This weekend I had the pleasure of attending Anime Southeast 2013 in Sevierville, TN at the Sevierville Events Center. This was the second year for this convention,as well as my second year attending. I have to say that this convention is the most laid back and kind convention that I have ever attended. I have to give a major round of applause to the people in charge of this convention and security for making sure that nothing went wrong.
During my first day at the convention, I was able to walk around and get re-acquainted with the setup. Much like the previous year, the convention took up half of the space that the Events Center had to offer. In the space allotted, there were four panel rooms, a large video game room, a Dealer’s room, and an Artist Alley. I really loved the set up since you had a long hallway for cosplayers to meet and take photos without being in the way of dealers, other cosplayers, or con staff to walk through. The panel rooms were adequately sized for the panels that were happening inside and were equipped with HDMI projectors and microphones to ensure that all panels were seen and heard as they were intended to be. The gaming room was excellent. While being a small convention, ASE definitely had a wide gambit of games; from Mario Kart to Tekken, there was never a dull moment in the game room. The Dealer’s room had about twelve different vendors that were all fairly priced and had a very broad assortment of things for sale. The Artist Alley lined one of the main hallways; however, unlike other conventions that I have attended, this setup really worked. The tables were far enough out of the walking ways to allow convention attendees through.
Friday was a very fun day when we got our schedules planned out and started attending panels. Unfortunately, I did not get to attend the formal ball, but I did have a wonderful evening meeting some of the nicest cosplayers that I have ever spoken to.
Saturday was the biggest day of the convention with the Cosplay Contest and Rave, as well as a full day of panels. Even more cosplayers flocked in from all over, as is usual for a Saturday. I was able to attend and even be in a few panels on this day and had an absolute blast in all of them. The cosplay and skit contest was extremely laidback and was tons of fun. There were many amazing cosplayers that entered and the skits were all amazing. The night ended for me with a quick look into the Rave, which was being ran by Error 404 (cosplaying Vash and Wolfwood from Trigun). While the rave was small, the music was amazing and I had fun while I was there.
Sunday was actually the craziest day of the convention. Several of the rooms were now closed, including the video gaming room and the largest panel room, which made space for the Otaku Flea Market. The Otaku Flea Market was small this year, but definitely worth a look. I found some rare things that were over a decade old in some cases, and all were at great prices. The panels were pretty amazing for a final day, which made leaving all the harder.
In all, I highly recommend this convention to seasoned and new cosplayers alike. For anyone wanting a relaxing convention this is definitely for you. Be sure to mark this convention on your calendars for next year, because you don’t want to miss it!