Anime Weekend Atlanta 18

It’s a little late to be doing so, but I’ll recount my latest Anime Convention experiences. First of all, this convention is one of hte things I look forward to all year. It has become a tradition, and a favorite escape of mine. I love AWA! Each year has been different than the last, and it seems that AWA is changing, but in a good way. I feel as though my approach to each AWA has been different, perhaps because I have changed as well. In the past I was greatly interested in the gaming crowd. Back in the day it was all about the Naruto Gekitou Ninja Taisen games for the Gamecube. I think I’ve participated in 6 different NGNT tournaments over the years. I went out on good note too, being second place in my last entry.  Now though, I’m mostly spending time at the various panels at conventions rather than hanging around the game rooms. Yet AWA remains AWA, it has that same vibe I felt back in what seems like so long ago at my first AWA con. Whether I’m visiting the panel of a voice actor, playing games at the arcade (Pump It Up mostly), or watching some anime, I’m always having a good time.

One has to be wary however… my vision is foggy.. what is this, static?

Slenderman!?! Ah, I just barely escaped. But what’s this? Now everything looks weird, everything keeps changing as if… as if I’ve walked beyond the barrier of reality. Ah!?!


Run away.. run..run—phew. Well after escaping from various perilous positions, it’s on to greater adventures.

My AWA 18

Normally I’ve missed the Opening Ceremonies due to late arrivals and other reasons, so I wasn’t sure what to expect of it. I was not disappointed in going, for none other than Izaya Orihara gave a video introduction to this year’s AWA. Yes, one of my favorite English voice actors, Johnny Yong Bosch was a guest this year. That video was hilarious stuff. After the introduction there were several introductions of the staff and guests attending this year. There was the Japanese voice actor for Vegeta, Ryo Horikawa, Japanese Singer/Actress You Kikkawa better known as Kikka by her fans, fashion designer h. Naoto, Japanese voice actress Suzuko Mimori, voice actor Vic Mignogna, voice actress Trina Nishimura, voice actress Amy Howard Wilson, the bands Heidi and Eyeshine, and more.

Searching the dealer room for that special item that speaks to me is a regular endeavor. It has become customary for me to at least find one worthy figure to add to my collection from a con. This year I was looking for Homura Akemi.

I also search for some anime DVD/Blu-ray to add to my collection. Beyond the dealer room there are plenty of ways I spent my time. This year most of my time was spent in the Grand Ballroom, where all of the main events take place. I attended a total of three panels with Johnny Yong Bosch and his band Eyeshine in a kind of musical Q&A, where audience members asks questions and Johnny would sing them an answer. Some random stories told in between here and there. I never thought I would be meeting this former Power Ranger at this point in my life, but the world’s funny that way. After their second panel I was able to have Johnny spare a moment for a personal video. Thanks so much!

Besides the Johnny panels, the Video Art Track awards also werei n the Grand Ball Room. It has become another tradition of mine to watch the AMV awards at the cons I attend. Besides being highly entertaining, AMVs have helped inspire new anime interests. Watching AMVs on a big screen surrounded by fellow anime fans…there’s nothing like it.

I also attended the Eyeshine concert–one of my favorite events this year.  Afterwards I was able to get some Eyeshine CDs signed by the band along with getting a Trigun wallscroll I’ve had for years signed by Johnny.

For all the things I was able to see and do, I still feel that there was so much I missed. Missed concerts, panels, and whatever else. It’s a difficult task trying to see everything you want. After all is said and done, I had a great time. I can’t wait for AWA 19.

Other Comments:

That Slenderman was creepy. I was on my way to the arcade and he was creeping in corner. I also heard he stalked people slenderman style.

I miss those Naruto tournaments…

Pictures:

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Steins; Gate

Okay, I’m a fan of science fiction, I can’t help it. I’m drawn to it. So when I started picking up that Steins; Gate had to do with time travel, butterfly effects, and other such things, I was beginning to feel a great desire to watch it. Then I saw an AMV at AWA that sealed the deal.

Mysterious beginnings

Story

Steins; Gate was definitely an experience that needs repeating. We have a cast of characters, some slightly bizarre (especially a certain self proclaimed “mad scientist”), who are currently striving for who knows what goal at the Future Gadget Laboratory. Now don’t go imagining something remotely close to a normal conception of what this laboratory should look like however, since it is after all only a kind of studio apartment above a CRT store. The Future Gadget Laboratory is currently highly interested in the development of its eighth invention: the Phone Microwave (name subject to change). While working on this newest gadget, a strange glitch in the microwaves function was found. To operate the microwave, instructions are sent by phone, but when these instructions are sent in the incorrect format… bizarre things happen to what is microwaved. Perhaps the most strange effect being the gelification of microwaved bananas. As the development of this gadget continues, our characters soon find themselves in the middle of a heavy conspiracy that will soon lead our “mad scientist” on a journey that will truly test his sanity.

Gel bananas

Characters

Ahem… of course we have the “mad scientist” HOUOUIN KYOUMA! Or just call him by his real name Okabe Rintarou. He’s a little… imbalanced or at least appears to be. His true nature shows itself in time. Then there is his faithful right arm and Lab Member 003, Super Hacker Itaru Hashida, better known as Daru. Daru is a bit of an otaku who has some pretty amazing skills. We also have Lab Member 002 and childhood friend of Okabe, Mayuri Shiina. Mayuri has been around Okabe the longest and has no complaints of being his “hostage” by choice. These three are the original members of the Future Gadget Lab. Some additional members to the lab are made as the story progresses. The characters exhibit some of the moe characteristics prevalent in anime, yet the characters go far beyond the typical moe role.

Disbelief

Impressions

Steins; Gate follows the dramatic arc very well with everything building towards that single moment around the middle of the series. After that turning point is reached the conclusion finds its way nicely. There were times during this anime I was genuinely shocked (I just couldn’t believe what I was seeing/hearing sometimes). I find it hard to probe at any mistakes in the plot and now I’m highly interested in seeing whether I’ll enjoy the Chaos; Head or Robotics; Notes anime adaptations as much as I enjoyed Steins; Gate. Steins; Gate is one of the few anime I became glued to my seat for. If I wasn’t working I might have watched the 24 episodes in one sitting. It became nearly impossible for me stop after the climax of the story.

Plot: 10/10
Music: 8/10
Animation: 10/10
Characters: 10/10
Sentiment: 9/10
Overall: 9/10