A review of Frostbite, or How I met your possible doppelgänger

The presented critic on Frostbite and on its elder brother Desucon has caused sort of a small uproar locally, which has caused this blog to gain five times more visitors than usually, more spam and somewhat more uncivilized comments than usual. Well, good. It’s publicity and the word gets out there, even thou it ultimately gets on my own conscience and nerves. Still, a review of the event itself is in order, and if you found yourself getting mad at me during the previous posts I doubt you’ll like this either.

I admit that I came out in a very hostile manner at start, but everything still applies. Naturally, things change in the light of new information. I love how professionally both the main organizer and main programme executive took so (intentionally) overblown critique. Desucon even has an English and Japanese language versions now. It’s a change for the better and a lot of information I recommended having there actually appear in the English site. Then again, the design is questionable as the left-hand panel has English menu while the Finnish menu is still above. It’s unnecessary clutter. Things like this are small but important details, but I’m sure the staff is going to work on the site in future and renew it from time to time.

I went to Frostbite with a hopeful set of mind. It might be cool, I can meet new people and perhaps make some new contacts if needed. There are clearly people who know their subject and are willing to put their best effort to bring out the best showcase possible. The organizers themselves seemed hopeful enough, so it can’t be all bad, right?

Wakamoto finds your lack of- I can't do this
Wakamoto finds your lack of— I can’t do this 

I won’t go through the whole event, but I’ll talk about few key points that really stood up to me, because they can be applied on the general level as well. All the points are not negative, but there are some big issues here that need to be addressed.

The overall event is as with any event really. The opening came and went. Since every event is handling their openings well enough, it was expected for this to be without any difficulties. During the opening you could see that there was nice selection of people of all ages, and in the hallways I caught some English, Russian and Swedish. During Wakamoto’s event there was a French guy, but we’ll come to that later on. I met a lot of familiar people and all that, but sadly I was unable to greet a newfound friend at any point. Oh shoot.

Speaking of languages, all the signs within the event parameter lacked all sort of English text. I see no reason to not have English text when you know that there will be foreigners.

I contacted the main organizer Mr. Myyrä in order to get some hard facts. He was most helpful with my inquiries. One of the things I wanted to know was the overall visitor amount and the number of foreigners. Please keep in mind that these are loosely translated from Finnish.

– Visitor amount
 The number of visitors was the maximum amount of tickets we sell for Desucon Frostbite, which is 2700. This was too much, as the visitors tend to stay inside during winter, which makes the Sibelius Hall rather tightly packed.
To last summer’s Desucon we sold 2900 tickets and this seemed to work for the space we had. This is why we will sell the same maximum amount of tickets this year as well.

–  Amount of foreign visitors

 The number of foreign visitors was around 20.  When you count the visiting Swedish convention organizers and the likes of Russian Pro Cosplay magazine’s journalists, this rises to around 35. This is about 1% of all visitors.
See? One. Percent! Now you might think that I’d back down about this subject. No, this is a great number considering how small scale the event is. That 1%, if nurtured well enough, can be grown into a higher number. It’s a start, a seed that needs some water and good ground to grow from. However, this would mean that the whole system would need to grow, and most likely this would mean a change of place.
Midday Sunday
Around Sunday noon. You’d think that the main hall had that much room to move in all the time but no

While wandering the hallways and checking everything through, a friend of mine heard a couple of youngsters asking each other Why won’t they get a bigger place? The question is valid. There clearly is demand for a larger event. Of course, there are numerous problems with this, starting with first finding a bigger structure to house the event, the higher price of the event which would most likely be seen in the price of the ticket at first until proper visitor numbers are listed and the general increase of certain workloads would be somewhat significant.

Desucon, as well as Frostbite, has room to grow. However, as evident from the plans the organizers have for the summer’s tickets, it’s clear that they have no intention to allow these events to grow.

– The amount of cancelled tickets and how fast they were resold
The amount of cancelled tickets was around one hundred and they were resold in less than 10 minutes. This sort of system where we sell the returned tickets is not functional, thus we will most likely refrain from selling cancelled tickets in the future, unless something strange happens.
The amount of returns and the speed at which they were resold tells that there is demand for a larger event. Seeing that Desucon has a reputation of sorts to be the definitive convention in Finland, I see no reason for keeping it from growing and expanding to accommodate the growing number of visitors as well as strive for higher quality program. However, there are many things that I assume are holding the organizers back from changing the place from Sibelius Hall to some other place. The paperwork it would take, planning, advertising and all that take their own time, and then there’s the fact that some people see the Sibelius Hall as the place for this specific convention. [Oh bullshit!.Edit] However, we must recognize that if the convention is going to grow for the better, it needs to be allowed to grow in size as well to a certain point where the the amount of tickets and the willing the willing amount of visitor meets. It’s now evident that Sibelius Hall has become too small for this event, and more room to the sales hall wouldn’t hurt either.
It’s a question I wish the organizers to ponder among themselves whether or not they are willing to expand the existing convention to a larger space to serve more customers. If they are not, what are the real reasons behind it and what can be done to serve this smaller amount of customers better. Getting the program quality up would help a lot in this. Actually, that would be the most important step.

