no problem making a sale to some one rude/theif but better dressed.

Last day sales back then were like Black Friday. As then the internet was called the web an most people did not have it.But I digress.. we had to go to conventions in 8ft of snow .. up hill.. both ways!

takashichea moderator on May 9, 2014 at 1:40 p.m.

@Marshal Victory:

That sounds horrible. When I was doing research for this topic and asking sickVisionz and BigHeart711, I didn't mention this, but Tom and Sam mentioned in their Vice Pit, sexual harassment for cosplayers (both genders). I didn't said it to my teammates since I felt it was awkward to include. I read a lot of outside blogs of past convention experiences. This was the most horrible thing I heard so far.

I'll edit it as soon as Tom posts a forum copy of this guide.

Marshal Victoryon May 9, 2014 at 2:15 p.m.

@takashichea: Think it was a NYC comic con few years ago some got busted doing up skirt type pics an video on cosplayers. Remember reading a bit about it on Bleeding Cool back when.

Thats why if anime cons are a better slice of humanity at cons it for me would be a marked difference than what I have seen at other con types. Hear the Sci-Fi cons are getting kinda snotty to. But then again any sub gene of entertainments has its own self proclaimed master fans behind the scenes.

takashichea moderator on May 9, 2014 at 2:21 p.m.

@Marshal Victory:

Every media we all loved has some bad groups. I haven't visited a video game or comic book convention yet. I wish I can go to San Diego Comic Con. By the time, I get there. The tickets are sold out. Oh shoot, I better buy my tickets to AX Expo this year.

sickVisionz moderator on May 11, 2014 at 6:09 p.m.

@takashichea: LOL, I would hope that bathing isn't like a pro-tip that you give anyone other than a boy in grade school.

Another thing I should have mentioned that I always fail at... bring a poster tube (you can get em at Wal-Mart or the post office for like $5). I always grab posters but by the time I get home from the con they are usually in pretty busted up condition. It's especially useful because Funimation and Crunchyroll are always giving out pretty high quality hard paper posters for whatever show just came out or is coming out.

takashichea moderator on May 11, 2014 at 9:50 p.m.


Oh yeah, that sounds pretty silly. I pack some deodorant for my con. Brush up in the men's room. Yeah! I should buy some poster tubes, too. Most of my posters were wrecked except for the Yugioh Abridged poster. I used books to flatten them out, but it never work out.

Oh shoot, we should add that autograph info you mentioned on Twitter about some require payment while some are free. Now that Tom posts a forum copy of this article.

Dig Deeper into Anime Weekend Atlanta

Anime Weekend Atlanta, more commonly known as AWA, is a yearly anime convention that takes place in Atlanta, Georgia and is the south's largest anime convention.

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