By Badger Nimahson
Last weekend Stoffel Presents attended the Bristol Anime & Comic Con and boy we wish we didn’t. It was a monumental waste of time, absolutely devoid of most of the things it promised and in all honestly completely shite!
Getting to the event was a fair trip for me. Travelling from Leeds to Bristol by coach meant I left at 2:20 am and arrived in Bristol at 9:10 am. I am used to vast amounts of travelling in order to get content for Stoffel Presents so it did really bother me. Plus National Express coaches are pretty comfy, have a decent amount space and quiet so plenty of chance to grab some sleep after working on the laptop.
The trip down was actually pretty decent. It was just Bristol Anime & Comic Con that was a pile of crap.
First up was the cramped reception area. People swarming in to get wristbands, brochures etc soon had the reception hall filled in no time. This was made worse by the fact that everything was on the 6th floor and there was only two small, slow lifts that only held 8 people max.
Off to the side of the reception was the tabletop gaming zone. Now the website promised hundreds of tabletop games and a host of competitions/tournaments. The reality was about two dozen games and a four or five pieces of paper to sign up to tournaments. No mention of times, locations or rules.
Below the tabletop zone was the cinema/stage area where the lightsaber demonstration was due to take place at 11 am…Until it was announced that LudoSport (the academy giving the display) had to suddenly cancel because they were attending a competition in Italy. Now forgive me for being sceptical but I am pretty sure that would have been booked months in advance and could have been communicated to the attendees.
Needless to say, we were extremely disappointed with what we saw but the main body of Bristol Anime & Comic Con was up on the 6th floor so we can’t judge too early right?…right? …wrong!
The doors opened on to the 6th floor to a cramped corridor junction with trader tables in it! For fuck sake the hotel is a small space as it is and you choose to put trading tables in the one decently side space. I’m not sure if the organisers accidentally over booked stalls or were just taking the piss.
A nice touch I found in a comic con that was becoming ever more claustrophobic as it filled up was the chill out room. Space seemed to be at an extreme premium but the organisers set a space aside for anyone that was become over awed or over stimulated by the crowds, social interaction etc could relax, chill out and watch some anime. I thought this was a wonderful gesture of not only looking after attendees but understanding their needs to and I applaud this vigorously. I was shocked to see that they hadn’t crammed a few stalls in there to be honest though.
Next up was the Workshop and Talks room. Well that’s what it said above the door. Every time we went by all that was happening was people sat on rows of chairs watching anime. Seriously its in the video above.
The traders hall was pretty decent. A wide range of stalls if a little cramped (seeing a pattern here?) but in fairness the range of products and the prices was pretty decent.
Finally we had the gaming room. Again this was promoted as a massive range of games and tournaments when in actually fact it was a small room at the back of the 6th floor. A coupe of dozen machines crammed into a tiny room. No place to sign up for the aforementioned competitions and in fact no place to fit anyway. A dozen people would have probably had that room fail a fire safety test after the chairs and tables had been set up.
All in all, this was incredibly disappointing. We were through the doors at 10:30 am and in the hotel bar by 11 am! We hung around desperately looking for more things to film and content to create until we just gave up at 2 pm and left.
Stoffel Presents will never attend another Anime League event again after Bristol Anime & Gaming Con. I urge our readers to take the same pledge. The only thing accurate about its name or promotion is the word CON