Speaking of the space, there was a strange design decision to attach balloons around the guardrails in the stairs, which effectively prevented from using the said guardrails and there were few people who got caught into in them. Attaching them outside the rails would’ve been a better bet, and better for the overall safety of the event. 

Question of space also became evident when visitors began to loaf around, blocking the hallways. I would have wanted to see the patrolling security to separate these blocks and instruct the loafers to move into somewhere they have place to do so, like the cafeteria or the main hall. Naturally, this is because of the aforementioned amount of visitors.  Naturally, the security guards there were pretty chill people, laughing and joking with the visitors.

The ongoing stuff, like the games room and such, were somewhat higher in quality than standard, offering more consoles than some other events, but the overall selection of games seemed to be somewhat limited. Only a certain selection of consoles had a large selection, while others had distinctly scarce. They had a damn PC-Engine there, which I gladly tested through and through in every occasion I could.

I understand why PC-E failed in here West while it enjoyed a moderate success in Japan. It also has an awesome design only with few negative things. It's also tiny!
I understand why PC-E failed in the West while it enjoyed a moderate success in Japan. It also has an awesome design only with few negative things. It’s also tiny!

I need to do a design review on game consoles some day.

There was also a small incident with the ongoing traditional games on Saturday evening, where the players were promised continued light, but due to the evening party all lights were cut down, effectively preventing these players from seeing what they were playing.

But let’s get to the programme itself. It’s apparent that the staff aimed for variety, and in that sense they did succeed. It’s not that easy to juggle different programs so that they do not overlap with the same theme and that they offers options for the visitors. However, all of this is for naught when the programs themselves are lacking in content and quality. For example the Sunday morning’s Gundam show was rather awful. Ville Siivola, the presenter, seemed to spend one year watching through all of Gundam metaseries and not getting but parts of it. While Gundam shows do repeat their certain themes, the UC and Seed series are the only ones that truly share solid common elements. Comparison between Wing and 00’s themes is a bit amiss because they are vastly different as well, but I guess it’s understandable for a person who didn’t really give a damn about the franchise and missed pretty much all the important details that were on the screen. The programme was lacklustre because it was just an opinion and not worth a programme block. Loads of the arguments presented there as well as overall knowledge of the franchise and on the overall era of each series were pretty baseless. While it’s good to see new people watching old shows with open eyes and with no knowledge of the situations surrounding the series, for a presenter to completely dismiss them is just plain stupid. This is a problem, because it’s a controlling element, and can be weeded out if the organizers keep the presenters in a short lease and edit their programs to a point, much a book editor edits a writer’s book. You can have a subjective show for sure, but that’s not an excuse for ignorance. I find it laughable that Siivola recommended the Gundam Crossbone comic, but said soon after that he only knew of the animated works when he was inquired about Gaia Gear. Good thing nobody brought other side-materials out then. The things would’ve gone even more awkward. 

This is a problem, as from-users-to-users, or user created content, rarely produces good content without a harsh screening.

While other programmes were much more knowledgeable on their subjects, majority of them fell into the same pit of having a subjective view of their own; a zero facts show, where everything is assumed. To some extent you’d think that they were paid to advertise products, but I’m sure this wasn’t the case. I only know one event where a presentation was made to advertise a product, but less said about that the better. On top of that, all the classical errors you could do in a presentation appeared from talking over with your host, turning your back to the audience and reading what’s on the screen. Perhaps all people who are admitted to have a panel or presentation should get a some sort of memo from the main staff what not to do during their show. 

The main stage also was almost completely empty of programme, which is really strange. It’s a shame that a large stage like that was mostly ignored when it could’ve been put to good use.  While it is known that the main stage needs to empty for rehearsals and walkthroughs, that’s not reason to leave it completely useless.

In short; despite the efforts put in the quality and variety in the programme, the results could’ve been much better. Not to say that there was no good presentation or panel, like the Invitation to Japanese comic studies, but we can all agree that two or three pearls doesn’t make the overall schedule shine as it should. In the end, it’s up to the main programme manager keep up the quality of the programme. It’s not enough just to take people in and have them do content, but this content needs to meet certain standards, and it appears these standards have never been set.

