MomoCon 2017 Experience

MomoCon entrance

Before I start I wanted to get these things out of the way.

First, this is the first time I’ve gone to MomoCon. Second I apologize for this being late. I managed to develop a cold on Memorial Day, right after the con ended, despite all efforts and preparations to avoid it. I developed this terrible cold after just getting over a terrible sinus infection with fluid in both of my ears. (Which had lasted for 3 weeks and caused me to have motion sickness.) So least to say, getting sick after weeks of being sick sucked. I’ve basically been sick for at least a month and a half between the two illnesses.

Now on with my commentary about MomoCon.

The location

A shot of a banner for MomoCon and an overview of the GWCC layout

The major part of the convention itself is held at the Georgia World Congress Center (aka GWCC), which is in downtown Atlanta, Georgia. The convention also uses the Omni Hotel that is next to the GWCC. Across the street is the CNN Center, and their food court, and down the road is Centennial Olympic Park. So already I can tell you right now one of the huge positives of this convention is how compact it is.

So already I can tell you right now one of the huge positives of this convention is how compact it is. There’s an indoor hallway that links the GWCC to the Omni Hotel. The Omni Hotel has towers on both sides of the street in front of the convention. As such you can go to the top floor of the hotel, cross an indoor bridge, and head down the other hotel side to avoid crossing a busy street. (Or to avoid bad weather.) When we went down to the street level on the other side of the hotel (south tower?), I noticed there were signs directing you to the CNN Center. So it looks like there’s a way to access the CNN Center’s food court from the hotel too. So basically once you are in this convention,  you are in. You can easily go to the hotel and the CNN Center without going outside. There’s also quite a bit of food places nearby, including a burger place at the nearby park.

So let’s address the buildings themselves.

The GWCC. There are 3 escalators on each side of the long length of the Congress Center. The ones closest to the entrance of the GWCC, top floor, are all directed to go down. This really helps the flow of traffic. The opposite side, the 3 escalators there all go up. This is the same on the lower levels of the convention as well. The escalators close to the main entrance go down, farthest go up. Note: Your badges are checked right before you step on the escalators of any floor, so have them out and facing forward. All the vendors (and artists alley) are on the bottom floor which is concrete because it’s always concrete. >_> Down on the bottom floor is also gaming which includes card gaming, desktop, and video games. The video games are both various consoles and arcade games.

The AC system at GWCC is all over the place. There were spots in the vendor area where I was beginning to sweat, most likely due to lack of air circulation. Other spots down there, the temperature was just fine. For the main floors, some panel rooms were okay, and other areas were fridged to the point I wish I had a hooded sweatshirt. So prepare for, “This is okay, to this is a little warm, to omg it’s cold.”

Even though I did already mention food a bit, I will say there are vendors inside the GWCC. All of these vendors operate small kiosks. Some are on the 2nd level, and some are on the bottom level in the back behind the vendors. (At least vendors have a chance to pick up some food without going very far if they need a quick bite.) Note: These food kiosks are not opened Thursday, the first day of the convention. Also, by virtue of being kiosks, they have a limited menu. There were places such as Subway, a pretzel place, cookies, BBQ, rice bowls, Chick-fil-A (with chips instead of fries), and more that I’ve forgotten.  There are also vending machines on the 2nd floor, but sodas in them are $4. The price at one kiosk we saw was the same. Bringing your own thermos with water will be your friend here as there are spots around the convention with free water. Also packing your own snacks is probably a good idea.

The Omni Hotel. This was a nice hotel, and if you explore the floors available to you, you will find nice resting spots with chairs if you need to unwind. This can also be useful when you’re an introvert like me and just need a place to get away from the crowds to recharge. The hotel had 2 rooms for anime viewing. One room seemed dedicated to older anime, and the other to newer series. The later room may get packed when they show more popular series. MomoCon showed the first 2 episodes from whichever series they had scheduled, and all were streaming off of Crunchyroll. There were other rooms with events going on as well. Between the GWCC and the Omni, the hotel had the nicer bathrooms by far. A lot more stalls are available to use, and a lot more sinks. If you have the choice, use the bathrooms in the hotel over the GWCC. You’ll avoid lines.

The CNN Center. There are a few choices of places to eat at their food court. Be aware that seating will be at a premium in here. If you are eating with a large group of friends, expect that you’ll have to split up to find tables. (That’s if you find a table at all.) I tried my best to share any available seating with other people there, especially since the only table I was able to find was a large table. I encourage others to please share a table if they can. That being said, you may very well be likely to run into the situation where you have to take your food to go and eat elsewhere. Keep in mind this space is being shared with regular visitors to the CNN Center and the area around it. Also, when we ordered food from a fast food place there, it took at least 20 minutes to get our food. Our order was just 2 burgers, 2 fries and 2 drinks (which you serve yourself). So I can’t recommend this place for a quick bite.

Centennial Olympic Park. This was a nice place to go. The weather was nice enough to enjoy the park during the convention. It’s another way to just get away from the crowds but not have to travel too far. There are benches placed every so often at the park where you can sit. I think there may be tables too. King of Pops was there, and if you haven’t had their popsicles, I highly recommend them. And as I said previously, there is a burger place right at the park too. It’s a place not too far way but feels far enough to have a nice breather.

The Panels

To be honest, we didn’t attend too many panels. I attended the crafty ones, two of which were free and one we paid for. The free ones were perler and crocheting.

