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So...um, what's the word about the Guest list?

#1 User is offline   Dark Spellmaster 

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 04:42 AM

Um, so noticed it's end of Feb and we don't have any guest list? I know ACen is in may, but any word at all about how things are going on that front? Or any notion about when we will see a list? I know Anime Midwest announced some people and they're show is after us, so I'm just curious?

This post has been edited by Dark Spellmaster: 21 February 2013 - 12:56 PM

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#2 User is offline   El Ken 

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 01:54 PM

Sorry things are moving more slowly than I (and many others) would like. We do have a number of guests either confirmed or probable, but not yet finalized. I'm hoping to have some announcements in the next couple weeks.
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Posted 21 February 2013 - 01:54 PM

they usually arent posted until a month before ACen like last year.
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Posted 21 February 2013 - 01:56 PM

View PostDark Spellmaster, on 21 February 2013 - 04:42 AM, said:

Um, so noticed it's end of Feb and we don't have any guest list? I know ACen is in may, but any word at all about how things are going on that front? Or any notion about when we will see a list? I know Anime Midwest announced some people and they're show is after us, so I'm just curious?


Uh... not gonna lie. I was waiting for someone (else, lol) to ask this. I've been wondering the same, but I didn't really know when was an a good time to expect updates since, compared to last year, the con is about half a month later. Will the site and forums be updated at the same time?
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Posted 21 February 2013 - 03:22 PM

I've kind of given up on expecting ACen to ever be timely with guest announcements, honestly. The likelihood of hearing much of anything about guests that aren't musical guests before mid-March seems to be lower and lower every year. It's a good thing I don't go to this con for guests, or I probably would've stopped going a long time ago.
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#6 User is offline   Bard-kun 

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 04:07 PM

View PostEl Ken, on 21 February 2013 - 01:54 PM, said:

Sorry things are moving more slowly than I (and many others) would like. We do have a number of guests either confirmed or probable, but not yet finalized. I'm hoping to have some announcements in the next couple weeks.


What's, uh...what's the difference between confirmed and finalized?
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Posted 21 February 2013 - 06:43 PM

I am not an official convention representative, but based on other posts I've seen by convention representatives, this is my breakdown:

A confirmed guest is one that has said that "Yes", he/she will attend the convention; however, not all the contracts have been signed/completed. (Because negotiations have to be made on appearance fees (if applicable), what costs will be covered by the convention (hotels, travel fees, lodging, food, etc.) and other such important items.

A finalized guest is one that has said "Yes" he/she will attend the convention, and has completed all of the above. Case in point, the band, KALAFINA. ACen wouldn't have been able to make the announcement that they were attending the convention unless the contracts and negotiations had been completed, and all conditions were met by both parties. (I.E. Posting the ACen promo video from KALAFINA, press releases, etc.)

Please correct me if I'm wrong, convention reps. :)
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#8 User is offline   Dark Spellmaster 

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 06:10 PM

View PostEl Ken, on 21 February 2013 - 01:54 PM, said:

Sorry things are moving more slowly than I (and many others) would like. We do have a number of guests either confirmed or probable, but not yet finalized. I'm hoping to have some announcements in the next couple weeks.


I know this is an odd question but is there anyway that we as fans can help?
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Posted 07 March 2013 - 05:54 AM

I hope we get to see some guest announcements soon D: this anticipation is killing me.
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Posted 09 March 2013 - 06:52 PM

I was waiting for someone to ask this as well :P

I've always considered ACen to be a gamble. It's something you have to plan months in advance for [Late November to early December] with getting a spot in the hotel blocks, have costumes made and badge purchased...and yet I'm never too sure what I'm getting myself into. I just hope there's another music act other than Kalafina [No offense, it's good music just not a style I'd like for a concert.] as the music aspect has always been very important to me.

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 09:59 PM

Yeah, I'm pretty curious as to how this is playing out as well. <_<
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Posted 11 March 2013 - 05:24 AM

I don't go to ACen for the guests anymore. That was one of the main reasons why I went lets see, like 5-10 years ago. Now I just go to cosplay and hang out with friends, check out the dealers hall/artists alley, meet new people, and attend some interesting panels.


Still curious about guests though...