It’s also a fault that from-users-for-users format never really works when aiming for high quality. This user generated content is always a finicky thing. You get one or two decent results through that, but on the long run the system becomes abused in a way where the user comes in with content that is basically worthless and still gets a free pass. In this case, a lot of people make content for conventions just to get in free and don’t care if their program is good or not. What I’ve gathered was that Desucon was made to bring high-quality events and programme into Finnish convention scene, but as they are now they’re just as bad as any because of the system abuse. While the concept is sound at the base level, it falls apart when you take into account how little your run-of-the-mill person cares what he puts up.

However, the main event itself was Wakamoto on stage and you really can’t screw this kind of thing up. Except, y’know, when it comes to translating audience’s questions to him.

I’m glad they set the rules before anything else; taking photos are OK except when video footage was on, and taking video was banned altogether. I should’ve taken sound next to my photos. This is completely understandable as Wakamoto’s voice is his trade. The footage they showed had original Finnish subtitles, which is a great way to circumvent some licensing issues, thou the footage itself might’ve had some issues, but I’m sure the staff managed to get around that as well.

Wakamoto on stage

However, when it came to the second part of Wakamoto’s stage show, where he answered to questions from the audience, the translator was really struggling with some of the questions, and few questions were poorly translated, which led into Wakamoto misunderstanding the question. This is unavoidable to an extent, but noting that the translator lacked certain knowledge and finesse tells that either this person had a huge stage fright going on or wasn’t really up for the task. In situations like this it’s completely acceptable to hire a professional translator with proper experience if possible. Considering the translator himself was most likely a fan, I find it stupid for him not recognizing YouTube: M.D. Geist, not even from the context of the event. I could’ve expected that from a translator who isn’t accustomed to talk about the subject, even when from the context it’s damn clear that it’s something to do with Wakamoto and anime scene.

No, he didn't wear shades but he should've had.
No, he didn’t wear shades but he should’ve had. After all, he IS Most Dangerous Wakamoto

Now, there was this competition between artwork and Wakamoto impressions. Two best artworks would win and so would the best impression. Sounds good. There was a relatively low amount of contestants in the artwork side, about thirty, and knowing the level Finland has with its fanartists it most likely yielded something exceptional.

Ladies and gentlemen, plagiarism
It’s not even a good fucking trace!

Now excuse me for being coarse the next paragraph but what the hell is this shit? THIS is the winning piece of fanart? If you allow this piece of plagiarism win a contest, what the fuck were the competing works? Put up a damn gallery on your website so we all can see them. This is not fanart, this is a bad trace of an existing comic panel and it’s bad at that. Who the hell was in charge of this contest? It doesn’t help that the second place was won with a picture of Cell from Dragon Ball Z that looked like it was made with fucking crayons in ten minutes. Where’s all the awesome artwork we usually see? The level of the contest shows that people didn’t give two damns about it. God, I wish I had participated with a screenshot from Gunbuster with some new rasters. It would’ve been the same damn thing. This is just bullshit. I’m not even going to criticise the Wakamoto impression because it was horrible and embarrassing to listen to. I’m addressing this critique to both the staff and to Isoaho himself. Letting a tracing to win an art contest is a mistake, but Isoaho also managed to screw the picture. If you compare it to the original panel, you can see every little and big mistake he has done. Either Isoaho can’t draw or he sucks at tracing. On top of that, as a separate artwork the picture is dull as hell in contrast to the original. Good job at fucking up a good comic panel. I really want to see the other participants’ works as well, and they could put up a gallery in Frostbite’s page. They can’t be any worse than what this piece of crap is.

Beside that, the prices themselves were pretty damn near; an alarm clock with Wakamoto’s voice recorded in it, and his autograph as well. The audience who sat in certain spots with numbers was were in a lottery of who would get the remaining two. To my happy surprise a French person won one of those, and the other was won by a random Finnish guy. Kudos to that guy.

Speaking of Wakamoto, it seems that he only stayed within the country for three days from Saturday to Monday. I really do wish that he had as fun time as claimed, and to see him here for a vacation rather than for work like this.

It had escaped me until that point that the whole show was in Finnish. If it had been an option, some sort of translation for them would’ve been really damn awesome, but as it was now I can’t help but to think how indecipherable the whole event was for them. It’s a matter worth looking into. An English language leaflet would also be an excellent addition. Of course, this would’ve been in limited production and aimed only for the foreign visitors.

