Anime Weekend Atlanta 2016: Concert Heaven

Photos by T. Ngo, L. Le

Merchandise. As someone who bought $300 worth of con merch, as I do every con, I think I have a good feel of what type of merch was at AWA. There was definitely a lot of goods. A lot of every type of good. I literally spend hours just looking through the Dealer’s room & Artist’s Alley each day of the con to find stuff. I ALWAYS found new stuff, which is why I spend $300.My wallet is still crying. Did every booth have the same stuff? Some definitely did. At varying prices. If I didn’t go to the right booth, I would have been stolen a good $10 for the same item. But for the most part, there was a whole lot of everything. And it was fun.

Art. The Artist’s Alley was, personally, really nice. Sure, there are some pretty lackluster artists, I hesitate to admit. But, like last year for me, there were some REALLY good ones. I loved all the fresh faces this year. Most of the artists had their own unique, fun style that made them shine. Some specialized in keychains, others in pottery, some in body pillows (dakakimura). Oh, everyone really did enjoy those body pillows. If only I could have taken pictures. Oh, Niles my husbando… what. Oh yeah, the Artist’s Alley was super fun!

Crowd Control. But I understand why. Anime Weekend Atlanta is a very large convention, at least in my experience. Whenever registration opens up for rooms in the hotel that AWA takes in, they’re gone in 20 minutes. In 20 minutes. When the dealer’s room opens each morning, there is always a huge line that spans the entire hotel. It is so fricking big, man. Seriously. When I was personally in line for the elevators one convention, it was hell. And there were multiple elevators! On each day, the starting date for the con, lines can take up to 3 hours for pre-registration & walk-ins each, if YOU’RE LUCKY. So yes, eternity. But, Convention Staff tries to make the best of it. They can be aggressive if necessary. Con-goers bite. So eys, there huge lines & stuff like that, but that was bound to happen. Con staff manage it, mostly. Mostly.

Special Events. Of the ones I attended, I enjoyed all of them. They were fun! I went to 3 concerts in a row, & it was great. I literally dry-heaved during a panel later that night because of it, but it was fun. I went to the concerts of Eyeshine (an indie rock band lead by voice actor, Johnny Young Bosch), Joe Inoue (Singer for Naruto Shippuden Opening 4) & Garnidelia (Band for Kill la Kill Opening 2). They were all very hype and very amazing, my personal favorite being Joe Inoue. Word to the wise, though. When going to concerts, it is best to research the artists before the concerts. Don’t be an idiot, like me. I was EXTREMELY surprised by Joe Inoue’s comedy routine. Other than the 3 concerts, I did not attend any other type of special events, other than panels. I am a scrub.

Cosplay. Almost all of the attendees were in cosplay. What do you think this is? It’s a convention! So many cosplayers. So many! So many… If you want to see pictures of them, you should see the pictures I personally took of them for this website. Okay, so one of the photoshoots was by my friend but still. Shush.

Venue. After 3 years of going to AWA, I know my way around the block. Get on my level, scrub. But in all seriousness, for a first-time attendee, the hotel can be a bit large. So it’s always best to contact convention staff, as well as the information desks that were in clear & easy-to-point-out view. Because of the size, finding was a restroom was probably the trickiest part. I still had trouble.

Experience. Overall, the convention was amazing! I haven’t had that much fun in a long time. There were some technical hiccups with some panels & staff, but that is to be expected of a convention that size. I met many new people, and the people I went with had so much fun too! On a plus note, the hotel we stayed at was really nice, so that gave it some brownie points. So many nice cosplays, nice people, nice guests. Just overall great. Would come back. 10/10. Gotta research the artists at the concerts ahead of time though. Don’t want to dry-heave

- T. Ngo