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#13 User is offline   El Ken 

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 03:03 PM

The general consensus among attendees is that they don't go for guests, or at least don't make their decision to go based on guests. Guests are more of a bonus if we happen to bring someone in they want to see. I would like the guest list to be more of a factor, but that simply cannot happen unless guests are announced much earlier than we have been doing it the past several years.

My struggle is attempting to balance the need to announce earlier and the desire to have guests relevant to current releases. My intention when I took over Guest Relations in 2011 was to work more closely with the companies releasing anime in the US. While we have achieved that goal, we have also put ourselves at the mercy of release schedules that are a moving target at best, and promotional windows for titles that often times do not align with our convention dates.

I'd like to think that I've learned something from all this. In short, being dependent upon other companies' schedules doesn't work. After all, there are many more guests out there that attendees want to see than those guests currently working on major titles.

International guests are a different story, though. We're working on improving relationships abroad, and we will see results from that soon.
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#14 User is offline   feuerwerke 

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 03:26 PM

First, I'd like to say that I don't terribly care much about US guests. There are only a handful of English VAs overall, and they're fairly easy to catch at smaller cons. Also "US guests" pretty much always means voice talent, webcomics, et cetera. I'd be more interested in people like Carl Horn or Patrick Macias, myself. If I'm going to care about a big con's guest list, it's the international guests that interest me. Also, I kind of feel like shooting for current isn't really the way to go. I'd suggest shooting for guests that have a large quantity of work under their belts. I was disappointed by the big Japanese guest announcements pretty often in the past because they were guests that were only known for one or two things. Now if you're actually getting a manga-ka, that's fine. I don't care if all they're known for is one manga. That's still a huge deal even if I'm not familiar with their work. But with seiyuu, I feel like it'd be better to go for ones who have voiced a lot of characters. That way more people are likely to have heard them somewhere and like their work.

Honestly, I do want to come to cons for the guests. If I could afford to go out to Otakon or Anime Expo, I probably would've stopped going to ACen years ago. Unfortunately, I simply don't have the money to travel that far, so I have to make the best of what's in my area of the country.

I would like to say, though, that ACen has consistently impressed me with musical guests. I wasn't huge on a few of them over the past seven or eight years, but there were more hits than misses there. Especially Aural Vampire. Yeah. That was awesome.
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Posted 11 March 2013 - 04:41 PM

View PostEl Ken, on 11 March 2013 - 03:03 PM, said:

International guests are a different story, though. We're working on improving relationships abroad, and we will see results from that soon.


I think the more international guests you get the more people are going to care about the guests. I like to get the occasional insight into the world of dubbing or licensing, but I'm much more likely to see Yoko Kanno or Maaya Sakamoto or Rumiko Takahashi or any number of mangaka/directors/etc on a guest list and go "OMG I GOTTA SEE HIM/HER/THEM."

I feel like ACen used to have bigger "names," especially internationally--is that nostalgia talking, or did the emphasis shift away from international guests a few years back?
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Posted 11 March 2013 - 05:23 PM

View Postfeuerwerke, on 11 March 2013 - 03:26 PM, said:

Also, I kind of feel like shooting for current isn't really the way to go. I'd suggest shooting for guests that have a large quantity of work under their belts.


I have to agree with this 100% whether it be international or english va's. I've seen far too many of late shoot for the VAs that have only done a few shows but nothing to really grab enough people's attention. Guests are definitely not the reason i go to cons in general. I'm definitely excited since it's my first ACen so maybe that's why my anticipation is that much higher for guests xD. Sorry.
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#17 User is offline   Krystal 

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 11:23 PM

View PostEl Ken, on 11 March 2013 - 03:03 PM, said:

The general consensus among attendees is that they don't go for guests, or at least don't make their decision to go based on guests. Guests are more of a bonus if we happen to bring someone in they want to see. I would like the guest list to be more of a factor, but that simply cannot happen unless guests are announced much earlier than we have been doing it the past several years.

My struggle is attempting to balance the need to announce earlier and the desire to have guests relevant to current releases. My intention when I took over Guest Relations in 2011 was to work more closely with the companies releasing anime in the US. While we have achieved that goal, we have also put ourselves at the mercy of release schedules that are a moving target at best, and promotional windows for titles that often times do not align with our convention dates.

