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Con Report: Animazement 13

3. June 2010

This past weekend we attended Animazement 13 in Raleigh, North Carolina. Our primary experience with anime conventions is with Anime Weekend Atlanta, which we have attended every year for six years now, so we approached the event as a way to see something different, to see how fans do it elsewhere (if only a state away).

Simeon and I were both impressed with the layout of the convention center. The southern side contained the panels, the northern the video gaming room. Upstairs were the special events in the spacious ballrooms; downstairs housed the dealers’ room. This simple layout made it very easy to navigate the convention and jump around to the different events. This was a welcome change from AWA, where the rooms are not easily numbered and going from one end of the con to the other can be a chore. Also where AWA has traffic choke points–narrow hallways that slow foot traffic to a crawl, Animazement had heavily policed lanes keeping the attendees moving and away from the front of staircases.

Space means nothing without events to fill it, and Animazement did well at that. The panels were diverse, entertaining, and informative. I especially enjoyed the “Evolution of Video Game Music” and “Japanese Jeopardy” panels. The gaming room was huge compared to AWA! Five projector screens running Rock Band, Super Smash Brothers Brawl, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, and classic Bomberman; a table full of classic consoles with a NES and Sega Genesis; two rows of arcade cabinets; and two long rows of fighting games such as Super Street Fighter IV, Guilty Gear, and BlazBlue. I felt lost in gaming heaven. We only played a few rounds of Aero Fighters 2 on a Neo Geo cabinet due to the long lines, but it was a welcome change to not deal with the smell and humidity of a cramped gaming den. I didn’t go to any of the Uchuu Sentai NOIZ events, as I’m not really into the J-Rock scene, but Simeon might have something to say about that in an upcoming post (Count on it – Simeon).

Animazement also had an enjoyable atmosphere to it. The cosplays were well done and fun to take pictures of . Many of the attendees I interacted with were laid back and not overbearingly dorky. The convention center was nestled in a nice part of town, with a few eateries within a few blocks of the con; the two main hotels were very nice, and until we checked out of the Sheraton on Sunday, we had no problems catching a ride on the elevators (a major issue at AWA!)

The above points focus on how much better Animazement was compared to AWA, but I have a few complaints too. While I really enjoyed the cosplayers, I felt like it wasn’t up to par with what I’m used to. The cosplay in Atlanta can be a competition in over-the-top ideas, including stilts and real pieces of armor. Also, I felt that the cosplayers in Raleigh focused too much on a few characters; there was a lot of Hatsune Miku, a lot of Hetalia, and a lot of Grell Sutcliff, but we only saw a few Gurren Lagann cosplayers. Also, we felt that AMV’s weren’t focused on enough for our tastes. We are used to AMV contests lasting hours and at least one room showing them at all times. Lastly, while it seems like Animazement was focusing on making this a family-friendly con, we did miss the usual overnight hentai rooms, and the single booth in the dealers’ room selling h-doujinshi was underwhelming, to be honest. (I was also a little disappointed that the convention center closed at 2:30AM as opposed to AWA’s 24 hour a day atmosphere; because if it’s 4:00AM and I need some AMV’s, gaming, or straight up anime I kind of want it to be available. -Simeon)

If the thirteenth year of Animazement was indicative of the convention run as a whole, we’ll definitely be returning for years to come. It was well-organized and in a great location. The people involved were a great crowd, from the vigilant staff, to the awesome guests, to the relaxed attendees. The panels were well thought out, and more than your typical con meetups.

Next up, we have our inaugural Yoko Critic post, in which we take a few of the cosplayers present at the convention and rate them based on accuracy and style!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Aemilia permalink
    14. July 2010 8:17 am

    I do want to comment on the 2:30 am thing. Previous years it was open 24 hours but they had so many people sleeping on the floors or not eating that this year they closed at 2:30am so that people would eat or go sleep in their hotel or such.

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  1. Con Report: Animazement 14, or I’m Too Damn Old for This « The Yoko Critic

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