Note: these convention pics are "borrowed" from other fan's pages. All are from Animazement '99 in Raleigh, NC which I attended but forgot my camera. Hold cursor over pic to see description of image (I used ALT tags).
The Anime convention, a booming event that is sweeping the United States and perhaps the world, is something every anime fan should experience at least once in their life. Rooted from sci-fi conventions, anime cons sport similar ideas in their weekend long celebrations. Most anime conventions last three days (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) and have events that last all day and all night long from the beginning of the "con" until its end. There's lots to see and do from sitting in your hotel room watching anime show after anime show to watching people dress up as their favorite characters and act them out on stage in the CosPlay. There's art exhibits, anime premeires, guests of honor (these are often people who work on anime direct from Japan!), voice actors, guest panels, and so forth. The greatest draw however, is probably the Dealer's Room. Here you will find a room about the size of your average gym chock full of anime goods to purchase from anime shops, private collectors, and so forth. Lots of hard to find items pop up in these Dealer's Rooms. Just be prepared to dish out the cash. Anime goods frequently bear inflated prices when given the convenience of a convention. Save money well in advance. One can easily spend over $300 in a Dealer's Room. Trust me the temptations are everywhere that'll just have you peeling that money out of your pocket.
Hmm, more events to ponder...video game rooms, anime series being aired in video rooms (these are in addition to the ones being aired in the hotel rooms), people to meet, dances, parties in hotel rooms, clubs to join, and so much more. And in case you've heard of it and are wondering...what is Pocky? Pocky is a Japanese snack that consists of a crunchy breadstick coated in a variety of coatings such as chocolate, strawberry, etc. It is a favorite among conventions.
For you newbies to anime and those who are "New School" these conventions are ripe with stuff for you. For "Old Schooler's" like myself, one must choose conventions carefully to reach anime fulfillment. Look for the conventions that have been around a while. These are often the largest conventions as well. Suggestions for all anime fans for maximum fulfillment of anime would be Anime Expo usually held in July in or around Los Angeles, California, Project A-Kon which is usually held around June around Dallas, Texas, or Anime Weekend Atlanta (AWA) held well, it's obvious in Atlanta, Georgia usually around October. But for a sampling of what a convention is like, perhaps you would like one of the smaller or newer cons out there. There may even be one within earshot of where you live. I was lucky the past two years to have one pop up and be located just ten minutes away from my house! I saved big bucks by not having to pay for a hotel room those two years. Sadly they've relocated it to a place no longer convenvient for me (thanks a lot Animazement), but still, I got two good years of fun out of that convention.
Oh yeah, speaking of saving money. You don't have to attend all three days. You can also buy special one or two day passes at most of these conventions.
So where do you find a listing
of conventions and where and when they'll be? Easy. There's a
place called Anime Web Turnpike that has a decent listing of conventions
and links to the cons homepages. Here's Anime Turnpike's url:
Just find their section listed "Anime Conventions" and click on it.
Maybe I'll even see you at a con sometime! I'll likely post on my site here any convention that I'll be attending. I'm even working on a costume so that I can walk around in true anime spirit. It'll be Dragonball related (obviously).
The next convention I plan on attending is Project A-Kon in Dallas next year. I've never attended this one. I've attended Anime Expo in California several years as well as Animazement in Raleigh, North Carolina, and the currently defunct Anime East that used to be in New Jersey.