I'd like to think that I've learned something from all this. In short, being dependent upon other companies' schedules doesn't work. After all, there are many more guests out there that attendees want to see than those guests currently working on major titles.

International guests are a different story, though. We're working on improving relationships abroad, and we will see results from that soon.



Many industry guests are always working on something new, so maybe a few more directors and creators, and if possible, manga-ka? Also, I'm rather confused. Also, when a guest is invited, is it then up to them to make the arrangements to travel to Chicago and get finalized, or are you as a convention supposed to work with them?
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Posted 11 March 2013 - 11:39 PM

View PostKrystal, on 11 March 2013 - 11:23 PM, said:

Also, I'm rather confused. Also, when a guest is invited, is it then up to them to make the arrangements to travel to Chicago and get finalized, or are you as a convention supposed to work with them?

I have also often wondered this myself and would love to know.
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#19 User is offline   El Ken 

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 06:53 PM

View PostKrystal, on 11 March 2013 - 11:23 PM, said:

Many industry guests are always working on something new, so maybe a few more directors and creators, and if possible, manga-ka? Also, I'm rather confused. Also, when a guest is invited, is it then up to them to make the arrangements to travel to Chicago and get finalized, or are you as a convention supposed to work with them?

Generally speaking, we take care of all travel arrangements for the guests. We simply send them the ticketing/booking info and they get on their flights.
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#20 User is offline   CrimsonAnime 

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 01:12 AM

View PostEl Ken, on 12 March 2013 - 06:53 PM, said:

Generally speaking, we take care of all travel arrangements for the guests. We simply send them the ticketing/booking info and they get on their flights.

That is pretty awesome! I have even more respect for ACen staff now knowing this!
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Posted 17 March 2013 - 11:03 AM

View PostCrimsonAnime, on 13 March 2013 - 01:12 AM, said:

That is pretty awesome! I have even more respect for ACen staff now knowing this!


I'm pretty sure that's the case for most conventions. No con is going to say "come to xyz-con!" and then leave it to the guest to make their own travel arrangements. Unless the company themselves wants to promote a particular title, such as a North American license of something ridiculously expensive like Madoka or Bakemonogatari, then they might bring along their ADR staff and English Voice Actors. I would be surprised if a Japanese company footed their own bill outside of like, A-X (and even then I'm sure the con wouldn't leave them to fend for themselves...you have to build rapport). This is why conventions operate like a business almost, they have to allocate their budget and spending to purchase the plane tickets, hotel rooms, and other amenities for the guests. Naturally flying someone in from Japan costs a lot more...but for ACen this isn't really an excuse per se considering it has basically become the 3rd largest con in the U.S.

I'm totally going to mention the fact that inviting guests on your own is against most cons' policies and you should never do it ever as you could squash the con's international reputation and chance and guests in a heartbeat. However it's one reason though that while I would love to see some "easier to acquire" (not the best term but basically aka no red tape) guests such as really talented Vocaloid songwriters or NicoNico singers/dancers, I probably won't get to meet such people unless I go to Japan because they won't fill the rooms at a North American convention. Or do what the Touhou Community of Anime Boston did.

As far as paying for their stuff it's the right thing to do, so on one hand it's understandable that it takes a while to acquire international guests. But I do remember stories from the Ghosts of ACens Past where Japanese guests were plentiful and announced Early... but times were different.

I basically go to cons for the Japanese guests. My reasoning: yeah there are people I won't usually get to see outside of cons, but as far as hanging out with people of similar interests, I consider myself lucky that would just describe a weekend chilling with my friends. At a con, I can see and interact with an industry professional I would normally never get a chance to see unless I flew to Japan, and even in Japan...consider yourselves lucky to not be entering a lottery for Kalafina tickets the day the tickets are announced (might speak too soon but...) Much less expensive to fly somewhere within the continental US, and even when you have really strict NO PICTURES type guests American cons still allow for a unique experience as far as meeting some of these guests.

However I definitely respect El Ken (我々の正義の味方) ;)/>/> for attempting to transform the system back into a new age of "golden years", but definitely a bit of an upward struggle as far as I can tell as an outsider. You have tons of other cons that have built rapport with the industry and certain guests that keep coming back...like Animezement I went to last year, Maruyama Masao (formerly of Madhouse studios) says he comes every year, and he is truly an industry Godfather. The critical factor is not just to be able to extend invitations to these guests, but understand and establish a long term relationship with certain companies and industry insiders...the guests will come by themselves (with the right funding to back it up).