These things are rather small, but important. It’s easy to get blind at these things, and Frostbite showed that since their first years the staff have become a bit too accustomed to the way everything works to the point that they have become blind to the more intricate details that need attention, and to their faults that have risen. God live in the details after all, and while the overall frames might work without a fault, all the details are what builds what the customer experiences. I’m glad to see that the organizers are willing to take in harsh criticism and work to get them fixed.

However, there was one large point that I need to point and it comes to the porn sold there. The sales floor was basically a free-for-all zone, and certain sellers sold their pornographic fancomics openly for minors without checking IDs or similar. That’s practically illegal. I’d hate to think that the organizers are unwillingly to take part in sexual harassment of under aged people. As open as I am with porn, I recognize that in an event like this the R-18 comics, toys and so on need their own section behind the curtains with a guard to check IDs when necessary. I’m sure this sounds anal to most people, but I’d rather see Desucon and Frostbite continuing and possibly getting better (rather than worse) than seeing the people charged for breaking the law. I have no qualms for a young person to see porn on the Internet, as it is the parents’ job to instruct and educate the children with this matter, but allowing children a direct access to porn and even allow its promotion is going too far in doing nothing.  It takes one phone call to local Police office and tell, that this event has sellers selling porn to children, and that the organizers are turning blind eye to it.

One thing that makes conventions like this what they are is the fellow participants. Everybody to whom I stopped to chat with were most helpful, interesting and honest. Even when I didn’t get to know these people, nor they got to know me, we enjoyed the new company and laughed at our bad jokes. Sadly, this can’t be attributed for the convention’s own positive nor negative, as this can be achieved in your local library as well. Your standard Finnish doesn’t really break their shells and talk to strange, unknown people. Within this sort of environment ,where you know everybody is just as loony as you, it becomes increasingly easier.

While I did not attend the lodgings provided by the local scouts, I did hear some negative comments on them. As such, the following criticism is mostly taken from discussion with three of my friends who did. According to them, there was a problem with water resources, as the water was cut at certain time, meaning that the use of restrooms and showers was impossible. There was only three restrooms for seventy people, which caused some serious commotions. The showers were also unisex showers, which caused some slight discomfort. Communication between the administrators and the scouts was also faulty, causing some chaos in their ranks. They did get a decent and cheap breakfast, so that’s a plus, but according to this set of people there wasn’t any choices for those with food allergies.

It’s kind of interesting to see that this kind of cheap lodgings provided by the organizers had these problems. Most of the time I’ve heard good things how things work, but it takes only one bad time to get a negative reputation to circulate. I wish things will go much better next time, and that the organizers will take do what they can in order to ensure the flow of water.

I don’t really have any proper closure. Depending on my work and life situation, I’d sort of want to participate to summer’s convention to see how it goes this time. They have time to change details for the better, and start checking the programming. I have been offered a chance to create program, thou that would mean that I have two programs to create for two separate conventions. Not a big job as such, but for a proper programme it takes six months to study and research the subjects if you’re unfamiliar with it, but seeing that I would make other based on brand management, the other would take considerably less time to make. I do understand the implications behind this tactic thou, asking a critic to take part, but I do believe we are not that childish to resort in actions or debate like that. If the organizers wish to comment on the presented critic, I will be publishing their responses as usual.

Events and organizers need criticism just as badly as any service field, and in their place building up proper criticism needs to be something they have to work with. In cases like this, where the event itself is an annual event, it would be good to introduce as much criticism in order for the next year to trump over the last.

Wakamoto is either telling you to Make it so, or Stop that shit now
Wakamoto is either telling you to Make it so, or to Stop that shit now

Let’s finish this off with some music, shall we?

6 thoughts on “A review of Frostbite, or How I met your possible doppelgänger

  1. Sori, kirjoitan tämän nyt suomeksi, kun en näe mitään syytä vääntää huonolla englannillani epäselvää soperrusta toiselle suomalaiselle.

    En ole Desuconissa järjestäjä, mutta olen ollut joka vuosi vänkärinä ja siten tiedän hieman sisäpiirijuttuja. Nämä ovat todennäköisesti asioita, joista varsinaisen järjestäjäportaan ihmiset ovat sinulle saattaneet jo sanoa tai ovat muuten vain perustietämystä.

