When I learned I was the Shonen Jump Alpha Trivia Contest winner back in June, it came as a complete shock. I remember entering a contest, but my motivation for entering was to answer trivia questions. After I received the email claiming that I was the winner from SJ Alpha Marketing Manager Eric, I couldn’t believe it! I noticed that the grand prize was two 4-day passes to San Diego Comic-Con while the 2nd-place prize was a one-year subscription to SJ Alpha. After seeing the 2nd-place prize, I realized that was the prize I wanted...
As a competitive Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG player, I subscribed to the print version of SHONEN JUMP when T.G. Hyper Librarian was offered as a subscription promo. In the Dueling community, this card could single-handedly decide your fate. When the last print copy was looming, I converted to SJ Alpha to claim the four promotional card (answer to one of the trivia questions) offering.
Coming from Vancouver, I’ve attended a few anime conventions, but never a comic convention. I did a little research about Comic-Con and was amazed to find that badges were sold out within the first 30 minutes they were available online. Seeing how amazingly popular this event was, I decided to take time off to go. When I told my friends about winning this contest, almost all of them agreed that the 2nd-place prize was much better. Initially, I shared the same sentiment as them. Those feelings changed when I touched down in San Diego the morning of Wednesday, July 11.
The size of the venue, the abundance of fans, the excitement in the air—I was completely in awe at the San Diego Convention Center. During the afternoon, I claimed my badges from SJ Alpha Editor John Bae. In addition to my badges, he surprised me with two large prize bundles. Apparently, four-day passes are allowed entry to preview night at 6pm on Wednesday. I originally planned to pick up my badges and rest for the night. John encouraged me to spend time visiting booths and exhibitors.
The amount of people packed inside was crazy. There was so much going on everywhere that it made it difficult to decide where to go first. Throughout the show, people asked me where I received the SJ Alpha lanyard attached to my badge. I told them that I was a contest winner and recommended them to visit the VIZ booth. I also noted that they were handing out Slifer the Sky Dragon! To get this card, they simply needed to subscribe to SJ Alpha on the spot. Not a bad plan considering I’m still waiting for my copy in the mail!
I spent a lot of time visiting my favorite panels. I didn’t get into panels at Ballroom 20 or Hall H because they were very popular. I couldn’t afford to wait for hours because there were so many other things I wanted to do. I did attend the Viz Media, Neon Alley, and SJ Alpha panels. I knew these panels would have important announcements. But most importantly, I wanted to meet the people responsible for making my trip possible. On Saturday, I talked with most of the SJ Alpha staff outside the San Diego Convention Center. During that time, they rewarded their fans by handing out free ice cream and setting up photo ops with a 3D Luffy One Piece.
On Saturday night, I stayed late to watch the Comic-Con Masquerade, where people show off their costumes. The performances from the entrants were dazzling and crowd-pleasing. While the judges were deciding on the winners, guests headed over to the Sails Pavilion to enjoy free snacks and dancing. While I was anticipating the announcement of the winners, everyone in the room enjoyed themselves while the DJ was cranking out tunes.
With this experience behind me, it’s important to note that this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work and dedication of the SJ Alpha staff. Just by watching their panel, I can feel the passion they pour into their job. They certainly enjoy what they are doing as you can see the amount of energy they put into their roles.
I would like to thank SJ Alpha for this wonderful experience for my nephew Jonathan and myself. He had a great time at SDCC and wonders if he can attend next year. As long as SJ Alpha keeps providing opportunities for their fans to enter contests, I told him that I will be checking my email constantly for newsletters. Wouldn’t hurt to be lucky a second time around, right?