Animazement 2007 Convention Report

Hawkeye

I’ve been to conventions before so I had a good idea of what to expect on Thursday when I drove up to the Sheraton Hotel located in Durham, North Carolina. Long lines for registration, hot sun, and hunting for a parking spot, and true to any convention, that’s exactly what I got. However what I didn’t expect was exceptionally friendly staff, who had a good handle on the organizations of the lines, and very welcoming participants who were happy to chat in the line and entertain each other as we all stood in the blazing sun. Another unexpected surprise of the evening was the “Meet the Guests” event. It was rather like speed dating, you got to sit down at a table with the guests of the con like Caitlin Glass, Kikoku Inoue, Scott Houle and the many others, for 15 minutes and talk to them in as group. After the time’s up you move on to another table. It was very cool getting to ask them questions and chat. I’ve never been to a convention where they let the general public get so close and one on one with guests. But all good things come to an end and after checking out a FMA TCG game and briefly popping by karaoke I was ready to go home and rest up. It was going to be a long weekend.

Friday and Saturday ran into one long experience for me. It was a blur of Cosplay, panels and fun. I ran some on the spot art contests and handed out DVDs. I got to see a panel with both of the Belldandy voice actors from the Japanese and English versions, and sat in on a fantastic panel about the Art of Dubbing let by the Houle duo and Juliete Cesario. But the highlight of those two days had to be JET! the musical, [ahref=”http://fma.warcry.com/scripts/columns/view_sectionalt.phtml?site=76&id=523&colid=10457″]the Suzuka preview[/a], and Cosplay Chess. Make sure to check out the links to read the write ups I did on them. I attended the Cosplay event where different groups put on skits, but unfortunately I had to leave early and didn’t have enough time to do a proper write up on it, though I must say, from what I saw the Silent Hill skit won my heart. I was also thoroughly impressed with how the convention handled the lines, they had stickers you got put on your badge in order to get a seat for the musical as well as the Cosplay event. This cut down on line cutting, and lines forming too long before the event and causing hall blockage. However just because they had a fantastic line system didn’t mean that there weren’t blocked hallways everywhere you went. It was a nightmare trying to navigate through artist alley, and I had to fight my way through the dealers room to get any where close to a table. This was probably because this years number of people was over a thousand more then they had expected. One can only hope that when they convention center downtown is finished being built, that they’ll move shop there.

Sunday, well Sunday I was pretty much dead, I didn’t make it past 3:30 before I called it a day and headed home. But I did have enough energy to participate in the “Glomp William panel, in which we all took turns glomping the popular staff member William, much to his dismay. It was a fun weekend, but a long one. Animazement seems to be made up of competent and dedicated volunteers who have a passion for it. I was impressed with the level of professionalism yet friendliness I encountered from them over the weekend, and the fans were supremely nice as well. The guests also seemed to really enjoy the convention, and were really into getting to talk to the fans and enjoy themselves, I was utterly stunned by their willingness to get right in there and join the fun. In short, Animazement 2007 was amazing.

I’d like to extend a special thanks to April Rooker, William, and Phil Lee for making me feel very welcomed at the convention and helping me with various events.

Also a special thanks to Jeremy Greer who ran all of the FMA TCG events. Make sure to check out his report on the convention!

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