    Sibeliustalon pääsali on vähemmällä käytöllä, koska siellä pidettävä ohjelma vaatii enemmän harjoittelua kuin muissa saleissa pidettävä. Siellä testaillaan tekniikkaa ja käydään läpi tulevien ohjelmien sisältöä kenraaliharjoituksineen. Ainakin aiempina vuosina Sibeliustalon henkilökunta oli asettanut tarkat rajoitukset tilan julkiseen käyttöön ja salien vuokrasta pitää muutenkin maksaa käytön mukaan. Ei olisi mitään järkeä maksaa suuria määriä ylimääräistä siitä, että joku amatööripuhuja saisi pitää ohjelmaa lähes tyhjässä suuressa salissa. Ymmärtänet tämän.

    Desuconin ohjelmavastaava vaihtuu joka vuosi. Tästä johtuen myös ohjelmien laatu ja painopiste vaihtelee vuosittain, joten ihan täyttä parhautta ei voida taata. Frostbitessä pääpaino on uusien kykyjen etsimisellä ja ja heidän pitämillään ohjelmilla. Aiempina vuosina kesän Desuconissa on panostettu enemmän pätevään asiaohjelmaan, mutta tänä vuonna siinäkin annetaan uusille puhujille mahdollisuuksia. Siksipä sinuakin pyydettiin mukaan. Olisit voinut uutena kykynä näyttää, miten kunnollista ohjelmaa voi pitää valmistautumalla kunnolla.

    Olen pääosin samaa mieltä kanssasi ohjelman tasosta Desuconeissa. Asiallisempaa ja ammattimaisempaa ohjelmaa olisi miellyttävämpää seurata kuin esimerkiksi Cosplay ja itsetunto-luennon tasoista esitystä (videotallenne löytyy Desuconin Youtube-kanavalta). Ohjeistukselle ja luentomateriaalin etukäteistarkistukselle ohjelmavastaavan toimesta olisi tarvetta. Ammattipuhujia en kaipaa, kun mieluummin kuuntelisin puhetta aiheista kanssafaneilta pelkkien tutkimuspohjaisten luentojen sijaan, mutta tason nostamisesta ei olisi haittaa. Eniten harmittavat sellaiset luennoitsijat, jotka pitävät conista toiseen tyhjänpäiväisiä ja heikkorakenteisia ohjelmia. Luulisi kokemuksen vaikuttavan pidettävän ohjelman tasoon, mutta näin ei aina ole. Sellaiset luennoitsijat voisi joko karsia kokonaan pois Desuconien ohjelmistosta tai ainakin heille sopisi pitää opettavainen puhuttelu. En oikein ymmärrä tämänhetkisen ohjelmavastaavan linjausta, johtuen juurikin tuosta kuinka kokemattomien puhujien lisääminen laskee ohjelman tasoa. Toivottavasti kesäDesun ohjelmanpitäjille ymmärretään jo pitää opetustuokio ohjelmien rakentamisesta ja pitämisestä.

    Mitä taas Desuconin kansainvälisyyteen tulee, luulen, että olet hieman hakoteillä. Kuten muutkin conit Suomessa, Desucon haluaa palvella nimenomaan suomalaista yleisöään. Ei ole mitään syytä yrittää laajentaa tapahtumaa tietoisesti ulkomaalaisille, jos edes suomalaiset kävijät eivät meinaa mahtua tapahtumaan. Tietysti tulisi ottaa huomioon näiden muutamien paikalle tulevien ulkomaalaisten kävijöiden viihtyvyys esimerkiksi juurikin opasteissa ja ohjelmalehtisissä.

    Desuconin nettisivuilla on ollut sisältöä englanniksi ja japaniksi jo useamman vuoden ajan, joten hieman ihmettelen sitä, miksi siitä aiemmassa Frostbite-tekstissäsi kritisoit. Tietoahan ei ole samoissa määrin kuin suomalaisille suunnatussa versiossa, mikä on tietysti korjaamista vaativa asia, mutta tiivistelmäsivut ovat kuitenkin olleet aina saatavilla. Desuconin järjestäjissä on kielitaitoisia ihmisiä, joten suorien yhteydenottojen sattuessa he ovat antaneet lisätietoja muillakin kielillä kuin suomeksi.

    1. I’d love to hear more of that inside information you might have. What any organization needs is [a] certain level of transparency, even if it demands unofficial statements. Especially if there’s something important going on that’s affecting the quality of the product.