For the perler, there was a paper with a perler design, a perler plate (?), and a mixed bunch of colored perler beads. If you are more of a creative type, you could design your own. As it was my first time, I followed the pattern. The problem came when I went to have it heated up. They didn’t seem to sure how to use the irons on the perler and my little design didn’t come out too well in the end. But the panel was free, and she tried her best, so I can’t complain too much. And I still enjoyed myself and I think I would like to look more into perler in the future.

Crocheting I struggled with. I picked it up a little bit many years ago and thus forgot everything. I had a difficult time just getting the yarn around my fingers, nevermind on the hook and doing the stitches. The panel provided a crochet design for a bow, which was both written in shorthand and used various stitches (?). So not too beginner friendly. I would have rather heard about what kind of hooks to get, what to look for in yarn, and what resources are available both in print and online.

The paid crafty panel was the best by far. It was using beads to create a kawaii critter, in this case a lizard, on a keychain. There was enough time that the woman running the panel offered people to make a second one. I definitely did better on the second try. The first try used flat plastic wire which kept rolling up, a point the panelists discovered as well. The second time used string and that worked out much better. This was really fun and is probably a craft I would look more into. (I don’t know what it is, but I like crafts that utilize my hands. Maybe it’s my attention to detail personality.)  If they do this panel in the future, I highly recommend it. It’s worth the cost. Try to arrive early to sort out the color beads you want out of the jumbled mix of colors you are provided.

We also attended panels on anime movie recommendations, that aren’t Ghibli, as well as a panel from the same person on Japanese movies. Those were both informative and interesting. I jotted down the ones he mentioned and will look into a few of the recommendations sometime in the future.

The only other panel we attended was for the voice actors of Pinky and the Brain. They were taking questions from the audience, as well as a singing of the song from Bubba Bo Bob Brain. That was awesome. It’s been a while since I laughed that much. It was great to see them talk about how touched they are to have so many fans and the work they’ve done still be loved and popular all these years later.

The rest of the panels I just didn’t have too much of an interest in or ran way too late in the night to be able to attend. Voice actors from Steven Universe were there. While I’ve heard wonderful things about that series, I have been unable to get into it. I tried a particular watch order that is supposed to help introduce concepts from the show before moving on to the better episodes. And well I couldn’t even get through the starter watch episodes list.

The Vendors/Artist Alley

Windfish perler

As I’ve said these vendors are located on the bottom floor. They were to the left of the escalators that went down. The regular vendor rows were first followed by artist alley. I sometimes wonder if the order should have been the other way around, to make people pass the artists first. The problem with artist alley was the last row was against the far left wall, and there weren’t too many vendors there. I felt bad for them as it seemed like the layout was such that they could be easily passed up, especially with so few to see in that row. The problem intensified by Sunday as it was obvious some artist vendors left and stalls moved around a bit. There was even a paper sign on a support post encouraging people to go around the corner to the last aisle because they were lonely.

For this area, the problem that both my husband and I ran into is that there was just so much to look at and look over in each vendor stall. It didn’t take long for both of us to have eye or vision issues from the focusing around at everything. We had to stop just to let our eyes unfocus and relax. This happened two separate times. We’ve never had that happen at a convention before, granted we can’t afford to go to too many of them. Some items sold were very interesting. What stood out was one vendor selling artwork mouse pads and large pads for your desk. I would have grabbed one but, you know, cats. Another vendor sold handmade crochet items like creatures from anime, dragon scarfs, blankets, and other items. There were a few perler vendors and one sold a lot of perler designs that had magnets on the back of them. I bought 3 of his perler designs. He also made at least one really large Windfish from Link’s Awakening (seen above) which was so awesome, but I couldn’t afford it, nor do I have a place for it. What I would give for a small Windfish and even smaller perler designs of the instruments from that Zelda game. An artist vendor made coasters using their artwork, which was awesome. A few sold bookmarks and I enjoy something small since I’m out of wall space for posters.

The only other problem we had with the vendors were that it seemed like quite a few tailored what they made and sold to what was super popular, or to Steven Universe since they had panels there. So there was lots of S.U. and Overwatch stuff everywhere. And if you aren’t into those things, it gets frustrating after a while to see it over and over again. We ended up enjoying the vendors who had more variety in what they made and sold.

Summary/Verdict

Pros:

  • How compact this convention is. It’s just awesome and a nice change from other conventions that are just sprawling and you have to do a lot of walking to get to various panels. (Yes I’m looking at you DragonCon.)
  • Traffic flow. The changing of the direction of the escalators to help traffic flow was nice.
  • The hotel. Being able to get away or just relax watching anime was nice.
  • The area just outside the entrance to the GWCC was nice and a good spot to just be outside if the weather is nice. It did get packed with cosplayers as the convention went on though.

Cons:

  • AC all over the place, though not the convention’s fault. Just be prepared for it if you can.
  • Lack of panels we were interested in. While this gave us ample time to shop, it did detract from the general fun of the convention.
  • Paying to park if you aren’t staying at a nearby hotel, or taking MARTA to the convention. The convention is in downtown Atlanta, there’s no avoiding paying to park. Plus traffic, construction, or just generally people temporarily ‘parked’ in right-hand lanes. Taking MARTA can help lower the costs, but may increase walking and lugging around anything you bring and buy.

Neutral:

  • The food. Kiosks were available but had a limited menu. There were places nearby but you might have a wait for food. Bring snacks, keep your options for food open, and maybe wander around the convention for food.

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