Friday, May 22, 2009

Animazement 2009

Well, I don't normally do this kind of thing, but I feel like I should update the blog more often and perhaps expand some readership? This blog entry is about the only Japanese animation (anime) convention in North Carolina.

I've had an obsession with Japanese culture that started with Pokemon and expanded to Cartoon Network's weekday Toonami anime slot. That eventually expanded to CN's Adult Swim late night block and when I started high school, my anime craze went full throttle. I started buy the comics (manga) and DVDs when I could and soon became an otaku. Summer 2005, I had the opportunity to go to the "only fun thing that happens in Durham," Animazement. The idea of attending a convention where hundreds of other people like me would attend boggled my mind!

And great fun was had. I dressed up as my favorite character from Samurai Champloo, Jin and had a blast runnning around the Sheraton Imperial Hotel with my friends. The next year, I had even more fun. I did a fairly decent Vincent from Final Fantasy 7 (sorry, I had my photos on but it seems like they revamped their photo system and a lot of them were lost in the process...). But every year since then has become a little less fun, a little less exciting.

Enter this year, Animazement 2009. May 22nd through 24th. I wasn't even really 100% sure I was going to go. I suppose college life made me grow up a bit and leave the otaku obsession behind. The sheer madness that occured at the convention every year was starting to wear me down. Part of it was timing- I just got back home from college and am still settling in. I just didn't have time to adjust my costume from last year to fit this year, either.

In the end, I decided to attend the 'con on Friday only with my friend Saiwen for old times' sake. Little did we know the epic journey that awaited us...

Alright, it wasn't that bad. Here's the abbreviated story: As we entered a parking deck in downtown Raleigh, Sai's car started to stall. We pushed it through the deck and to the other side and eventually discovered a leaking tube. Gas was splurting all over the place when he tried to start the car! So, he called a tow truck.

On the way to the auto shop, the tow driver started telling a story.

Driver: "Yeah....I was locked up for 15 months. Aha ha hyuck!"
Me and Saiwen:"....oh yeah?"
D: "Yuuup. I came home one day and saw some boys foolin' with my 11 year old daughter."
Us: " o.O"
D: "Now, I understand if it's just one. I say, 'Aiight boy, you jacked up, but you made a mistake, i'll look past this, let's go get you some help.' But THREE?!"
Us: *crickets*
D: "I lost it and shot 6 times!"
Us: <(O_O;;)>
D: "...yup. That's why I hate the po-leece."

Needless to say, it was an awkward ride. Once we got there, we tried to get a number of friends to swing by and take us back to the 'con. Eventually, we got our good friend Derin to swing by...but by the time she showed up, Sai's car was fixed. The tube that carried gas to some important location split and the replacement was complete. So, Derin drove back to the 'con all annoyed and angrylike (we made her miss her group's photoshoot).

Once we got to the convention, time flew by. We ran into a few old friends and caught up a bit. It was an overall enjoyable experience. It was just enough to satisfy a former otaku's hunger for fandom. Although I wish we could've stayed for the Japanese Pop/Rock group Uchuu Sentai NOIZ. They ran out on stage during opening ceremonies in ridiculous costumes and tried to get the crowd to do a funky anime 'con dance. I've never been to an actual concert before and I feel like it would've been fun. But hey! I go to college in NYC. I'll have another chance to see a show.

Here are some pics. I've always been too shy to ask cosplayers if I can take their photos, so I only ever get crowd shots...

Outside the Raleigh Convention Center

Some random cosplayers

The convention hall was huge- AZ spanned 4 floors!

The other motivation for going: The Dealer's Room. Where we get our crack: books, DVDs, posters, figures...and so much more.

Hello Kitty Panda!

I picked up one thing from the Dealer's Room:
A new Gundam! I absolutely LOVE Gunpla. This is my first "Master Grade" model kit in a very, very long time. It has lotsa little pieces and cool accessories! *nerdgasm*

Look forward to me documenting the construction of this action figure model!

I feel like I forgot to write about something, but I'll update the blog later. For now? Sleep.

Hoping that the truck driver won't appear in my dreams,


Brice said...

That is a frightening truck demon-being.
BUT! That's great that you went to animazement.
If I was walking with anyone - say, my sister- and she pointed to an anime convention, I'd frown and shake my head in disdain. But secretly it's a supreme nerdy delight. I love them!!
It's a shame that your cosplaying pics aren't up!

Rikki said...

I want a panda hello kitty!!!