      I do recognize all the tech stuff and rehearsals that need to take on the main stage between the programs. Larger programs take time to set up and so forth. We all know this. However, at the point where Desucon has been going on for years I do not see tech being a huge problem. It generally isn’t. Seeing that both Saturday and Sunday had three specific programs (Wakamoto’s program is one with a break) that take actual special preparations, the main stage is empty a vast majority of the time. There was no program at night either, which would’ve been a perfect chance to put up anything adult oriented in there.
      I do not see this as any sort of an argument. A good showman does check the stage, but does not rehearse on the stage unless it’s a play or similar. Even then, it’s a question when. Overall all stages, be it in front of a classroom or an auditorium, have a similar set of equipment and function since Antique. I do not see any reason to hold lesser amount of programs on the main stage because of this. All of this should be done beforehand, not during the event itself. I want to emphasize the may part, as if they are not going to do a final rehearsal of sorts outside the actual big programs, then it would take a maximum of half an hour to check everything from tech to walking formations and anything in between. There’s also the point that if they are going to the site on Friday and check the stage then, a day beforehand. That eliminates need for training on stage during the event itself, and allows more freedom to adjust their show. On the long run, it’s just a question of logistics. If the people with programme need to be acquainted with the equipment and stage during the event, then there’s something inherently wrong with what they’re doing. Ultimately, informative program needs to be adjustable and fluid on order to work anywhere. Plays and such are completely different matter and those are a secondary thing here.

      A performance act, like a dance number, does fetch that longer preparation time. They need the space to rehearse and train that one last final time. A panel or a presentation does not. Please do keep in mind that the performance acts are a secondary concern of mine, as they’ve been pretty damn lousy across the board and do not need specific mentioning. There’s very little you can do with people who think they are making art.
      Seeing that majority of the presenters are amateurs and have no actual training on the subject, I see no problem leading an amateur to the stage. It’s good experience for whoever would have that program there. I recommend everyone striving to get on a large stage some day and putting your best out there. Then we also can ask why would they allow these amateurs on the stage? Why not get someone with hands-down information on the subject to present their information? There are difficulties in that, but seeing that the organizers are riding on their connections, I do not see any larger difficulties in getting hands on someone who would put up a great show. The subject itself is largely a determination if the program will fetch large amount of viewers.

      It’s a question of quality ultimately, and the program organizer needs to cut everybody who is not up to the task, including those who want to take part in a contest. The fanart contest was a complete wreck and I still can’t believe that they went with such low quality images. Not to mention the winning piece was plagiarized. Desucon was seen as sort of elitist convention at first, but far too many people misunderstood that the elimination process strived for quality. Then first few years had decent program, but then the downhill just got steeper.

      Because of this a person with proper knowledge is necessary. I understand why you’d love to hear some sisterly fan talking about a subject you are passionate about. It’s such a pleasure to see someone talking with a great passion. However, this generation who basically looks facts on Wikipedia and on message forums are practically useless as a source of any sort of new information. They are producing zero-research presentations/panels, where same things are discussed over and over again. Here and there you might hear an interesting trivia. Sometimes, like in the Gundam panel I used as an example, everything’s just going to waste because of the presenter’s own opinions that came through and thus affected his judgement and ability to understand the shows. It was more than clear that his only source of secondary information was Wikipedia, and majority of the intricacies within the meta-series was lost. His approach was something that needs to be avoided. Hell, I could’ve done better job than he did without any preparations, and that’s some bold talk from me. Then again, the genre and the series is nothing new for me and I understand what the meta-series is, how it was affected by its surroundings and what influenced it and what Gundam has influenced. I can say the same thing about multiple other shows, including the fan favourite Sailor Moon and especially Pokémon. I may not be a fellow for Sailor Moon with some other hard-core fans, but seeing this sort of fans who either are too deep into the subject, or just scraping the surface, are rarely willing to observe themselves, their program and the subject from three different points of views.

      The programme names alone tell how much these people care for their subject, not how they’re bringing it out. Lots of subjects were completely trash as well from the idea onwards. For these one-kind of events it takes me some three months to weed out bad ideas from the good ones. For example, one subject I thought of doing this summer in another convention was to glance over the Big Four of anime; Tezuka, Nagai, Yokoyama and Ishinomori. However, seeing that Yokoyama alone has an incredibly high number of comics which have influenced the modern Japanese sub-culture, and to an extent the rest of the worlds, the subject would’ve been too broad. An interesting subject that would’ve made a really good presentation, but it would’ve taken a minimum of five hours to complete. A lot people who make these presentations and panels do this and just cut down what they consider excess fat, which ultimately makes the program into a crude skeleton of the subject. This was the case with the Gundam presentation as well, as well as with few others that concentrated on a full series.

      Well, I went a bit too far away from the subject itself there.

      Regarding the changing main program organizer, I can see why it affects the quality. However, I can’t understand why the program has been so homogeneous between the years. Aiming for profit or not, they’re there to do their job. I would like to see more than one doing the editing of the contents of the programs. The main organizer needs to instruct the programme organizer as well.

