Convention Impossible: Holiday Matsuri

::clears throat:: Ready kitty minions!?

::kitties meow in “yes!”::

Let’s do this!

::sings with kitties mewing rhythm:: Deck the hotel halls with posters and fliers!
Fa la la lalala!
‘Tis the season for con jolly! Fa la la lalalala!
Dawn now our props and cosplays! Fa la lalalalala!
Troll the ancient yuletide anime! Fa la la lalalala laaaa!

Hello Shiquers and welcome back to Nerdy Shique Universe! Happy Holidays everyone! Time for another convention impossible and this time it is on Holiday Matsuri!

Sorry for the wait, have been busy the past few days, which included Gondras’ birthday! Happy 29th to him! Now I set aside for time to do this review and was glad to have Press after months of not having official press badges to conventions in the past. So, let’s get on with it!

DISCLAIMER: THIS REVIEW IS BASED ON OBSERVATIONS AND OPINIONS FROM THE WRITER AND SOME from her teammates! Please respect them!

Location: This year’s event was held at the Caribe Royale Resort on World Center Drive. This location was a very good one since everything for the convention was in one place like Omni was and AFO if you count that as well. It was easy to navigate the convention area despite the huge crowd, especially Saturday and Sunday, I think the crowd was even bigger Sunday. No mobility nightmares anywhere at this place due to how well lit it was, no ramps anywhere, just a straight walk, even to the pool’s snack area. Also, no weirdly placed stairs to fall over or be stuck at, trust me had that happen once at Islands of Adventure in the past. Still, a great place but…unfortunately it will be moved to the World Center next year due to how much the crowd grew. Even a good portion of it was in the gaming room by what we saw since it was a huge room. Bigger than Omni’s even. I understand they need a bigger space, especially with parking, oh yeah! Despite it being free a lot of people parked crazily especially by Sunday where some of them took up lanes and one part of the sidewalk. Now you can see where the crowding issue lies, at least it wasn’t as problematic as MegaCon where a lot of events were taking place and people had to park in every Concourse. I am hoping parking at the World Center, if we do press for this again, is not as expensive as Omni’s parking prices a year ago. Let’s see how that will happen but now this place was a great place to hold it at. Forgot to mention, even panels were easy to find at this place since everything was in one spot than being in three separate buildings. That is a plus!

Vendor’s Room: Next is vendor’s room! What we liked about this one is that in the convention guide there was a map with all the vendor names and where they were positioned. You don’t get that anywhere! You got a list of who is there or like at MegaCon, you get the map and it just tells you the booth number and you have to read the key in order to get the booth’s name, which that can be confusing! Matsuri, easy as pie! There were a lot of good vendors such as the Japanese Snacks guy was there but he had two different booths! One in the vendor room proper and then the second in the Game Room where there were a few vendors there if there wasn’t any more space to fit everyone. Now I can see why they are going to a new location. I did mention in my Last Minute Info post that this convention is a great place to do last minute gift shopping due to the dates of the convention being so close to Christmas and that is what Fox (AKA Nerdy Shirts, decided to use change it to that) did for his family. Also Gondras, since his birthday was so close, did have a chance to pick up something as his birthday present and it was from the woodmaker stand who had a Tardus , a mini one, and it has a light inside. It was their last one as well. They make a lot of wood items such as clocks, little boxes, I did remember they had charms, and so on. If you see these guys, they are very nice and they do make awesome work. What did I get? Due to the last of my cash, yeah spent a hundred at Ranger Stop, I did pick up Kit Kats in the pumpkin flavor, two flavors of Melty Kiss since you can only get those in winter in Japan, a nice little business card holder with Pikachu on it and it ill come in handy when I update all the information on my business cards for next year, and something you would rarely find and that is Digimon plushies, which I got Gatomon! The lady that sold it said that “She’s the best seller!” And I saw why because she had four left before someone bought one and I did the same. Can’t help that she’s a cat and she turns into an angel digimon! Also a sphinx in Season Two. Another stand I did find and knowing I will send a commission in the future is Grandma Thunderpants! She has been all over conventions and makes a lot of stuff by hand, plus she had 3DS cases at her stand that someone made, which I want to ask for a Fairy Tail one. And there was a shirts stand that had a Sailor Moon shirt that was based on Game of Thrones and a Green Ranger shirt where Dead Pool is underneath the helemet! Definitely would get the Dead Pool shirt if I were to go back to Ranger Stop and show up with that one! All in all, this was a great vendor’s room and of course there were even vendors in the game room, which you rarely see. No wonder Simple Plan sang that Christmas is mostly keep on spending!

