PopLurker would like to thank Animazement for generously providing Press Passes in exchange for convention coverage.
Animazement isn’t a big convention like San Diego Comic Con, nor does it have a dedicated cult following like Magfest or Katsucon. Instead, it’s the convention equivalent of hanging out downtown with an old friend.
I arrived there around fifteen minutes after it started and got my press badges with absolutely no difficulty. I’ve been to a few conventions where the people running the registration tables seemed to have no clue about what registrations or even human names were, so this was refreshing. Another refreshing thing was how easy it was to immediately find everything. This may be due to the Raleigh Convention Center’s medium size, but hear me out, convention planners: You’d be surprised at how wonderful signs can be at cutting down on confusion. Animazement had a few, and they helped to ensure that things ran smoothly instead of turning the event into a manga-obsessed riot.
The first area I delved into was the artists’ room, which was really neat, as I finally got to see what kind of art gets put on display in an anime-focused convention. All of the conventions I’ve ever been to have always been based around multiple mediums, like music and gaming, or horror and cargo shorts, so I got to see anime art for shows that rarely get their due at cons like Magfest. Thumbs up to all of the people making Mr. Osomatsu prints. Slightly more apprehensive thumbs to all of the prints featuring the Matsu brothers provocatively laying around with each other. They’re brothers. I know it’s anime, but it’s still weird, dude.
Next, I went to the merch room, which did not disappoint in the slightest. I ended up picking up all seven volumes of Gon, a manga about a little dinosaur that’s a huge asshole to anyone who messes with him, at 25% off. The only problem is that there seemed to be a drought when it came to large t-shirts. There were a bunch that I wanted to buy, but some dealers seemed to be sold out of anything that wasn’t either small or XXL. No big deal, but the primary way that I help small businesses is to buy t-shirts with One Piece characters on them. Help me to help you, merch dealers. Carry large t-shirts and put Monkey D Luffy on them ALL.
I’d never been to a Masquerade competition at a convention before, and considering that my friend was performing there, I figured that I’d give it a shot. It was one of the highlights of my experience, as it mostly consisted of goofy dancing, costumes, and unbridled joy. And that brings me to my absolute favorite thing about Animazement: How welcoming it was when it came to cosplays. Both veteran and new cosplayers were constantly interacting with and complimenting each other on their work. There was some rad stuff there, including a MechaGodzilla that nearly brought me to tears…
…but the best part was seeing a strong community of people. Too often, in “nerd” culture, we’re snakes eating our own tails. We like what we have, we like it the way it is, and any attempts to change it or bring in new fans of it are met with the coldest of shoulders. But not at Animazement, which might as well have been a convention for people that like to happily giggle with one another.
The convention is in downtown Raleigh, so there was no lack of food options around. A block away, you could find Chinese food, pizza, subs, gyros, and much more. I hate to keep saying “Not like some conventions,” but if you’ve never been to one, you’d be surprised at how often people host events for thousands of nerds, and not place it within a mile of food and water.
And speaking of water, there are bars around, too. I’m on a mission to drink the world’s supply of tequila, so it was awesome for me to find multiple bars, all within a couple blocks, that would satisfy my thirst and my quest. And, after an awesome day, the night culminated with clinking glasses and a sort-of-ironic-but-not-really cheers to anime with my friends (Also, the friend I mentioned won the Best in Show Craftsmanship Award!)
But even now, a little more sober than I was then, I must say it again: Cheers to anime. And also cheers to Animazement. This looks like the beginning of a beautiful (anime) friendship.
Cheers to next year’s celebration.
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