Anime Senpai 2018
I am so sorry I haven't posted this before now, but it's been hella crazy. I had the opportunity to sell at the con for their first year as a three day convention. I have sold there from the second year as Anime Getaway, and plan on continuing to sell there as it continues.
First off, I will do my very best to be as unbiased as possible, but you are more than welcome to take everything I type with a grain of salt. I am also not about to completely trash on a convention, especially since 2018 was their first year as a three year convention.
They were really prompt with their emails for vendors, which is extremely important to me, as I am a vendor and need to know in advance what cons I will be selling at and when. That way, I have enough time to get what I need made and figure out if there are any cosplays I need to make/revamp for the cosplay contest. I did hear from some friends that they were mostly ignored and pushed aside when they were asking about their panels and other questions. Luckily, I didn't have any panels that weekend, so I wasn't affected.
One of my biggest complaints, that I hope will be fixed in the future, is that Senpai did not get a schedule out until three days before the event, which doesn't give panelists a lot of time to prepare, and causes a lot of panic for the attendees if they don't have any panels they are interested in. As it was their first year, it will hopefully be learned from and be better for 2019.
When the schedule did finally come out, it had a pretty decent variety of content, and was the only part of the convention you had to have a badge for. The vendor's hall wasn't badge-checked, so parents could browse while their child hung out, or people who normally ghost cons (don't get me started on those), they weren't required to pay a fee just to spend more money, which meant they could spend more money in the vendor's hall. That was really appreciated, as a vendor, since I did surprisingly well for such a small convention (I was able to cross off 7 new pokemon that weekend!) My one gripe about the hall was that in previous years, all the vendors got a map where their table would be. Unfortunately, I had to wait until Friday morning when I was to set up to figure out where I was located. I felt there was a pretty decent amount of variety with the vendors hall; there wasn't too many print artists, but not too many manufactured goods either. It was probably the most balanced vendor's hall I've ever encountered.
I also heard that the panels went really well for most everyone, but the only real event I went to was the cosplay contest on Saturday. I cosplayed as Maya, and didn't win anything, but that's whatever. The people who did win did fantastic and deserved their awards. The pre-show line up was a little disorganized and we weren't given a whole lot of information, but again, first year growing pains. It also didn't help that Senpai either didn't take staff applications or refused to get volunteers for the weekend, but that's not what I'm talking about right now. The contest went by pretty quick and it was really fluid when it came to walk ons, and they even questioned the cosplayers about certain parts of their cosplays, which not many of the cons I go to do. That was really unique and awesome to me.
I did have a couple of photoshoots that weekend, as well as a wedding to attend Friday, and had dealt with a family tragedy the day before, so I probably didn't enjoy it quite as much as I had wanted to. Overall, even tho it was very disorganized, I did have fun and would love to come back next year, either as a vendor or guest. If you are in the St. Louis/Collinsville area next October, definitely check it out. If you can't afford the ticket, volunteer. Most conventions are pretty legit in letting you work off the price of your badge over a few hours of badge checking or guest wrangling.
Vendor's Hall: 9.5/10
Overall: 7/10 Could be better, have seen worse.