Anime Weekend Atlanta 7
Sept. 21-23,2001
Atlanta, Georgia USA
A convention that treated both "old schoolers" and "new schoolers" with respect and downright anime fun!
Well, this convention was by far one of the best I'd ever attended. Only Anime Expo stands as its rival. I can see where Animazement (the anime con local to me) developed its great line-up. I saw so many people with NC affiliated apparel and Animazement t-shirts at AWA that I almost thought I was at the wrong con. Anyway, back to the good stuff.
Firstly, location. From my hotel room window I could see the planes depart and land on Hartsfield Airport's parallel runways. Hotel shuttle from the airport whisked us to the hotel within minutes after boarding it. Sadly however, this location will host AWA only one more year as it will be torn down to make room for even more runways for the airport.
More location. There was space galore here! The Georgia International Convention Center is attached to this spacious Sheraton hotel. (Yes, the GICC too, is going to be ground down for airport progress). Only downside to this hotel was the elevators. Con goers easily jammed the four little things and made otaku sardines everyday.Nevertheless, there was no complaining about room for the main events like the Costume Contest. Colored stage lights, a huge movie screen above the stage, and ample seating made these events attainable for anyone who wished to attend.
some of the catches I found in the Dealer's Room
And like myself, I must go next to the Dealer's Room. I always have a 3-way rule: First, get your hotel room so you can plop all your stuff down and not carry it around. Second, get to registration. Without your badge, you ain't gettin' into no stinkin' convention events or rooms. Thirdly, get to the Dealer's Room as soon as possible on Friday after the above two events are complete. The best pickins are found on Friday. The Dealer's Room, like the main events room was huge and contained ample space for the tables of anime goodies and walking. Some dealers even made their own mini-stores which seemed almost enclosed right within the main room. And still, there was room! To the right are some of the goodies, minus the DBZ posters that I succumbed to in the Dealer's Room. Yes, that's a Tree Spirit from "Princess Mononke" if you're wondering. It even makes a little rattle noise too. Good thing it doesn't spin its head, the thing creeps me out, but I felt compelled to purchase the thing anyway. There's something about it that I like, I just couldn't tell you what it is if you asked me.
Walking down the hallway one of the video rooms caught my eye...Gatchaman was being shown! Cool! It was a Japanese sub-titled one where Joe and the others find out exactly what the heck Berg Katse is! That's one of the best episodes of the entire series! So, I plopped my butt down for a looksee.
The first event I attended was called "Whose Line is it Anime?" It's a spin-off of Drew Carey's show, "Whose Line is it Anyway?" Four (or was it five? oh well)anime voice actors were the improv comedians who were forced to act out the scenes and themes given to them. Naturally, when a couple of them are jokers themselves, things took turns that the host didn't anticipate but made the audience enjoy it evenmoreso.
After such, I decided to return to the hotel room and don my SSJ2 Gohan costume for the first time. I was nervous to open my bags that contained it seeing how I checked-in my luggage to be on the safe side. After some minor adjustments, I found that the costume fared quite well. The pic at left is me. I edited out the background, which was white so you could see the costume a little better. This was the first convention where I actually wore a costume. Usually, I wear my usual anime t-shirts. I kinda liked being in costume. While there were several other DBZ costumers around such as a Great Saiyaman, Mirai Trunks, Great Saiyaman 2, several Gokus...I never ran across one while still in costume. After several picture sessions in the hall, I opted to pop into one of the many viewings of anime music videos. They had several categories for music videos at this con. The ones I viewed at this time were the Music and Dance videos. These were later played during the dances for anime fans to (pardon my old school wording) boogie to. I soon found however, that the little hair piece that hangs in front of Gohan's face is rather annoying when trying to watch videos so I returned to the room to switch back to regular clothes. Once the vids were over, it was food time! A Ruby Tuesdays across the street from the hotel made for a decent and affordable meal. Good thing I changed out of costume. I really didn't want to try to eat ribs while wearing that Piccolo-style cape and shoulder thingys. Not-to-mention I didn't want to get the weird looks from the "normal" people who were en route on business or whatever.