      What comes for the rent they need to pay for stage, I’d love to see the stage actually used despite the costs. It’s a great stage, and even the smallest programme can shine there. Then it’s up to the person on the stage. The lack of program there also tells that none of the staff members really have any confidence in their program to put it there. When it comes to people there will always be someone asking Why he got to be one the stage? It’s a simple process of elimination, where the best programs get on the stage.

      The reason I wish to see any larger convention to tap the possible foreign market is because everything has become more global. There’s potential in there, and as long as untapped the potential will dwindle down, and ultimately depress the main customers as well. At the moment Desucon is a shadow of what it should [or could] be, thou seeing that majority of similar conventions around Finland are no better, getting something to change the scene would cause the whole event to not only grow, but also make the organizers rethink pretty much everything in order to further service the customers. I wish to emphasize the last part, as the organizers need to get this; the customer is the god. Broadening the market is only a good thing, be it profit or non-profit. When it comes to the webpages, at the time I wrote the critic, there was no English site. You may be able to tell, but I have very little to time to keep checking convention webpages I know follow the exact same blueprint every year and repeating the same mistakes. What Desucon and Frostbite and every other large convention in Finland need is change, and one of the largest changes they can have is to broaden their horizons. It’s like someone who has stuck with his bad habits and can’t break out of it, until he realizes that this shit doesn’t fly; something needs to be done. If Desucon would become an international convention, it could be a small attraction like a handful of music festivals we have. Ilosaarirock gathers foreigners yearly, and it’s pretty awesome to drink beer with a bunch of German rockers and hear their stories, even if their accent is thicker than concrete. I see no reason why Desucon couldn’t expand into a larger event place and become the definitive convention they apparently wish to be.

      Wishing for the convention to be good from organizers’ part isn’t enough; they need to make it good and sticking with the exact same mould from year to year can only serve for a year or two. Emphasize on the ‘make it good.’ You either do or you don’t, and the organizers aren’t the one in power to decide whether or not their event is good. Much like every video game sequel really needs a new engine to outshine the predecessor, a convention needs to change itself to do the same things better than the last, and no Finnish convention has managed to realize this. Perhaps emphasizing the international market is a bit overblown, but Wakamoto was a perfect chance to really push it out there. Very few people have the same kind of attraction from different genres and fields as he does.

      Ultimately, even if they are not going to broaden their horizons abroad, they need to open the convention for Finnish people as well. The speed the tickets are selling out tells that there’s an unmet demand. Not tapping that demand is foolish. If any other convention would out a flyer claiming that they’d be the biggest convention in Finland and gathering loads of people to build a program for them, then things would get really interesting. It would be a game changer for a while, and if properly handled, would force the other conventions to strive for something better.

      1. See, now you’re making the assumption that the organizers would LIKE the con to grow.

        I’m sure it would be possible to rent out Finlandia Hall and allow the amount of visitors to grow to 7000 or something. But would that really make the convention better, quality-wise? More fun to visit, more fun to organize?

        Tracon is already a lot bigger than Desucon, and it seems that Desucon has no intent to move to a larger venue just to compete with that. You make it sound like it should, just for the sake of progress.

        1. What the organizers think has very little meaning. They’re the secondary characters in this setup, as is every service provider. What they think means very little, as the core idea of any service is to provide what the customer needs. Quite clearly, there’s slew of customers wanting and willing to participate the event, and a decision to keep the limit relatively low is excluding customers. That’s not good business, be it profit or not. To add to this, the sellers in the convention would benefit from the increase of visitors, which then would also lead into competition and perhaps somewhat cheaper prices. A win-win situation for all participants, really. A happy customer is a returning customer, and will most likely spend more money as well.

          As the convention is now, it’s stale. There has been no true change, no evolution or the like. As the convention has stayed in the same formula, the organizers have not realized the potential the convention has. Sure, eating vanilla ice cream is good, but if you only sell vanilla flavour, customers will seek other options. It doesn’t matter if you’re the best vanilla ice cream producer; you’re still excluding a large portion of possible customers.

          So yes; they should make progress with the convention rather than sitting in their comfort zone only. If they do not evolve, some other event will tap the market and expand further. There’s a problem that most conventions of the same genre do have a cartel, which keeps back the overall quality. There’s very little competition, and the little they have is unhealthy. Perhaps cartel is a bit strong word for this, but the idea stands.