Guests: This year’s guest line up considered two fashion guests, Angelic Pretty and Chocolate which I didn’t get to see their stands all weekend due to being busy with press stuff. While voice actors, you have Sean Schemmel, who was sick most of the weekend due to a digestion issue but he did add extra time to his signings and made to some of his panels, even the Holiday Voice Actors panel Sunday which we got to enjoy. Joshua Seth was added last minute and it was great meeting him! We did want to go to ShadoCon to meet him but due to funds and me going to Ranger Stop the following weekend we didn’t get that chance. We did get to meet him and interview him as well which was a major bonus! We didn’t get to meet up with Grey Deloisle due to busy and didn’t get to have that interview wither, there is always another convention and I still have my questions I made Thursday night in case that happened. We met up with Todd and filled my Christmas Wish of interviewing him! Yay! Don’t worry, we will get the videos up so you can see how I can meet a record of five minutes, which it shows that Todd is a popular guy and he has a very long line with a tight schedule on top! It was worth the wait, especially after waiting months after AFO to do the interview. What was also great is that Jess Harnell, the voice of Wakko Warner, shown up for a few hours Friday because he was visiting his mom and stayed at a hotel nearby. It was funny while getting Todd’s signature that he and Jess had a photo war and the responses were hilarious! Which reminds me, the four voice actors together in one panel are hilarious! If you’re at a convention with Grey, Sean, Joshua, and Todd, it is entertaining! Anyways, we did catch up with Jess in the hall and shook hands and appreciated him as Wakko, he even did the voice for us! Fox did catch him as he was leaving due to us telling him about it and he got a pic with him! What did we get signed even though it did cost us $40? Yeah, signings were $20 with the actors this year… Well, back at AFO, I didn’t get our copy of Summer Wars signed by Todd due to the whole first is free and afterwards $20 bit and wanted a funny message all thanks to SF Debris from Channel Awesome, if you never seen his reviews on Star Trek, his let’s plays, or even anime reviews, you should check him out! One of them was Summer Wars and we always enjoyed watching it, heck when I watched it the last time I quoted from the review. We did have Todd put the one for “Don’t tell me you killed the internet!” Don’t want to finish that but you can watch the review. Todd was a bit confused but if you’re reading, that is where we got that idea from! We did catch up with Manchii since he was a cosplay guest and I did wear the Lucy cosplay and did enter the costume contest with it, didn’t win anything though. He did say yes to my Lucy Pokemon Trainer cosplay since I am planning to do that probably next year but not sure on which convention along with a wedding commission. Also, since she will be at Omni next year, got to meet Indra and she is very nice and understanding with cosplaying! Can’t wait to see her again next year!

Events and Panels: Oh man, this weekend was eventful and panelful! I know that is not a word but it’s true! This convention was a busy one and there was a lot of things to see and do besides vendors and gaming! There were panels that people hosted, guests done, even of course as said above, the costume contest which was awesome! Not only you have cosplays posing but there were performances done and a good portion of them were of Madoka and Homura from Madoka Majica but the Homura cosplayers were doing the demon version of her from Rebellion, which was the movie continuing the story of the anime. What was a great performance that never thought I would see was a cosplayer from Dark Souls doing the “Friends on the Other Side” from Princess and the Frog and man he was good at singing it! Other events included, the Holiday Runway which I also participated in as my character, Avery, the Opening Ceremonies was also great since we got to see Todd cosplaying as Han Solo since the new Star Wars opened the same weekend. There was one major rule all weekend besides “Shower!” and that is “If you spoil Star Wars, then we will beat you to death!” I know that was a joke but people are serious and of course no one spoiled it, heck we’re waiting until Christmas day to see it because of how crazy it got with lines! Even the 4:00 news shown the Altamonte theater having a really long line Thursday afternoon. Panels on the other hand, included Funniest Moments in Video Games which was very entertaining, we even went to the Best Scenes in Anime, and we did give one of Propeller Anime’s guys some support by going to their Bizarre World of Goh Nagai which was an 18+ panel and the end of his 20 Years of Evangelion panel on Sunday due to Closing Ceremonies.

