As the first Spring Auckland Armageddon Expo since 2020 set the stage, the scene was set for the return of bigger brands and more variety, a welcome return for those not solely into anime or cosplay.
With still more than an abundance of anime and cosplay to your hearts content if that’s what you’re after, the return of bigger brands like PlayStation, Mighty Ape and Samsung were certainly a highlight to see, making the event start to feel a glimmer of what it used to be years ago.
It was disappointing to still see no return for Xbox and Nintendo though, who were usually a highlight alongside PlayStation of my visit to Auckland Armageddon.
Saying this, PlayStation and Mighty Ape were nowhere near as grand as they used to be. Given the scope of Mighty Ape as a whole online shop, I was surprisingly disappointed by how small their stand was and how little stock they had on display.
PlayStation’s stand was more of a Spider-Man 2 stand, which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, it is a major release after all, but ultimately it didn’t show any of the wide scope that PlayStation as a brand is usually known for.
The slow rise of physical guests continued. Voice actor legend Troy Baker was present at this year’s Springeddon and became one of the reasons I attended the event. It was a lot of fun having the likes of Troy Baker attend, but the second main stage where I watched his panel was incredibly small and had a screen at the back that unfortunately made it no easier to see the voice actor.
The show floor, as expected, was very busy, and popular. On the other hand, a negative term to otherwise use could be cramped. Most of the time you couldn’t see the vendors, especially in artist alley, because so many people were standing and struggling to walk in all directions. With not a lot of ventilation I could tell of, a part from the doors on the outskirts, the space become very hot and suffocating, despite only being in Spring.
The unique and tasty food vendors outside were a breath of fresh air, literally, and it was cool to not only see the generic stalls, but also more unique food and drink options.
Artist alley remained one of the most popular spots of the event, as mentioned by the bustling crowds. There’s nothing better than finding something exciting and different, perhaps only found by being exposed to an independent artist. A lot of the bigger vendors selling items felt generic and cheap, which was a shame when comparing to the more independent artists who are vying for recognition.
Although continuously rising back to its former grandeur, Auckland Armageddon can’t quite keep up with the momentum required to grab people’s attention long enough to stick around for years to come, unless you fall into a very specific anime or cosplay niche. Saying this, you can’t deny the crowds, so albeit my time attending an Armageddon Expo may need a long deserved break, I’ll still be there admiring from afar.