This past weekend, I attended the Animazement Convention at the Raleigh Convention Center in Raleigh, N.C. and yes, it was amazing, as the name suggests. I brought along 2 other tweens (who will also be posting their reviews here soon) who love anime. Myself, I feel like I have a vague understanding of it. I love the artwork and the creativity. However, I never experienced the camaraderie among anime-devotees, until now. I highly recommend this convention to anyone looking for an alternative, exciting and fun way to spend a day.
Upon entering Animazement,* we were astounded by the vibrant, creative cosplayers who were dressed in their finest! Many of them made their own costumes, which were so complex and stunning, it underscored the time and effort it must have taken to produce such amazing outfits. There was a fun interplay among the crowds here that anyone could enjoy with lots of photos being snapped. It was a great welcome to the convention.
We started out by observing some of the interesting talks that were held throughout the building. We watched a traditional tea ceremony and heard various artists speak about their inspiration and work. It was truly fascinating to hear their stories.
Next, we visited the Artist Exhibition. This was awe inspiring, even for those who may not appreciate anime or art in general. There were hundreds of artists with all types of artwork for sale, from original pieces and prints, to commissioned works and hand crafted items such as pins and plush toys. The most interesting aspect to this part of the show was when the artists would draw and paint right in front of you. It was amazing to see their creativity at work, and many were self-taught.
Finally, we attended the Vendors area. This was a huge sea of anime shoppers and vendors, who were selling everything under the sun! There were figurines, apparel, toys, gadgets, food items, stationery, costumes, books, wigs and more. Many items were from other countries, such as Japan, which were so unusual and fun. I even ended up purchasing a few items for myself.
Despite all of these wonderful experiences, I must say that the most pleasant of them all was the sense of community and camaraderie that you could feel while attending the convention. Even though there were crowds of people, everyone was so patient and kind. Everywhere you looked, you saw strangers of all ages taking one another’s photographs, and sharing stories and experiences. It was hard not to get caught up in this. I now want to go to another convention and in fact, am taking my daughter to one in Virginia in mid-June. I cannot wait to experience the fun all over again!
*I received complimentary Press Passes to this event.