Sac-Anime is a very Fun and unique anime convention; part of Sac-Anime’s charm and uniqueness comes from its location, which in and of itself makes Sac-Anime one of the most social anime conventions I have ever been to. While most conventions are in big convention centers with several hotels or in one large multi story hotel, Sac-Anime as of the summer of 2009 has been held at the Radisson hotel in Sacramento.
The Radisson puts the convention on the ground floor and ground floor only and The Hotel’s guest rooms are in several single, and double story buildings that go around the central area of the hotel that consist of a Gazebo, a Pond with a deck, a Pool and a Amphitheater. The Conference center has Fountain in the middle of its yard, and there is another larger Fountain in front of the hotel lobby. The Guest room buildings are situated so that one side of each the building faces and opens in towards the center of the Complex. The Complex itself is on a large piece of land of several acres, give or take.
Sac-Anime Summer 2010 used the outdoor amphitheater, for main events, and the entire convention had an outdoorsy feel to it but Sac-Anime Winter 2011 could not due to the season and weather and main events had to move indoors.
This brings us to one of the down sides to the Radisson … the choke points. From the restaurant east down the main hall, in front of the registration desk, dealers’ hall, panel room and main events to the exit door that leads to the gazebo, is a long potentially wicked choke point. To add to the Issue you have the Lines for the registration Panels, autograph sessions, plus dealers hall traffic going thru this same area. In winter you can add Main Events. This route is one of the most direct routes, to get from one side of the complex, to the other. If you are photographer carrying expensive camera equipment, or a Cos-Player with potentially fragile props you need to be aware of this and take precautions - protect your breakables!
The most active portion of the convention is the main convention hall. This is a huge room that can be divided up several ways to create separate spaces for the Dealers hall, a panel room, and in winter the Main events room.
The dealer’s hall is surprisingly large for a convention of this size, with lots of vendors and merchandise. In summer the dealer’s hall is large and roomy however in winter it feels that the room is smaller and more crowded which is possible as it has to share space with main events.
The panel room always seems to have plenty of room and has an elevated stage.
The main events room is rather interesting as in summer it’s not in a room at all but outside in a small amphitheater with a nice roomy elevated stage that is bigger than it looks. In winter the main events stage moves in doors, but still maintains an elevated sizable stage. Even indoors, the main events room can be expanded by ditching the barrier between it and the panel’s room.
The demographics of Sac-Anime tend to be a little on the younger side so I would be careful of popping the top on a bottle of Captain Morgan and letting the rum flow freely. There are a lot more 13-17 year old teens and 18-20 year olds per capita then I see at some of the bigger conventions. Sac-Anime at the Radisson is actually a good environment if you are looking for a convention to take your kids to. The location does not have a lot of places for the underage crowd to go and/or trouble for them to get into. The staff seems to try and ensure a PG rated family friendly environment for attendees of all ages.
The night life at Sac-Anime Summer however surprisingly leans a little more towards the wilder side as the 21+ crowed takes over. Sac-Anime winter this is still true but it does wind down faster and earlier compared to summer.
Sac-Anime has all of the basic anime convention events such as a masquerade, AMVs, raves/dances, Guest Panels, Et cetera. Unfortunately Sac-Anime did not seem to have any unique events like Anime Expo’s AX idol or Fanime’s Black and White Ball, in-fact I didn’t even see a Maid Café. This isn’t incredibly disappointing as it’s the same with smaller cons. There is also an art show, artist alley, workshop room, and gaming rooms.
One issue I did run into at Sac-Anime winter … the lighting sucked for pictures all day both inside and outside but especially inside, but the winter didn’t deter Yoko Littner cos-players.
The highpoints for Sac-Anime Summer was meeting Mari Iijima the Voice actress singer who voiced Lynn Minmay in Super Dimension Fortress Macross and catching her concert as well as meeting Rebecca Forstadt voice actress for Lynn Minmei from Robotech who is also one of the voice actresses for Mihoshi from Tenchi Muyo.
Sac-Anime Winter’s highpoints where having a small Power Ranger Fest with Guests like Walter Emanuel Jones (The original Black Ranger), Johnny Yong Bosch (The second Black Ranger), Karan Ashley (The second Yellow Ranger), Stephen Antonio Cardenas (The second Red Ranger) and Catherine Sutherland (The second Pink Ranger).
Music wise we had Johnny Yong Bosch and his band Eyeshine, as well as Karen Dyer (Eva LaDare). Overall I was very surprised how good both acts were. I hope to hear more from both in the future.
For voice talents we had Sonny Straight, Roger Craig Smith, and Johnny Yong Bosch.
One of the most amazing events I have ever witnessed at an anime convention occurred at Sac-Anime Winter. I have always heard of it, but never seen it … at the end of the masquerade as the closing "skit" I saw a man propose to his girlfriend. Eleven years of anime conventions and I have never seen this with my own eyes until now.
Both summer and winter Saturdays ended with an official dance/rave which where loud, packed, and full of energy.
Overall I would have to say that Sac anime is one of the more easier going, youth-safe, and family orientate conventions. This makes Sac-Anime a great anime convention for people to take their teenage otaku. That being said, keep in mind the overall average age drops with this convention and you have a higher percentage of minors then some cons.
Unlike other conventions, such as Anime Expo, if you are having staff drama or you’re running afoul with attendees or security – you are trying to get in trouble and have a bad time.