Anime Weekend Atlanta closed out another year this past weekend. With over 18,000 fans in attendance spread across the Cobb Galleria and the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Hotel, the entire weekend was busy and full of excitement.
Many panels saw large lines as con attendees waited to see some of their favorite guests up close. ZUN is the sole known member of Team Shanghai Alice, and is the designer, programmer, script writer, and composer of the extremely popular Touhou Project. As he made his first appearance at a convention in the United States, large amounts of fans of the Touhou Project descended upon his panels. Cosplayers from the Touhou series were out in abundance as the gathering outside took up a large area of the gardens.
Other popular panels included the anniversary of 4Chan. Moot, one of the founders, was often seen throughout the con surrounded by fans of the popular anonymous site. Also popular were panels run by the voice actors and the Saturday night yaoi panel saw a line that stretched through the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly's lobby area. Often times lines for the main event area would clogged up walkways leading to the Cobb Galleria.
Thursday featured the ever popular Super Happy Fun Sale, where convention attendees could sell their unwanted and used merchandise. There was a steady surge of people throughout the three hours the event was going on and may were happy to pawn off their old merchandise for some handy cash to spend through the rest of the weekend. Just before the event was supposed to start, the Atlanta Taiko group performed outside the room where the registration line was already full of excited anime fans waiting to get their badge. Registration ran smoothly, with lines moving quickly much to the pleasure of attendees.
A nice feature of the convention was the addition of food trucks which were available all day in various areas around the con. During open hours, four food trucks were located inside Artist Alley offering guests a variety of cuisines from Chicken and Waffles to Taiwanese to hot dogs. Once closed, food trucks could still be found outside the hotel, offering food options late into the night. The over abundance of available food was a much loved feature of the convention. No longer were attendees forced to eat only Subway to survive the weekend.
Lining the hallways of the Cobb Galleria were various booths for conventions, advertising their events. One particular booth had an interesting setup with an anime slot machine. Winners of the jackpot were given one free admission to a convention called Yamacon, which is to be held in Pigeon Forge, TN in December. As we were waiting there, Angie Sullivan from Virginia hit the jackpot and scored a free badge with just a couple pushes of the buttons.
Overall the weekend seemed to run smoothly with very few hiccups. Already the convention is starting to announce guests for its 20th anniversary year in 2014. Cherami Leigh, Bryce Papenbrook, and J. Michael Tatum have already been scheduled for the event with more announcements in the coming months. Registration costs have gone up much to the dismay of several convention goers but the convention is still sure to have a strong following.
For more information on Anime Weekend Altanta, visit their website at http://awa-con.com