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Posted 17 March 2013 - 08:19 PM

Is there a date that you're planning on working out arrangements with guests you've already invited? Or is the wait on their end now?
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Posted 20 March 2013 - 03:30 PM

I'm not trying to be disrespectful or anything, and I don't want to sound rude. But isn't this the same song and dance as last year, and the year before, and the year before that. I remember when I was in high school Aaron Dismuke was announced as a guest around Decemeber. What is it that can be done so we have at the very least like 3 people announced in December or something? I can only imagine how difficult the process is and how hard everyone is working, but this has been a complaint for years now and I feel like there should've been some improvements by now. The are cons just as big as us, and cons that are not as big but are in November and December, and they have SOME guests. I think it's unfair to con goers who are pre registering for a con and they don't know who's coming or not. I honestly thought that after last year we would be in a better place, but this is kind of ridiculous. If it's the lack of volunteers or something, I would be more than happy to volunteer and advertise to friends. If it's organization, can someone talk to other cons and see how they organize things? If it's money issues, can we do fundraisers or something? If there's something we as con goers can do, just let us know. I as well as a lot of other people, would like to see the empty guest list have some names.

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 08:28 PM

Agreed with mindue. This is really just kind of saddening to watch every year. I mean, really, how is it that at around 2 months until con we still don't have any American guests announced? How is this a recurring issue? If it's the "chasing new licenses" thing, I really don't get the logic there. We're down to FUNimation being pretty much the only company that still does dubs regularly, and they have their same staple actors. Just inviting the usual big names will probably mean inviting the stars of the hot new shows. Also, with the rising popularity of simulcasts, I kind of wonder how relevant the American VAs for new shows really are anymore. The voice actors for ever-popular dubs, like Fullmetal Alchemist or Evangelion, would probably be better bets than the dub cast for, say, Madoka Magica.
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Posted 20 March 2013 - 09:19 PM

View Postfeuerwerke, on 20 March 2013 - 08:28 PM, said:

Agreed with mindue. This is really just kind of saddening to watch every year. I mean, really, how is it that at around 2 months until con we still don't have any American guests announced? How is this a recurring issue? If it's the "chasing new licenses" thing, I really don't get the logic there. We're down to FUNimation being pretty much the only company that still does dubs regularly, and they have their same staple actors. Just inviting the usual big names will probably mean inviting the stars of the hot new shows. Also, with the rising popularity of simulcasts, I kind of wonder how relevant the American VAs for new shows really are anymore. The voice actors for ever-popular dubs, like Fullmetal Alchemist or Evangelion, would probably be better bets than the dub cast for, say, Madoka Magica.


I think a lot of people go to ACen so they can see the people they dont see at other conventions. They always do have the more common voice actors, example Vic comes almost every year. But if they only got those kind of VA's it kinda defeats the purpose of spending so much more money going to a convention like ACen. You can see them almost anywhere. Also saying Funimation is the only company that does dubs regularly is wrong- Aniplex has acquired the rights to two of the most popular animes to come out recently, Puella Magi Madoka Magica and Sword Art Online. Also Blue Exorcist, Magi, Blast of Tempest, and Fate/Zero.
Also- I know a lot of people want to see more japanese VA's and authors- and would be upset if they only filled their guest list with American VA's.

This post has been edited by KungPowKirby: 20 March 2013 - 09:21 PM

I love my ACen family! Whether or not I return next year- please know I love you all! Until we meet again!

"If this body is not capable of action, I suggest new leadership is needed. I move for a vote of no confidence in Chancellor Valorum's leadership."- Queen Amidala; Star Wars: Phantom Menace

#26 User is offline   feuerwerke 

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 09:38 PM

View PostKungPowKirby, on 20 March 2013 - 09:19 PM, said:

I think a lot of people go to ACen so they can see the people they dont see at other conventions. They always do have the more common voice actors, example Vic comes almost every year. But if they only got those kind of VA's it kinda defeats the purpose of spending so much more money going to a convention like ACen. You can see them almost anywhere. Also saying Funimation is the only company that does dubs regularly is wrong- Aniplex has acquired the rights to two of the most popular animes to come out recently, Puella Magi Madoka Magica and Sword Art Online. Also Blue Exorcist, Magi, Blast of Tempest, and Fate/Zero.
Also- I know a lot of people want to see more japanese VA's and authors- and would be upset if they only filled their guest list with American VA's.


