There were so many people, so many artists, so much to look at...it was a little overwhelming. But getting to see famous celebrities (from far away), amazing collectibles, and dedicated/talented artists was an energizing experience.
The best part was seeing how some folks dressed up as their favorite characters. Lots of guys seem to be Dr. Who fans! I was trying to act normal around them rather than gawk at how cool their outfits were. Of course, a couple of midriff/rear-end baring beauties captured a lot of guys' attention and were very happy to pose for pics with groups.
I was a little sad that much of the stuff I'm into wasn't really featured. For example, anime (Vampire Hunter D, Ghibli Studio, Mazinger Z, Appleseed Ex Machina) and science fiction (Star Trek, Forbidden Planet, Auto Man, Aquaman, Supernatural, Scooby Doo) television series and movies that I am a fan of and grew up with.
Some merchandise stalls had some great finds though. There was one stall with vintage television and anime series DVDs that caught my attention and which I perused fondly reminiscing about old, old series I used to love (Automan, Candy, Man from Atlantis).
Otherwise, the majority of merchandise featured Pokemon and Star Wars collectibles--vendors know they need to meet demand for the more popular so as to increase revenue flow. People were not as pressured to make sure they purchased something while there, because online retailers supply much and more of what we're all looking for. Among the thousands of purchases walking past me, I spotted a couple of kids happily waving foamy Minecraft pickaxes and I just loved that.
Besides, prices were not on the products and a lot of vendors inflated them anyway. For example, I asked how much it would be for a black messenger bag embroidered with the NERV logo in red thread: $38. I felt it was total "tourist pricing" so when I got home, I looked up the bag and found it for $25 (+S&H) on Amazon. But didn't buy it after all, since the last thing I need is another bag.
I got a little lost when it came to locating the session rooms. Which didn't seem important at the time with so much to look at. Not many sessions scheduled were that interesting to me. I'm only sorry I missed Wil Wheaton's session, the Psychology of Batman session, and the session on Cover Pages.
I did manage to sit in during a panel about developing fictional fantasy worlds for games, books, and more--which was pretty cool until the panelists (Keith Baker, Kenneth Hite, and Will Hindmarch) began out doing each other in self-promoting their upcoming work.
If I had to do it over again I would have gone to a lot of the sessions in the ballrooms--even if I didn't originally think they were interesting. I would also have stopped and asked questions of the local artists, instead of walking past with eyes as big as saucers trying to soak it all in. There were just so many amazing artists there. Lots of zombie art too.
I am glad I didn't spend money on sign and greet events with celebrities. Those booths and queues were claustrophobic. I gained new respect for those celebrities willing to put themselves out there like that and sit for several hours straight just signing and greeting. I saw the Harry Potter Weasley twins (James and Oliver Phelps), as well as the top of Wil Wheaton's and James Marsters' heads. The highlight for me was seeing Robert Rodriguez sign autographs and greet fans at the Frank Franzetta art booth (alas I didn't want to pay $15 for the art exhibit in a far-away ballroom). I snapped a pic of him since there was a break in the crowd at the right moment.
All around I didn't take that many pics. I'm not versed in convention etiquette on when it's ok to snap pics of people in outfits and there were a lot of kids so I know parents typically don't like strangers taking pix of their kids. Besides, photographing sights was a low priority...my senses were a little overloaded soaking it all in while not tripping over the dense amount of people walking around--this is definitely not like any other convention I've ever attended, which means the auto show or my company's annual conference! But what a fun time it was. I would totally do it again.