Verdict: CONVENTION ACCOMPLISHED! Yes, this convention deserves the “Accomplished!” rating since it was very eventful, had great guests, a really big vendors and gaming room, which they also had Rock Band 4 which Gondras tried out with “Uptown Funk.” Not only that a great location despite it moving. I can see why people liked coming to this convention and even got a lot of holiday versions of cosplays on top of it. We are definitely considering doing press for this one again due to how the staff was friendly! They even helped me onstage and offstage during the Cosplay and Holiday Runway Contests. I am still thanking Holiday Matsuri for giving us a chance to cover press for them and now to add them to my resume on top of it! That is why, I also want to give them:

“Pawprint of Approval!” Because this is one convention that knows how to pull off the holiday theme and draw crowds!

Needs for Improvement: I know this was “Accomplished” but there were some things that needed to be improved on:

1. Need More Security at Panel Rooms: Fox noticed this and there was not much security at panel rooms, which panels got to go a bit over. Plus, with more security it would help with keeping people safe while enjoying the convention. What if a fight broke out in a panel or in the main hallways? WWho do you call? Convention security of course!
2. Conventions Should be the Ones Setting Up Interviews: Yes, I need to point this out because as a press worker for the past two years now going on three, normally the convention is the one that sets up interviews with the guests. As in, setting aside different time slots and finding private areas for the interview to be done. Unfortunately, due to the hectic crunch time, we had to set it up with them and it wasn’t easy to get that private moment. We did have a room with Joshua Seth but had to be kicked out due to a panel, which kind of ticked me off about that. Most conventions set up the time slots for that room to be used for interviews so panelists wouldn’t interrupt it. Yeah, we have to edit the video since they had to kick us out. With Todd on the other hand, we had to wait for his signing to end because he had to fill in for Sean for his Kami Ha Contest for a bit. We were able to do that one in five minutes knowing that Todd had other things to do for the evening. As said, wasn’t easy trying to get that private time nor room, which hoping in years to come that interviews would be scheduled during time slots that voice actors are free and have a private room set up in time for the convention, like a month to a month and a half before the convention since, like I said, crunch time means “Running around like chickens with missing heads!”
3. Getting a Hotel with Better WiFi: Someone pointed this out during Closing Ceremonies and that is that e-mails were being sent with schedules for events, which I did get on my Handy Dandy IPad but couldn’t get on WiFi like everyone else. Which means that a lot of people would be using it and connections do go wonky and I agree with that, try being at UCF where everyone is online at once! Even though Fox did help with the Twitter stuff but it would be handy that we got to go online with everyone staying at the hotel so we can access it if we split up during the day and have to update Twitter, which one thing about this con and their press we have to tweet all weekend and felt impossible to do. Hoping with the World Center we get that access if we do press again.
4. Be Clear on Pre-Judging: What do I mean by that? Well, for pre-judging for the Winter Runway, I was told that I had to show up around 2:30 for my slot but then found out that they gave it up because I was late. Other people got the same message that if we didn’t show up at 2 or 3 then our slots were given. When I signed up with Indra, it was a different message altogether. Mixed messages aren’t great, especially when you’re being pre-judged. I did get the idea that we can’t be late for pre-judging for the costume contest and at least were early, still should agree on time slots for this because a lot of people would come on-time for the slots they were given, like I was with the rest of the people, and then it wouldn’t be a big deal but a big help.
Well, that is it for this Convention Impossible! I am glad that we got to do press again and hoping we get to keep going with this convention! I like having a nice break in between the holiday stress to hang out at a convention and enjoy some holiday glee! What is next? Hoping when we get them up, the videos from Opening and Closing Ceremonies, Gondras did get a video of Break Dancing Kakashi, the Twinbassadors, and of course the interview with Joshua and Todd!

Any Press News? Right now, we are waiting on news for Omni Expo since we are aiming for a third year doing press for them. In the meantime, you guys need to go to their website and show them support on their FaceBook, Twitter, and other social media because all thanks to Omni giving us chances for press, we wouldn’t keep on going and I want you guys to give them a nice gift of giving by checking their website, saying that we sent you from Nerdy Shique Universe, @ Nerdy Shique, on Twitter. Why I am asking for this? Well, we found out another convention is taking place that same weekend and don’t want Omni to go down next year.

So, stay tuned for more stuff from Holiday Matsuri! Knowing that we will be in a theater seeing Star Wars, Happy Holidays everyone and to the staff at Matsuri, Omni Expo, MetroCon, and wherever they are, MythiCon since they ended and their spirits still live with us. Merry Christmas to all in the Nerd Universe and Happy Holidays!

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