I attended Sakura-Con in 2011 and liked the experience (the con center, the panels, and the rest). Though I am not going this year, I would like to highlight some things on the schedule (March 12th version) that I’d probably see if I were heading up there.
There are a bunch of industry panels all in a row on Friday and some more on Saturday. I wonder what will be the differences between the two panels that FUNimation, Yen Press, Crunchyroll and Aniplex of America each have. I know that FUNimation usually has a Sneak Peek panel at conventions and maybe that’s what one of theirs is?
As far as fan panels go: I’d really like to read a report about Influence of Early 90’s West Coast Rap on Modern Anime (Fri 9pm-9:45pm) because that’s the first time I heard of such a connection (even though Samurai Champloo and Afro Samurai have rap/hip-hop influences in them). The Dark Side of Magical Girls (Fri 5:15pm-6:15pm) could be interesting and so could The Architecture of Anime (Sat 2pm-3pm) – will it be about actual structures within anime or more about story arcs & framing?
If you haven’t seen Mike Toole present Dubs That Time Forgot at some East Coast conventions, it’s a fun panel to attend and those who are going to Sakura-Con can check it out Saturday night from 10pm to 11pm. (If you can’t make it, you can at least watch a recording of the Anime Boston 2011 edition.) Anime Cult Classics (Sun 12:45pm-1:45pm) is another one of Mike’s panels that I’ve seen in person and it was my first exposure to any part of the Happy Science films.
It looks like there are at least a few game show panels – Name that Anime Tune (Fri 7pm-9pm), Otaku Feud (Fri 8:45pm-9:45pm) and Gameshow Panel with Bressler and Chip! (Sat 10am-11:45am). The last one looks like it will include versions of Press Your Luck, Only Connect and The $25,000 Pyramid, according to a forum post made by one of the hosts.
My convention schedule this year is pretty light – I will likely check out the local Kintoki-Con in late July and maybe Otakon again if my budget works out? I’m likely skipping Fanime for 2013 because even though I encounter some of my friends from college there, I get less enjoyment out of the event each year. I may go for one day depending on what panels end up on the schedule. Finally, I was considering going to A-Kon in late May for a change of pace and am still wavering on whether to go or not.