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Animazement 2010: Recapped!

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One of the best-kept secret anime convention around North America is called Animazement. It's one of the older cons, having started in 1998. Tucked away between the Appalachians and the southeast coast, this North Carolina con featured some of the most veteran names working with anime, and 2010 is no exception.

Animazement was a suburban convention for most of its life until it migrated to downtown Raleigh last year, into a new convention center built in 2008. To a big city guy like me it felt a little weird walking around downtown with nary a soul in light of sight on a bright Sunday morning, but Raleigh is aiming to please its visitors and revitalize the area.

Read on for pics, videos, and to find out what this hidden gem of a con has to offer!

Guests, guests, guests: The best thing about Animazement is the guests. It's a dream come true to see witty repartee between Noriko Hidaka, most notable for her role as Akane Tendo from Ranma 1/2 and Kikyo from Inuyasha; with Kappei Yamaguchi, most notable for his role as Ranma from Ranma 1/2 and Inuyasha from, well, you know. These two veteran voice actors have worked with each other for decades, and it was a ton of fun to see it play out as they answer questions from the audience.

These two are just some of the many great guests. Richard Cox, who is also best known as the English voice of Ranma and Inuyasha, also attended. Animazement regulars Chika Sakamoto (Fushigi Yugi, Cat's Eye) and Keiko Han (Sailor Moon, countless other things) are also present, along with Kazuhiko Inoue (Natsume Book of Friends, Naruto, Gravitation). There's also Spike Spencer (Eva, Nadesico) and Christina Vee (Haruhi, Nanoha) if English dubs are your thing. What's more, that's not even half of the total guests of honors, like the amazing shoujo manga artist Chiho Saito (Revolutionary Girl Utena), or the costumed musical group that is Uchu Sentai NOIZ. You can see the full list here; like I said, there are a lot of guests, even Japanese ones.

Vocaloids: Animazement is as if you're getting a slice of a larger con such as Fanime or Otakon, but with only 7070 recorded attendees. Same features, minus the sweaty crowds. So there was this vocaloid fan-run panel. More important, I had to give some props to the man who wrote a Vocaloid 101 panel in Ren'py, which is a game engine used to make visual novels. Powerpoint is for wussies, it seems. Anyways, there were a lot of vocaloid fans and cosplayers for a little con. It's probably indicative of this summer's convention cosplay trends, so better stock up on those vocaloid trinkets if you are looking to make a buck!

Rave: But if sweaty crowds are your thing, Animazement's Saturday rave is massive (for a con this size). Bring some breathing apparatus if you want to survive for long...

Chiho Saito: It's not usual to see a big shoujo manga name in the States. In some ways seeing her reaffirms my faith in the perseverance of shoujo manga as an art form. Just by seeing her talk and present her livelihood, you can read that she projects that air of "primness" which stereotypes the sort of comic she draws--with fine lines, flowing bishie hair and rose petals on her heroines. When asked about the future of shoujo manga, she admitted that fewer people are reading it today, especially now that girls dig shounen features more so, but its aesthetics will continue on by the fans of the genre.

Good Morning, Mr. Ohgami: At the first Noriko Hidaka & Kappei Yamaguchi panel, a lot of fun things happened, such as live performances of the Sogeking song. Kappei (also known as Usopp) admits that even in Japan people ask him to do this at various events.

What's more amusing is when a diehard Sakura Wars fan asked Hidaka to do the Ohayo Ohgami dance. I laughed, to say the least.

 

Laid-back Magic: There's something different about Animazement, not just how it's a mid-sized anime convention with its own unique atmosphere yet offering all that a large con offers. There may be something in the air or in the water, but people take it easy. It's unlike most other con that I've ever attended, which are often defined by packed schedules, long lines, and a day to recover from the con itself.

The guests, too, are more open. The repeated-attending guests are always happy to be here and they are very talkative, but the first-timers too all seem to have a good time by the way they play jokes on each other, or make up silly stories about each other. The audience also get in on the act, and everyone has a good time.

Speaking of taking it easy, I didn't see a single Touhou cosplay, which is odd considering there were a bunch at Anime Boston. Well, maybe next year. Did you see one? What was your most laid-back big-con experience? Want to join me at Animazement next year? Sound off in the comments!

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Jeff Chuang
Jeff ChuangAssociate Editor   gamer profile

Yet to be the oldest kid on the block, this East Coast implant writes cryptic things about JP folklore, the industry or dirty moe. Attend cons and lives the "I can buy Aniplex releases" life. ... more + disclosures


 


 



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