          If one wants his product to be good, one has to excel what came before it. When a product is produced as it was the last one, a swan song of sorts, and designed to eclipse what has proceeded, it will almost automatically become the best of its kind. For example, Revolutionary Girl Utena was made a swan song, and it further boosted the careers of everybody that was involved. The VIPs at conventions do not make the convention good, they’re just the cherry on the top. Because conventions like this are stagnant and refuse to change, they won’t get any better. On the contrary, they’ll start to rot, which has already started. The attitude of “let’s make this a good convention” isn’t enough; they should be striving to create better than what the last year was. It’s not even that difficult; it just demands level of devotion, proper business sense and experience.

          I couldn’t care less if it’s “fun” to organise the convention, or whatever the organizers think. That has nothing to do with the customers, as the organizers are there only to serve us. How the convention is put up, what the program is, what content there is and so forth really determines the overall quality of the convention. Having a larger audience always demands higher quality, or else everything will crash and burn.

          The customer is the god. Ignoring the customer is same thing as condemning yourself to everything under mediocrity.

    1. I use the word customer to describe the set of people who purchase a product from the product provider. I see nothing to describe the opposite in your post. The only point in your post that would indicate something to worry about, is that an even like this is made by the fandom for the fandom. Sure, even churches do this; Christians putting up a Christian service for fellow Christians. That does not exclude that the people who buy admittance to this Christian service as customers.

      The same applies here, no matter how the organizers think. Incidentally, what the organizers think matters nil to zero. There is an exchange of goods for money, in this the admittance to the convention and all that it offers, thus customer-supplier relationship exists. It’s a romantic image that all people who take part in an event create the event (which is largely true but in another context) but the reality is that the people who are in charge of planning and putting up the convention are product providers. They may or may not be part of the fandom.

      Sometimes best products are born, when people with no previous experience are put into lead and are willing to produce something extremely good. Star Trek is extremely good example of this with it’s movies. Wrath of Khan was created by duo who had no previous contact with Star Trek and it’s revered as not only a great Star Trek movie, but as an excellent film on its own. Then we have those movies that Brannon Braga was involved, and those are horrible pieces. The same goes for Voyager and Enterprise, which were made by people who knew the series beforehand, and yet made horrible shows. Actually, Enterprise took in suggested scripts from the fans, and majority of them were inconsistent with the canon, horribly written and just plain bad. So, this “fans creating something together” really is a nice idea, but often shoots itself to the leg.

      There is nothing negative in-tone to say that there exists customer-supplier relationship. It’s simply a fact that exists as long as there exist a group of people who are supplying a product. It’s rather irresponsible to say that everybody is creating the event and that there is no customers, just people getting together and doing stuff. That’s what good friends do on their free time. When I’m paying someone for something, they’re on my time. That’s my right as a paying customer, and that right goes for everybody else who paid in money, goods or service for the product devised by the organizers. It doesn’t matter if we’re friends or not, I’m expecting to get my money’s worth.

      Same goes for me every time I work for a friend; I’m on their time, and I need to make most of it. When somebody orders a product from me, I make sure that they will get the best product I can muster. They’re the client and the customer that I serve. That doesn’t mean we’re not sitting in a pub drinking a beer and having a good time and singing karaoke while talking the stuff out, but in the end of the day the customer has a sketch or a clear image what he’ll get. The they may come and be there when the product is made, but it’s still their time they paid for.

      The reason I use the term customer is because customers exist. It’s all fine and good when small amount of people who know each other get together and throw an event. It’s always in a small scale. When an event grows, things aren’t the same any more. Even locally it’s evident that it’s still thought that this everybody’s-a-buddy thing works when it’s not. Either you befriend everybody and try to keep it as one massive buddy-fest, or you do the better choice; you serve them as customers and befriend them that way. It’s a win-win situation, where you can keep everything well organized together and still be have that ‘everybody’s doing this together’ feeling.

      Which doesn’t really work when you have thousands of customers flocking the place. From fans to fans works when there’s people willing to aim for the best in what they do. Clearly, this isn’t the case with Frostbite’s program, when the people talking on stage can’t even pronounce Gundam right. I’m sorry, that was a bit spiteful of me.

      Do keep in mind that do see your point of view as well. It’s what I call “an artist’s point of view” in a place where there is no need for artists. However, I argue based on observations and experience with customer service, outside acquainted set of people as well as complete strangers. Actually, I’m not really arguing, I’m presenting a point that exists. Conventions and events that I was in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s and even in 00’s won’t come back. They’re a set of people who were not there from the beginning, and the wrong step that a provider can do is to start converting them from the providers’ needs. It’s a sure way to kill yourself on the market. There is a reason why companies need to remember to Change or Die. This also applies to non-profit organizations, which need some revenues to keep them afloat.

      The term ‘visitor’ should really be reserved for the VIP solely, to which I will be sticking in the future

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.