Oh, trust me, I'm actually a very strong supporter of getting more Japanese guests. If it were up to me, ACen wouldn't even invite American VAs at all in order to be able to afford more Japanese guests and Western guests of other merit. Unfortunately, "big name" American guests DO pack rooms and bring in crowds. It's commonly noted that a director or a manga-ka will get way less attendees to his or her events than, say, Greg Ayres or Monica Rial. I don't understand this, myself, and I'd prefer if efforts were focused on Japanese guests, but unfortunately quite a few attendees disagree with me. It's this way at every con. I'd recommend looking up what people like Daryl Surat and Zac Bertschy have to say about this.

I'm not counting Aniplex in this equation because they're fairly new to the game. Yes, they have big titles, but their catalog is small and they only fairly recently jumped in on dubbing. In a few years they may be a big enough contender to count, but right now? Not really.

My point is that the American VAs are the easy guests to get. There's no language barrier, the convention and the companies already have established ties, and the airfare is much less since they aren't from overseas. If ACen is even struggling to announce them more than a couple months before con, that's kind of sad.

This post has been edited by feuerwerke: 20 March 2013 - 09:39 PM

ACen 2014 cosplays
  • Junko Enoshima




#27 User is offline   touma_karamochi 

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 09:41 PM

I agree with the posts above, I like going to ACen since it's closer to Wis than Animazement. But their con has already announced a number of guests including several Seiyuu like Masako Nozawa (DBZ's Goku), Toshio Furukawa (DBZ's Picolo, Portugas D. Ace), and Ryusei Nakao (DBZ Frieza, Bleach's Mayuri).

I would like to see some seiyuu, it's been pretty disappointing to wait so long for the past few years only to find out at the last minute that ACen wasn't able to arrange anything. I mean, music bands and producers/directors are great, but I'd like to meet some of the actors both behind the microphone as well as in front of cameras (like some Tokusatsu or drama actors/actresses). Mangaka would be great to meet as well.
Panels at ACen 2013:
*More Raiding the Boys' Toybox: Girls who like Tokusatsu 2 (Approved!)
*Ultraman: Space Paladins(Approved!)
- Toku-Photoshoot 2014 - Sat Afternoon

#28 User is offline   rondo 

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 07:41 AM

ACen needs to buck up and get that list out pronto. Less than two months out and the guest list that is defined is downright embarrassing. Looking at a list of cons after ACen (Anime Boston May 24-26, Anime Weekend Atlanta Sep 27-29, Otakon Aug 9-11, Animazement May 23-26) which run the gamut from being larger or much smaller, all have guest lists at least three times larger.

I don't really come for guests anymore..but I have wanted to come for guests for awhile. I still come for the people and that's pretty much it. Sonoda, Akamatsu, Asamiya..those were the days for me.

This post has been edited by rondo: 21 March 2013 - 07:54 AM


#29 User is offline   WatchJessieGo 

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 08:43 AM

Even the smallest, dinkiest, most disorganized con I've been to (Sugoicon) consistently has all their guest stuff together months before the con. And they get absolutely awesome Japanese guests, like Nabeshin and musical guests and just all sorts of stuff. You'd think with how big and well-known ACen is that they'd be more... on top of things.

This post has been edited by WatchJessieGo: 21 March 2013 - 08:44 AM

ACen 2015 cosplay:
Oktavia von Seckendorff (Puella Magi Madoka Magica) - 0% (planning stages)
Fem!Slenderman - 30%
Shirahoshi Hime (One Piece) - 50%

#30 User is offline   Bard-kun 

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 08:46 AM

I hate to add to the pile-on here, but seriously, dudes on staff: what is the deal? PAX had their guest list at least partially completed months ago, I've seen smaller Midwestern cons with complete lists six months out, and so on and so on...meanwhile sixty days away we've got like three announcements, and a vague "we've got many guests confirmed who are not finalized"?

We're well on our way to being the third largest con in the country and we're certainly the largest con in the Midwest. Does that make it harder to get quick turnaround from guests or something?
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