Anime Weekend Atlanta 2016

AWA Logo

Anime Weekend Atlanta 2015 was a pretty amazing time. This was my 5th year attending, and my first time being able to be part of the media. As I’ve stated many times before, I love small conventions, however, I love this large convention, too. AWA is generally attended by close to 10,000 people in the most recent years. So yeah, it’s a pretty large convention. I have to give mad props to the staff and crew of the convention as they were courteous to me any time I had a question or concern. And major thanks to the staff of the Renaissance Waverly Hotel in Atlanta for putting up with all of our hijinks and “weirdness” that we bring each year.

As I said, this was my first year being on the media crew, so I was definitely in for a new adventure. There were so many cool things to see and people to talk to that I never had access to before. While I only held two interviews, which I will get to soon, I was also kept abreast of time changes and how long I had left during my interviews. So thank you to the Media/Press Relations staff. You were all super awesome and I hope to work with you again in the future!

Alright, now let’s get down to the nitty gritty, shall we?
I’m always an early riser when it comes to AWA, mainly because I want to get that super sweet parking spot at the host hotel (I don’t leave until I absolutely have to after I park). However, not only do I usually score a good spot, it also gives me, and my roomies, time to check out what’s changed in the layout of the convention center. This can be a good idea, since the convention center that is used for AWA is pretty large, and can be confusing at times. This year, I was pleased to find that main events were located in the main hallway. It was nice to find this out before, rather than trying to find it while there are thousands of people milling about. The Artist Alley and Dealer’s Room were combined and placed into an exceptionally large room this year, unlike last year when the two were split into different rooms. Personally, I like having both in the same room, it makes it easier for a one stop shop.

Like always, the Renaissance Waverly dressed their lobby up to the anime nines.  Their front desk crew was wearing brightly colored wigs, there was a massive decal on the ground with the AWA Mascot and year, and each elevator had an anime decal on it. The Waverly really knows how to welcome all of us and make it feel a little more like home. In addition to the décor, the bar located inside the hotel had a few choice drinks named after some of our favorite characters, an example was Krillin (DragonBall Z). This definitely added to the spirit of the convention.

The actual convention itself started on Thursday afternoon, with a few panels and such, but the main thing that people were there for was to wait for the badge line to open. Let me tell you… That line looked crazy. But, the AWA staff really had it under control and it seemed to move quite quickly from what I could see. Again, props for the staff. After moving the line through a quickly, and efficiently as possible, our next stop would be food at the nearby Galleria Mall’s food court. I know, I know…. But Emily, you were talking about the convention starting! True, but food is a very important part of your convention. After all, you do need it to survive. I was showing some people where the Mall and food court were before we went up to our room to get into our cosplays. But yes, back to the convention, the panels on Thursday night also had to compete with the Super Happy Fun Sale. If you don’t know what that is, it is the AWA version of a yardsale. You buy a table space and set up your wares for attendees to buy. It’s a great way to get rid of things that you no longer need and make some extra cash to spend for the weekend.

Friday was the start of the convention for most people, however. Since most people really can’t just skip work and school for an anime convention, most people seem to start showing up on Friday for the festivities. This is where the crowd comes in folks. The registration line was absolutely bonkers that morning, but the staff was still able to hold their own and keep it under control.

I do have to report that I was suffering from a severe migraine about 75% of the weekend, so I did not get to attend all of the panels and shows that I wanted to… But I can report on what I was able to do. While I could not attend many panels, I was able to roam the Lobby and  hall ways for short amounts of time and see cosplayers and people that were there. Let me tell you… The air was thick with excitement, both fans new and old were just so ready to have this weekend of fun and to just get away from the humdrum of the everyday. Excited to see friends, voice actors, Japanese Fashion guests, all the stuff in the dealer’s room. No matter why they were there, they were excited. And rightly so, AWA always has a lot to offer con goers and no matter your age, whether your cosplaying or not, and interests; there was always something of interest to do.

Being on the Media team for 2Shots of Geek meant that I was able to snag some interviews with some of the guests that were at the convention.  While I was only able to do interviews, I was beyond excited to be interviewing my two favorite guests: Team FourStar (parody Youtubers that are the minds behind DragonBall Z Abridged) and Christopher Sabat (Vegeta  and many others – DragonBall Z). I’ll provide links to the interviews so that you can watch them if you would like.

Christopher Sabat Interview

KaiserNeko (Team FourStar) Interview

 

All in all, AWA is a convention that is very dear to me. Every year I make new friends, see old friends, learn something new, and always have a blast. If you’ve never experienced Anime Weekend Atlanta, hopefully some day you can. We hope to see you around in 2016!

 

Visit the AWA website! http://awa-con.com/

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Emily Gardner

About Emily Gardner

Emily Gardner is an analytical chemist that is passionate about the art of cosplay. With a love for science and costuming, she is ready to take on anything that comes her way. And one day, with the help of her friends, she will become a keyblade master.

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