After that, it was getting rather late and having arrived at the airport for my flight to Atlanta extremely early (3 hours), I was fighting a losing battle with my eyelids. I tried to watch some more anime, but those eyelids are a worthy adversary. Returing to my room, I surrendered to them and the sandman visited me shortly after 10pm.
Saturday, I awoke refreshed and with much more energy than Friday. My friend and I opted to try breakfast room service. Nice large waffles with syrup and strawberries, yummy strips of bacon (sorry Oolong), and fresh orange juice put fuel into me that lasted practically the entire day. After, it was time to head for one of the video rooms to watch some Star Blazers. "We're off to outer space..." Ah, the old songs of classic anime series. Heheh, none of that flashy stuff that the new anime seems to have. After that, there was a lull of interest so, it was time to use some hotel goodies. Back to the room, I found my swimsuit and headed for the pool and jacuzzi. How relaxing and refreshing! After that, it was back to the room to change into my Gohan costume once again.
The next panel that I checked out was the Cartoon Network Toonami one. They showed the three videos of Daft Punk that were animated by Leiji Matsumoto who also did the Yamato (Star Blazers) and Harlock series. The drawing style he used was his trademark old school designs as well. The euroclub beat of Daft Punk isn't half bad either. The Toonami dudes really didn't have a whole lot to say aside from the dislike of the WB sharing thing. But, they weren't supposed to say that so you didn't hear that from me.
After that, it was time to hear what some of the voice actors of Star Blazers had to say. The voice actors of the three main characters of the Star Force were there: Ken Meseroll (Derek Wildstar),Amy Howard-Wilson (Nova), and Tom Tweedy (Mark Venture) (these characters ended up in an almost love triangle). After that panel, it was onto some more music videos. This time it was the Pro/Masters contests. Man, the music vids the entire convention were awesome! There were so many funny/memorable ones. Even a couple that made fun of interesting words like the f-word and pussy. And the Best of Show music video for this con wasn't entirely a music video but rather a comedy with fanart within it about the artist trying to make a music video for the contest and the anime characters in the series' she picked making fun of her. Definite originality and very funny.
With a slight gap, I changed back out of my costume so I could attend the Costume Contest. Out of costume you say? Well, uh yeah. I'm rather stage shy and hate being in front of crowds so I opted not to participate and instead watch others from the seats below. After that event, it was time to turn in for more sleep. It's pretty sad that my body is used to going to bed around 10-11pm, but that's the price one pays when one adjusts to getting up at 5am to go to work everyday. The body just doesn't like rapid changes.
Sunday was rather boring and short since we had to be at the airport rather early again just to play it safe with security,etc. I popped into a few panels where Tim Eldred (he worked on the Star Blazers comic as well as others) spoke and heard the Star Blazers voice cast once again. That was about it.
Sidenotes of stuff I just popped into were things like the Art Exhibit, which was small, but there were some good works in there, several more visits to the Dealer's Room and Video Rooms,etc. I can't list everything so I opted to use my own agenda on this con report. Things I didn't see but are notable were the Japanese Guests of Honor (most were notable for series I had never seen so therefore not interested), tons of anime to view (again, many new school titles that didn't peak my interest), workshops on cel painting, model building,etc., more voice actors, and much more. Check out Anime Weekend Atlanta's official homepage or do a search for other sites that run down conventions for potential info on some of this other stuff.
Oh yeah, I took pics of the Costume Contest, but those cheap throwaway cameras suck at distance so they're too small for me to post here. And, when I saw other costumers in the halls, I was usually in costume too and that little spike of Gohan's that drops in front of the face prevented me from taking pictures while in costume. I'll search and ask permission from some others who got some decent ones though. Perhaps some will let me borrow some for display here because some of the costumes I saw were damn good!
Well that's it for now. I am planning on attending next year's Anime Weekend Atlanta too.
Below are some snapshots of the posters I got: Please ignore the bright flash thingy on them, the posters are glossy and the flash reflected onto them.
I will be scanning some of my GT stuff at a later date and they will be viewable from my "Corporate Saiya-jin" site.
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