San Japan 2018 Review By Sir Nick Justice

September 1-2

San Japan

The year is going by fast and not without a pause!

Darthyday and Sir Nick Justice headed downtown San Antonio to the mighty Henry B Gonzalez Convention Center for San Japan XI (2018).

San Japan is a well-known anime convention in San Antonio Texas. They started in 2008 as one of SA’s first major anime convention and has then since grown enormously from hotel to biggest convention in town.

Luckily this year was a much more noticeable attendance rate this weekend compared to last years which was unfortunately cancelled for many due to a gas shortage and large hurricane impacting Houston. And many friends that I knew were able to attend since the convention provided (excuse the pun) rain-checks.

Cosplay/Layout

It is always hard to predict what the latest cosplay trends (in anime) will be worn at this convention so it’s fun to try and foresee the larger cosplay fandom of the year. After observing for awhile the most popular groups this year was My Hero Academia as well as Sailor Moon.

Of course, there was an incredible amount of other anime series of cosplays there but overall those were the 2 big ones. And no anime convention can go without a twist of Deadpool being there as well as Kirito from Sword Art Online (two former popular groups in years past). This year I faced off three Kirito’s with my ironic Kirito-Pool Cosplay.

San Japan has always had a great use of a Giant hall to handle all lines for badge pickup/purchasing/etc in which you go back into the main lobby of the convention center where you would see a major entrance and exit with in-between official convention booths there.

They always have 3 major sections I look forward to seeing in the first of 3 big halls which contain arcade games, super cool wrapped cars, and of course the LARP fighting ring. This year they racked in lots of free to play old school arcade systems as well as almost double the amount of foreign systems as well to play.

The second hall contains nothing BUT artists (hence the name artist alley), in which you will find tons of anime, fandoms, and rare merchandise you probably won’t see anywhere else! Unfortunately, the layout of tables practically connected to each other forming giant rectangles felt super compact, clustered, and not easy to get out for vendors. With this cluster came super crowded walkways where it was literally body on body (good luck if you are in a big cosplay). Most free space that could have either A) spaced out the walkways or B) fit more vendors was more so occupied by a large group of tables/chairs.

And lastly the third section which was the vendors area. I got to say, I never noticed until now that a lot of the vendors mostly looked like resold/distributed oversees goods vs handmade this year. Including certain old school video game vendors that were selling fake knock offs (totally broke my heart). But of course, there was lots of clothing to go around as KPOP/Anime like fashion really hit the show this year with super cute selections. Even the booths selling statues/figures seemed to have doubled since last year with many collectors needing their favorite anime.

Overall, I really continue to see the growth of San Japan each year as it becomes more and more organized. I do hope they are able to make better spacing for us to avoid cosplay accidents and other mosh pit action. Placing the resting areas closer to the edges or corner of the convention, get more diverse artist works since a lot all started to really look like the same prints/style/characters, and can really make the video game section even bigger next year.